toledo1969

Does a Long Cigar Ash affect the taste ??

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A couple of months ago I was in Geneva Switzerland at Gerard Cigars, I bought a couple of Vintage Habanos. Started to smoke a Saint Luis Rey Churchill, great white ash, straight burn, I was very proud of the long ash this great Cigar was producing. All of a sudden the same persona that sold me this great Habano, told me that leaving the Ash in exchange for the Instagram Picture was a great mistake. Since according to him, the Long Ash changes the taste and flavor of any Habano. According to him, only 1-2 inches should be allowed in order to have the pure taste of the Habano. 

 

So last night a couple of friends and myself were smoking cigars, and they were competing for longest cigar ash, I told them about the advice I received from one of the employees of Gerard Cigars, but basically they blew me off and said it was complete nonsense. 

 

Would appreciate fellow Habanos Smokers comments, since there has to be some Science behind this theories. 

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So, I'm no expert, and I don't care about the length of my ash.

I usually drop it on myself just when I think I should ash it.

But, if you think about the fluid dynamics of the air and how it reaches the ember of your cigar, it seems obvious that anything outside of an inch doesn't affect the the quality of the air going through.

The way I see it, in order for ash to affect the taste, it would need to act like a straw, which is obviously not the case.

Do I make sense? What does everybody else think?

Am I wrong or just incomprehensible?

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I firmly believe ash changes taste. However, I cannot tell you in all honesty optimal length of said ash to maximize flavor. My speculation is that the ash provides temperature control stemming from oxygen concentration changes that occur as the ash forms distal to burn line. Hot fast burn associated with high o2 concentration tend to produce acrid flavor and I get it every time I tap my cigar. Longer ash seems to subdue acrid flavor and bring up the smoother consistent pleasant taste. Cheers. 

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18 minutes ago, Moogypug said:

I firmly believe ash changes taste. However, I cannot tell you in all honesty optimal length of said ash to maximize flavor. 

I agree that it does for sure.  I also agree with Gerard's on the 1-2" for flavor, but it's more for I am like 10 for 10 on ash falling onto my lap...  I think it's the latter that keeps me from having a long ash on my cigar.  Never fails...  It's pretty clear the flavor difference between long ash, 1" ash, and no ash.   Which one is best only you can decide.

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Bad advice from a good cigar merchant.

IMHO : The ash helps cool the cigar and improve the aromas, leave it as long as it gets and let it fall by itself.
And don't fall for "expert advice" .... 🙂

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We've had a number of discussions on how ash acts to insulate an ember. Fuzz has done tests with charcoal that have shown that ash insulates the briquettes keeping the heat in. So I guess the next question would be whether or not longer ash further insulates the ember in this way, heating the cigar more than a shorter ash.

 

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For further information on the ash - an article by Cigar Clan :
 

What The Ash Remains Silent About

Again from The Russian Cigar Clan Magazine. Printed with permission of the owner's. Yet
another long read. Enjoy.


What the ash remains silent about

Cigar ash can tell you a lot about the cigar it came from – much more than you would think. For this reason, experienced smokers and professional tasters pay as much attention to the ash as to the taste and aroma of the cigar it came from. Essentially, ash is a mineral, an inorganic compound that remains after the burning of the tobacco leaves. All the contents of a tobacco leaf capable of giving off taste and aroma at high temperatures are transformed into volatile compounds, which we sense through our taste buds and olfactory receptors. Everything that does not possess these amazing characteristics becomes ash.


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So I lit a cigar and spent a pleasant half hour enjoying its wonderful taste and aroma. Then, dragging myself out of the torpor brought on by the cigar smoke, I put on my glasses, took a sip of cognac, and got down to the business of studying the ash, which over the half hour had become an impressive length.

Sooner or later the length of ash on the cigar falls off. It is generally thought that this should not happen until the ash is at least an inch long – an absolute minimal length for cigar ash. Given easy hand movements, the ash should not fall before reaching this length; if it does, the cigar is not a quality cigar.

