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Remove the Cellophane?

I've heard it's best not to store cigars in their cellophane wrappers, but then I've seen experienced smokers do this exact thing. I'm fairly new to the cigar world, so you can see my confusion. So cellophane on or off?
Posted: February 25, 2013

Submitted via CigarAficionado.com

Go ahead and remove that cellophane.

Cellophane is a moisture barrier. It keeps humidity out as well as sealing it in, but not perfectly. Its primary purpose is to protect the fragile wrapper of the cigar when you buy it. The cellophane should be removed to let the cigars maintain their proper humidity and to allow them to age properly.

This "cello on, cello off" conundrum is our most popular question by far, and we don't expect that to change.

So is there ever a time to leave cigars in cellophane? Sure. If you like to take cigars with you for a night of dinner and drinks, and you don't own a cigar case, keep at least a few in cellophane and choose those when you head out. The cellophane will give the cigars an extra layer of protection in your jacket pocket. Note that the cigars will dry out, even in cellophane, after a day or so outside a humidor.

Check out our glossary to read more about cellophane.

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Comments   28 comment(s)

jenna February 25, 2013 11:21am ET

I thought cellophane was made out of wood pulp and is porous and can breathe with the cigar.


bigjonevans@gmail.com February 25, 2013 2:43pm ET

I can't think of a good reason to leave it on. I always take mine off.


Steve Johnston February 25, 2013 3:51pm ET

Test it for yourselves and make up your own mind. Cellophane is water proof, and oil proof. It is however not moisture proof which makes it ideal for protecting cigars. If you age a cigar in the Cello wrapper you may notice that the Cello eventually turns yellow or brown and has a slight oily residue from the cigar wrapper. That is the oil from the tobacco that is in the cigar, I've noticed no difference in aging with or without the Cellophan....


Russell Harris — Jackson, mi, usa,  —  February 25, 2013 4:13pm ET

Leave it on. It protects the wrapper and provides a barrier between cigars in your humidor that are not the same brand. Some argue that all of your cigars will begin to taste the same if they are all touching each other. The manufacturer put it on, the retailer left it on, and you should too, until you are ready to smoke it.


SEAN SIEKKINEN — PITTSBURGH, PA, UNITED STATES,  —  February 25, 2013 4:16pm ET

Wrong. The correct answer is leave the cellophane on but cut the tip so it's open on the end. That gives you the best of both worlds: Protection and humidification.


Yvon Leger, CITT, CMILT, P.Log. February 25, 2013 8:10pm ET

I have done both in the past as was never sure of the best results. After a few years now, the wrappers always come off. I prefer having all my cigars mixed with each other and breath within my humidor. As for all tasting the same, hasn't happen to me yet. They just get better with age. I guess it all comes down to personal taste.


Michael Galletti — Toronto, Ontario, Canada,  —  February 26, 2013 2:58am ET

SEAN SIEKKINEN is spot on! I thought I was the only person who did that.


fireamusesme@gmail.com February 26, 2013 3:09pm ET

Mixing un celloed cigars together will not make them taste all the same or influence how neighboring cigars taste in any way. That is a myth. Will throwing an un celloed Opus X in your humidor magically infuse the rest of your cigars with that Opus X flavor?


Dan McCafferty — White Rock, BC, Canada,  —  February 26, 2013 11:57pm ET

I agree with the guys that cut the end of the cello. If you keep the cello on, clip it. Sometimes I cut both ends.


Jimmy Russ — Crystal Springs, Florida, USA,  —  February 27, 2013 11:13am ET

When I first started and got my first humidor, the gentleman at the cigar shop told me to leave them wrapped, so I did. I've continued to do so simply because I've not had any problems by leaving them wrapped and it just makes me feel better. I've heard pros and cons of both sides, and I believe it's just personal preference...not sure there's really a right or wrong way to do it.


Kenny L. — Oldeminence, KY, United States,  —  February 27, 2013 8:42pm ET

Either way is fine. However, I do enjoy removing the cello from a stick that I have loved and nurtured for a few years to see how the cello has turned brown. A sure sign I have done my job and I get my just rewards!!!! ( I even hate to throw that brown cello in the trash. It's just like part of the family!!!)


Taylor Franklin February 28, 2013 2:06am ET

Cellophane is made from regenerated cellulose (mostly wood, sometimes cotton). It has low permeability, so humidity will pass albeit very slowly.

In the excellent book Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars, Min Ron Nee (nom de plume) wrote that based on his experimentation a cellophane aged cigar will taste better after several years than the same cigar aged without cellophane.

I have tried it out empirically and I agree. The difference was apparent at year 3 and quite noticeable at year 7.


Kevin Michaels March 1, 2013 8:59pm ET

OK we are assuming the cigar was bought with cello. I personally would not buy a cigar without it for several reasons, but this is not what we are discussing here. If you take the cello off, save it. You might need it again if you're going to take the cigars with you. Storing the cigars by wrapper color is ideal if you have cedar dividers use them, some wrappers dry out quicker than others so set the humidor at 75 and you are safe. Finally if youre humidor is big enough by all means but the entire box in it and leave it alone with cellos on the cigar, the flavors stay in place better.


Kevin Michaels March 1, 2013 9:01pm ET

Y


Taylor Franklin March 1, 2013 11:38pm ET

I ought to add, I wish the Cubans would start cello-ing some of their premium brands again.


