Thompson Cigar Co. is an online cigar and accessories retailer based out of Florida, USA. Founded in Key West, in 1915, now located in Tampa, Thompson Cigar Co. is the oldest mail order cigar company in the country. Today, Thompson Cigar runs the single largest inventory storage humidor in the United States, totaling over 300,000 cubic feet. Thompson distributes private label cigars, national cigar brands, boutique cigars, humidors, and smoking accessories.
My experience with Thompson started some twenty years ago in about 2002 when I placed my first mail order on their website. Not impressed with the availability of premium cigars in my local area (lack of brick and mortar cigar shops), I branched out and gave Thompson a try. My inaugural order with them was one of their house brands, and to tell you the truth I don’t even remember which cigars I ordered, it was so long ago. Regardless, Thompson soon became my go to source for cigars.
Having been a customer with Thompson since the early 2000’s I have seen a lot of changes, in the website, service, and quality, and after taking a break from Thompson for the last several years (having found, in my opinion, better options with the likes of Best Cigar and Cigar Place), I decided to place an order with Thompson to test out their service and quality (I hadn’t purchased from them since before they sold to Scandinavian Tobacco group (that was in 2018).
My most recent purchase from Thompson was to reup my supply of small cigars – I enjoy having the likes of RyJ Bully’s, Punch Bolos, and Montecristo Memories available for those times I want a smoke, but don’t have an hour or more for smoking. This review is based on the most recent ordering experience, but will reflect on previous experiences, pointing out any differences.
Thompson’s website has come a long way since the early 2000’s. It is my experience that the site is fast loading, and modern in design. The navigation is limited, in my opinion, but we will address that more in a minute. The home page includes multiple calls to action, always featuring the most recent available deals, quick links to the most popular brands, and recommendations based on trending products and, if you’re logged in, based on your order history. There is also a nice section towards the bottom of the page that provides quick links to the different deal categories.
One of my personal pain points with the Thompson website is their limited navigation links and seemly repeated links. For instance, most web retailers have links directly to tin cigars, whereas Thompson has a link, but it only provides single tins in the search – to find all the bundles of tins I had to search for “small cigars”, and then use the filtering options on the search results to weed out all the Remington cartons, machine made cigars, and cigarillos that I wasn’t interested in. In contrast, on websites like Best Cigar Prices I can literally click on “Tin and Small Cigars” under the Cigar menu and I am presented with all the tins and small cigars I could want. While this might seem like a small inconvenience, the lack of defined navigational links really made the shopping experience labored. If you know what you are looking for and search directly for it then you are good to go, but if you’re looking to browse the selection, you might find yourself running in circles and frustrated with trying to find what you want.
That said, there are some redeeming features about the website that I found interesting, such as the “Seasonal Pairings” link in the Cigars menu which provided a curated selection of cigars based on the fall season. Quick links to their selection of 5 packs and 10 packs, flavored cigars, combo packs, and even links to “Cheap Bundles” and Thompson exclusive cigars provides for quick finds.
Overall, based on their modern design, use of responsive formats (works well on your phone), and attention to eye catching features, Thompson gets 4 stars for the website review.
Website Score: 4/5 Stars
Cigar selection is outstanding with Thompson. Clicking on the Cigar Brands link will present you with over 1,000 brands to choose from, including all the major national brands, many boutique brands, and a ton of in-house and exclusive brands. Being the oldest mail order cigar retailer has afforded Thompson the opportunity to cultivate relationships with all of the major players in the cigar universe, and it shows in their cigar selection.
This availability of exclusive blends has always been a quality of Thompson that has set them apart, in my opinion, with exclusives from the likes of Alec Bradley, Aging Room, Espinosa, Graycliff, Gurkha, H. Upmann, Oliva, La Aurora, My Father, PDR, Rocky Patel, and so many more, you are sure to find something that you can only source from Thompson. Additionally, Thompson features an awesome selection of in-house, “everyday” cigars that allow for filling the humidor with those yard ‘gars.
Overall, Thompson has an incredible selection of cigars, from the classics (LGC’s, RyJ’s, Monte’s, etc.) in everyone’s humidor, to the new blends just hitting the market. Thompson scores an easy 5 stars for cigar selection.
Cigar Selection: 5/5 Stars
Pricing is a huge factor in my shopping for cigars, I want the best deal possible, and the most bang for my buck, especially in this (2023) economy where it seems like prices just keep going up and up. In the case of my Montecristo Memories tins, Thompson was actually par for the course on price. Best Cigar was $1 more expensive, Cigar Place was $0.05 cheaper, and Cigar Page doesn’t have the Memories tins. At the time of purchase, Thompson was also running a special to take $10 off any order of $20 or more and get free shipping, so that immediately put my Monte Memories to only $39.99 for the tin, shipped free. That’s a win-win!
