The sheer diversity of cigars can be confusing for new smokers. Many new smokers want to know: is it OK to buy cigars from their local drugstore or chain store? What is the quality of these cigars? Can you expect to get good flavor from these cigars?
While of course, it's perfectly OK to purchase these cigars, be aware that these packaged cigars are usually of poorer quality. Most 'drugstore' cigars contain preservative or other non-tobacco ingredients. Common ingredients found in packaged cigars may include paper, Glycerin, and saltpeter. High quality cigars will contain only tobacco. Packaged drugstore cigars will generally contain these extra ingredients designed to keep them stored on the shelves for extended periods of time.
Cigars can be stored nearly forever in the proper conditions. Careful attention to temperature and humidification is essential for the preservation of a cigar. Conversely, a cigar in a pouch on a retail shelf exposed to elements outside of the control of the manufacturer may significantly effect the viability of the cigar itself.
In order to get the best quality cigars, you will have to visit your local tobacconist. While many mail order businesses do carry good quality cigars, be aware that they usually will not sell singles, thus you will have to purchase whole boxes. Visiting your local tobacconist allows you to test different brands before settling on a box.