Innovative Brands Partner to Provide Safe Online Cigar Trading
PuroTrader’s CEO and Co-founder Pierre Rogers shares how one cigar gave cigar aficionados access to 8,000 more.
On PuroTrader, you can trade, buy and bid on your favorites, from Arturo Fuente and Rocky Patel to Montecristo and Gurkha. Every cigar seller ships your order with a Boveda 2-way humidity control packet. Once again, Boveda travels in pretty good company. Here’s Pierre to round out the story.
I was living in Boston in 2003 and Señor Avo Uvezian, the famous owner of Avo Cigars, was celebrating his 77th birthday at the well-known Boston staple, Abe & Louie’s Steakhouse. I was invited to join his private party in the upstairs lounge. (Back then you could actually smoke cigars indoors.)
Señor Avo commemorated his birthdays by releasing a limited-edition cigar. That year, it was the Avo 77. So there I was, listening to the man of the hour playing jazz on the piano while smoking a wonderful cigar bearing his name.
The steak was black and blue. The wine was almost as smooth as the jazz. The crowd soaked in the excitement of the evening. I believe that the most beautiful thing about cigars is how they draw people together from all walks of life. Blue collar guys mingle with partners from law firms. Lobbyists mix with congressmen. This is the power of the cigar.
“I purchased a box of the rare Avo 77s. I planned to properly age that box for years. Preserve the cigars. Preserve the memory.”
Fast forward five years. My collection of cigars and I moved across country to California. For a few months, my beloved cigars traveled through several large cabinets until they reached their final home in my newly completed walk-in humidor.
While unpacking my collection and checking my inventory, my heart sank. Somehow one Avo 77 was missing from my box! How could this be? I didn’t smoke it, but nonetheless, it had disappeared.
Every collector knows that you either have a complete box or you don’t—there is no in between. I was shocked, disappointed then angry.
I was determined to find a replacement Avo 77. Firing up the internet, I searched for someone who still had one of these rare cigars. Even though it was just five years since their release, they were nowhere to be found on dealers’ inventories. I posted on nearly every cigar forum I could find. Still no luck! Was it really possible that all of the Avo 77s were gone?! I spent the next few years slowly searching the net for just one cigar to complete my box.
Then it hit me. If I could peek into every cigar collector’s humidor, I was bound to find a single Avo 77.
“I needed to create a platform where collectors came together to buy, sell, trade and discuss all things cigar!”
As luck would have it, I found myself in Hawaii with a dear friend of mine enjoying a fine cigar and sitting by the ocean with our wives. I told the story of my AWOL Avo 77. Then revealed my idea for a global trading platform that could radically change how cigars were bought, sold and collected.
He stopped me midway through my story and said, “WE need to do this immediately!”
Out of our concepting, PuroTrader was born. I sold my Ferrari F430 to start the new company.
Next we set off to create the world’s first global trading platform for premium and vintage cigars. We thought about the investable value of cigars, especially rare and aged. We wanted to connect every humidor in the world, so buyers and sellers could influence the value of premium cigars. Bring transparency to an opaque world. Put the power of pricing and distribution back in the hands of the consumer.
It was shocking to discover that most cigar shops sell only two types of cigars: ones they like and ones they think they can sell. What you see on the shelves is determined more by gut instinct than actual data. With technology, we disrupted the antiquated tobacco business. PuroTrader made cigars more accessible across the world, which created a much better experience for collectors and aficionados.
“Funny thing about starting a business in a non-existing space, there is really no place to turn for advice or guidance.”
More than 80 payment-processing banks turned us down because they thought an online tobacco marketplace was a big risk. Web designers who weren’t up to the task came and went. We hired a tobacco lobbyist firm out of Washington DC to interpret the current legal landscape and give us guidelines to follow. (The law hadn’t yet caught up to the digital age.)
Creating a massive database of cigars was no small undertaking either. With more than 8,000 entries of cigars from pre-Embargo to the most recent limited editions, PuroTraders has one of the largest cigar databases in the world. Our users support these efforts by using PuroTrader as “e-Humidors.” Collectors now alert us if they find a cigar that isn’t in our database.
