» Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to Milan Tobacconists' FAQ page. If you aren't able to find
the answer to your question here, please give us a call at 877.70MILAN
or send your question to us by email - email@example.com.
We'll do our best to answer it!
How do I set up a new account?
After adding a product to your shopping bag, you will be provided with
the option to register if you are a new customer or sign in if you are
an existing customer. Upon completing the registration process, click
on the 'Back to Bag' button to return to your shopping bag or continue
shopping using the navigation links on the left side of the page.
How do I obtain my password to order over the
Milan Tobacconists' customers create their own password when setting up
an on-line account. If you have forgotten or misplaced your password you
may request it by signing in to your account using the 'Click here to
sign-in' link on the Shopping Bag page. The link will take to you to the
'Sign In' page where you can click on the 'I forgot my password' link.
After providing the email address you used to set up your account, the
automated system will send an email to you with a link to your challenge
question. Answer the challenge question correctly, and you will be given
to the opportunity to change your password. If you encounter difficulty,
please give us a call at 877.70MILAN or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll respond to your request during regular business hours: 10:00 am
to 6:00 pm ET Monday through Friday and from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday.
What are your shipping charges?
Orders are shipped via UPS or United States Postal Service (USPS), and
the rates are automatically calculated based on the weight of your order
and the chosen method of shipping at the point of check-out. We also offer
free shipping, but some restrictions do apply -> click
here to learn more about our free shipping offer.
The following shipping methods are available to our customers:
Via UPS Inside the United States
Via USPS Inside the United States
- 3 Day Select
- 2nd Day Air
- Next Day Air
- Next Day Air Saver
- Priority Mail Express
- Retail Ground
- Priority Mail
How long will it take for me to
get my order?
Total delivery time for orders arriving via UPS or USPS
is based on order processing time plus shipping time. In stock orders
placed Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) before 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Time will be shipped the same day. In stock orders placed after 2:00 p.m.
Eastern Time will be shipped on the next business day. Shipping time is
based on the shipping service level option you select, and it is not guaranteed
except when guaranteed by the carrier.
When your order has been shipped, you will receive an email shipping
confirmation containing a tracking number or delivery confirmation number. Depending on your location within
the United States and the day and time the order is placed:
- Ground may take as few as 2 business days or as many as 10 depending
upon your location.
- 3 Day Select typically takes 3 business days.
- 2nd Day Air typically takes 2 business days.
- Next Day Air and Next Day Air Saver typically take 1 business day.
- Retail Ground may take 6 or more business days.
- Priority Mail typically takes 2 to 3 business days.
- Priority Mail Express typically takes 1 business day.
Do you ship to destinations outside the United
States and its Territories?
Milan Tobacconists ships
orders to customers with APO/FPO addresses via the United States Postal Service (USPS). We do not otherwise ship outside the United States and its Territories.
Does Milan Tobacconists have a return policy?
Yes. All merchandise shipped from Milan Tobacconists is inspected prior to
shipping and leaves in optimum condition. However, in the event that you
have an issue with the quality of an item or it does not meet your expectations,
we must be notified of your dissatisfaction within 3 days of merchandise
receipt, at which time we will issue a return authorization number. Notable exceptions are tinned pipe tobacco, which we will accept for return under very limited conditions, and bulk/loose pipe tobacco, which is not packaged in tamper-proof containers thereby making it non-returnable.
also will accept returns on merchandise damaged during shipping. Save
both the original shipping carton and packing material and contact us
for a return authorization number. We will either issue a refund or send
a replacement for the damaged item. In all cases, the return authorization
number should be clearly marked on the package next to the address label.
We are not responsible for merchandise returned without a return authorization
number, and the package may be refused.
If you wish to exchange an item, please note that customers are responsible
for all return shipping charges and new shipping charges, including tax if applicable. Please allow 5 business days after our receipt
for your exchange to be processed and shipped to you.
Special Orders: Special order items (items that we do not sell in our
store or online) will be charged a 15% restocking fee.
What does "ring gauge" indicate?
