As a cigar enthusiast, there is nothing as excruciating as opening your humidor and finding a white substance clinging onto the most precious cigars. This could be plume or molds. Before you can start tossing away the affected cigars, it is important to understand what plume is and tricks for maintaining the humidor in the best condition.
What is Plume?
Plume, also referred to as bloom, is white dust that appears as white dust on the cigar surface. The bloom develops when oils in a cigar reach the surface and start to crystallize. In other cases, the plume could appear as haze on the wrapper.
Note that unlike molds, the plume is white and shiny. If that whitish substance is indeed bloom, you do not have to worry. Indeed, it demonstrates that your humidor is working effectively. Simply brush the plume off and enjoy your cigar.
What to Do if you Notice Plume
When you find plume on the cigars, the chances are that they are also at risk of developing molds. Therefore, you need to check whether the humidor and cigars have molds. Here are some facts about molds.
Molds: Cigar molds are fungus when humidity surpasses 80%. They are fuzzy and can take colors such as light yellow, blue, green or even white. The spores will easily jump from one cigar to another and could damage the entire collection in the humidor. Here is an image demonstrating the difference between plume and molds.
Molds are dangerous: Unlike plumes, molds are dangerous when smoked or inhaled. Though light molds can be wiped off and cigar smoked, it is important to note that they can be toxic when inhaled.
If you notice that the cigars have developed plume and mold or mold alone, it is important to take urgent action to prevent the problem from advancing. Here are the four main things that you should do:
- Cigars with isolated mold spots can be salvaged: If the attack by molds is slight, you can salvage the cigars by using alcohol. Take a swab of cotton and dip it in alcohol such as vodka and apply on the mold spots to kill them. Then, store the cigars separately in a dry area.
- Throw the cigars that are intensively attacked by molds: If you notice that the molds had affected most of the cigars, your choices will be limited. You have to dispose them to prevent the problem from spreading to other cigars in the humidor.
- Clean the humidor if the mold invasion is intensive: After clearing the cigars that are intensively attacked by molds, you also need to clean the humidor. Remove all the cigars and clean the entire humidor using a propylene glycol solution. Then, let the humidor dry completely before returning the cigars.
- Use the best practices to manage the humidor: Once you have cleared the molds, it is advisable to use the best strategies to keep them off. This involves checking the humidity of the humidor regularly to ensure it does not surpass 70%. You should also consider rotating the cigars regularly and checking for plume and molds.
The Final Take
When you store cigars in a humidor, it is possible for them to develop plume. However, you should not confuse plume with molds. If you notice molds in the cigars and humidor, it is important to clear them and follow the best practices to avoid further development.