Cigar Plume vs Mold - What Are Those White Spots on My Cigar?

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What is cigar plume?

Cigar Plume appears on the outside of a cigar when the oils within the cigar move to the surface and end up crystallizing.  The amount of cigar plume that appears on a cigar is dependent on the oiliness of the tobacco used or the humidity at which the cigars are kept. Cigar plume is not a bad thing, however, and if given the choice, it is recommended that you chose the one with the plume as this is a sign of good flavor. When smoking a cigar with plume, simply brush off the white plume and light it. Plume shows that the cigars have been well manufactured and cared for, mold, however, is the exact opposite but can be easily mistaken for plume if you don’t know what you are looking for.

How do I know if I have plume or mold on my cigar?

If you notice mold on a cigar, this should be of concern. Mold on your cigar will not be white like cigar plume, but instead will be a blue or green shade and will have a fluffy or fuzzy texture – almost like moss. It can also emit a musty smell, however not always. If there is mold on the outside of your cigar, then it has potentially established roots and impacted the inside of the cigar, making it unusable. Mole often occurs on a cigar from it being in humid environments over a long period of time or if non-distilled water was used in your humidification units. Humidity levels between 62% and 72% are optimal for cigars, but anything over around 75% can risk mold growth, so avoid this.

What is the difference between plume and mold?

While mold is a blue, green or greyish fluff that cannot be properly removed, plume will be a white/greyish crystalline that look like specks on a cigar and can be easily removed by gently brushing. Plume is a harmless, naturally created by-product of a cigar, while mold can be harmful to the body when smoked.

If you are unsure of what is on your cigar, it is best to take it to a local tobacconist who will be able to inspect and advise. If the substance is identified as mold, it is best to clean out where you were keeping them and wipe the interior with isopropyl alcohol to ensure that no mold spores are left that can spread to any other cigars. If you have a humidor, keep an eye on the humidity levels, as this could be causing the mold in the first place.

How can I avoid mold on my cigars?

There are some ways to try and avoid mold impacting the quality of your cigars. Firstly, only use distilled water in your humidor unit. Secondly, if you notice that one of your cigars does have mild, remove it swiftly to avoid it spreading to others around it. Finally, ensure that you are sourcing your cigars from a reliable dealer. Trios is to ensure that they have been safely stored before purchase in the appropriate conditions. This also stops mold from being transferred from the cigar to your humidor at home.

Can't tell if it's mold or plume on your cigar? Stop by and ask our experts! 

To the untrained eye, it's often difficult to tell the difference between cigar plume and mold. Nobody wants to smoke mold! Therefore, it's vital to make sure your cigar is safe and mold-free before smoking. Our experts have decades of industry experience working with cigars and can tell the difference in a heartbeat. Give us a call at 813-831-6700 or stop by our location in South Tampa right off South MacDill. 

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