THEO SHARP — HINGHAM, MA, UNITED STATES,  —  March 4, 2013 9:49am ET

I have had some mold in my cabinet humidor and the cello has protected those sticks. For that reason alone, I keep them on.


Tim Cooke — Des Plaines, IL - Illinois, USA,  —  March 7, 2013 7:23am ET

I keep the cellophane on...From Wikipedia " Cellophane is the most popular material for manufacturing cigar packaging; its permeability to moisture makes cellophane the perfect product for this application as cigars must be allowed to "breathe" while in storage."


Josh Baker — Granville, Ohio, Usa,  —  March 23, 2013 4:13pm ET

I heard that if you take the wrapper off that over time, if you have different kinds of cigars, they will all tast the same.


mattw1978@yahoo.com May 5, 2013 4:43pm ET

I was told that the wrapper let air pass through so it did not matter if you left it on or took it off I myself take all my wrappers off weather the are $2.00 or $20.00 cigars


Jason Combest May 15, 2013 3:04pm ET

"Dedicated aficionados often have more than one humidor. Perhaps a large one that stays at home, and a smaller, more portable one that holds a day's or two's supply. Some aficionados even keep different humidors for different brands of cigars. Within a humidor, the scents from various cigars mingle or "marry," and subtle shifts in flavor can result from cigars of one sort being stored adjacent to very different ones."

From Cigar 101: Newbie Corner "Storing Cigars"


Jason Combest May 15, 2013 3:04pm ET

"Dedicated aficionados often have more than one humidor. Perhaps a large one that stays at home, and a smaller, more portable one that holds a day's or two's supply. Some aficionados even keep different humidors for different brands of cigars. Within a humidor, the scents from various cigars mingle or "marry," and subtle shifts in flavor can result from cigars of one sort being stored adjacent to very different ones."

- From Cigar 101: Newbie Corner "Storing Cigars"


Robert Koegler — East Meadow, New York, United States,  —  September 26, 2013 7:38pm ET

OK so if the cigars all "marry" then if I take my Arturo Fuente and put them with Ron Mexicos, will I get bad ass Ron Mexicos or crappy Arturo Fuente? I personally like to leave my cigars in the cellophane because I feel that if there is a dramatic change in the humidity it will slow down the effect it has on the cigars. In the cellos they still breath and in a well balanced humidor is fine. This is only my opinion and I may be wrong but I find this works fine for me.


Jakub Lochowicz — Poznan, Wielkopolska, POLAND,  —  September 29, 2013 8:57am ET

There is a BIG mistake in this article. From Wikipedia: "Cellophane is the most popular material for manufacturing cigar packaging; its permeability to moisture makes cellophane the perfect product for this application as cigars must be allowed to "breathe" while in storage." So it's NOT a moisture barrier.


David Savona September 30, 2013 9:07am ET

Cellophane is a moisture barrier. It's not a moisture-proof seal, but it absolutely slows the transfer of moisture from one place to the next. If you doubt the ability of cellophane to keep moisture in a cigar, do this simple experiment. Take two cigars that come packed in cellophane, and leave one in the cello while removing the cello from another. Store both cigars in the same spot, outside a humidor. Check on them after a day or so. The cigar in cello will still be fine, while the one stored without cellophane will be dry.


Jakub Lochowicz — Poznan, Wielkopolska, POLAND,  —  October 1, 2013 6:42pm ET

Thank you for answer. Of course you're right and if someone wants to to smoke a stogie e.g. in a month I recommend to take a cello off. But if we want to age cigar for a couple of months in my opinion it's better to store them in cellophane. There are as many opinions about taste as smokers. I want only to say that storing cigars in cello do not damage them because cellophane allow to transfer a moisture. Slowly but it works. Sorry for possible language mistakes.
Best regards from Poland - we like your magazine here!


Will Adams — LaGrange, NC, USA,  —  February 2, 2014 9:37am ET

Understand that all of this is personal preference. What is better? Both…Do what YOU think is the best for your cigars. By keeping your sticks in cello, you're adding a small protective layer from mold. The beetle can actually eat through the cello. If you keep your humidor at the correct temp and humidity, you don't have anything to worry about. 70/70. You will find that your humidor will acclimate quicker when you store your cigars w/out cello. Flavors mixing…Don't worry. It takes a very long time for your cigars to mix flavors. Store infused sticks in a separate humidor


Rogelio ramos July 19, 2014 9:13pm ET

Definitely leave them on. Ive owned my humidor for six years now and have a couple dozen premiums left that have been aging ever since. I used to remove the cellophanes to appreciate the displayed look of my high enders. Big mistake! The prized flavor of my favorite smokes became muddled and lost their character after only a couple years. In response to robert koegers post, my padrons and don pepins didnt taste like the less desireables or visa versa, they all just turned out OK, which to me is not good. So now i keep all my cigars wrapped or wrap them myself if they are bare. I now have three year aged cigars that are either better or just as good as i remember them. Hope this helps.



Rogelio ramos July 19, 2014 9:20pm ET

Definitely leave them on. Ive owned my humidor for six years now and have a couple dozen premiums left that have been aging ever since. I used to remove the cellophanes to appreciate the displayed look of my high enders. Big mistake! The prized flavor of my favorite smokes became muddled and lost their character after only a couple years. In response to robert koegers post, my padrons and don pepins didnt taste like the less desireables or visa versa, they all just turned out OK, which to me is not good. So now i keep all my cigars wrapped or wrap them myself if they are bare. I now have three year aged cigars that are either better or just as good as i remember them. Hope this helps.



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