To ash, or not to ash…

One of the first questions which comes to mind for new cigar smokers (especially former or current cigarette smokers) is that of ashing. Unlike cigarettes, handmade cigars are crafted from quality, long-filler tobacco, which holds a far longer and sturdier ash. Attempting to remove this ash can often have the unintended consequence of removing the cigar’s ember, or “cherry,” forcing the cigar to be re-lit.

This unpleasant break is best avoided with a bit of patience. As the ash develops, a small crack will inevitably form between the ash and the ember. This is the ideal time to ash your cigar. Rest the cigar against the side of the ashtray and gently tap the end of the cigar. If done correctly, gravity will do it’s work and allow the ash to naturally fall off. If the ash is holding firm, rest it on the side of the ashtray for a second, then repeat the process.

Alternatively, you can also gently press the edge of the cigar against the ashtray, turning or rotating the cigar at the same time. Take care not to press too hard. This will also allow the ash to break off evenly.

Be cautious to only ash when required however, as over-ashing may lead to an uneven burn. Oxygen feeds fire, and the thicker the ash, the more difficult it is for oxygen to reach the burning portion of the cigar. Too much ash however, may cause a cigar to go out more quickly!

Ideally, try to keep the end of your cigar covered with a thin band of ash. It will protect the cherry, regulate the burn, and ensure you enjoy the best smoking experience.

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