Ring gauge is used to indicate the diameter of a cigar. It's actually
not that complicated, as the whole measuring scale is based on 64th of
an inch. Therefore, a cigar with a ring gauge of "50" is actually 50/64th
of an inch in diameter, and a cigar with a ring gauge of "64" is 64/64th
of an inch, or 1 inch, in diameter.
What is the white substance I occasionally find
on my cigars?
If it looks like powdered sugar and wipes off easily it's probably "bloom."
Bloom is crystallized oils that form in properly aging wrapper leaf. Simply
wipe it off. If, on the other hand, what you're looking at is fuzzy or
blue/green and is on the foot of the cigar in the filler tobaccos (also
can be on the wrapper) it is most likely mold. If your cigars are moldy
they're basically ruined.
What difference does the origin of tobacco leaf
and wrapper make?
The Dominican Republic has for a number of years been considered the source
of the world's most consistently high quality tobaccos: Piloto Cubano,
a Cuban-seed tobacco used as a long-filler for its rich pungent flavors,
and Olor, a native Dominican tobacco used as long filler and as a binder
because of its zesty and spicy character.
Brazilian tobaccos have a dark, pungent and peppery, yet slightly sweet
flavor profile. The leaf is black in color, once the fermentation is done.
The San Andres Valley of Mexico is world-renowned for its sun-grown
variety of Sumatra-seed tobacco used for wrappers, especially Maduro wrappers.
Dark, peppery and slightly sweet tobaccos are also grown and utilized
as long fillers and binders because of the excellent burning qualities.
The Central African Republic and the West African Republic of Cameroon
grow a distinctly unique tobacco used primarily for wrappers because of
the dark, oily texture of the leaf and its neutral flavor tones. The leaf
originated from Sumatra seeds imported from Indonesia.
Nicaragua also produces high-quality Connecticut-seed and Cuban-seed
tobaccos with rich and peppery, full-bodied flavors and heady aromas,
reminiscent of the finest Cuban tobaccos.
The tobacco strain grown in the Philippines is very aromatic, but light
and mild in terms of strength.
The U.S. Connecticut Valley produces the world's finest wrapper tobacco,
"Connecticut Shade," noted for its smooth, light texture and elasticity.
Connecticut broadleaf tobacco is also grown here. Its darker, heavy-veined
leaf is used primarily on Maduro cigars. Both tobaccos create a mild to
medium-bodied smoke with a mellow, nutty flavor.
Cuban filler tobaccos have long been renowned for their robust, spicy,
and pungently aromatic flavors. In addition, extremely tasty and supple
wrapper leaves are grown here. There has been some debate in recent years
over the consistency and quality of Cuban cigars, but overall they are
still acknowledged by many to be the world's finest.
What goes into making a cigar?
Tobacco leaves are harvested beginning at the bottom of the plant. Volado,
the bottom leaves, have an extremely mild, almost bland taste. Seco, the
middle section leaves, have a medium flavor; and the ligero, the top leaves,
are oilier and richer in flavor.
After harvesting, the leaves are separated into bundles according to
size and texture and hung to dry in curing barns for six to eight weeks.
The curing process and the subsequent fermentation of the tobacco is
necessary to release ammonia from the tobacco and reduces the overall
nicotine content. The fermented tobacco is then allowed to age anywhere
from 18 months to two years to enhance the taste and burning qualities
of the tobacco. Poorly fermented cigars are harsh and bitter and burn
Master blenders combine tobaccos from different countries or different
regions of the same country to achieve a distinctive and balanced smoke.
Depending upon its ring gauge, a cigar will contain a blend of between
two and five different tobaccos.
At this point the torcedor, or cigar roller, is given the tobaccos to
be used and the formula for their combination. The torcedor takes the
filler leaves, compresses them, then places them on a binder leaf used
to hold the filler together. Then they are rolled into a "bunch" and cut
to the appropriate length before being placed into a wooden mold for further
After this step, the torcedor removes the bunch and wraps it with a
supple, elastic wrapper leaf that has been cut in half. With much acquired
skill, the torcedor rolls the wrapper around the bunch using constant
pressure and applies a vegetable glue to bond the wrapper at the head
of the cigar to prevent it from unraveling.
