Here’s a question every cigar smoker has encountered at one point or another throughout their smoking career: “What do I do with the cellophane?”

Some cigars come with it, some don’t – and so we, the obsessive compulsive hobbyist, are left with the dilemma as to whether or not to organize our perfectly maintained humidors with or without this mysterious, protective plastic.

SEE ALSO: How to Age Your Cigars to Perfection

Quick answer: Do what you do! In other words, it’s a personal preference. Whatever makes the most sense to your perfectionist taste will suit you best. But just incase you need a little help making up your mind, I’ll provide you with a little pros and cons list.

Should I remove my cigar cello

Pros and Cons of cigar cellophane

Pros:

  • Protection – Water damage, beetles (potentially), and general wear & tear are all things cellophane may help prevent.
  • Notes – while we don’t recommend cello for long-term aging, writing on the cello wrapper can help with where & when you bought a cigar, etc.

Cons:

  • Aroma – Possibly every cigar enthusiast’s favorite part of the day is opening their humidor and taking in the beautiful aromas. Cellophane can impede the melding of aromas in your humidor.
  • Handling – Of course, briefly after opening your humidor and taking in the smells, you’ll give in to your urges and handle your most prized possessions. Handling and examining every aspect of your favorite stogies is a lot easier without having to take that cello off every time, not to mention putting it back on! Warning: sliding a cigar back into original cellophane should be attempted by experienced users only…
  • Uniformity – Let’s face it, some of us just have to have everything perfect, with all our cigars laid out in chronological order, or by brand, color, age, size, etc. Seeing as how many cigars don’t come with the cello, it’s easier and looks more clean to simply remove any cellophane.
  • Proper aging – Cigar’s continue their fermentation process long after they’ve been rolled—thus they are continuously emitting ammonia, which you do not want on your cigars! Cello can hinder the cigar’s ability to rid the harsh ammonia toxins.

Neutral:

  • Humidity – cellophane is porous and lets RH in and out therefore cellophane will neither help nor hurt your cigars in regard to relative humidity.

I will say that cello has saved my humidor on more than one occasion. Heavy condensation in my wineador built up to a puddle one warm summer day, pooling around a cigar with cellophane intact, saving the cigar from water damage. On another occasion, beetles were found in a cello-wrapped cigar, confining the nasty bugs to a single stogie – rather than destroying my entire humidor. Caution: Cellophane is not a guaranteed means of protecting cigars against beetles, I have heard stories of beetles eating their way through cellophane. However, cellophane may help you (as it helped me) if you catch your beetle problem before they have eaten through the cellophane.



On the other hand, if you’re really getting serious about this hobby and have decided to enter the long-term cigar aging game, it is advised to remove all cello for full aging potential. See our full article on the subject here.

But in the end it really is all up to you. It seems to me that most cigar hobbyists start off micromanaging every aspect of their humidor, making sure everything is exactly perfect. But most will eventually loosen up a bit and let their humidor “do its thing”, so to speak. I, for one, leave my cigars they way they come from the manufacturer, that way I can leave the blame on them if anything goes awry…

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  • Keeping or removing cello is a personal preference. I use this rule for my collection:

    1. If I would ever trade or sell the cigar it needs to be in the packaging it came with. Cello makes it easier to handle, ship, and maintain shape and foot condition. Cigars are similar to comics and baseball cards. Age does wonders to value while deterioration ruins. The individuals who seek out these gems want them pristine. Cello is also a very good indicator of age.

    2. If you move, touch, or rotate individual cigars, KEEP cello on. Unless you move your cigars as an artifact carefully handled by a surgeon’s hands, you will cause damage to them.

    3. The single best way to store un-cello cigars is in their own box. This resolves the need to move the cigars individually and allows for inspection without touching. Rotating your cigars without this method will contribute to the cigars demise.

    Final thought:
    Aging with and without cello IMO is a non-issue. Unless the cello surrounding your gem was from the old days, cello is made from a vegetable based material that allows cigars to breathe. I’ve smoked Opus aged for over decade in cello that aged better than those that were without. Cello also helps maintain shape. If you have fluctuations in your humi, the cello will protect from that too. Ever have a cracked foot that wasn’t there the month before? Your humi probably experienced a high level of humidity which expanded your cigar, and split your foot. Cello would have prevented that. I’d also be so bold as to say a cigar with cello will maintain it’s original flavor profile better that those without it. Maybe why aged Cubans are very mild indeed…
    -F4NTOM4Z

    • Excellent points. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    • Sumatra Samurai

      Great advice!

    • marc

      I agree with your comments but cuban cigars never come with a Cello… so how your CC’s Age better with a Cello evades me…

      • Marc, I think that was F4NTOM4Z’s point. Cuban Cigars may loose flavor over time because they have no cello. I’m not saying I agree with that necessarily…. I’m just saying that’s the way I read his comment.

  • Jeff Tarrazi

    I like to cut the cello wrapper back to the foot of the cigar so the cigar can breathe, but still have the protection when transporting….my 2 cents

    • Sumatra Samurai

      Interesting, that would also make it easier to smell the cigars (as I often do). I think I’m too lazy to try something like that though…

  • Extremeparasite

    I like many used to leave the celo on, but I have found that cigars will breathe better out of their packaging. The celo idea is more for the retailers benefit as it prevents the constant touching of cigars and allows the final consumer more assurance that their stogie gets less manipulation before it’s sold. Now once I buy it and it’s home it’s all me.

    Additionally if you do want to keep it in the celo I do suggest on box purchases you at least take the shrink wrap off as that is a product that doesn’t breathe as well and will impede aging. Just a thought and the way I go about it. Enjoy your sticks people.

  • This is something that I have wondered about as a relatively new cigar afficionado. Since I have purchased/received cigars both with and without cellophane, I was confused about the purpose of the cellophane.

    My practice thus far has been to leave the cellophane wrapper for extra protection – though the lack of uniformity in the humidor can be distressing…

  • I like to leave the cello on for the primary purpose of sharing and transporting cigars. When I give a friend or coworker a cigar or two, it helps if the cello is still on to protect the cigar in their pocket or however they are transporting it.

    Likewise for when I’m moving cigars from my home humidor to my work humidor, I can grab a couple and stick them in my coat pocket or with my lunch for the car trip. The cello protects the wrapper from tearing when moving it this way, and I don’t need a travel humidor or even a ziplock bag just for the car ride.