You’re a seasoned cigar smoker, that’s why you’re here. And there’s no question that achieving a beautifully-long ash has always been one of the most fascinating parts of the whole cigar smoking process. 

So, since you’re into big-ash, sit your ash down and explore Cigar World’s expert knowledge drop on cigar ash.

Why you shouldn't ash your cigar

Not only does achieving that alarmingly-long ash look cool, but it also filters out incoming air, keeping your cigar from burning excessively hot. So, not only is it aesthetically cool, it literally cools each and every puff. If that wasn’t enough, some think your cigar’s ash will simultaneously amplify the cigar’s flavor profile.

What the ash tells you about your cigar

The craftsmanship.

As in every cigar, the quality and workmanship are on full display. 

The same goes for the ash. 

If your cigar’s roller used leaves that were ample in length and high-quality then your cigar’s ash will more-often-than-not adorn a neat little column of tightly packed rows. Even if it falls off throughout your smoking process, it shouldn’t crumble into a million little pieces.

The reverse happens if your cigar wasn't rolled firmly enough, or if the cigar roller used leaves that were torn or too short. No matter how hard you try, that cigar’s ash shouldn’t hang together long enough to extend more than one inch. 

The origin and quality of tobacco.

Believe it or not, the color of your ash can reveal your cigar's origin, as well as the quality of the tobacco of that region.

All soil, no matter the geographic location contains chemical compounds and minerals. These are carried into the tobacco plant by moisture. Every region has its own chemical and mineral signature and this is reflected in the color of your cigar’s ash.

A nice white ash, while having no effect on flavor, is an indicator that the tobacco leaves were grown in lush, mineral-rich soil, like found in areas of Brazil, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.

On the other hand, cigars that produce a darker, gray ash that’s streaked with white veins showcases soil that contains various minerals in equal proportions. These are equally as healthy as cigars that produce white ash.

Now, black ash, when compared to white or grey ash, is not a positive sign. Cigars that produce black ash are grown in soil that lacks minerals. Not only will this affect the aesthetic of the ash, but these nutrient-deprived tobacco plants will produce a less appealing taste and aroma when compared to cigars that produce a white or grey ash.

How to get the longest cigar ash possible

First off, size does matter.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the bigger the ring gauge on the cigar, the stronger the ash.

Because larger cigars utilize more long filler than your typical Rothschild or Robusto size, it’ll acquire more structural support. 

In the end, it’s all about that slow hand.

In the same way a trained sushi chef has a steady hand, wielding a long ash must come from a patient cigar smoker. Every puff and every movement must be sloooow.

If you’re attempting to get the longest ash possible, try not to set down the cigar too much. Keep those puffs down to about once a minute. And don’t forget about proper rotation of your stogie throughout the smoking process. At the end of the day, it’s just ash on the end of your cigar, so smoke it the way you enjoy it the best.

A bonus ash tip from the Cigar World pros

If you’ve ever watched competitive cigar smokers in a long ash contest, you’ll notice most of the best tilt their cigars upwards. Gravity is here to help us. So, next time you’re trying to get your best long ash going, give your cigar a little tilt and see if that helps.

Macanudo's, Laurel Tilley, shows us when and how to ash a cigar

Laurel Tilley from Macanudo shows when and how to put down your cigar

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    (12 months ago)

    Great pointers. I have to school people all the time about not "putting out" the cigar.