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Getting that big long ash on a cigar has always been one of the most fascinating parts of smoking cigars. While having a big ash has a lot of benefits to your smokes, there is certainly some little-known facts about a long cigar ash that might surprise you.

Long Ash

#1 – What’s with all the Questions?

Firstly, be prepared to be asked why you will not ash your cigar. Cigarette smokers are notorious for asking this question and it’s one of those areas where cigars and cigarettes differ immensely. Those wimpy wrappers on cigarettes combined with the machine processing has made them far too brittle to build up any kind of ash – leading them to break apart easily. If you try for a long ash on a cigarette you are basically asking to ash on yourself. Cigars, however, have undergone the delicate process of fermenting, bunching, rolling, and ageing – combined with a nice beefy binder leaf and a thick long filler leaf, cigars can put on a hefty ash display.

Ash

#2 – Why You shouldn’t Ash…

“Why shouldn’t I ash my cigar?” This question poses a soft spot for most smokers. The general consensus is that a long ash, to a degree, helps your cigar burn cooler by filtering out the incoming air. This ash-filter keeps the cigar from burning too hot and helps build flavour, keeping in mind that taste and flavour are highly subjective.

Ash

#3 – The Aesthetics…

A long ash is also an identifier of the quality of your cigar: the longer and tighter the ash, the better it was rolled. Others look at colour of the ash. While ash colour was never historically an indicator of quality, the trend caught on in the cigar boom in the 90’s. A nice white-ash, while having no effect on flavour, is an indicator that the tobacco leaves were grown in mineral rich soil. Once consumers started picking out this quality, many cigar companies pushed their farms into fitting this new trend. For example, Nicaraguan cigars are renowned for their mineral-rich soils.

Ash

#4 – Choose Wisely…

Selection has everything to do with the longer ash you are craving. There are several factors to take into consideration when making your selection for that big-ash ash. First, pick a quality brand, something that you know is made by some primo rollers with a good burning tobacco leaf.

Does size matter? Absolutely. The thicker the cigar, the stronger the ash. The ash will get more structural support from those big ring gauge cigars because they use more long filler than your typical Robusto. I personally would not recommend anything over a sixty gauge; it is a perfect amount of long filler and anything thicker can get pretty awkward to hold. As always, be certain the cigar has no soft spots or you will be touching it up – sacrificing that beautiful ash you have been working on. Be sure it is at the right humidity as well, if it is too wet it will go out and once again you do not want to be relighting and touching up every other inch. To sum it up – pick a good, thick cigar that you know you will like.

Cigars

#5 – Slow & Steady Wins the ace…

It takes a steady hand to wield an ash the size of a sword – seriously. While you may be tempted to look at and admire your ash, all of this movement and turning can throw the balance off and drop it flat on your face. It is important to keep things slow – both your puffs and your movements. Try not to set down the cigar too much, it is just one more movement that adds to the drop risk. Keep those puffs down to about once a minute – just enough to keep the cherry going and let the cigar ash really accumulate. While we’re talking about a steady hand, let us not forget about proper rotation. This should be something that comes naturally anyways, but if you are really looking for that circus-sized ash then you should pay a little extra attention to rotating your cigar.

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