It is an age old question that is asked a few gazillion (yes, this is a real number) times each day around the world.
Q: "Should I take the cellophane off of my cigars before I put them in my humidor?"
A: It depends (This happens to be my favorite answer for almost every question)
Those who say to leave it on reason that:
- It is put on to protect those ever so fragile leaves from the brutish fingers of many cigar smokers
- Cellophane is gas permeable so it doesn’t matter as far as humidity goes
- Cellophane actually helps to maintain the humidity within the cigar since it will slow the release from the cigar to the environment by providing a barrier
- If you trade cigars on a regular basis, you should leave it on to provide protection during shipping
Those who say to take it off reason that:
- The whole point of aging a cigar is to expose it to the perfect environment of temperature and humidity along with spanish cedar found in almost every humidor and cellophane impedes aging
- Cellophane doesn’t grow in the fields with the tobacco and it wasn’t used for years and years so it should not be needed to protect cigars
There is a compromise position, too. Many people cut off the excessive cellophane at the end to expose the cigar tip and allow better humidity transfer.
As far as the technical aspects, it really does depend on the cellophane. Cellophane can be manufactured to allow or disallow certain levels and types of gases in and out. Not all cellophane is equal, so it is best to test it.
Testing – Take the cellophane and put a drop of water on it. If it slowly passes through, then you can safely leave your cello on and it will not impede humidity. If water doesn’t pass through, then you should take it off. For those that argue this point, get a chemistry book and do some reading. A water molecule is a water molecule whether it is in vapor form or solid. It either can pass through, or it can’t.
So, should you take it off or leave it on? The real answer is another question, "Who cares?"