Is It Plume?

by Bryan Glynn, July 2, 2014
  • Cigar And Pipes Smokin' Deals

140702plume0003-Edit

I have seen this asked for what seems an eternity on the internet and nine times out of ten someone is showing an oldie & moldie, not plume. Or bloom, as you prefer to call it.

What the heck am I talking about you might ask? I’m talking about the VERY rare occurrence of the crystallized oils coming out of a cigar after MANY years of proper storage. Like many. Like more than any shop is going to keep anything unless it falls behind a rack accidentally. For a decade. What commonly happens unfortunately though, is some lame-ass shop keeper or know-it-nothing employee passes off completely ruined moldy inventory to unsuspecting and trusting customers as something to be desired or pay more for.

In preparing to sell some of my long term aged stuff ( I wasn’t kidding about the age), I figured I would make this post and show you all what plume REALLY looks like. In short, NOTHING like any of the molds that commonly occur. Which is a vast assortment I might add. There are TONS of horribly wrong articles on the net about this subject, many of which say mold must be this or must not be that. Mold comes in a ton of shapes, sizes and colors, and is never good, period. You can save a cigar as long as the mold growth is contained to the outside, but once it hits the foot, toss it. And clean out your humidor for spores or it’ll just spread again.

Plume (bloom) on the other hand can ONLY look like this. It’s only one thing and only happens over LONG periods of sitting. Above you see a 10 year aged Ashton VSG and a newer example. Plume is like a tiny sugar coating. Very light, the color of ash. It’s literally tiny crystals coming out of the leaf. It feels like very fine sand and almost looks like a dusting of ash. It forms all at the same time, very very slowly. Note, not all cigars will ever form it. Don’t ask me why. But there you go, if it looks anything other than that – it’s mold.

You can click the pic for a full size version to get a real good look.

  • Repsol425

    Just had my own run in with mold. Received a brand new box of liberty 2013 and the whole box was bad. Very sad day. Good thing is the guys over at CI are truly top notch and are sending me another box.

  • Marc

    Thank you for posting an actual picture of plume!
    I’m SO sick of articles going up about plume and having lots of pix of mold and no pix of plume. … Kudos to you!
    I just now went and looked for some images and, I’m thinking that maybe it’s just to rare of a thing.

  • Bigdave

    I had a Rocky Patel Edge candela toro in my humidor for about 2 years and it developed a light plume on the cigar from head to foot. I wish I had taken a photo of it. 🙁 It looked so nice. I’m going to stash a few more away for a while and see what happens.

  • Whiskey Icarus

    I ran into a box of Padron 1964 Diplomatico Maduro at my local cigar shop that had started to plume. When I asked about the cigars the girl behind the counter said they were trying to get rid of them because they don’t sell and they were 75% off. I pick one up to try and asked for a better discount if I bought the rest of the box, I’ll go back in a couple days and see what the manager says.

  • Skot

    you know how there’s a short list of informational posts under your extensive list of cigar reviews? you ought to link this pic right there so it doesn’t get lost. I send some of my novice humidor customers to your site to learn how to season their new boxes, and this would be a perfect thing for them to run across. this and the post about mold.
    for real. please.

    • I have to be judicious, everything can’t be priority or it loses meaning having a short section. What I can possibly do is make a new category just for news/press releases and move all that out, leaving just the good stuff for Informational. Then just clicking the category should bring it all up.

      • Skot

        that seems like more work, but WOW that would be awesome. And, since I’m “supposed” to sell the other things like the gel and PG solution, it would be rather polite to have a trusted educator like yourself explain to the newbies that if they do it right, they don’t really need that crap. I usually tell my new customers to hold off on buying those additions unless they develop a problem. if they can see your informational data in a big lump like that, maybe they will never see that kind of problem to begin with. Thanks!

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