For fans of premium tobacco, a kaleidoscope of cigar wrapper colors, shapes (aka vitolas), strengths, and cigar flavor profile options are just a quick puff away.
In contrast, the individual packaging portion of premium cigar blend shopping is not nearly as diverse, with a core three options being the norm: cellophane-wrapped, tubed (aka tubos), and completely unprotected.
So which of these three cigar packaging methods is best? Or does each offer its own perks and pitfalls?
In a world where aging a premium cigar blend or a particular cigar type in a calibrated humidor matters to most tobacco enthusiasts, the individually packaged portion of the puzzle is not a common consideration.
Well fellow intrepid cigar smoking sidekick, today is your lucky day. For we are about to delve deep into this often unspoken cigar storage topic. For each method listed below does pack unique pros and cons, and here at Case Elegance and Klaro Cigars, we like to share these types of nerdy tobacco insights.
Cellophane Wrapped Cigars
Love it, hate it, or remain indifferent about it, there’s no denying the significance that cellophane plays in our daily lives. After over a century of use, this transparent, ultra-thin barrier is one of the most widely utilized single-use products on the planet, including the encapsulation of cigars.
Traditionally formed from plant cellulose, cigar cellophane tubes are actually a naturally derived product, and can either be made to size at a cigar factory, or outsourced from a supplier. Cellophane not only shields a cigar wrapper from damage during packaging and handling, but it also serves as a form of humidity barrier, which in certain cases can slow the drying process to a crawl.
But just as it helps keep humidity in, so too does cellophane prevent moisture from reaching the tobacco inside. Over the years there have been countless tales of cellophane-wrapped cigars struggling to retain an adequate moisture level during prolonged humidor storage.
Tobacco Nerd Note: Here at Case Elegance and Klaro Cigars, we recommend removing the cellophane from a cigar if long-term aging is in the cards. That, or if you are unsure as to when you might firea cigar up and have to leave it for the right opportunity. This is one reason why certain cigar smokers hold onto their cellophane wrappers. For unless you have a humidor travel set handy or an extra cigar tube laying about, a transparent cellophane shield is the next best way to safely transport a loose smoke.
Cigar tubes–or tubos, as they are commonly referred to in the cigar biz–are one of the best forms of cigar preservation. But they come with their own caveats.
Commonly constructed from aluminum (and occasionally out of plastic or glass), cigar tubes prevent a broad array of blunt impact-oriented damage and cigar wrapper scuffing from occurring. But there’s way more to these stogie capsules than just structural integrity, which for the sake of transparency must be viewed both in a positive and negative light.
May it be constructed from glass, plastic, aluminum, wood, or the hollowed-out femur of a sworn enemy, cigar tubes keep sticky fingers and airborne contaminants alike the hell away from our precious tobacco.
Like a nefarious uncle testifying in front of the court during his third divorce hearing, cigar wrappers are notorious for cracking under pressure. Don’t be the guilty culprit. Give that premium cigar blend the protection it deserves, and stuff it inside some form of tubos prior to transit.
From a marketing standpoint, cigar tubes provide an outstanding promotional platform for tobacco products. Not only does a snazzy tubos attract the eye due to its standout physical presence, but it also serves as an brilliantly hued billboard.
You name the color, pattern, marketing jargon, or instantly recognizable cigar seal, and there’s a promotional department implementing it into a premium cigar blend tubos marketing campaign somewhere.
Naturally, this has led to a large number of tubos cigar smokers matching their outfits for the evening to particular cigars. In contrast, and we mean that quite literally, a cigar tube poking from a breast pocket makes for a very sharp accent piece, not much unlike a pocket square or a lapel pin.
There’s no worse feeling than handing someone a premium cigar, only to realize that the smoke you are passing to them has a fat crack running down its cigar wrapper.
Tubos make gifting safe, easy, and pretty damn appealing thanks to their attractive appearances. There’s no need for gift wrap when a cigar is stuffed inside a protective tube either, so bear that in mind when you are shopping around next time.
Known Cigar Tubos Issues
Despite retaining a certain level of humidity when properly capped, tubed cigars do tend to dry out over time if not exposed to a humidor’s muggy confines. Outside of a humidor box, you might have a week or two in the humid heat of summer before a tubed cigar will begin to turn. Whereas even a tightly sealed tubos cigar will become brittle quite quickly in an ultra-arid hight-temp environment.
Tubos cigars also tend to age slower, which depending upon when you are looking to smoke said cigar, can either help or hinder the situation. Here at Case elegance and Klaro cigars, we strongly suggest removing the cap entirely prior to placing the cigar in the humidor.
Tobacco Nerd Note: While by no means a mandatory measure, the act of stuffing a sheet of Spanish cedar inside a cigar tube so that it can double as a lighter is quite common. Commonly utilized as humidor wood, Spanish cedar not only serves as the perfect buffer between cigar wrapper and metallic tube, but it also imparts a nice aromatic note within the cigar itself. To learn how to utilize a sheet of Spanish cedar as a spill for lighting a cigar, be sure to check out our article on this aromatic subject here.
Stark Naked Cigars
Last but not least, there’s the nudist in the family. And no, we’re not still talking about your uncle and the contents of his scandalous court hearings.
May it be the foot, cap, barrel, band, or something in between, unprotected cigars are forever the first to get damaged.
However, stark naked cigars also tend to respond the best to fluctuations in humidity and hold up the best when it comes to long-term humidor storage. Unprotected smokes are also far easier to assess than cellophane-wrapped and tubos cigars, so keep that in mind if you plan on meticulously monitoring a particular stick in that snazzy new Case Elegance humidor of yours.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter too much whether or not a cigar receives cellophane wrapping, a fancy form of tubos, or sits nude in its cigar box for most of its life.
As long as that premium cigar blend is properly humidified, and doesn’t get roughed up like your uncle did during his prison sentence in Tijuana, both you and your stogie should be golden.
All that being said, we do strongly recommend picking up a humidor travel pack if cigar smoking sessions away from the backyard become a common occurrence. It doesn’t matter if they sport some form of outer protection or not, throwing a handful of cigars into a cigar pocket protector case will only further help you keep those highly-rated premium cigar blend offerings in place, and add just one more layer of security to the smoking scenario.