I will attempt to tackle the never ending cellophane debate.
I have been asked many times about whether or not to leave the cellophanes on your cigars when storing them in your humidor. I think I have finally concocted an answer that I am happy with, yes you should. Here is the reason why.
The standing argument for removing the cellophanes is that it helps the cigars age properly whereas if they were still in the cellophane they would not season properly. Many people argue that while it inhibits proper seasoning, it does not stop it as the cellophane still allows the cigar to “breathe” (the cellophane is porous). Regardless, the advantage of leaving them on far outweighs the reason for taking them off.
There is really just one main reason to leave the cellophane on your cigars when storing them, for their protection.
The typical humidor owner stores many different types of cigars with tobaccos from many different countries in the same humidor. These cigars will range from mild to full bodied, from floral smelling to pungent smelling. You typically do not want these different flavors and smells to “marry” together too much. The flavors still marry with the cellophane on for the same reason that the cigars age properly with it on, but it inhibits this process.
These different cigars are also usually stacked atleast two or three cigars deep. Some of the cigars will spend an extensive amount of time in the humidor before being smoked. It is recommended that you rotate your cigars every once in a while to ensure that they are all getting the same amount of humidity, plus you can keep an eye out for unusual things happening such as mold or beetles. Whenever you are reaching into the humidor to pick out a cigar, or to rotate cigars, you are creating contact and friction between them. Without the cellophane on the cigar to protect the cigar’s wrapper, there is a possibility that you could damage them. That possibility is compounded when you consider how many times you will do those 2 things (grab cigars for smoking and also rotating them) over the course of the years that the cigars are in your humidor.
For people that keep cigars in their humidor for less than a year because they are quickly smoked, leave the cellophane on… you will not be gaining a ton of benefit from aging anyways.
For people that buy 5 packs, samplers, or singles and the cigars tend to be in the humidor for over a year, leave the cellophane on… over the course of time your cigars will be jostled around, moved, and rotated – this leaves plenty of opportunity for the wrappers to be damaged.
For people that buy boxes of cigars and have the intent of extensively aging them in their own dedicated boxes of 20 sticks, take the cellophane off… there will be little risk of damage by contact with other cigars because they will be safe in their box of 20.
Two common myths busted: I have heard people say that they leave the cellophane on to prevent mold and/or tobacco beetles. The cellophane does neither of these things. Mold can still grow inside of the cigar’s cello. It is also proven that tobacco beetles can chew through the cellophane and damage other cigars, but it does slow them down a bit.
The bottom line is this, if you are willing to risk a few of your cigars being ruined in order for the rest to age better, by all means go for it. Otherwise, play it safe and keep the cellos on your cigars!
I want to hear your opinion. To remove or not to remove? Why?