Should I leave the cellophane on my cigars? 5

As a cigar smoker you have definitely noticed by now that sometimes cigars come wrapped in cellophane, and sometimes they don’t.  It seems to me that the trend towards cellophane-wrapped cigars is growing in the non-Cuban community while it is non-existent in Cuban cigars (since the early ’90s.)  It is a common question among smokers as to what to do with the wrapper when you finally get it home to your humidor.  First, let’s discuss why it’s on there in the first place.

If you speak to manufacturers about their reasoning behind using cellophane you’ll find that the reasons include protecting the wrapper, preserving the nose, and preserving the flavours.  First, it definitely protects the wrapper. Handling in the store or even at home can cause cracks in the foot or tear at loose edges of the wrapper or cap.  Asides from cracks it keeps peoples fingers off something your going to put into your mouth – but that deserves a whole other article on shop humidor etiquette!

The smell of opening a sticked humidor is incredible.  We all love that sweet, rich aroma that becomes a trigger for good memories for the rest of our lives.  It’s a great blend of all those cigars you’ve collected from various regions of the world.  Unfortunately, that mingling of fragrances also occurs within your cigars.  The manufacturer spent a long time choosing the right blend of tobaccos that would mingle perfectly as the cigar ages.  Laying many different cigars together in a humidor causes the odours to influence each other and direct contact means that the oils begin to merge with their neighbours.

Now, sometimes you want that blending of flavours – especially with cigars from the same box or sometimes even from the same region or manufacturer.  A cigar aged in cellophane will not necessarily share the same complexity as its nudist counterpart.  Finally, in smaller humidors where cigars are not in boxes, the cellophane can make it look not-as-beautiful, let’s say.

As for humidity, cellophane doesn’t entirely isolate the cigar from the environment.  Some air and moisture can pass through the cellophane while the oils are more likely to get trapped.  This is why a well aged cigar wrapped in cellophane with stain or dye that cellophane yellow/brown.  This means that a cigar that is wrapped will most likely have a slightly better regulated humidity – but it is safe to leave your cigar wrapped in cellophane.

For me, I unwrap many of my cigars because I take lots of photos of them and they don’t sit very long in my humidor.   Some of my cigars however are there for aging and if they came wrapped in cellophane I will leave it on.  The choice is up to you, really.  There is no right or wrong way and my job here is simply to present the pros and cons of either choice.

How about you?  Do you leave your cigars wrapped in cellophane or do you unpackage them right away?  What lead you to making that

Let us know in the comments!

– David



  1. I like the protection of the cellophane wrap.
    I cut off the folded-over cellophane, to ensure controlled humidity, and put them in my humidor cellophane-wrapped.

    J. Wisnicki
  2. I have never purchased a ‘high quality’ cigar which was wrapped in cellophane, at least not in the last twenty years or so. If I were to purchase a wrapped stogie I would leave the wrapping on for the reasons set out in the article – I don’t see any advantage in having a ‘nude’ cigar other than aesthetic and unwrapping a bunch of them would be boring and possibly damaging to the tobacco wrappers. Less expensive and lower quality cigars are fine in wrappers which are probably employed to allow buyers to carry the smokes around in a breast shirt pocket without staining the cloth and if forgotten they would not dry out as quickly as the naked smoke. Frankly, I can think of better topics for discussion such as why no one has been able to duplicate the quality of cuban cigars grown in Cuba even employing cuban seeds and the best techniques of cultivation and manufacture. A true mystery! Cheers.

    Melez Massey
  3. I leave the cellophane on mine. I find it difficult to maintain the right humidity in my humidors, I like to leave the cellophane on because I feel that it evens out the humidity for the cigars and minimizes damage from fluctuations.

  4. I find no benefit whatsoever in having the cigar wrapped in cellophane. I really think it is for handling purposes form the manufacturer solely. And then of course store owners can claim that it protects the cigar form handling and germs – which ludicrous!

    A cigar was not menat to be cellophane wrapped not to mention we do not need any more sources of plastic pollution on our planet!!

    1. I actually do love the environmental argument and I think it’s something that’s really overlooked in the industry! Good call!

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