Ginseng

The Greatest Plume-Bloom-Mold Thread in the Entire Universe!

Plume/Bloom: real or imaginary?  

217 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you believe plume/bloom is a real thing?

    • Yes - I've seen it, made it happen, or have a reasonable explanation
    • No - It's folklore and exists only in the mind of those with moldy cigars


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Jeanff   

On a more constructive note. Some people do not utilize distilled water in their humidification devices (passive or active) as a result deposits of calcium from non distilled water will show up as a white dust on the cigars and can easily be mistaken as plume..

Could happen. However I doubt minerals would travel with humidity leaving any passive humidifier (beads or other). If an active device was misting water droplets into the air, as in some walk-in commercial humidors, then yes this could happen...

(Unless I got my physics wrong)

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Maybe it's simply a byproduct of the decomposition of tobacco, being fermented it would happen very very slowly or even maybe just on improperly fermented leaf, would be ironic if plume actually only happens on poorly fermented leaf :)

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Ginseng   

On a more constructive note. Some people do not utilize distilled water in their humidification devices (passive or active) as a result deposits of calcium from non distilled water will show up as a white dust on the cigars and can easily be mistaken as plume..

Could happen. However I doubt minerals would travel with humidity leaving any passive humidifier (beads or other). If an active device was misting water droplets into the air, as in some walk-in commercial humidors, then yes this could happen...

(Unless I got my physics wrong)

Jeanff, your instinct is right on.

It could not happen with a passive, evaporative humidification element. Let's be clear about that.

Desalination by evaporation is the analogous process here. Leave salt water in a dish out in the open and over time, the water will evaporate leaving the salt behind. This is how sea salt (fleur de sel) is harvested and how the Great Salt Lake was formed.

It is well established, however, that misting humidifiers can produce mineral dust consisting of calcium carbonates and sulphates exactly in the way you stated.

Wilkey

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One of the first boxes of cigars I ever owned a 10 box of RYJ no 3 tubos I picked up in Cuba had it. I opened one and was horrified. All the rest had the same.I called my bro-in-law my only cigar expert type source to see how to get rid of mold. He asked if it was crystaly or furry. I said it was more crystal. Told me to relax and smoke it, it was just plume. I did it was great. Had the box for another 6 to 8 months after no fuzzy mold look occurred just a few more crystals and all burned fine, no horrible taste. Took it that I got lucky and had plume covered box. Had no idea I was smoking pixies. Wow! All I can say is wow!

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Remembered in the deep dark annals of the wine tomb I have some old cigars. Sent one to ChanceSchmerr one time improperly wrapped and it pretty much exploded into nuclear waste. Have not been looking at them much since then.

But here is one today, 1980's-90's

post-8371-0-13900400-1407715781_thumb.jp

What I figure is, before the education of this thread which is fantastic, unless it is not obviously mold, plume is in the eye of the beholder. I would not however, use plume to try to add value to a cigar.

CB

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I've only seen plume on NC's.

Maybe I store my CC's wrong or mine aren't old enough to have plume (oldest CC's in my box are 2006, maybe a few 2004).

IMHO plume has a shiny, crystalline appearance.

Almost like ice or frost; light refects off it and under magnification is has no height or structure.

It will be more uniform and not spotty.

Mold/mildew/fluff, whatever you wish to call it, is white to grey.

It will grow in spots and under magnification it will have structures that look like threads, stalks or feathers.

I think much of what is called "plume" is actually very small colonies of mildew or mold.

They are usually small, harmless and generally don't affect the taste.

It is unrealistic to think we can store non-sterilized organic material in 65%-70% humidity for years an not expect something to grow on it/consume it.

The tobacco in our cigars is in a constant state of controlled decay that we like to call 'aging.'

If it happens faster, it's called "composting." ;)

One last note, when I say "magnifcation" I don't mean taking a pic with your phone and then trying to zoom in with Photoshop.

I mean 10X magnification with at minimum a high quality jewelers loop/magnifying glass and preferably a dark field stereoscope.

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Now that's interesting. What are (were) the storage conditions of these cigars?

`

Both of the sticks were purchased with the plume already formed on it. They were also from the same era ~'06-07 but stored by 2 different BOTL's.

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Ryan   

Jeanff, your instinct is right on.

It could not happen with a passive, evaporative humidification element. Let's be clear about that.

Desalination by evaporation is the analogous process here. Leave salt water in a dish out in the open and over time, the water will evaporate leaving the salt behind. This is how sea salt (fleur de sel) is harvested and how the Great Salt Lake was formed.

It is well established, however, that misting humidifiers can produce mineral dust consisting of calcium carbonates and sulphates exactly in the way you stated.

Wilkey

Could that explain formation of deposits on cigars within a sealed box though?

And why would deposits happen only on cigars and not for example on the paper surrounding them or the inside of the box?

I'm not arguing here, only trying to eliminate possibilities.

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Jeanff   

I understand wrapper leaves are moistened by misting with water before they are applied to cigars... Could it explain some of the carbonate dusting showing on sealed examples?

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Ryan   

I understand wrapper leaves are moistened by misting with water before they are applied to cigars... Could it explain some of the carbonate dusting showing on sealed examples?

All tobacco, including wrapper tobacco (maybe moreso for wrapper) is treated in a moistening room before it is rolled into cigars. This is necessary to make it pliable enough for spreading out flat and rolling. I've seen some of these rooms, there's not a chance they use distilled water. It's generally a tap, a slop sink and a guy with two strong arms shaking out bundles of tobacco. Some factories have automatic tobacco moistening rooms/machines made by Siemens but these are generally out of service.