As PuroTrader continues to grow, more real data will guide cigar collectors, including:
• What’s the return or appreciation of cigars over time
• What parts of the world buy what format and what blends
• What are the seasonal buying trends for manufactures, retailers and ultimately cigar smokers
Today, PuroTrader is the largest online cigar trading platform in the world. In 2016, the company sold close to 51,000 boxes of cigars and, at its current pace, is set to triple that by end of 2017.
We have had over 1.2 million engagements on social media since launch. We have users in every developed country in the world. This amazing platform we have created is nothing without the overwhelming support we receive from the cigar community. Without the cigar community sharing our site with their fellow brothers of the leaf, we would be nowhere.
As far as that elusive Avo 77, I’m still on the lookout. Hopefully someday someone will post a box on PuroTrader, and I’ll bid on it.
How does PuroTrader work?
Vetted collectors and retailers post inventories on PuroTrader. Cigar inventories are extensive but change daily. If you don’t see the one, check back often. PuroTrader requires sellers to include Boveda with your cigar shipment. Boveda 2-way humidity control packets add and absorb moisture to maintain a precise RH%, which will protect your cigar investment during transit.
Looking to buy?
Browse, enter an auction or search for a particular cigar.
Looking to sell?
Post boxes or loose cigars from your personal collections for sale or auction.
Looking to connect?
Chat with fellow cigar aficionados in the Cigar Lounge! Share tips and tricks with other cigar enthusiasts.
You know the man, now get to know one of his preferred cigars for FREE!
Only 200 in Reserve
Cuban Cohiba Robusto from Pierre Rogers’s Private Collection
FREE with ANY PuroTrade Order
PuroTrader Founder Pierre Rogers delved into his personal humidor to set aside a few of Habanos S.A.’s leading cigars for Boveda clients. Be one of the first 200 to buy or sell ANY cigar through PuroTrader and Pierre will send you one of his Cuban Cohiba Robusto – Boveda included of course ($25+ value).
These Cuban Cohiba Robustos are a smooth smoke and:
• Deliver a complex blend of flavors—fresh grass, bean aromas and rich earth
• Were aged for at least two years
• Carry the box code pedigree from Pierre’s preferred factory
But Pierre’s pockets are only so deep. Once the 200 Cubans are gone, his humi’s lid snaps shut.
What Makes Boveda the Only Precision Humidity Control?
Two-way Humidity Control means the same thing to us today as it did when we patented the packaged version 20 years ago: The ability to add and/or remove moisture and still maintain a specific Relative Humidity (RH). It means acting on the environment instead of being at the mercy of it. It means specificity, reliability and predictability.
But recently the term 2-way humidity “control” (or regulate) has been dumbed down to include the crude releasing or absorbing of moisture, whether the contents of your container needs it or not.
Think of your remote control. Would you be happy to punch in “62” and the TV goes to 80? No, you’d chuck the remote out a window with no concern whether it was open. If you set your thermostat to 68 in the summer but the furnace fires up, you’d make a thermostat-sized hole in your wall. And if you set your cruise control to 65 but you end up getting a ticket going 90, you’ll be cursing your car when you write out that fat citation check. All those examples are analogs to what you get from non-Boveda 2-way humidity “control”.
What’s the not-secret ingredient only Boveda has patented to provide precision humidity control?
Salt. Science has known for 100’s of years that a saturated salt solution is the only way to provide the capacity to add and/or remove moisture and still maintain the specific intended RH. Boveda patented the packaged version of that science. Without salt, any humidity “control” only has a starting RH that changes wildly as soon as it gives up or absorbs water. That’s not specific, reliable or predictable.
No salt = no precision humidity control.
Boveda’s natural, food-grade salts are the brains that know when to absorb and when to release purified water vapor. It’s why you’ll only find Boveda in the cigar boxes of leading cigar makers and the packaging of the biggest cannabis brands. Boveda means precision.
Why is it Important to Season Your Humidor?
In the name of Rocky Patel,
please, please, please don’t store cigars in a new humidor without seasoning it first. Think it’s too complicated? Seasoning a humidor doesn’t have to be a CHEM 101 project. See how Boveda 84% RH Seasoning Packs will make your desktop humidor cigar-ready in just two weeks. (And all you have to do is toss it in.)
