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FOH Mould Study

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I have wiped off the white substance and smoked my sample and I'm happy to say that I'm still alive and kicking! Joking aside though, after wiping it, I did not get any moldiness. What I got was, apart from the other flavours, mustiness /mushrooms, just like with many old cigars that I have smoked and didn't have any plume/mold. It neither hindered nor advanced the smoking experience... 

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Just had a quick look through one of my humidors and I'm no scientist but here is my theory. A vast amount learnt from an old friend years ago.

Mould in any form has to be natural evolution as cigar leaf is rolled damp after drying somewhat, touched by many people etc and are also organic plant matter. Just like a piece of cabbage, for lack of a better term.

Throw a semi dried and after air hanging/drying (to remove moisture ala and eg tobacco barns) cabbage leaf rolled into a cigar shape into a stand alone humi for 10 days at say even 50rh max 60f temp and see what happens.

Now that is a rash example of course. Yet why mould on cigars?

Tobacco is simply a plant leaf after all. So I guess what I am saying is cigars will be naturally open to picking up foreign antibodies through being stored in thriving thermal environments (humidors) for bacteria and mostly  touched by bare hand.

I have a test box from over 12 years ago. The cigars were never touched by my hands (apart from one in another humi) and covered under cedar layers are blemish free. I never rotate in the humi.

My sharing humi, as mentioned above has what would have been called plume over most of the cigars other than the ones at the very bottom which are devoid of anything.

A guy I used to know was and is a highly successful archive document expert and said when offering him an aged cigar 'you use bare hands on your cigars? Your body is placing bacteria, acids and oils all over that specimen!'. It will be mould ridden or blemish in under five years if not sooner!'

I ran with his theory of sterility after he questioned why most of my cigars in the top layers of this humi had mould at the cap and then foot area in majority of ssmples.

Never thought of it that way.

Blew my mind.





 

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I don´t believe that theory. I am ENT surgeon and I can say that cigars are not sterile. It does not matter how you treat them they have mold and bacteria all over them. The cigar boxes are not sterile. It does not matter that you use sterile gloves when you touch them because it has been touch by many people previously and leafs has mold naturally.

Of course I was my hands before touching cigars but thats just common sense.

 

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14 hours ago, Smooth said:

Just had a quick look through one of my humidors and I'm no scientist but here is my theory. A vast amount learnt from an old friend years ago.

Mould in any form has to be natural evolution as cigar leaf is rolled damp after drying somewhat, touched by many people etc and are also organic plant matter. Just like a piece of cabbage, for lack of a better term.

Throw a semi dried and after air hanging/drying (to remove moisture ala and eg tobacco barns) cabbage leaf rolled into a cigar shape into a stand alone humi for 10 days at say even 50rh max 60f temp and see what happens.

Now that is a rash example of course. Yet why mould on cigars?

Tobacco is simply a plant leaf after all. So I guess what I am saying is cigars will be naturally open to picking up foreign antibodies through being stored in thriving thermal environments (humidors) for bacteria and mostly  touched by bare hand.

I have a test box from over 12 years ago. The cigars were never touched by my hands (apart from one in another humi) and covered under cedar layers are blemish free. I never rotate in the humi.

My sharing humi, as mentioned above has what would have been called plume over most of the cigars other than the ones at the very bottom which are devoid of anything.

A guy I used to know was and is a highly successful archive document expert and said when offering him an aged cigar 'you use bare hands on your cigars? Your body is placing bacteria, acids and oils all over that specimen!'. It will be mould ridden or blemish in under five years if not sooner!'

I ran with his theory of sterility after he questioned why most of my cigars in the top layers of this humi had mould at the cap and then foot area in majority of ssmples.

Never thought of it that way.

Blew my mind.





 

Your top tier (location) cigars have mold because water rises, it is lighter than the component air. Secondly, your humidor does not work very well.