At this point, cigars are allowed to age again so that the different
tobaccos' flavor profiles can "marry" before being graded and boxed for
sale. This process can last as little as 21 days and up to 180 days, perhaps
How are cigars sized?
At the turn of the century there were hundreds of different cigar sizes
made, each unique in terms of length and ring gauge (diameter). The length
is measured in inches and the ring gauge of a cigar is measured in 64ths
of an inch. A cigar with a 50 ring gauge, for example, measures 50/64th
of an inch in diameter.
The size and diameter of a cigar greatly influences the strength and
burning qualities of the cigar. To put it very simply, cigars made with
the same filler, binders, and wrapper, but of different sizes (in length
and diameter) will each exhibit totally different flavor and strength
Typically, larger cigars will be richer in flavor because of the increased
amount of tobacco they contain, but they will have a cooler smoke and
smoother taste than a smaller version of the same blend. They will burn
slower and the smoke will cool down somewhat as it travels the length
of the cigar as it is puffed.
What shapes and sizes do cigars come in?
There are two categories of cigar shapes. Parejos are the familiar shape
with the straight sides, a closed head, (the end you cut and smoke), and
an open foot (the end you light). Figurados are uniquely shaped cigars.
- Churchill 7"x 48
- Corona 5 1/2" x 42
- Corona Gorda 5 5/8" x 46
- Double Corona 7 1/2"- 8" x 49
- Lonsdale 6 1/4" x 42 to 44
- Panatela 5" x 34
- Petit Corona 4 1/2" x 40 to 42
- Robusto 5" - 5 1/2" x 50
- Belicoso - A short pyramid, or even a corona gorda, with a more rounded,
tapered head. 5" - 5 1/2" x 46-50
- Culebra - An unusual shape consisting of three panatelas braided together,
but smoked separately. 5" - 6" x 38
- Perfecto - A cigar closed at both ends, with a rounded head and the
foot closed like a torpedo. 4 1/2" - 9" x 38 to 48
- Torpedo- Both the head and foot on this cigar are closed. Varies,
typically 7"-8" x 40 (at the head) and 50- 54 (at the foot).
- Pyramid - A cigar with a tapered head and an open foot. 6" - 7" x
40 to 42 (at the head) widening to between 50 to 54 (at the foot).
Why is the wrapper of a cigar so important?
Pound for pound, the wrapper of a cigar is the most expensive component
of a cigar. Great care is exercised by the truly dedicated cigar blenders
to use not only the finest quality of unblemished leaves as wrappers,
but also to match the proper wrapper flavor with the other components.
It has been mistakenly perceived that the wrapper color indicates the
cigar's strength. This in itself is incorrect, but due to either the strain
of tobacco grown and/ or the curing process used, the wrapper can deliver
a distinctive and unique taste to the taste buds as the cigar is smoked.
At one time, the Cuban cigar companies used over two hundred names to
describe the brown shades of color found in cured tobacco leaves. For
brevity, we have used the following color scale to describe our cigars.
Claro- A light tan color resulting from cutting the leaf before it has
fully matured, then quickly air-drying it.
Colorado Claro - A light medium brown color found on leaves from the
top of the plant, which thus get more sun, and are allowed to mature longer
both on the plant and after cutting. Also referred to as "natural" or
"English Market Selection" (EMS).
Colorado - A deep brownish/red color resulting from a lengthy maturation
period. Usually has a light oily sheen.
Colorado Maduro - A dark brown color found on leaves from the top of
the tobacco plant that are allowed a much longer maturation period.
Maduro - a very dark brown or black due to either longer exposure to
the sun, a cooking process, or a longer period of fermentation. Maduro
means "ripe " in Spanish.
How should my cigars be stored?
