Cigar Etiquette: Proper Ash Management

June 24, 2022

If you are new to the premium cigar smoking scene one of the first things you need to know about is ash management, because it can have an overall effect on the quality of your smoking experience. Some newcomers who have taken up the hobby of smoking cigars may have at one time or another smoked a cigarette where you have to repeatedly flick the ash to prevent the remnants from landing on your lap if left at any length.

On the other hand, premium handmade cigars are crafted from long-filler tobacco, which holds far longer and sturdier ash than a cigarette.  Fiddling with the ash too early, and with too much force,  can break off the ember of the cigar, which will leave you having to relight it very often. Relighting a cigar, if not done properly, can make it taste harsh and bitter.

After you first light a premium cigar it’s important to have patience. After toasting and torching the foot, just enjoy the aroma and initial flavor profile while relaxing and enjoying the first few moments. Then, when the ash is about an inch long, or until you see a crack develop, it’s time for your first flick into the ashtray. If you wait a very long time, the ash will drop on your shirt,  pants, or on the floor. Although diametrically opposed to the rules of ash management, a cigar that holds firm ash for a considerably long time is a sign that the cigar was perfectly rolled.

With all that said, unless you are entering a “long ash” contest that has become all the rage in cigar lounges across the country these days, you’ve noticed that your ash is approximately one inch long and it’s time for that first flick.

This first flick can be properly done by resting the cigar against the side of the ashtray and gently tapping the end of the cigar. The weight of the cigar ash should allow it to naturally fall off. If the ash is not breaking off,  don’t force it, but rather take a few more puffs and rest them on the side of the ashtray, and repeat the process.

IF you prefer, you can also very gently press the edge of the cigar against the side of the ashtray while turning or rotating the cigar at the same time. This will allow the ash to break off evenly, and you’ll avoid the awkwardness of having a lap or shirt filled with dusky gray ash, as mentioned above.

Other Quick Tips for Beginners


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