Cigars 101

Who Cares About Your Cigar Ash?

What the Color of Your Cigar Ash Means, and Why You Don’t Need to Worry Too Much About It.

Back in my days in customer service for a cigar retailer, I would receive an occasional customer call insisting their cigars were bad. In fact, they were always the worst cigars the customer ever tasted. No, even worse; they were so bad, they would make people violently ill to the point where hospitalization would be the only means of full recovery, and even still, that person would have to undergo decades of psychiatric therapy to free his mind of all the horrors the cigars had on his life. I’m not being dramatic here; I actually received calls just like this. But like a good employee, I pried into why they were the worst cigars in the world since that was my job. Nine times out of ten, the answer would be because the ash color was black instead of white.

Again, I seriously had people call and give me stories like these. The flashback to the dark days in the call center actually came to mind when I was speaking to a cigar blogger over the weekend named Peter. The issue came up since I was smoking a Cusano 18 and the ash was relatively dark, and I pointed it out to him. His reaction was as normal as the sun is bright; he slapped me on the back of the head and told me to stop whining. He was right though, I shouldn’t be complaining about a dark ash. Ash color is perhaps the most insignificant thing you can analyze when smoking a cigar.

Let me explain: Ash color really only has to do with the levels of magnesium contained in the tobacco leaves. The lighter the cigar ash, the more magnesium there is and the opposite is true of darker cigar ash. However, the level difference is so minimal in the cigar, it is nowhere near noticeable on your palate. Instead of looking at color, look at the overall ash quality. This tells the story of your whole cigar as you puff through it. Say your cigar ash is flaky. This might mean that you are smoking a short filler, and it can become a nuisance since the ash will most likely break off constantly. If this is the case, don’t smoke and drive without an Ash Can. Also, if the cigar splits in the middle, this usually means the middle is not keeping pace with the perimeter of the cigar. When the wrapper is burning faster than the filler and binder, this is a caustic burn issue and can alter the flavor of the smoke, so you will not taste the blend the manufacturer intended. To fix this, just stop puffing for a few minutes so the inside can catch up.

If you really want to analyze your cigar ash to ensure a quality smoke, do not look at the ash color; it is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Instead, pay close attention to how the ash splits and breaks off as you smoke in order to better analyze the quality of your burn. After all, the quality of the burn is what really helps to define the flavor of the cigar.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Joseph PaneGary Joseph Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Joseph Pane
Guest
Joseph Pane

I have noticed that when the ash forms a cone for lack of a better description the cigar is usually gooy

Gary Joseph
Guest
Gary Joseph

Let me educate you about cigar ash…it is significant and tells more than just the level of magnesium. Here is a link for you to read that I don’t feel like typing out ( and yes, I know it’s about CC’s but it doesn’t matter…ash is ash ) http://www.cuban-cigar.com/ash.html

Jonathan DeTore

Jonathan DeTore

My job here is pretty simple - I write stuff, I post stuff to Facebook, and I take it to the house consistently at the weekly slam drunk contest. I do it all while sipping on a fine glass of cognac at my desk (don’t tell my boss), and wearing cashmere slippers. Let’s just say "The Hef" has nothing on me.

Show all Jonathan DeTore's Articles
Aganorsa Cigars Guide Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Cigar Review Cigar Advisor Cover

2019 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Aganorsa Cigars

New to Aganorsa Cigars? Aganorsa Leaf grows some of the world’s most sought-after Nicaraguan tobaccos, and are one of the fastest-growing boutique outfits in the biz. Check out our detailed tour of their entire portfolio, with tasting notes, now!

Read More
5 things about maduro cigars cacover

5 Things You Need To Know About… Maduro Cigars

Maduro-nados: Besides the fact that you love this sweet, dark leaf, what else do you know about this delicious cigar choice? Go deep in the weeds with us as we dig out 5 fun facts about this fetching, extra-fermented tobacco, and why it’s such a fan favorite.

Read More
Top New Cigars for Dec 10 2018 Cigar Advisor Cover

CA Report: Top New Cigars – Dec. 10 2018

As we count down the days 'til Christmas, time to make a cigar run and pack the humi with some top-notch sharing smokes...try these hand-picked Top New Cigars, hand-picked to warm your cockles: click NOW to get 3x the Monte, a very robust new Romeo, and a fresh Aging Room delight.
Read More
5 Things You Need to Know About Keeping Cigars Fresh How to CACover

5 Things You Need to Know About… Keeping Cigars Fresh

There's more to keeping cigars fresh than tossing them in your humidor and closing the lid. Get these 5 cigar humidification must-knows, and learn what to use and why - along with why where you live plays a role in your cigar's well being. Easy pointers on keeping your cigars in tip-top shape: click now!
Read More