As most of you know there are only 2 options when buying cigars. At a local shop/lounge or online.
Buying in Store: The benefits of buying in store are that you get to see, smell and touch what you’re buying. Depending on the place the workers can be extremely helpful. I’ve been fortunate to meet a few guys who are extremely knowledgeable and this allows for some great discussions. Over the course of the past year or so I’ve become buddies with one of the guys at a local shop and we often exchange texts about all things cigar. The other plus is we share the same palate so I know I can trust him. Developing a relationship like that is fun and makes stopping by a place much more appealing.
Another pro when buying in a shop is the ability to buy a single stick at a time. This is obviously a great way to sample something new or unknown…and worst case scenario… your out a few bucks, but at least you know you can move on and never smoke that cigar again. On the flip-side, you may find a smoke you really enjoy and decide to buy more or buy a box.
In Store Cons: This depends on a few factors: which stores are nearby, do they have a good level of humidity (not too much and not too little) and friendliness/knowledge of the staff. If any of those are on the negative then the overall experience is clearly not going to be enjoyable. Not to mention, what does the selection look like…? Thats a huge factor. The other thing worth noting is prices. Some places really jack up the prices. Not sure I need to say anything more on that. The last factor is taxes…I’m in Chicago and taxes on tobacco are high. I feel as though every time I pop in to buy a cigar that costs $8.00 I end up paying around $11.00…
Buying Cigars online: This, in my opinion, is the way to go the majority of the time. You can shop around and find the best prices and if they’re shipping out of state…no taxes! Beyond the pricing and potential lack of taxes some online stores have some great samplers for great prices. I recommend a few:
- Cigars International (http://www.cigarsinternational.com)
- Atlantic Cigar (http://www.atlanticcigar.com)
- Anthonys Cigars (http://anthonyscigars.com)
- Thompson Cigars (http://www.thompsoncigar.com)
**I’m not being compensated nor have I been asked to promote these sites**
Each of those sites is a bit unique in their own way. I’ll leave it to you to discover if you’re not already familiar with them.
Online Cons: You may not pay taxes, but you might get hit with shipping. I try my best to avoid paying for shipping. Most sites have a minimum $ to get free shipping. Some have other ways of getting it. Another con is the inability to touch/see the cigars before purchasing. Typically this isn’t going to be an issue if you buy a box of cigars since they’re sealed and packaged. BUT, if you buy a sampler or loose cigars, this can be a problem. I’ve only encountered an issue once, but have heard some stories. This is why I would stick to a few reputable online retailers…
Please comment if you have some other good online sites worth checking out!