Looking at some other popular blends, such as a box of CAO Brazilla Gol – Thompson comes in last place at $116.37/box. Cigar Place was significantly lower at only $101.95/box, Cigar Page was in second at $103.19/box and Best Cigar in third at $115.99/box. The La Gloria Cubana Wavell Maduro was another comparison I looked at, in which Thompson again came in last place at $138.30/box, whereas Best Cigar was $137.99/box, Cigar Place was $126.95/box and Cigar Page was only $88.07/box, however they were out of stock at the time of this review. With a price difference of $10+ for a single box, Thompson might not be the best option for all your cigar needs, and you might want to shop around for the best value first. That said, catching one of Thompsons deals like I did might put you in the money on your purchase over other retailers.
One place that Thompson really shines is their Outlet, where you can find boxes and bundles in the sub-$100 range (and much lower), however it’s important to note that most of the selection in the outlet is going to be in-house and exclusive brand labels. While not a bad thing, (I personally am a fan of their Don Lugo cigars), don’t expect to find your My Father’s or Cohiba’s in this outlet!
Overall, the pricing at Thompson leaves me putting them as our last resort option unless we’re looking for an exclusive blend only available at Thompson, or if we’re taking advantage of one of their regularly published deals. Our other top retailers (Best Cigar, Cigar Place and Cigar Page) consistently beat out Thompson, even if only by mere pennies! Overall, we give Thompson only 2.5 stars for pricing.
Pricing: 2.5/5 Stars
Shipping & Cigar Condition
For this latest order, shipping was free because of a deal Thompson was running at the time of purchase, however, shipping costs from Thompson are pretty on par with other retailers (with the exception of Cigar Page which always ships cigars free). That said, if I was to order a couple bundles of my Don Lugo’s right now, standard shipping from Thompson would run me $8.99.
Now, concerning shipping speed, I was actually pleasantly surprised with this latest order. I received standard shipping for free using the promotion, however my order was placed on 24 February and I had cigars in hand on 27 February. Considering my recent experiences with Cigar Page, I was surprised to receive the shipment so quickly! Granted, the warehouse for Thompson is in Pennsylvania and had just a short hop down to central Virginia, but still, ordered, processed, packed, and delivered in three days was pretty incredible.
The cigars themselves are tin cigars, which are packaged with small Boveda packs individually, however the cigars were packed in a box with air cushion pillows and arrived ready to smoke. I’ve had bundle cigars and five packs that shipped from other retailers without as much protection as my Monte Memories, and the cigars are protected in metal tins, so this was impressive to me.
Overall, with their impeccable shipping time, attention to proper shipping packaging, and the delivery of ready to smoke cigars, Thompson scores 5 stars for shipping and cigar condition.
Shipping & Cigar Condition: 5/5 Stars
I didn’t have a need to contact Thompson during this transaction, however I have had interaction with Thompson in the past, mostly as part of the Cigar Tour subscription. I will say that for this order I was promptly notified of order processing and shipping, so the communication of the order process is par for the course and you won’t be left wondering if your order shipped, or having to login to your account to find out the items shipped three days previous.
That said, my previous experiences with Thompson customer service had been for the most part pleasant and easy. There were times that the representative I spoke with would seem a little pushy trying to upsell me on my subscription, but considering this was before the latest change in ownership, I won’t count this against them. 99% of my interactions with Thompson representatives have always been friendly and easy.
Thompson provides a few methods of contacting them if you do have a concern, including their toll-free number, customer support email, and Facebook (Instagram too). I have always had good experiences in calling them, however I have emailed not time sensitive questions in the past and found them to reply within the same day usually, of not the next business day.
Overall, for prompt notification, the availability of multiple points of contact, and for friendly, professional service, Thompson scores 5 stars for customer service.
Customer Service: 5/5 Stars
Overall, Thompson Cigar Co. remains a contender in the online cigar retailer’s arena. Between an incredible selection of cigars, consistent additions of new items, and outstanding shipping and customer service, you can rely on Thompson to give you what you want, in a timely and friendly manner. That said, Thompson is on the high end for pricing, with several competitors beating them on price time and again. They would be worth a look if you are looking for some new everyday blends to add to your rotation, and if you catch one of their deals, you can end up saving substantially over their competitors. It would be worth subscribing to their email updates to get their new deals and coupons direct to your inbox.
Visit Thompson Cigar online at https://www.thompsoncigar.com/