In an attempt to recreate the conditions in terms of climate where cigar
tobacco is grown, it is recommended that for optimum enjoyment cigars
should be stored at a humidity level of between 68% - 72% and at temperature
range of between 68 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
When purchasing a humidor, look for a box that has perfectly squared
and fitted seams, a tight seal, and a Spanish cedar interior. Spanish
cedar is the best wood used for lining a humidor for three reasons: tobacco
beetles don't like it, it's unique in that it helps age cigars, and it
is very good at retaining humidity. The cedar should be well aged, aromatic,
and unfinished. When you close the box you should hear a quiet suction
sound. If it clunks it isn't airtight and won't be able to maintain a
constant level of humidity.
Maintenance of the cigars in a humidor is very simple. Use a humidifier.
Humidifiers are available in many shapes and sizes. Most of them are made
of "Oasis," the same material you find in floral arrangements. Oasis holds
a lot of humidity. Be sure to buy a humidifier that is big enough for
all the cigars in your humidor.
Another product you may wish to have is a hygrometer, which measures
relative humidity. Digital hygrometers are the most accurate. Otherwise,
the condition of the cigars is the perfect measure of your humidor's performance.
If the cigars exhibit a slightly oily sheen and when gently squeezing
the foot of the cigar with your fingers it springs back like a loaf of
fresh bread then conditions are ideal. If they seem dry then add more
Also be sure to keep your humidor away from windows, heating/air vents,
and other heat sources to prevent warping or other undue stress.
Check your cigars every day until you break in your humidor. Eventually,
you'll get to know your humidor and how often to refill your humidification
device (always use distilled water). Even then, it's a good idea to check
it every day. Also, a good idea would be to leave the box open for about
15 minutes a couple times a week to let some air circulate through the
cigars, which will keep them from getting too moist or moldy. Another
tip is to rotate the bottom row of cigars to the top every so often to
make sure all of your cigars are humidified evenly.
To break in a new humidor, pour distilled water in your humidifier to
activate it. Wipe down the interior of your humidor with a clean, slightly
damp cloth. Again, use distilled water. Put shot glasses or several small
cups of distilled water inside the humidor and then let it sit for 24
to 48 hours. Remove the cups of water and add your cigars, being sure
to check them every day.
A cigar storage alternative to a humidor is a food storage container,
such as Tupperware. Place an appropriately sized humidification device
in the container, remembering not to let the device actually touch your
cigars. Tobacco does need to breathe in order to age properly. That's
why wooden humidors are not hermetically sealed. You should open your
container every few days (once a week at least) for about 15 to 20 minutes.
It is even better if you can get some pieces of cedar to put in there
with your cigars.
Should my cigars be stored with the cellophane
on or off?
This is one of the most common questions we get, and one of serious importance
to cigar smokers and collectors. With the prices of cigars today you want
to make sure you do everything in your power to take care of them. If
you store your cigars without the cellophane, they will "enjoy" the environment
in your humidor much more quickly, and age better as well. The problem
with this is if you have many multiple types and brands of cigars, and
store them all together without cellophane, they can adopt each other's
flavors over time. We use these guidelines:
- When storing many different singles (sticks) together, we leave the
- When we have them in their original box, we always take off the cellophane,
and keep them in their original box in our humidors. (This isn't always
possible, depending on the size of your humidor.)
- If they are only going to be in our humidor a few weeks max, we take
off the cellophane no matter what, and let them adapt to the environment
as quickly as possible.
What type of cutter should I use?
It is necessary to cut or clip the closed end, or head, of a handmade
cigar prior to lighting. There are many different types of cutters. We
recommend a guillotine cutter, as it is easy to use, makes a clean cut,
and is relatively inexpensive. However, the type of cutter that you use
is your personal preference. Other types include the v-cutter, which takes
a thin wedge from the center of a cigar, a corer or "bullet" cutter, which
removes a circular section from the center of the cigars cap, and a "piercer",
which is used to poke 3 to 4 small holes in the head of the cigar to allow
for the draft.
How do you recommend I light my cigar?
Wooden matches or butane lighters are the best sources of ignition for
cigars. The fumes from a fluid lighter can interfere with the taste of
the cigar. The best way to light a cigar is to hold it at a 40° angle
in one hand while rotating it slightly above the flame until the end is
evenly toasted. Then place the cigar in your mouth and hold the flame
slightly away from the foot of the cigar while slowly drawing and turning
the cigar. It is important to take the time to light a cigar slowly in
order to keep one side of the cigar from burning faster than the other
Is there a "proper" way to smoke my cigar?
