Your cigars will sometimes show symptoms (good or bad) as they age gracefully in your humidor. Recently, Shar (Leafbeanvegas on IG) posted a picture I took of some habanos (H. Upmann Limited Edition 2009) on Instagram, which received quite a bit of attention. I felt compelled to take what was learned in the exchange between several cigar aficionados and post it here on the habanos section of the blog, so others may benefit or provide their feedback to the BOTL community (feel free to do so at the bottom of the page). As an immediate observation, the cigars had tiny white grains surrounding the cap, commonly referred to as plume / bloom. Plume is like a light white dust that is the crystallization of salt and water, a result of aging and the specific process the factory used when processing the tobacco. Typically, plume will feel like powdered or fine grained sugar and will visibly appear that way as well. It generally covers the wrapper in a consistent manner and can appear dusty as well (versus being splotchy). However, some cigar aficionado’s may mistakenly take this form of white residue as mold.
The general rule is that mold is green and plume / bloom is usually white. Mold can completely overcome a cigar and will have to be thrown away in order to save a batch (of other cigars) stored in your humidor. It’s best to have the cigar in hand in order to provide a meaningful opinion on plume versus mold but that being said, if it comes off easily and appears dust-like then it is most probably plume. There is also a chance that this white substance is a specific type of fungus known as “salt of pine” but that is the subject of another discussion.
Photos: Casa di Sartoria