Cigar Bloom or Mold?
If you find something resembling mold on your favorite cigar, don’t panic. You first need to determine if you have a cigar bloom or mold. Let’s start with distinguishing a cigar bloom or plume (a good scenario), against mold (the bad scenario), which can also mean the end of your cigars.
Bloom or plume appearance is a sign that your cigars undergo usual aging process. It looks like a tiny spider web or a thin layer of white powder and can be removed with ease. Simply wipe the dust away and you are ready to smoke these cigars. Actually, the fungus on the cigar is nothing else than cigar’s oil changing into a solid substance.
Also remember that the cigar wrapper can have some green patches, which are the result of improper tobacco storage conditions. This can also be the result of the raindrops being on tobacco leaves. These spots cannot be cleaned so when you see these spots, you shouldn’t worry about it.
With mold you have a totally different, and a potentially dangerous, situation than the two mentioned above. First of all, mold can be of various colors, such as green, blue, white, slightly yellow or black. Secondly, it is very “hairy” and grows quicker than the plume. It leaves traces while wiping it and if so, you need to take further action to clean your cigars. However, we will discuss the methods of cigar cleaning a little later.
Let’s examine the causes of mold on your cigars.
You may have already realized, it is a matter of excessive humidity in your humidor that helps the mold to grow. You should be able to control this situation by monitoring your cigar hygrometer and keeping it at a steady 70%. If your cigar hygrometer reads above 80% mold will most likely start to appear. Items that are located under other humidifying items are also susceptible to becoming moist and moldy. So to avoid any mold on your cigars or in your humidor, you should keep an eye on the humidity level in your humidor. Some fresh air circulation once in a while also helps your cigars not to become over humidified.
What if your cigars and the cigar humidor have mold?
Again, do not push the panic button! You need to establish how bad the mold is and how far spread it has become. First of all, you should throw away all of your cigars with affected feet. The mold has most likely made its way into the inner layers of the leaf and is almost impossible to clean. These cigars are now lost.
Now you are ready to rescue the cigars that you consider worthy.
Thoroughly examine all cigars and with the ones that are not infected, put them aside in a clean humidor or a clean Tupperware box or container. With the contaminated cigars you should firstly wipe them down with a clean cloth cleaning up as much mold as you can, than drop several tear drops of denaturized alcohol on the cloth and rub them once again. After that, place the cigars in the box or container and put them into the fridge (the freezer in extreme cases) and let them stay there for a week (check on them every couple of days during the week).
Don’t forget the humidor – if your cigars have mold then most likely the humidor will suffer the same fate. Perform the same “napkin and alcohol” operation with it, making sure you cover the whole area thoroughly. Leave your humidor to dry out for a day to remove any aroma of the spirit and then season it once again. Do not forget to clean your humidifier with distilled water (do not use tap water as this may encourage mold growth) or replace the device if mildew is present. Let the humidor ventilate for a few days.
If the cigars from the fridge are showing no sign of mold, you can place them back in the cured humidor. It is recommended to keep your infected cigars away from the “healthy cigars” and smoke them as soon as possible.
A Serious Warning
If the mold is black or you believe it has been exposed to contaminated water, sewer back-flow, or severe flooding, throw away everything! BLACK MOLD is deadly, especially when inhaled. Trying to save your cigar in this scenario can be lethal, not just to you but to anyone that also inhales the fumes. DO NOT RISK IT!
So do you have a Cigar Bloom or Mold? Are you going to save your cigars or throw them out? The final decision is up to you. Remember you can always buy more cigars if you are not totally sure.