While it can be argued that cigars can be appreciated by each of our five
senses there is no denying the pleasure received by a smoker from the
distinctive aromas and pungent flavors of a premium cigar. Puff gently,
draw in the smoke, taste it, then leisurely exhale. A simple ritual to
achieve enjoyable relaxation.
What do I do with my cigar when I'm finished?
Don't stub out a cigar as this can create an unpleasant aroma. Just lay
it in an ashtray, and it will go out of its own accord quite quickly.
How do I avoid "tongue bite or "dottle"?
If you are experiencing "tongue bite" or "dottle" at the bottom of your
pipe bowl, chances are you are packing your pipe too tightly. Even if
you do not smoke all the tobacco in the pipe, it probably isn't the pipe,
but the packing! Please read the answer to "What is the best way to pack
a pipe?" below to learn more about packing.
Does the quality of the pipe and/or the tobacco
really make a difference?
Yes, it is true that high grade pipes and tobaccos smoke better, but if
you have a pipe that is finished with carnuba wax rather than varnish,
and pipe tobacco that has no chemicals (additives or preservatives) you
should have a very enjoyable smoking experience. It is important to remember
that a pipe is basically a filter. The pipe absorbs the moisture, disperses
the heat, and affects the flavor and clarity of the tobacco. The tobacco
is best enjoyed when moist and chemical free. That means no drug store
tobacco! A quality pipe contributes to your smoking enjoyment the most.
What is the best way to pack a pipe?
Pipe packing is basically a 3-step process:
- Sprinkle the tobacco loosely into the pipe until it fills up to the
brim. Sprinkling loosely is a concept that escapes even the experienced
pipe smokers. Sprinkle loosely until the bowl is full, then press it
down until the bowl is half full. If you have a tapered bowl, you may
wish to press down the tobacco two-thirds full. At this point, draw
on the pipe. There should be little, if any, resistance.
- Sprinkle loosely again until the bowl is full. Press the tobacco down
evenly until the bowl is three-fourths full. Again, draw on the pipe.
There should be a little resistance.
- Sprinkle loosely once more until the bowl is full and then round up
the top so a little mound of tobacco rests over the bowl. The mound
should be less than a half inch tall and nicely rounded. Now press down
the tobacco flat, and even with the brim of the bowl. Last time, draw
on the pipe. Again, there should be a little resistance. The pipe is
now ready for lighting.
How do I keep my pipe lit?
If you have problems keeping your pipe lit, even after packing it correctly,
then take five or six puffs as you walk the flame around the whole bowl
charring the entire area of the tobacco. Then tamp the ashes flat and
even. Relight using another five or six good puffs and you should be on
your way to an enjoyable, relaxing smoke! Many pipe smokers will pack
and light their pipes correctly and still have problems keeping the pipe
lit throughout the entire pipeful. The reason for this is likely tamping
too hard. When tamping your pipe you should only be crushing the ashes
flat and even; not pushing down tobacco. You may tamp as much as you like,
but just push down the burning ashes onto the unburning tobacco. Keep
it even and keep the draw consistent.
When should I clean my pipe and how?
We recommend cleaning it before the next pipeful. If your pipe smells
sour or tastes spoiled, it may be because you haven't been cleaning it
regularly. As a rule, you should run a pipe cleaner through the stem and
shank every time you smoke the pipe. Never pull the pipe apart while it
is warm. Also make sure all the bits of tobacco are out of the bowl as
this can lead to hot spots that will cause a burn out. Remember, because
a pipe is a filter, it should be smoked only once a day. If you smoke
three times a day you need three pipes. If you smoke it more than this,
the moisture can build and spoil causing bad aroma and flavor. If this
happens, take some whiskey or bourbon (the stronger the better) and pour
it into the bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes, pour out the liquor, and
swab out the bowl with a paper towel. Let the pipe sit for 24 hours before
smoking it again. You'll be amazed at the difference!