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KnowledgeBase --> Cigar Articles --> To Cello or Not To Cello by Jackal
To Cello or Not To Cello by Jackal

From the paws of the Jackal: Articles for the cigar geek

To Cello or Not To Cello

The Eternal Question

The question comes up often enough. Should I remove the cellophane wrappers from my cigars before I put them in my humidor, or not? Below, is a list of arguments in favor of each of these options.

Arguments For Taking The Cellophane Off:
  1. The cigars can breathe better –As cigars age, they outgas nitrogen compounds such as ammonia. Removing the cellophane does allow these compounds to leave the close proximity of your cigars and can reduce the chance that these compounds may affect your cigars’ scent or flavor.

  2. Cigars age faster when allowed to breathe – Everyone knows this and any old time cigar smoker will tell you this. However, there has never been any reproducible evidence presented, or even empirical evidence, to back up this claim. As far as I know, the aging process is neither catalyzed by nor consumes oxygen. Temperature can speed up this reaction, but there is no published data that supports the idea that breathing does.

  3. Cigars look cooler in the humidor without the cellophane – This point cannot be argued. A humidor full of naked cigars is a beautiful sight to behold.

Arguments In Favor Of Keeping the Cellophane On:
  1. Cellophane protects wrappers from abrasion – Whether it is due to handling or wrapper to wrapper rubbing, wrappers can be easily damaged. Keeping cigars in cellophane significantly reduces wrapper damage.

  2. Cellophane reduces the rate of humidity change – Cellophane is a semi-permeable membrane. Water can diffuse through it, but very slowly. The effect of this is that cigars are better protected from humidity swings. Humidity swings could happen from an improperly functioning humidor, or possibly from accidentally leaving the cigar out of the humidor. I have seen heavy mold occur on naked sticks sitting next to celloed sticks that are fine. I have also seen a cigar that had fallen behind a table remain undamaged even after a week of being out of the humidor.

  3. The cellophane can help to contain an insect infestation – Lasioderma serriconecia, the dreaded cigar beetle, is the enemy of anyone who has a decent sized cigar collection. These bugs, if unnoticed, can reduce your precious cigars into dust in the matter of a few months. Cellophane can act as a barrier to help to keep beetles from transferring from one cigar to others. It is not a 100% protection, but it can slow them down, and minimize the damage caused by an infestation.

  4. Cellophane can prevent the transfer of oils from one cigar to another – I will not get into the debate of whether “marrying” of cigar flavors is real or not. However, if you look at the cello of a cigar that has some age on it, you will see that it is stained yellow by oils. If not for the presence of the cellophane, these oils would have transferred onto the wrappers of adjacent cigars, possibly affecting their appearance or flavors.
Each person must make their decision on whether to store their cigars with cellophane or not based on a number of factors including aesthetics, the size of the collection, storage methods, and the length of time that the cigars will be stored. Therefore, my personal choice may differ from yours.

[Submitted by Cigar Geeks Member Jackal]




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