Cigar Cellophane: Should I remove it?

Brandon Hayes
Cigar Cellophane Blog Photo

Should you keep your cigars in the cellophane, or not? Great question.

Before we take a deeper dive to answer this “burning” question, we should clarify one thing: cellophane is not plastic. Cellophane is a thin, transparent sheet made of regenerated cellulose from cotton, wood, or hemp. It is both breathable and biodegradable. Its primary use is in food packaging, but lately it’s also become increasingly popular in the cigar industry. 

Some cigar connoisseurs feel extremely passionate about this topic. As for myself, I remain fairly neutral on the issue. To help you decide where you land on the topic, let’s take a quick look at some of the most obvious pros and cons of keeping your cigars in their cellophane wrappers from both a retail and consumer perspective. 

The Pros of Leaving the Cellophane On

  • It helps protect the cigar during transport and handling.
  • Cellophane wrapping allows for barcodes to be assigned to cigars for more effective inventory management by cigar shop owners, as well as quicker checkout for customers.
  • It also helps retain humidity for a short period of time after a cigar is removed from the humidor.
  • Cellophane’s low permeability to oils, greases, and bacteria makes it a bit more sanitary.
  • Some believe cellophane allows cigars to age for an extended amount of time (over 10 years) while maintaining the integrity of its shape and manufacture.
  • There’s also the cool factor of “yellow or brown cello” as the oils transfer from the leaf to cellophane as the cigar ages.

The Cons of Leaving the Cellophane On

  • The cellophane can conceal some of the wrapper’s natural beauty, which is something a lot of people really (myself included) enjoy.
  • It can slow down the aging process slightly.
  • Calcium deposits from the water used to humidify the cigar could settle on the cigar when it remains encased in cellophane.

The Conclusion

When all is said and done, I recommend you store your cigars the way that’s most conducive to your lifestyle. I’ve stored my own personal collection both ways—both in the cellophane and out of it—and have noticed only very subtle differences. If you plan on handling cigars or anticipate other people will handle your cigars, you might appreciate the added protection of the cellophane. If you’re the proud owner of a humidor that displays your cigar collection proudly, they most certainly will present better when removed from the cellophane. Ultimately, keep in mind that cigars are a handmade product created for your enjoyment and relaxation, and you should enjoy them in the manner you best see fit. So there are seasons to store your cigars with and without the cellophane.

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