Skip links

How to find out if a cigar has gone bad

Cigars improve with age, much like fine wine. The idea of a “fresh” cigar is therefore deceptive because freshly made cigars have a tendency to burn irregularly and offer bitter flavors. In contrast, properly aged stogies exude more flavors and offer a more enjoyable and sophisticated smoking experience. 

If you think your cigar has gone bad, or if it looks dry, is unraveling, or is peeled and flaky, it might be because you didn’t give it the essential care it requires. This could entail being kept outside a humidor and placed in a hot or dry climate. The expansion and contraction of the tobacco inside a humidor, where the weather is constantly changing, can also result in poor quality Cuban cigars if they are being preserved there. The outside wrapper may become damaged, appearing cracked or peeled.

This is especially true for cigars with a bigger ring gauge, like El Septimo Cigars. These cigars typically contain more tobacco, the majority of which is hardly exposed to the environment directly. This makes them the best cigars for aging because you can store them in the humidor for almost as long as you like and they won’t go bad during that time.

Here are some ways you can find out if your cigars are fit for consumption or if they have gone bad.

Pinch Testing

The simplest test to determine whether a cigar is properly humidified is the pinch test. Squeeze your cigar gently from the top to the bottom. The cigar shouldn’t be too stiff or crunchy when you press it between your finger and thumb, but there should be a small amount of giving. Don’t squeeze too firmly because the leaf of the wrapper may shatter. A dried-out cigar needs to be re-humidified before smoking. On the other hand, a cigar may be over-humidified if it is excessively supple and malleable. An overly humidified cigar can be dry-boxed or left outside of the container for a few days to let the moisture go down.

The taste of the cigar

The taste of a cigar is the best indicator of its freshness. Cigars that are too dry will burn hot and quickly and taste unpleasant. A dry cigar has a harsh, disagreeable flavor and smell. Fresh, ready-to-smoke cigars will give a smooth, lively flavor that frequently goes through nuanced variations as you consume them. As your palate for cigars grows, you’ll learn to identify unique flavor profiles from various blends and brands so that you’ll be prepared before you smoke one. A cigar’s freshness, aging, or construction could all be amiss if it tastes significantly different from the last time you smoked it. The finest cigars are consistently reliable.

The Scent Test

Every cigar on the market has a distinct aroma. In a blind scent test, the majority of cigar enthusiasts can identify their favorite cigars in seconds. Similar to this, any cigar smoker can detect a faulty cigar by its rotting or even the distinctive mold fragrance. This musty smell is a sign that you shouldn’t try your luck and ignite the cigar because the result will be just as terrible.

Lighting the cigar

Another method of determining a cigar’s condition is to simply ignite it. When lighted, dried cigars that weren’t kept at the proper humidity level may crackle. Furthermore, these will burn much faster, drier, and hotter than newer and healthier Cuban cigars in India.

Mold vs. Plume

Tiny white crystals may form on the wrapper of a cigar that has been kept for a while in a humid environment. Those same crystals are identified as “plumes,” and thus, the process of crystallization is termed “bloom.” The presence of a plume indicates that the cigars have aged appropriately. Simply wipe away the few white plume specks to experience the well-aged cigar’s renowned rich, smooth flavor and aroma.

Plume is a benign chemical and a welcome indication of appropriate cigar upkeep, while mold is just the opposite. When cigars are humidified with water from the tap rather than distilled water, mold might develop. Mold commonly takes the form of a blue or green substance. It has a musty odor and won’t let you brush your cigars off of it. It can also spread readily within your humidor. 

If you use a conventional humidifier in your humidor, make sure to only rehydrate it with distilled water to prevent mold growth. Any cigars that show signs of mold should be thrown out right away because they will spread the mold onto the other stogies you are storing. Additionally, the insides of your humidor may develop mold, which is exceedingly difficult to remove. Mold-affected humidors should frequently be thrown away.

Also read: A History of Cigars

How to prevent your cigars from going bad?

It can be very frustrating to discover a stale or moldy cigar, so it is advised that you constantly store your cigars at the right humidity level. Avoid dampness or excessive wetness. Mold will grow and damage the cigars if there is moisture. Additionally, keeping your cigars in very dry conditions will make them stale. Put your cigars in a cooler or cigar humidor to keep them safe. You can keep your cigars in a zip-lock bag with a damp towel if this isn’t an option. Humidity is crucial if you desire to enjoy freshly rolled cigars.


In conclusion, tasting a cigar, checking its dryness, and examining its flavor and fragrance are some of the best ways to determine if it has gone bad. Cigars that are dry and hard are often terrible; they can be re-humidified, but the flavor won’t be as wonderful as it once was. In order to prevent the mold from spreading to other cigars, you should remove moldy cigars from your humidor without further inspection. Look for cigars that are strong to the touch but have a little bounce and flex to them. Cigars can endure for days or decades, depending on how they are stored. Often, cigars can outlast you if they are kept at the proper temperature and humidity. On the other hand, they can hardly last a week if they aren’t stored correctly or at all in a humidor.

Find some high-quality humidors and other cigar accessories at Cingari to store your cigars safely and ensure they stay in perfect condition for a long time.

Join the Discussion

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop