There is a somewhat common occurrence in the world of premium cigars, and it often sends an unknowing owner into a panic. The way it pans out is that they usually open their humidor, and in the midst of reaching for a smoke they notice that a batch of cigars appear to have accumulated a noticeable “dust” on their surface. Is it mold? Did the cigars begin to rot in the humidity? No, actually this dust is known as cigar bloom and it is a very good sign that conditions in the box are ideal.
Cigar bloom is actually the visible appearance of the oils in the cigar, which usually happens only after the oils have been kept at a very sustained level for a lengthy period of time. This is something often found on aged or vintage stogies and is a highly desirable result. In fact, many enthusiasts prefer to smoke cigars with plume or bloom on their surface.
Had it actually been mold, the looks of the surface would have been noticeably different and rather than a generally dusty appearance, the surface of the cigar would have splotches of blue or grey discoloration. Though there are some ways to cure this, it is best to prevent it altogether by keeping a very constant eye on the level of humidity inside the box. It is also important to remember that a cigar that develops mold has probably also left spores behind in the box as well, and all possible steps to kill this mold without harming the box should be taken.
Why do cigars develop this bloom? Cigars are made from organic materials, mainly tobacco, and this is a substance that contains volatile oils. When the oils receive a regular level of humidity and air they can evenly disperse throughout the cigar, and when they reach the surface of the outer wrapping they crystallize and provide that overall dusty appearance.
Other than the viewable dust or powder, does bloom have any other effects on a cigar? Most experts agree that the bloom itself has no detectable taste, nor does it change the bouquet of the unlit cigar. What most do agree upon is that it provides visible evidence that the cigar has been aged properly and under the finest conditions possible. Remembering that most people age cigars in order mellow or enhance the flavors of the tobacco means that bloom can be used as a clear sign that a cigar is ripe for the sampling.Recognizing Cigar Bloom by David Sabot