How can you tell the difference between Bloom (Plume) and Mold?
Mold leaves a stain when it’s removed, but plume comes off without a mark. Plume (or Bloom) is good; essentially this is solidified oil, which usually is a sign that your cigars are aging well. Mold is a sign that your cigars are in too humid an environment.
Difference between mold and plume – Mold can grow on cigars like it can on anything that is too moist. On a cigar, it is a greenish-greyish colour that cannot be scraped off with your nail. Plume, or bloom, on the other hand, is a crystalline greyish white and looks like specks on a cigar. If you rub them or scrape them with your nail – they disappear. Plume is the natural by-product of an aged cigar. Some of the cigars oils are secreted and create those lovely crystals – the sign of a very nicely kept cigar.
The white dusty powder is called “plume” (a.k.a. bloom), and many long-time cigar fans only hope that this occurs to their cigars. Plume is evidence that you have a well-aged and properly cared for cigar. The white dust is crystallized oils from the cigar itself. Plume is harmless, and is typically brushed gently from the cigar when you are ready to smoke it. There is no guarantee that plume will actually occur, even if your cigars are meticulously maintained, but when it does, it signals an opportune time to have a smoke, as the cigar has matured very nicely.
Cigars can get mold, and it is a sign that the humidity and temperature of your humidor is less than optimal. The biggest difference between plume and mold is the colour of the residue on the cigar. Mold tends to have a blue/green colour to it and will not brush off as easily as the dust-like plume. To be certain, take the cigar to your local tobacconist for inspection and opinion. If mold occurs within your humidor, relocate your unharmed cigars into a new, clean and properly maintained environment. Brush out your humidor, and then wipe it down with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol. Air it out for at least a day and them re-humidify the humidor and re-introduce your cigars. Keep a close eye on your humidor and your hygrometer, as too much humidity will cause the issue again.
Good rule of thumb – if the spots are like a light dusty powder – it’s plume, if its spotty or “furry” – it’s definitely mold!!