So it is possible/probable that some deposits are left behind by that water.

If it was enough to explain plume though, it should show up right away on very young cigars, i.e. as soon as they dry out enough for smoking.

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earthson   

I understand wrapper leaves are moistened by misting with water before they are applied to cigars... Could it explain some of the carbonate dusting showing on sealed examples?

The mention of carbonates makes me start considering the soil environment as well as that of the chemical composition of the plant, itself. The minerals and ions in the soil undoubtedly reach into the plant and become part of its matrix. Perhaps certain molecules are slowly released from the plant matrix during an extended curing process.

Would be neat to scrape up a sample of this plume/mold in enough quantity to run through a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer.

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I really want to post the Unicorn pic! rotfl.gifrotfl.giflol3.gif

It's been a couple of years, but I'm pretty sure I will get reprimanded.....again.

lookaround.gif

LOL. Behave! I haven't missed that ugly thing!!! LOL.

I've had cigars with white fluffy mold - wiped and smoked. Shades of webby mold - wiped and smoked. The light, chalky substance shown in a number of pics here - doesn't really wipe off, don't really know what it is - smoked no problem. What I've usually considered plume, or bloom, or dehydrated pixie sex juice, or cigar hemorrhoids - what to call it is for me, irrelevant - "something other than, or possibly other than mold" - has been very small, almost clear crystals. Very similar in appearance to wine tartrates, but miniscule in comparison. Perhaps pixies like to bang in wine as well. Some call syrah shiraz, or mourvedre mataro - I know they don't mean cabernet.

In another discussion I asked that if we believe that plume is a cigar's oils crystallizing on a cigars surface, would we feel it desirable or less than so. My own thought is that though I do not feel it necessarily bad, I also don't feel it a sign of a superior cigar.

Some believe in a supreme being, some in cigar plume.........

Very well said and agreed.

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For my own input on the matter, and the main cigars being labelled within this thread (namely, Oliverdst's H. Upmann travel humidor sticks)....

Oliver, sorry man, but not plume/blume. As others have stated, those travel humidors were notorious for the mild white mold (also, not saying that this means yours were bad cigars, or anything to that nature). Those H. Upmann travel humidor cigars were made in 2007/2008, correct?? By your own admission, these were smoked 3 years ago or so. So, in that picture, those cigars are roughly 5 years old. IMO, and from a couple of discussions about this with many people in Cuba about it, that is no where near long enough for true plume/blume to occur.

In my understanding of it, it's crystalization of sugars and/or salts within the tobacco's oils - not the oil itself, but the elements within the "tobacco juice", the sap (which does include elemental oils as well), which crystalizes on the surface. It's been discussed many times on the web, but for the life of me, I can't find the webpage which had a great write-up on the matter, including pictures and such. One big notable difference is that, again, if I'm correct here in my remembering, that mold will have a slight to bright glow / luminescence under a UV/black light, whereas true bloom/blume will not.

I know also there were many discussions about trying to falsely induce bloom, as some distributors were known to try in the past. It was through a series of exposing the cigars to high temp / high humidity, and then rapidly chilling them in low humidity, and back and forth like that over a span of time, to get plume to appear on the surface. Can't remember a lot of the particulars regarding that, as it's been a while since we discussed it, but I believe it was still something that, artifically produced, still took a number of months (perhaps a year or more) to do.

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Happy New Year all from the forest!

We have this bear on our front porch and he is covered with plume no matter what you guys say.

post-8371-0-89735600-1420206488_thumb.jp

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CUBANO   

Happy New Year all from the forest!

We have this bear on our front porch and he is covered with plume no matter what you guys say.

snow bear.jpg

If that is plume that means that he is a smoker, and he wants your Cuban cigars. LOL
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Jeanff   

Happy New Year all from the forest!

We have this bear on our front porch and he is covered with plume no matter what you guys say.

snow bear.jpg

I'm truly sorry but what you have on your front porch seems to be a very convincing looking but fake bear imho. The band is definitely missing and no box code was even applied. Did you get that bear on the beach in Varadero?

Can't be a Canadian bear either as it is clearly not of the flying kind... ;)

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Plume: does not exist. Importantly: if it did exist, it would be meaningless to the quality of the cigar.

Therefore, if you see something on your cigars, IT'S MOLD. Period.

"Plume" and "bloom" are terms used by the purveyors of cigars to sell mold to morons. Don't be a moron.

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For reference, there is not a single photo of plume in this thread. Not one. There are precious few of just plain old dusty cigars. The rest?

MOLD

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Thanks for the info Mike.......

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just found this as I opened this box of cohiba extras. wiped it off gently with alcohol. I'm afraid to taste. 2012. blue green. send it to distributor and he called it plume. I don't think so.

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JohnS   

just found this as I opened this box of cohiba extras. wiped it off gently with alcohol. I'm afraid to taste. 2012. blue green. send it to distributor and he called it plume. I don't think so.

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I had a dealer at a cigar shop last summer sell me a stick he said had plume on it. I thought it looked like mold because it was fuzzy. I smoked it and it actually tasted moldy. I haven’t gone back since and I’ve yet to encounter plume. I’ve been smoking cigars for 10 years and have never seen it. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist but it mustn’t be common. 

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