How to Tell If a Cigar Has Gone Bad or Expired

It is rare for cigars to go bad. The longer your cigar stays, the better it matures in taste and flavour. Cigar, just like whiskey and wine, matures and gives the best flavour and note. So, if your cigar goes bad, it must have been mishandled.

 If you want to prevent your cigar from going bad, ensure it is well stored in a recommended humidor. You can learn more about how to store your cigars in our previous articles.

There are four major ways you can tell if your cigar is expired or going bad:

Presence of mould on the cigar 

If you want to find out if your cigars are expired, you should check if any moulds on the cigar. 

Mould is a bluish colour that appears on a cigar wrapper if you’ve been storing it in a warm or humid place. You should not confuse bloom and mould. Bloom is a white powder that you find on the cigar wrapper. If you notice a bloom on your cigar, it means your cigars are ageing properly.

Any sign of mould on your cigar indicates that the cigar has gone bad, and you need to dispose of it off. Mould is likely to appear on the cigar if you have been storing it in a humid place. It could also result from too much humidity in the humidor.

To stop your cigar from catching mould, you should keep regulating the temperature and humidity level in your cigar as recommended by the manufacturer. Storing your cigar in the right humidity will prevent the growth of mould on the cigar.

How the cigar smells 

You can also tell if your cigar is going bad, depending on the smell. Cigars come in a variety of smells depending on the type of tobacco filler and the wrapper used. They come in indistinct smell, but they should not smell like something rotten.

Therefore, if you notice that your cigar is giving out a stale smell, it means that it is going bad or has expired. You should not even think of smoking a rotten cigar. You will not enjoy the smoke or the awful taste it gives.  

The cigar is excessively dry.

You can also tell if the cigar on your hand has expired or gone bad if it is excessively dry. When a cigar is dry, it lacks the essential oils from the wrapper and the tobacco filler. If the cigar is dry, it means the ideal flavour and taste is gone. If you’ve been smoking this one brand of cigar, it is likely to taste different when you smoke one that has gone bad.

Change of taste 

If a cigar has gone bad, it will taste awful in your mouth. It won’t produce the usual notes and flavours when you smoke it. It could taste like sand or dirt. If you notice this kind of taste when smoking, it means the cigar has expired, and you don’t have to smoke it anymore.

What you should do if your cigars go bad

In case you suspect that your cigars have gone bad, you should not panic. The first step to reviving your cigar is knowing why it has gone bad. This section of the article outlines some of the steps you can take to rescue your cigar if it is drying out, mouldy, or over-humidified.

Little humidity 

As you know, your cigar needs to be stored in a humid place if you want it to remain oily and intact. The only reason your cigar is more likely to go bad is when you leave it out of a humidified environment for several days.

It could also go bad if you store the cigar inside a Ziploc bag without proper humidification. You can still re-humidify your cigars if you bought them and don’t have the right place to store them.

Store your cigars in a Ziploc bag or a humidor with the right level of humidity. This way, you give your cigar life and smoke it with time. The process of re-humidification of your cigars can take several days or even weeks, especially if the cigar has been kept dry for long.

Dry cigars need gradual humidity to revive again. Therefore, you should be patient as your cigar revives and becomes live again for you’re to smoke. You should avoid exposing your cigar to too much moisture or humidity because this can only shock the cigars.

There is always a point of no return for cigars – that is when the cigar is dried out completely, and you cannot revive it. You are not likely to revive or re-humidify your cigar if the wrapper leaf is flaking off.

Too much humidity 

Your cigars are also likely to damage if you expose them to too much humidity or moisture. Exposing the cigar to too much humidity makes it look spongy and softer, but that doesn’t mean it is fresher. Most people believe that when a cigar is spongy, it is fresh. This is not always true.

It is likely to exhibit a soft firmness when you store your cigars between 65-72% humidity. When your cigar squeezes too easily with slight pressure, it could be that they are too moist or they are under-filled. When purchasing your cigars, you should pay attention to the design and feel on your hands.

You want to ensure that the cigar has been stored properly and has not dried out. If you buy your cigar from a high-end shop, it should come out in a humid condition. When there is too much humidity on the cigar, it is likely to produce mould and go bad easily.

How does a dried-out or bad cigar taste like?

If you’ve been smoking cigars for years, you can easily tell between a good and bad cigar. A dry cigar will taste bitter and burn hot. It takes the shortest time to smoke a dry cigar because it burns at an accelerated pace. Once a cigar dries out, the taste, flavour, and construction are affected.

If you want to smoke a dry cigar, you have to revive it again and make it burn evenly again. Most of the cigars you buy have undergone several years of humidification to keep them in perfect condition. When you leave your cigar unattended, the oils in the filler and wrapper dry out, and they become tasteless.

However, this does not mean that the cigar will taste bad when you revive it gain. You want to follow the tips we shared here when re-humidifying your cigars if you want to get the best experience smoking.

Final Thoughts

To get the best out of your cigars, you should do all you can to prevent them from drying out. If you get the best cigar box as a gift from a friend and you don’t smoke that often, the best you can do is to humidify your cigar with a humidor and keep monitoring the humidity level. When buying a cigar humidor, you want to ensure it comes with a well-calibrated hygrometer.

Temperature and humidity fluctuation is not good for your cigars. You want to ensure you store your cigar in the right place. Keep the cigar at 70% RH if you want to ensure it doesn’t dry out fast. If you live in a dry and winter climate, you should ensure you are more vigilant about buying the cigar. It is not advisable to smoke a dry-out cigar because it is more harmful.

Did You Enjoy This?

Then consider joining thousands of other people who receive my monthly newsletter. It’s a collection of knowledge and guide for Cigars and Bourbon. It’s free to subscribe. Be part of my my team.

Recent Posts