Cigar protection is not a mater of washing one hands in alcohol before touching them... Read the surgeons notes above! It is about climate. It is all about climate and only about climate!!!

Cheers! -Piggy

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When I was at the Partagas factory a few weeks ago I saw the rollers sneezing on the sticks.  In total, we saw three sneezes by two different rollers.  So no, no bacteria on those bad boys at all.

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On 1/21/2017 at 6:50 AM, PigFish said:

I think this sums up my position. People that I know and trust have made positive observation about many of the processes involved in commercial production that ends in the finished cigar. Again, TIC (this is Cuba) and not a whole lot is going to surprise me, but why add cost and labor if it is not necessary? That is simple economics.

Is the water rain water, distilled water, or city water??? I don't know, as long as it is not sewer water, I suppose I don't really care.

With all the handling, touching, sweating, buzzing flies and nose hairs being exhaled onto the the tobacco, with all the bugs, rodent droppings and the rest, cigar smoking has not killed me yet. Face it folks, cigar smoking is not exactly sterile, or even clean! You light it and allow the smoke to enter your system through the gums, nasal cavities and even the lungs. Hell, if fruit cocktail was sprayed on the tobacco, it is probably healthier than the tobacco itself... and that is where I leave it, knowing that no one that I know has ever said fruit cocktail is mixed in with cigar processing! -Piggy

While this came from another topic, I believe it might fit in well here!

-the Pig

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Fascinating thread and great investigation! It was a pleasure to read all of the back and forth. Looking forward to the plume expose!

Wilkey

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Very interesting stuff! I always assumed plume exists but now not so sure. It'll be very interesting if it can be found.

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Hey Guys, 

I work in the mould industry here in Aussie so this is interesting to read. 

As has been previously mentioned, mould spores are everywhere and on mostly everything. There most definitely will be spores in your humidors and on your cigars guaranteed. It comes down to the moisture whether or not those spores germinate. Out of the millions of spores which may be produced by a colony, upwards of 70% are non-viable (dead/unable to germinate). They require moisture to grow and this can come from direct and indirect sources. 

This means, 

Keep all liquids away from cigars, obviously. 

Don't allow humidors (and/or the houses that humidors sit in)  to ever condensate and typically humidity levels below 60% won't promote mould growth. 

Introduce fresh air on a regular basis or filter the air so dust, dirt and pollutants do not settle and become food for mould.

I'll be back on this evening to advise what I would do and my recommendations if I was to find mould on my cigars. 

 

 

 

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If i were to find mould inside my humidor I would firstly identify where the moisture issue started.

In most cases with desktop humidors, unless you're liquid or gel has made direct contact with a cigar my first thoughts would be humidity levels. As most humidors have sensors for the internal compartment of our boxes, and this was reading normal range, but we also couldn't see direct contact with cigars then I would start looking at the environment in which your humidor lives. I see it nearly every day, people leaving houses and apartments locked up with no windows or doors open, blinds drawn and the place turns into an oven and condensation develops inside. Your humidor boxes will gradually increase in temperatures and humidity inside the box will rise also. Your cigars will gladly soak the excess moisture up and this is how mould develops

Anywho, my suggestions for finding mouldy cigars are. Firstly, locate and remove any mouldy cigars from any that are unaffected. (Depending on the size of your humidor it may also pay to put aside your clean cigars and give you humidor a wipe down and air it outside for a hour or two). Inspect each mouldy cigar and make a judgement on the severity of each. If it were me and I saw just a light covering I would use something like a dry microfibre cloth and gently wipe away the surface mould (do this outside).  If you have a spare humidor lying around then I would dry box them for a day or two. Once they have been dry boxed I would then begin to add extra humidity and inspect twice daily to ensure no growth is reappearing. If cigars were seen to show growth again then I would either smoke it that day or some may decide to discard at this stage.  