Can you skip humidor seasoning?
A new humidor is a like a vampire. Its dry wooden interior is thirsty. It will suck the moisture out of every unsuspecting Arturo Fuente it comes in contact with. Additionally, you’ll constantly battle low humidity levels that make for dry cigars and lousy smokes.
What if you season a humidor with distilled water?
For a cigar aficionado, a humidor is an investment. Your humidor and its seal may not recover from improper seasoning with distilled water. Introducing 100% humidity to your humidor can shock the wood and literally cause damage. Why risk cracking, molding or warping the wood?
Why season your humidor with the Boveda 84 RH Seasoning Packet?
• Works in 14 days in one step with nothing else to add.
• Delivers the only patented 2-way humidity control by automatically adding AND absorbing moisture.
• Releases pure hyperfiltered water vapor, which won’t contaminate your cigar storage.
Whether your preferred smoke is La Flor Dominicana, Tatuaje, Padrón or another prestige cigar brand, let’s start off with a proper humidor seasoning.
Video: Step by step instructions on HOW to Season your Humidor.
Website: Buy Boveda 84% RH Seasoning Packs right now!
3 Things We Wish People Understood About Cigars and Flavor
1. Fluctuations in humidity will cause cigars to lose essential oils and flavors.
Like fine wine, cigars are natural products that live, breathe and age. They’re loaded with natural oils and sugars that provide all the character, flavor and foundation for improving with age. In fact, we even speak of the marriage between wrapper, binder and filler, where the oils and sugars contribute to a harmonious whole. Aging and allowing cigars to develop the “bloom” as the oils and sugars mature makes us really appreciate the harmony of flavors in fine cigars. (This is the reason you bought the cigars in the first place.)
Caring for cigars properly, like all natural products, is essential for enjoying them as the cigar master intended. To do that, you need to know some of the basics about cigar care, and indeed, about cigar tobacco.
Tobacco is “hygroscopic,” meaning it has the ability to draw moisture from surrounding environments as well as give up moisture. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to maintain the natural oils and sugars contained within the blend.
2. Neglecting to store cigars in a proper environment is a mistake. Don’t compound a mistake with another mistake.
The biggest doom to fine cigars are fluctuations and/or cycles in humidity. There are 2 major enemies that are trying to impend this doom upon your cigars at all times. The first enemy is the storing environment. The second enemy is any inferior product that attempts to control this environment.
In other words, humidity fluctuations arise with normal changes in ambient temperature and humidity. Whereas cycles in humidity occur when using any refillable humidification device. Both are bad for your cigars.
The humidity inside your humidor spikes when filling any refillable device with water. This is then followed by a steady drop in humidity as the water evaporates. During each of these cycles, some of the natural oils and sugars contained within the cigar’s blend dissipate along with the moisture. This robs the cigar of its character, flavor and its foundation for improving with age.
Additionally, the jolt in humidity that happens when filling a refillable device with water creates an environment for your humidor to collect mold, mildew and bacteria. This not only can cause off-flavors in your cigars but can also cause degradation during the aging process.
3. How to wipe out fluctuations in humidity and age your cigars properly:
The answer is simple, Boveda. Before Boveda, all that cigar aficionados had to care for their precious cargo were one-way humidifiers like orange peels, lettuce heads, etc. (this all seems very old-fashioned to us). Two-way humidity control continually responds to the environment and maintains a very stable and precise RH (Relative Humidity). This stops fluctuations and extreme cycles these fluctuations put your cigars though. It is this balance that prevents loss of the natural oils, sugars and flavor as your cigars age.
Keep the cello or remove the cello?
One of the questions we’re most commonly asked on proper cigar storage is, “Leave the cello on or take it off?” Let’s cover what cello is and what purposes it serves.
Cellophane (cello) is an organic material commonly made from trees. It’s not always a clear film, but it almost always is when it relates to cigars. Cello transmits water vapor about 7 times slower than a naked cigar. This means a cello-wrapped cigar is less sensitive to shifting humidity levels than a naked cigar. For example, if you had two identical cigars stored in the same 70% humidor and put them on your desk in a dry environment, it would take 7 times longer for the naked cigar to turn into kindling.
