What is the Sick Period?
The sick period is the period when an ammoniac smell is still detectable in a newly manufactured cigar.
The tobacco leaf is moistened before being rolled into a cigar. This invites accelerated fermentation which generates a lot of ammonia. An unpleasant ammoniac smell is noticed.
Unlike bitter or tannic tastes, the ammoniac smell is regarded as unpleasant by everyone.
The time period for the disappearance of the ammoniac smell is influenced by the rate of fermentation, packaging and storage conditions.
Good ventilation gets rid of the ammoniac smell in no time. Ammonia, a simple molecule, is highly volatile. If you cannot wait, and want to get rid of ammoniac smell in a quicker time, storing your cigars in the open if the atmosphere is not too dry, or opening your humidor or box of cigars for some time every day certainly helps.
A higher temperature also makes ammonia more volatile, so storing your cigars in a warm place might not be a bad idea.
Please note that these practices might ruin the aging process in the longer term.
For the majority of cigars handled in the ”usual” way, the ammoniac smell will be over 90% gone in a few months, 95%-99% by the end of the first year, and practically all gone by the end of the second year.
Milder cigars take even less time.
Cigars should not be consumed during sick period.