Yikes! MOLD!

Opened up an H. Upmann Monarch tube (Dominican) yesterday and saw spots on my seegar. I thought for an instant…maybe it’s bloom. No such luck. It’s patchy, irregular, and to my eyes it looks furry. Bloom ain’t furry.

Cnv0078.jpg

Luckily the mold wasn’t extensive. Even luckier, the Monarch was in a tightly sealed tube, so it didn’t have a chance to launch spores to other cigars in the humidor. Of course, if it hadn’t been in a tube I would have noticed it and not put it in my humidor in the first place.

I went searching for information about mold on cigars and found that there’s a fair amount of confusion as to what is mold and what is bloom. It is a frequently discussed topic on the cigar boards for a good reason.

The mold wiped off easily with a paper towel. Too easily, it seemed. And it left no marks, which I’ve read mold will do. Could it possibly be bloom?

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I kinda doubt it. Bloom is crystalline, distributed more uniformly, and doesn’t wipe off easily. Mold it is, until someone can convince me otherwise. In any case I incinerated the evidence, so the decision will have to be rendered without the corpus delecti.

Vital stats on the Monarch:

7 x 46

Wrapper: Indonesian TBN Shade grown

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican and Brazilian

The H. Upmann Dominican is supposedly the sixth best selling brand in the U.S. The largest market share (though not the largest hype) in the U.S. is held by mild smokes, and this one is no different. It starts out mild bodied and dry, develops some faint notes of wood, and finishes very slightly spicy. An understated but nice aroma. A grassy aftertaste. I thought I detected mushrooms at one point. Maybe that was the mold. Yum.

I’ve never been a great fan of Indonesian wrappers, and since I got this in a blind grab bag deal from JR (see the Salad Days post) I didn’t choose this cigar knowingly. Even so, I wasn’t too disappointed with this smoke. (I think that’s called “faint praise.”)

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19 thoughts on “Yikes! MOLD!

  1. Oh the horror! I’ve had one or two cigars that looked like this you can usually brush it off and you are fine. The stuff you have to watch out for is the green mold. I heard it can get you really sick and not to mention ruin your humidor.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jack. I’ve had beetles before (a much worse experience than this one) but this is my first time with mold. (A mold virgin no more…) I think if the mold had been green and didn’t come off cleanly I would have hesitated to smoke it. My experimentation days with peculiar smokeables are quite over. I’ll be adding a link to your site.

  3. I met Jose Blanco of La Aurora last week and he told me if it wipes off it is not mold, it is blume. He also said that mold will not wipe off and it will be a greenish color. My buddy actually brought a cigar that had fuzzy “stuff” on it and showed it to Jose and he said that it is definitley blume. I guess there is a fine line between mold and blume and people will have their own description of what is what. Iam sure Jose knows his tobacco and I am going to trust him since he knows way more than we all do. Thanks fellas and great site you have here. Smoke Up!!!!

  4. Hi, is there any special reason for mold on the cigars? I have had one with mold and it wasn’t for a very long time in the humidor (in fact less time than the rest of cigars). This shows that a cigar couldn’t stay much long in the humidor.

  5. Hi Roy –

    The main reason for mold is high humidity combined with high temperature. If your cigars are clean to start with and your humidity and temp are both below 75, you should be fine. Mold spreads, so if you’ve had mold in your humidor make sure to clean it out thoroughly and check all your cigars for contamination. Check out Club Stogie or one of the other boards for tons of good advice on this subject. Good luck!

  6. I just started using an old unplugged refrigerator as a large humidor for about 900 Cigars, with good success after a month of constant monitoring. I keep the cigars in Cedar boxes inside, and the humidity at about 70 and so far the smokes have been fine. No mold, good feel and moisture content.

    Give it a try, it beats the hell out of the new planned SCHIP tax.

  7. When a humidor has pre-existing mold (ie. any instance of mold prior as in introducing a moldy cigar). The spores stay in the humidor and patiently wait for more organic material to root into. You see mold digests organic material and needs it to thrive. The conditions in humidor’s are perfect for mold especially when the temperature is high. My suggestion is to make sure you remediate the mold properly in your humidor or just buy a new one if mold has been present in it. Try airing it out very well outside your home and cleaning the insides with an antimicrobial rinse like ‘microban’, and expose it to the sun.

  8. AMR — This is a good question, and I was unable to locate any good pictures of this online. I’m going to take a look through my humidor and see if I can find some examples for you. (Examples of discoloration, not mold… I hope!!)

    In the meantime, look closely at the green spots with a magnifying glass. If it’s three dimensional gunk, I wouldn’t advise smoking it. If it looks like the rest of the wrapper except for the fact that it’s green, it’s just a spot that resisted fermentation. This seems to happen most often with Cuban leaf, but I’ve seen it with Connecticut shade as well. Stay tuned!

  9. Hi Guys –

    Just got a couple of boxes of cigars for my first son’s bday. Just had a question regarding the time that it takes to develop mold. I understand the humidity issue how about the time? Does it take hours, days, weeks for mold to grow? Are the cigars lost if moldy?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  10. All it takes to grow some mold are a few spores and the right conditions. Some spores can germinate within 12 hours, others take days. And spores are everywhere, so all you can really do is control the conditions. Keep the temp in your humidor as close to 70 degrees F, and the humidity under 75%. (I’m a little more comfortable with 65 to 70%, but that’s because I live in a warm climate.)

    Sometimes you can wipe off a light dusting of white mold with a damp paper towel and the stick is salvageable. If it’s blue or green, or if it’s on the foot (where you can’t see how deep it is) you’re best off tossing the cigar. To be completely safe, you might just want to chuck the lot of them and concentrate on saving the unaffected cigars. Make sure if this happens to clean your humi thoroughly and let it dry in the sun for a time. Mold can be effectively eliminated with ultraviolet light.

    Hope this is just an academic question, D-Newb! Good luck!

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