Without a doubt, the number #1 question asked by cigar smokers is … “Should I leave the cellophane on my cigars, or take it off?” The answer is …. It really depends on the situation. Cello has one primary purpose: to protect the cigar from damage. Leaving the cellophane on is advisable if you are storing many different types of cigars in the same humidor. For example, if you have cigars with different wrapper types mixed in a smaller humidor, I would recommend leaving them in cellophane. In this case, the wrappers will prevent the cigars from picking up the aromas and flavors of cigars that are very different in character. The last thing you want is to have your Davidoff Grand Cru Series cigar tasting like an ACID Red Nasty !
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The cellophane wrappers on cigars are permeable, allowing oxygen to pass from the inside of your humidor to your cigars. Air and humidity will pass through the wrapper membrane, albeit slowly, since the cello is preventing direct contact with the cedar lining. In any case, your individual cigars will continue to age, but the process will take longer than cigars kept in the nude.
When you store large quantities of identical cigars, you can take the cello off and allow the cigars to “marry”. Marrying occurs when a group of identical cigars mix and blend over time picking up each other’s essential oils, flavors and aromas. Please keep reading, because I am going to show you a little long-term storage trick at the end of this article.
My personal preference is that, if a cigar comes with cello, I leave it on. Even for long-term aging. My own personal humidors, although top-quality, still do not compare to the professional systems used at the factories where they come from. A home box no matter how well maintained will have slight fluctuations in temperature and humidity. An extra layer of protection assures me that this slight bounce will have virtually no effect on the cigars.
Cellophane can have other important uses too. Cigars kept in their cello wrappers will hold up much better when taking them with me on the road, because the cellophane will slow the loss of humidity during transportation, and will not be affected by sudden change of temperature, or damage from handling.
Another thing to consider, how long do you plan to store your cigars? If you have an eclectic grouping of various cigars that you are going to smoke on a regular basis, just leave them as is. If you are putting one singular brand to sleep for several months up to a few years, than you can take the cellophane off, or leave it on. What kind of answer is that, you say? …. Please keep reading!
Here is my little storage tip, that I learned from a great old cigar maker that demanded to remain anonymous. What I can tell you is that he personally rolled his private blend for such legendary notables as Fidel Castro, Grouch Marx, Sir Winston Churchill, and my dentist, Dr. Fred Kirshenbaum!
Here goes … If you are going to age your cigars for an extended period, simply snip the part of the cellophane that folds over the foot (bottom) of your cigar before storing them. This opens up the cellophane allowing much more air to circulate while still protecting your stick. They will age perfectly, and you have that much-needed protection.
So now, having read this highly informative blog, when someone asks you … “Should I leave the cellophane on my cigars, or take it off?” The answer is …. Most often than not, I’d recommend leaving the cello on, now let me tell you why…
Trust me, this answer, backed by the facts, will garner the respect and admiration of all the millions of people that will ask you the same question.
Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions on this very debatable topic.