Cellophane - Friend or Foe for Cigar Storage?

Cellophane - Friend or Foe for Cigar Storage?
9 years ago No comments

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When it comes to cigar storage, there is probably not a question that is asked as much as the one I'm going to address in this weeks post. I initially asked folks around the office what I should talk about and got lots of great recommendations. However, 3 different customers called or e-mailed this week to ask whether or not they should store their cigars in cellophane. Knowing that this is a topic many feel strongly about, I've decided to toss my few cents into the ring. Feel free to toss in yours as well.

I can't really speak to the reasons why every cigar manufacturer doesn't use cellophane, but I'm suspecting the main reason is cost. It costs $ to buy the cellophane and $ to pay someone or many some ones to put the cigars in cellophane. I've got some feelers out and I will provide you with follow-up responses later.

When it comes to my personal humidors, whenever possible, I store my cigars in cellophane if they come from the manufacturer that way. My reasons are the following:

  1. I've got tons of single mis-matched sticks as event samples, new cigars for review and a handful of leftovers from box-storage. This often leaves me digging through the humidor to find just the cigar I'm looking for. Without cellophane, these cigars would likely end up with head, foot and wrapper damage as I'm digging through the humidor.
  2. If by some stroke of disaster, one of my cigars has beetles, the cellophane is an additional barrier between one cigar and another. In some areas of the US and world this is less of a concern, but in Florida the higher average heat index almost always requires a cooling system.
  3. Similarly, with the possibility of mold occurrences being higher here in Florida than elsewhere, I would rather fewer of my cigars be damaged by mold than more of them.
  4. I'm one who believes very strongly in more protection rather than less protection.

Many will argue that you should remove your cigars from the cellophane for storage. There are a number of reasons as to why they do this. Some of them include:

  1. They want their cigars to mellow out, age, or "marry." Aging sticks for 3-36 months is the longest recommended for most cigars as there is a significant drop-off in flavor during and after that. Properly maintained cigars can be held pretty much indefinitely. Mellowing out can be a good thing, but if you wait too long, you may find that your favorite cigar doesn't taste as good later on than it did earlier on. So, be sure to smoke one from time to time, just to be sure.
  2. "Marrying" is the melding of many flavors and notes cross-mixing from one cigar to the next. This is why storing flavored and unflavored cigars or Connecticut and maduro cigars separately is recommended.
  3. Removing and storing cigars without cellophane is more aesthetically pleasing to many.
  4. Maintaining steady humidity levels is a little bit easier with the cellophane removed. Humidity exchange to maintain equilibrium is more difficult with the cellophane on the sticks, say some.
  5. Tradition has long dictated that cigars be shipped and stored without cellophane.

Maintaining your cigar collection without cellophane can be much more difficult and requires both close attention and the ability to simply "leave them alone." These cigars should be handled as little as possible, separated by wrapper type, and maintained in a dedicated super-stable humidor.

In the end, there really isn't any one "right" answer. Cello or don't cello, that is completely up to you. If you are the kind of smoker that only has one humidor, handles their cigars, often, travels with cigars from your collection a lot, or has no interest in aging, leaving the cellophane on your cigars is the way to go. If you are a smoker who smokes only a few different cigars, handles their cigars, rarely, dedicates a humidor to aging, or enjoys the marrying of flavors in their cigars, storing them without cellophane is the way to go.

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