Mold Vs Plume: How To Tell The Difference


The cigar retail industry often faces debates over the difference between cigar plume and mold. Many cigar smokers argue that plume, or “bloom,” is merely a myth, believing it’s an excuse for retailers to sell moldy cigars. This controversial topic has stirred strong opinions, which is why it’s essential to understand the distinction between mold and plume. Let’s dive into the details of this ongoing debate.

What Is Mold On A Cigar?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows on organic materials when there is too much moisture and humidity. This growth starts to break down the material it lives on, leading to decomposition. While mold is beneficial in certain foods like cheese, it is detrimental to cigars.

If cigars are stored in a humidor with high humidity, mold will begin to grow. Once mold infests your cigars, they are no longer viable and must be discarded. The humidor itself will also need a thorough cleaning, though purchasing a new one is often recommended.

What Is Plume On A Cigar?

Plume, also known as bloom, is the crystallization of tobacco oils on the surface of the cigar wrapper. When cigars are stored under ideal conditions, especially in an enclosed space like a tube, the oils can crystallize into a white powder. This process is a natural way of cleaning impurities such as ammonia from the leaf.

Plume doesn’t change the flavor of the cigar but indicates that the cigar has aged perfectly and is ready for an optimal smoking experience. It suggests that the cigar has been stored under excellent conditions for an appropriate amount of time.

How To Spot The Difference Between Plume And Mold

To distinguish between mold and plume, note the following characteristics:

  • Plume: Appears as a white crystalline powder on the wrapper. It can be easily wiped off with your finger or nail.
  • Mold: Appears as a green or grey fuzzy substance. It usually embeds itself into the wrapper and the foot of the cigar. Mold cannot be removed by simply wiping it, and the cigars will feel moist and soft due to over-humidification.

It can be challenging for the untrained eye to differentiate between mold and plume, leading to confusion among customers. If you suspect mold on a cigar you purchased, look for the signs mentioned above and consult with the retailer. If your cigars are covered in plume, you can rest assured they are in prime condition for smoking.

By understanding these differences, you can better maintain your cigars and ensure an enjoyable smoking experience.

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