Regarding the health risks of smoking a mouldy cigar, well every person reacts differently to the effects of mould on the body. There is a million odd species of mould and only a handful of these produce spores which are toxic to humans. Generally these species enjoy growing in environments with constant dampness. Obviously it comes down to common sense and making a fair judgement on the condition of the cigar at the end of the day. 

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What I would consider "plume" is nearly impossible to see without looking up close or under a magnifying glass. (You can see the oils slightly change to look a little more translucent) What everyone calls plume is mold...but I can see a slight translucent sheen on some cigars depending on how oily they are. By no means does it ever turn white though... I have only had one cigar ever get mold on it and was provided by a "friend" LOL.


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Ultimately what this research tells me is that storing cigars at 67% humidity, or higher - is simply not worth the effort. Why not store them around 60% where chance of any form of mould is much lower, or even lower if you have high temperatures?

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1 hour ago, torm3nt said:

Ultimately what this research tells me is that storing cigars at 67% humidity, or higher - is simply not worth the effort. Why not store them around 60% where chance of any form of mould is much lower, or even lower if you have high temperatures?

What I do....

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Greg has sent a new batch for testing. Should have the results back end of Sep. Some look promising. 

Always looking for more. The bounty stands :thumbsup:

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Out of curiosity, what happens after the samples are tested? Are the samples returned or smoked (in the name of science of course!)

 

I am now tending to think this cabinet has a bit of mold. I disturbed the bundle today and the fourth from the left one was originally on the side of the bundle, but before then all were uniform on color on the top.

 

What would you guys do, clean them off and re-store? Perhaps a slow dry-boxing? Submit a sample to the Prez?

 

 

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Very interesting.... how does temperature get factored in? Is higher temp better for mold to grow? Higher temp lowers the percentage moisture content of tobacco (proud of me, mr. Pig? :) ).

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21 hours ago, luvdunhill said:

What would you guys do, clean them off and re-store? Perhaps a slow dry-boxing? Submit a sample to the Prez?

1. Take one out, clip the cap, light up - enjoy. :cigar:

2. Take cedar and lid, close box - back to storage.  :thumbsup: 

Seriously, those are unbanded Punch Churchills - what are you waiting for?! You will know best at which humidity those have been stored and whether that'd need adjustment (though it looks like traces of older, not active mould to me, there might have been a critical episode during the history of that box. But impossible to diagnose from the pic).

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So if plume is just mould, as it now appears to be - does this mean we should actually lower our humidity in our humidors as the entire set of advice regarding temperature and humidity is all about, essentially - manufacturing plume, right?

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On 7/25/2017 at 2:50 AM, Homer said:

Is it even possible that oils in tobacco leafs can crystalize in RH 65% and 16-20 Celsius?

Any chemists around?

I'm no chemist, but that happened quite a few years ago to a box of Davidoff 80 Aniversario of mine, as mentioned in previous threads.  Sugar-like crystals occurred on the cigars and left oily stains on the cedar sheaf covering them.  Can someone explain how mould was responsible for the phenomenon?

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9 hours ago, Leopolis Semper Fidelis said:

I'm no chemist, but that happened quite a few years ago to a box of Davidoff 80 Aniversario of mine, as mentioned in previous threads.  Sugar-like crystals occurred on the cigars and left oily stains on the cedar sheaf covering them.  Can someone explain how mould was responsible for the phenomenon?

Would have to sent one in for analysis....  no way to tell without a mycologist's trained eye/instrumentation. 

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1 hour ago, BuzzArd said:

Would have to sent one in for analysis....  no way to tell without a mycologist's trained eye/instrumentation. 

That's an expensive test subject.

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Would have to sent one in for analysis....  no way to tell without a mycologist's trained eye/instrumentation. 

Or at least pics ;)



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On 8.9.2017 at 11:14 AM, Leopolis Semper Fidelis said:

 Sugar-like crystals occurred on the cigars and left oily stains on the cedar sheaf covering them.

Rather sounds like some cedro-resin from the tube having spoiled the cigars. Cedro is notorious for doing that.

Pics!

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