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.
Pros and Cons of cigar cellophane
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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