If you’re like most cigar smokers, you’re probably wondering if you should leave the cellophane on your cigars once you get them home to your humidor. It’s a great question, and one we’re going to answer here over the course of this blog. 

The first thing we want to note is that not all cigars have cellophane. We’ve noticed a trend towards using cellophane-wrapped cigars in the non-Cuban community, whereas cellophane use is non-existent in Cuban cigars, and has been since the early ’90s.

To understand if you should leave the cellophane on your cigar, you first need to understand why it is on there in the first place. 

Why Are Some Cigars Wrapped in Cellophane?

If you speak to manufacturers about their reasoning behind using cellophane, you’ll find several motivations, including:

  • Protecting the wrapper
  • Preserving the nose
  • Preserving the flavours
  • Regulating humidity

Protecting the Wrapper

There is no doubt that the cellophane 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.  Aside from protecting against cracks, cellophane keeps people’s fingers off something you’re going to put into your mouth—but that deserves a whole other article on shop humidor etiquette!

Preserving the Nose

The smell of opening a stocked humidor is incredible. We all love that sweet, rich aroma. The smell is a great blend of all the cigars you’ve collected from various regions of the world.  Unfortunately, all this 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.

Protecting the Flavours

Now, sometimes you want a 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.  

Regulating Humidity

As for humidity, cellophane doesn’t entirely isolate the cigar from the environment, but it does offer a degree of extra regulation. 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 will stain or dye cellophane yellow/brown: it’s a sign that the wrapped cigar will most likely have a slightly better regulated humidity.

What Do We Do With Our Cigars?

We unwrap many of our cigars because we take lots of photos of them and they present better without the cellophane. Also, most of our cigars don’t sit very long in our humidor. Still, some of our cigars are there for aging and if they came wrapped in cellophane, we will leave it on. 

The choice about whether to leave your cigar wrapped or not is up to you, really.  There is no right or wrong decision. What we have aimed to do here is to present the pros and cons of each option so you can make the best choice for your smoking pleasure.