Truth be told, this entire FAQ could be summed up with one sentence: whenever you feel like it! But the day is young and you spent one of your precious clicks to read this FAQ, so let’s talk about some of the reasons that it’s a good idea to let the ash build while you smoke your cigar.
Unlike cigarette smokers, cigar enthusiasts usually sport a long ash – provided that it doesn’t fall in our lap. And make no mistake, it can happen! Usually while at an upscale cigar lounge. Most often at an establishment with expensive-looking carpet.
There’s more to it, though, than just admiring the aesthetics or appreciating the construction of a hand crafted cigar. Allowing your ash to build has the following benefits:
Keeps the cherry cooler
Thereby enhances the flavor of the cigar
And reduces re-lights and uneven burn lines
Rather than making the cigar burn hotter, ash actually has a shielding effect from the wind. Consider it a layer of insulation, keeping the cherry cooler and making your experience all the better for it. As we know, there’s a correlation between the heat of a cigar and less appetizing flavors.
How much ash is enough?
Generally speaking, an inch or so is all that’s needed to provide the benefits listed above. Past that, the decision is yours on where you’d like to draw the line.
Don’t worry if you give your cigar a gentle tap and the ash doesn’t remove itself from the equation. You can either keep going (no harm, no foul) or use the ash tray to roll the ash at an angle with downward pressure to keep the party rolling. Take care not to grind your cigar in the tray, as this will disrupt the cone forming at the foot where the magic happens.
We want the center of our cigars to burn slower than the outside. If the reverse happens, our cigar goes out and we have to apply more flame to the foot. The iconic example of what we’re looking for is the cone mentioned previously with the apex coming to a point right in the center. This is why we don’t grind our cigars or stamp them in the tray. We want to keep the mechanics working in our favor.
Tell us! When do you ash YOUR cigar?