The ‘solidity’ of the length of ash depends directly on the quality of the tobacco leaves and the degree of care with which the cigar was rolled. The ash on cigars that have been rolled mechanically is practically never stable. On the other hand, cigars that have been hand-rolled are characterized by the stability and firmness of their ash. But a cigar that has been rolled from leaves that are too short or torn can never delight the smoker with a fine, neat length of ash. The same thing can happen if the roller has been paying insufficient attention to his work and not made the cigar firm enough with gaps between the leaves. In this case, the edges and surface of the ash will be uneven and it will scatter and gradually crumble round the edges.

So a stable column of ash that can reach a length of one inch, given easy hand movements, means that long, quality leaves have been used in its making.

If the ash on a cigar is firm, does not scatter from a slight movement or a gentle breeze, and does not crumble throughout the whole period of the smoke; if the edges of the ash are even and neat, then the roller has been working conscientiously and doing his job properly.

Taking off my glasses after a careful study of the length of ash, I took another sip of cognac, ‘tasted’ the aromatic smoke, and put the cigar in the ashtray... to wait till the ash fell off of its own accord. It fell off fairly quickly, revealing the hot point of the cigar on which there was just a thin layer of ash. It was time to put the glasses on again and return to studying the mysterious characteristics of the cigar ash.

No less important than the texture of the ash is the shape of the burning end of the cigar that is exposed after the ash has fallen off. After a long period of smoking, the burning end can assume the most varied forms from a small depression or hollow in the middle with sharply bevelled edges to a completely flat burning surface. But the ideal shape of the burning end is considered to be a cone.

Why a cone? It’s all to do with the way a cigar is structured. The roller begins making a cigar with a leaf called the ligero. This leaf, which lies in the very centre of the cigar, provides all the taste. The ligero leaf is found at the very top of the tobacco plant, and it contains the greatest amount of nicotine, sugar and complex gustatory compounds. So it’s not surprising that it burns longer than the other tobacco leaves that go to make up a cigar. And the fact that this leaf takes the longest time to burn means that the burning end of the cigar has a conical shape.

Depending on the tobacco blend for a particular cigar, the percentage of ligero leaves will vary. As a result, the cones can be either sharp or blunt. But whichever they are, the ideal shape for the burning end of a cigar covered with a thin layer of ash is conical.

Obviously, to retain this shape requires not only a quality cigar, but also the ability to smoke easily and draw evenly and smoothly on the cigar.

So a conical shape at the burning end with a thin layer of ash on it is evidence of the fact that it was rolled according to all the rules, and that it was smoked with as much skill as the roller put into rolling it.

The colour of the ash – this is the most responsible test for a cigar. Because it doesn’t depend on the quality of the leaves or the skill of the roller, but on the most basic of all factors – the land on which the tobacco was grown.

Soil is full of chemical compounds and a variety of mineral deposits, which carried by moisture find their way into plants. The soil in different regions has its own characteristics: in some places certain minerals predominate; in other places others are more common. Consequently, the same plant will have substantially different chemical and mineral saturation levels in different areas. For example, cigars rolled from tobacco that has been grown in the central regions of Cuba (Remedios) produce an almost white ash; but cigars made from tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo produce a grey ash with white veins. And that is despite the fact that the two areas are practically adjacent to each other. The reason for the difference is that the soil in the Vuelta Abajo is full of different minerals in roughly equal amounts, whereas the soil in the Remedios Region shows a predomination of potassium.

The link between the chemical constituents of the soil and the quality of the cigar produced from tobacco grown in it has been scientifically proved. Furthermore, in early 2001 one of the scientists from a Canadian consumer organization proposed that in order to protect genuine Cuban cigars from fake ones, checks should be made on their chemical components. His idea was that those cigars labelled as Cuban, whose chemical constituents after analysis proved to be different from the chemical constituents of the appropriate region of Cuba, should immediately be removed from the shops.

So the predominance of grey and white in the ash of a cigar mean that it is of good quality. And pure white ash may be looked upon almost as a mark of quality, providing that the cigar is from certain places like Cuba or the Dominican Republic, where there are plantations that are particularly rich in potassium. Black ash is a bad sign. Leaves that after burning deposit a black ash are not rich in minerals and produce a very bad taste and smell.