For this reason alone, cello is a short insurance policy against humidity/temperature fluctuations. And with a Boveda in the box, these fluctuations are completely irrelevant for a much longer period. This is because Boveda is adding or removing moisture to maintain 69% in the box.
Cello also gives the delicate wrapper a small layer of physical protection. It shields the cigar wrapper from damage when you’re stocking your humidor or tossing one in your pocket. If you’re using gel/crystal/beads in your humidor, cello will reduce the chance of ruining your cigars. They are at risk from the 100% humidity they emit – because they can’t remove moisture.
Now the big question – does cello influence the flavor of a cigar? Scientifically, no. Given enough time, everything that happens to an unwrapped cigar happens to one with a cello sheath. But what about the smokers that swear cello does make a difference? Do you know why they do scientific studies with a placebo group? Because if you’re told you’re taking a medicine, you’re inclined to think it works, even if you’re taking the placebo. The really crazy thing is that if even when telling subjects they’re in the placebo group, they’re still inclined to perceive the intended effects!
So if you believe cigars are better without cello, then remove the cello. Cigars are a matter of mood, experience and going to a place in your mind, so we encourage you to go there – cello or not. It’s the same reason that smoking an Opus the day your dog dies won’t be as good a cigar as a dime store cigar on the day you win the lottery. Gray matter between your ears has a lot to do with cigars.
Why do some manufacturers use cello and others don’t? Part of it’s tradition. Cubans aren’t cello-ed. Since Cuba is still regarded the cigar mecca, if just for the traditions, there’s a certain feel to a box of cigars that aren’t in cello. It hearkens back the “old days” and the romance of cigars. It’s aspirational. It’s elegant. Padron and Tatuaje are just a couple that do this very well. At the same time, few brands have as rich a history as Fuente, yet wrapping and cello are together in many of their cigars.
Thankfully, personal preference will still persist. There’s no doubt cello serves an effective purpose, without a downside. But if you’re careful with your cigars and you’re storing them with the global leader in 2-way humidity control, the only thing you need to wonder about is when you’ll smoke the next one.
The surest method of reviving dried cigars
Being reminded recently of some vintage methods of trying to revive dried cigars. This article from Cigar Inspector discusses variations of methods that have existed for years, using items/places around your house. The reason results vary widely is because they’re 100% dependent on external conditions – ambient RH, ambient temp, number of cigars, level of dehydration, etc. – and every smoker will have their own unique set of circumstances. The only guarantee you have by following all those steps is that it’s a lot of work. Here’s why:
1-way moisture devices (PG solution with sponges, crystals, beads, kitty litter) will only give off humidity and they don’t know when to stop. They only quit giving off moisture when they completely evaporate. This “flashing” of your cigars with humidity is dangerous anytime, but especially when the wrappers are dry and hyper-sensitive to moisture. Could it work? Sure. But odds are it will be an expensive lesson when the wrappers crack during smoking.
There’s a way to avoid all the risk of the old methods – Boveda (formerly Humidipak).
Our patented 2-way humidity control only adds a safe, measured amount of humidity and it stops when it gets to the RH% on the pack. That’s why, unlike every PG solution/distilled water + sponge, crystal, bead, etc., that keep adding moisture even when it’s not needed, you’re never in danger of over-humidifying cigars with Boveda. That’s the beauty of 2-way humidity control. It adds or removes moisture as necessary. It isn’t controlled by the environment, but rather acts on it. So, here are two one-step methods of reviving dried cigars.
1. Put cigars in a Fuente Humidor Bag (69% Boveda inside) for a month. Done.
2. Put cigars and a Boveda 69% in Tupperware for a month. Done.
Why a month? Cigars lose moisture 4 times as fast as they can safely gain moisture. Expose your cigars to a safe, stable level of perfect humidity to minimize the chance of the wrapper cracking as the filler gains moisture and grows. Nothing good happens quickly with cigars, so be patient.
Of course, you can avoid dead sticks in the first place by using our zero-maintenance products in any of your storage devices. For simple how-to videos, check out our YouTube page.