Maybe you’ve seen Part I of our Cigar Christmas Buying Tips for neophytes series, and you want more. Since we’re giving people and it’s that time of the year, here’s Part II, which deals with cigar accessories and the question of buying online versus from a local cigar shop.
Before we continue, though, we want to clarify one thing: You don’t need to spend the kind of money a certain cigar magazine out there would lead you to think, based on its stories and advertising. All of the suggestions we’ve made in both Part I and here are for the more-average person. We’re assuming you and the person for whom you’re looking fall into that category, because … well … you’re here. And believe us when we say there’s nothing wrong with being average. After all, we are. That’s how we know about this topic.
That being said, Part II of our Tips series focuses on two areas that those new to cigars don’t generally think about: cigar-related accessories and the whole question of buying online versus offline:
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize
Normally I’d try to find a quote from Sex and the City about accessories. But considering the demographic of this site, I’ll refrain. I’m actually a bit embarrassed that I even thought of that series/movie here. Anyhow …
For you, the person who is looking for ideas for that special someone who also happens to enjoy cigars, all I have to say is: Accessories.
Like most general categories of consumer items, cigars have accessories. And there’s a lot of them out there. There’s types. And sub-categories within types. And with the cigar market being as large as it is, there’s new stuff coming out all the time.
Plus if you really don’t know about the cigars your loved one enjoys and you don’t want to go out on a limb with a stogie purchase—we don’t blame you for that, either—accessories might be just the ticket for you. When it comes to gifts, accessories are the safe bet in the cigar world, which can be a very confusing one to the uninitiated.
Cigar lighters, but they should be “torch” lighters that burn butane. No cigarette lighters or others that use lighter oil. No Zippos here, either, unless you buy a special torch insert for them that use butane. And, yes, buying an extra can of butane with your purchase is a good idea. Just be aware that you have to ship butane via ground carrier, but unfilled lighters are fine for next-day or second-day air cargo, if you’re buying at the last minute.
Cigar cutters, piercers or scissors. All of these take care of the end of the cigar that goes into the mouth, as stogies need to be opened in some form or another to be smoked. The most-important factor here is to determine what kind of implement your loved one uses. If they specifically like cutters, you should try to find out if they like the guillotine style, or if they like what’s called the wedge or “v-cut.” Also, while cutters and scissors are similar in terms of how they work, a cigar connoisseur generally likes one or the other. And piercer fans generally don’t get into cutters or scissors.
Ashtrays. Cigar-specific ashtrays can be mini-works of art in and of themselves. They can run from kitschy (we have a “Big Butt Cigar Co.” ashtray at the Stogie’d offices) to ornate to just plain great looking. You’ll know them when you see them, too. Cigarette smokers don’t get this kind of respect from ashtray makers … and they shouldn’t really.
Finger cases. These are usually made out of leather, and are designed to fit anywhere from three to five cigars. If you’re going to go this route, we suggest finding out your cigar lover’s favorite size of stick, and then asking for the proper size of case to fit the stick. If all else fails, buy the one that holds the longest and fattest cigars.
Humidors. These keep our stogies all snug and ready to smoke. Basically, they keep cigars at an optimum temperature and humidity. Humidors can vary widely in quality and price; if you’re looking for a gift, a traveling humidor might be the way to go. They’re small, not that expensive and they’re usually something not owned by every cigar lover. And even if they do have a travel one, they’ll always take another.
Clothing. Cigar-related clothing, whether it be logoed with a cigar maker’s brand (a.k.a. schwag or tchotchkes), from a high-end clothing line (Tommy Bahama, Nat Nast), or something that just looks good from most any level of department or clothing store, is almost always a safe bet with the cigar lover.
Online vs. offline
The better cigar-related online sites will undoubtedly have their own gift guides up and ready for your clicks. Asking questions about these gifts, though, may be difficult or time-consuming. What’s more, returning or exchanging the gift may be a difficult process. Both of those points, though, are very dependent on the site at which you’re looking at to buy gifts. Some are great about returns and answering questions; others, not so much.
We’re not trying to turn you away from buying online; we buy online all the time here at Stogie’d. If you’re absolutely new at buying a gift for the cigar lover in your life and this person hasn’t given you a clue as to what they want, you may want to stick with going to the local cigar shop or tobacconist. A little in-person hand holding, as it were, may be just the ticket for your first cigar-related purchase.
That being said, going online to conduct research and potentially buying that gift from an online establishment may be the way to go for you, if you have even a hint about what they want. Purchasing from an online retailer will become easier as you gain knowledge about cigars, too.
Just use your common sense about any site at which you purchase, just like you would for any online transaction in general. If your Spidey sense tingles about a site—not a positive thing—you’re probably right about it.
If you want to see what e-retailers are doing for the Holiday season in near-real time, you can check out The Buzz Website. We not only have a special section devoted to online retailers, we even have a section that brings you Great Deals from some of those very same sellers. Read The Buzz often for “unfiltered” cigar news, blog entries, tweets and videos from all across the Web.
Here’s Part I of this series.
Our 12 Days of Cigar Christmas feature starts tomorrow (Monday, Dec. 13)! Twelve days full of gift ideas for the cigar lover in your life. We at Stogie’d stand at the ready to help you with suggestions, so come back every day to see what we have in store—bad pun, sorry—for you!
Meantime, we taking a Cigar Christmas poll that’s asking cigar smokers what they want for Cigar Christmas this year. We’re running it to both see what people want, and to aid gift givers like yourself. You can see the results at any time, and you don’t even have to take the poll to see the results. Just click on “View Results” at the bottom of the poll window to see what cigar smokers in general want for Cigar Christmas this year.