After the ash falls off, there is a noticeable change in the taste of the cigar. The point is that the ash plays a very important part in the actual process of smoking. As it gradually forms on the cigar, the ash cools the smoke, making the process of smoking much milder. This is the reason why when the ash falls off a cigar, the smoker gets the impression that it has become stronger and hotter. So the ash can be not only pleasant to look at and provide information about the cigar, it also has a use from the practical point of view.

When cigar ash falls suddenly on clothes, on the table or on the floor, this is not a particularly pleasant occurrence. But it was as a result of this that cigar ash at one time had an important influence on European fashion – for it was cigar ash that directly led to the creation of the smoking jacket. The British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) loved cigars. He smoked them at home, in the street, at important meetings and even in the library after dinner. So it was hardly surprising that every day his clothes were covered with cigar ash. To save his wardrobe from being ruined, Disraeli got his tailor to make him a jacket with satin lapels. This smooth material made it easy to brush off the ash, and furthermore ash leaves no traces on satin. Disraeli’s tailor did the job so well that jackets with satin lapels – smoking jackets – were soon the height of fashion.

by ELDAR TUZMUKHAMEDOV

 

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This is why I could never work with the public. I would spend more time thinking up strange but plausible lies to tell the customers than actually working.

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2 hours ago, Hutch said:

While I would acknowledge the validity of the theory of insulation given here, I’d propose that additional ash (as opposed to an exposed coal) provides restriction to the airflow, creating *LESS* heat upon drawing on the cigar. In other words, the coal may be retaining a little more heat, but when drawn through with ash (which, after all, is when we *TASTE* it) the smoke is cooler. JMO tho :)

There has been no definitive conclusion as of yet, but Fuzz's testing is the most, or only scientific I've seen to date. That aside, no matter the length of the ash, the air we draw passes over or through the ember before it reaches us. Another thought, what happens when we wrap ourselves in a blanket. Two or three blankets. I don't how much, if any of this translates to cigars....

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When I get some free time, I'm gonna have to jury rig a draw test machine, insert a temp probe into the end of the cigar, and see what the temp is during smoking.

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Thanks everyone for their suggestions and comments, at the end I have come to the conclusion that a medium cigar ash does not affect at all and actually helps with cooling down the Habano. But I also agree that trying to be the Instagram Longest Cigar Ash star is not worth it, since I also have ruined many carpets, jackets and dress shirts for trying to get the longest ash contest. Have a great weekend. 

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Nah, don't give up so easily!

Get a Monte A and go to town!

Post a picture of the ash AND the carpet.

;)

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10 hours ago, ponfed said:

Nah, don't give up so easily!

Get a Monte A and go to town!

Post a picture of the ash AND the carpet.

;)

What, you guys don't use floor ashtrays?  I always sit with an ashtray on the ground between my legs, like an expert.

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I've installed gutters all around my waist.

The only problem is cleaning out the dead squirrels come spring.

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I'm no expert, but I generally smoke from the other end. 😎

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Ash keeps the smoke cool ..cool smoke better taste . I usually just let it fall or wait till it's looking sketchy. My GF is always telling me to pick up my ashes.

Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

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The ash "may" cool the air, but you are also inhaling the aromas of the ash. The longer the ash, the more the air will pass through to get to you. I cannot believe that that will not impact the overall flavour.

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I find the ash helps insulate the embers and keep them from going out, nothing more or less.  Almost always when a cigar goes out on me, it was just after the ash fell off.  So I try to ash the cigar in frequently and when I do, I give it an extra puff just to build it up again.  

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Freshly ashed, it burns a little hotter, wakes up the flavors if they've been dozing off and allows me to check the bunch and the burn.

With an inch or so of history on it, it has a far less chance of burning lopsided and allows me to control the strength and body of the profile better.

All dependent on the construction and the leaves inside. :buddies:

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On 8/18/2018 at 7:54 AM, GrouchoMarx said:

I'm no expert, but I generally smoke from the other end. 😎

The wise guy outta left field!

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