How to Tell if a Cigar is Bad

To determine if a cigar is bad, we usually check to see if the cigar is moldy, if it has become dry, if it has an unpleasant odor and tastes very bitter.

Hi, I’m Wade. As a cigar lover for 20 years, I want to explore with you how to tell if a cigar is bad, and I want to give you some ways.

So let’s get started.

How to tell if a cigar is bad

We can tell if a cigar is bad by pinching the cigar, smelling the cigar, the flavor of the cigar, and if the cigar is moldy.

Look cigar

Look for discoloration on the wrapper of the cigar. If the wrapper is discolored, the cigar may be bad.

bad cigar1

Squeeze a cigar

If we pinch a cigar and realize that it has become brittle and crumbles when we pinch it, it means that the cigar is too dry, which is also a form of a bad cigar.

Smell a cigar

If we smell the cigar and find that it has a pungent odor, it means that the cigar is bad, and a fresh cigar should have a light tobacco flavor.

Plume Versus Mold

Cigar plume and mold can cause concern among aficionados. Plume is harmless, appearing as small white spots on the wrapper that can be easily brushed off, indicating proper aging and storage. In contrast, mold is blue-green, sticky, and cannot be brushed off, necessitating discarding moldy cigars.

plume versus mold

Mold is detrimental and can ruin your humidor and cigars if not addressed. If mold is suspected, isolate the cigars in a Ziploc bag or discard them to prevent spreading. Moldy cigars should never be smoked.

Cigar Flavor

If the cigar tastes bitter, harsh, or sour, it is likely spoiled.

Lighting a cigar

A bad cigar is different from a normal cigar that is lit and then tastes different, the flavor will become pungent.


What are the reasons why cigars go bad

Humidity Levels

Low humidity causes cigars to dry out, making them brittle and causing a hot, bitter taste when smoked.

High humidity can lead to mold growth and make cigars soggy and hard to smoke.

case elegance glass renzo humidor review6

Temperature Extremes

High temperatures accelerate the breakdown of organic compounds in cigars, leading to loss of flavor.

Low temperatures can interrupt the natural aging process of cigars.

Excessive Air Exposure

Prolonged exposure to air can cause cigars to dry out, losing their essential oils and flavors.

Light Exposure

Direct sunlight can degrade the cigar wrapper, causing it to fade and become brittle.

Improper Storage

Cigars stored outside a humidor or in environments with fluctuating temperature and humidity will deteriorate quickly


Tobacco beetles and other pests can infest cigars, causing significant damage.

To prevent cigars from going bad, it is essential to store them in a high-quality humidor that maintains ideal humidity (65-72%) and temperature (around 70°F or 21°C), rotate cigars regularly, and avoid exposure to direct light and strong odors.

To store cigars we need a humidor. We recommend you to read the best humidor.

What to do if your cigars go bad

If your cigars go bad, identify the issue (dry, moldy). If it’s the cigar that’s getting dry, restore them gradually using proper humidification methods, and prevent future issues by maintaining 70% RH in a humidor.

If the cigar is moldy, simply throw it away.

bad cigar2

How to prevent cigars from spoiling

To prevent cigars from spoiling, store them in a humidor maintaining 65-70% relative humidity and 68-70°F. Use a hygrometer to monitor levels, rotate cigars regularly, and avoid over-humidification to prevent mold. Proper storage and consistent climate control are essential for preserving cigar quality and flavor.


Hi, that’s the end of the article, let’s summarize. If the cigar is not properly stored, it will become dry or moldy, and we should store the cigar in a humidor. The way we judge whether a cigar is bad is to judge by looking, smelling, and pinching, and I believe that you can master it after several judgments.


Cigars do not expire like food, but they can go bad if not stored properly. Proper storage at 65-70% humidity and 65-70°F in a humidor can keep cigars fresh for years.

If the cigars are exposed directly to the air, the shelf life of the cigars may be only a few days; if the cigar is placed in a humidor, the shelf life of the cigar is extended to 30 days; if the cigar is kept in a humidor, the shelf life of the cigar is extended to several years.

some cigars improving for up to 10 years or more in humidor.

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