Thinking about joining a cigar of the month club? There are many to choose from—and they’re all based on the same idea: Sign up for a subscription and receive a curated selection of handrolled cigars each month, delivered right to your doorstep. A cigar of the month club aims to free you from the time and hassle of cigar shopping and, hopefully, lead you to discover new brands that you love.
But not all clubs offer the same perks, benefits and selection of cigars. Cigar Aficionado spoke with three notable cigar subscription services—CigarClub.com, Privada Cigar Club and Stogiebird—to find out what each club actually offers, and see what sets them apart.
Founded in 2016, CigarClub.com is a subscription service that selects cigars for its members based on food and beverage preferences. During the signup process, users take a short quiz to determine the types of flavors they enjoy. CigarClub reviews this information and handpicks cigars for its members.
“What makes us different is our unique algorithm that analyzes key gustatory and olfactory markers based on what you like to eat and drink,” Jeff Zeiders, co-founder and chief executive officer of CigarClub.com tells Cigar Aficionado. “We use that data along with a variety of information about premium cigar blends to handpick cigar selections the member is most likely to enjoy. As you receive your selections each month, you can go to your dashboard and give feedback that will be taken into consideration for your next picks.”
To keep cigars fresh and protected from the elements, CigarClub packages its cigars inside a humidified bag before sending them out. The cigars are shipped monthly or quarterly, with different quantity options available.
“Each of our boxes contain either three or five curated premium cigars to your personal taste,” says Zeiders.
CigarClub also says it likes to include small gifts and cigar information inside its subscription boxes:
“We include a basic v-cutter and information about each of the cigars,” Zeiders explains. “As an added bonus we have what we call in the south ‘lagniappe,’ which is little something extra. We like to throw in a different surprise in every month’s box that is something fun that highlights a fellow start-up. We have featured local beef jerky, mushroom coffee and more. Our members liken it to the prize in a Cracker Jack box and look forward to it almost as much as the cigars.”
Asked what cigar brands members might expect to find inside a typical subscription box, CigarClub says, “We like to mix it up with some tried-and-true familiar brands, as well as some of the boutiques. We have featured almost every major manufacturer in our boxes. Some of the highest rated brands include Montecristo, Caldwell Cigars, Arturo Fuente, Cornelius & Anthony and Room101.”
CigarClub charges $30 a month for a box of three cigars, and $45 for a box of five. The company offers free shipping on both options.
“We make sure that the cigars that are featured have an MSRP that is generally at least $10 or more so that consumers feel they are getting value in the membership,” Zeider says.
Established in 2017, Privada Cigar Club specializes in sending its members rare, aged and limited-edition cigars. After completing a short taste profile survey and signing up, club members can expect to receive three cigars each month—a curated selection of cult classic cigars, new releases from boutique manufacturers, defunct brands and exclusive releases made just for Privada Cigar Club from companies such as Room101, Padilla Cigars and Black Label Trading Co.
“Privada Cigar club is the only rare, cigar of the month club,” says Brian Desind, founder of Privada Cigar Club. “All of our cigars are limited, rare and or aged. This month we featured a four-year-old CLE, a three-and-a-half year old Illusione Ultra and an exclusive stick made only for Privada members from Black Label Trading Co.”
Inside each box, Privada Cigar Club also includes tasting notes, background information on the cigars and suggestions for food and beverage pairings.
“The other thing that makes us different is our famous tasting notes. This is a sheet of paper that comes with the monthly cigars describing not only tasting notes, but pairing notes and a full story on how the cigar came to be and how I was able to find it for the club.”
For aficionados seeking rare, forgotten, or one-of-a kind smokes, Privada Cigar Club charges $25.99 plus shipping for box of three cigars packaged in a Boveda moisture sealed pouch.
Launched in February of this year, Stogiebird was created by cigar industry veteran Sam Leccia of Leccia Tobacco, best known for his Leccia White, Leccia Black and Luchador cigar lines. Stogiebird sends out cigars for its members based on the expertise of Leccia coupled with crowd-sourced suggestions from its members.
“Currently, you will find in a Stogiebird trending brands, limited offerings and some vintage product from time to time,” says Stogiebird president Sam Leccia. “I am a true cigar insider with solid relationships throughout the cigar industry, which allows me to bring cigar exclusives and hot brands to this service.”
“Suggestions are very welcome and drive the future offerings,” Leccia says. “This is a program built by the customers. I am not sitting on product that I need to get rid of, as I am not a retailer. I am buying cigars based on what my customers are asking for while also buying cigars that have been favorites of mine.”
Stogiebird offers three delivery options. Each includes free shipping, and cigars packaged in a disposable but reusable travel humidor with Boveda humidity control. Members can choose to receive two cigars for $20; five cigars for $40; or eight cigars for $60 at weekly, monthly or yearly intervals. The company says that more delivery options are forthcoming. “This program will offer new, specific buying options every month,” Leccia says. “I expect to have over 20 different options by year’s end.”
Stogiebird says its customer-driven approach sets it apart from other cigar of the month clubs.
“Our customer service is unbeatable. Questions and suggestions are typically responded same day. We offer weekly prize giveaways through the Club Stogiebird Facebook page and Instagram,” Leccia adds.
According to Stogiebird, customers may receive cigars from big brands such as Arturo Fuente, Padrón and Drew Estate as well as smaller companies like Leaf by Oscar, RoMa Craft and Recluse Cigars. The company says it adds new brands to its lineup each week.