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While playing poker last night a gentleman pulled out a HDM DC and while smoking it I noticed the ash was black as could be (They did pay $6 a stick so no way in hell they were real). This prompted a conversation about what color ash Cuban cigars should have. I have read (MRN I think) that is should be more gray than white and this has been my experience for the most part, they were arguing it should be mostly white. I also assume age can play a factor but at the $6 a stick I doubt it was vintage stock he was smoking.

Can someone confirm the tendency in color or does it vary per cigar?

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I don't know anything about what colour it is supposed to be, but I would imagine that the colour could in some way be affected by the moisture content of the tobacco. The higher the moisture content, the less complete the combustion is, which will result in a darker ash. Conversely, the lower the moisture content, the more complete the combustion, and so the ash will be of a lighter colour.

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Lots of potassium in the soil = white ash..

Cuban's as far as the one's i have smoked over the year's (at least 3 boxes a month) never have a white ash always gray with little white mixed in.

Some of the non Cubans (DR) i smoke have mostly white ash.

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» I don't know anything about what colour it is supposed to be, but I would

» imagine that the colour could in some way be affected by the moisture

» content of the tobacco. The higher the moisture content, the less complete

» the combustion is, which will result in a darker ash. Conversely, the lower

» the moisture content, the more complete the combustion, and so the ash will

» be of a lighter colour.

According to MRN, he also agrees that the more complete the combustion, the whiter the ash will be. Complete combustion is caused by both moisture content and the cigar's age.

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As a rule the ash should be a darkish grey. Moisture content does play a part but I don't think it changes the colour so much as the ash compaction albeit the burn can appear whiter. The better the combustion (particularly 60-63% RH) the tighter the ash. So has been my experience but I have seen plenty of counter examples to the theory.

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» As a rule the ash should be a darkish grey. Moisture content does play a

» part but I don't think it changes the colour so much as the ash compaction

» albeit the burn can appear whiter. The better the combustion (particularly

» 60-63% RH) the tighter the ash. So has been my experience but I have seen

» plenty of counter examples to the theory.

This particular question has puzzled me for a while now. I have seen basically two theories on this (with many variations).

1. Mineral content in the soil

2. Completeness of combustion

Now, I personally think the whole mineral content in the soil theory is a bunch of bunk. The amount of magnesium required in the tobacco leaves to turn the ash white is just not feasible. If you look at uptake of the minerals from the soil, etc., the amount of magnesium in the soil would have to be off the charts. This is the chemist in me talking. I just can't see it.

Now, the completeness of combustion theory, I can buy into. The more complete the combustion, the whiter the ash...that is usually how the theory goes. What can affect this? Like El Prez said, humidity, age, the tobacco itself, tightness of the roll...many things. For a while, I was actually taking pictures of all of the ashes that I smoked. Trying to come to some correlation...I didn't have the patience to put together all of the variables. What I did observe was...

1. The tighter the ash, the whiter the ash. Cigars that did not draw well (were tight) typically had white ashes.

2. The more tannic the cigar, the darker the ash. I use tannic as a descriptor for youngish, slightly acid tastes found in cigars such as the Punch RS12 and Punch SS#2.

3. Age did not seem to impact the color of the ash as much as I would have liked to think it would. It really varied with the cigar and the roll.

4. I was smoking cigars out of the same humidor, so the moisture content was very close...can remove that variable.

5. The fuller-bodied the cigar, the darker the ash. Mild-bodied cigars (RG CE, etc) typically had lighter ashes. I think this goes hand-in-hand with the tannic part of my observations.

There were some outliers, but this pretty much sums up my experience with Habanos.

With non-Cubans, I typically get a whiter (lighter ash). Why...just plain old better combustion. For the most part, the tobacco is aged longer than Cuban tobacco and the tobacco is less tannic. There are some exceptions (many JdN Antanos will have a darker ash...very strong cigar).

These are just my musings and observations. I do not promote them as correct. I have actually seen no "studies" on this. I continue to note the ash color and think about it, but I got bored with documenting everything. Hope this helps to spur further conversation.

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I read it a while ago if i find the article i will post it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As far as i can remember it the color has to do with the differant type's of soil around the world.

Cuba = dark gray i have never seen bright white ash ever.Unless it was a fake

DR = mostly white with hints of gray's.

Hon /Nic = alot of dark gray

Also so i see alot of white outer ash with dark gray filler /binder from these two counties.

This is from my own experiance.

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» » As a rule the ash should be a darkish grey. Moisture content does play a

» » part but I don't think it changes the colour so much as the ash

» compaction

» » albeit the burn can appear whiter. The better the combustion

» (particularly

» » 60-63% RH) the tighter the ash. So has been my experience but I have

» seen

» » plenty of counter examples to the theory.

»

» This particular question has puzzled me for a while now. I have seen

» basically two theories on this (with many variations).

»

» 1. Mineral content in the soil

» 2. Completeness of combustion

»

» Now, I personally think the whole mineral content in the soil theory is a

» bunch of bunk. The amount of magnesium required in the tobacco leaves to

» turn the ash white is just not feasible. If you look at uptake of the

» minerals from the soil, etc., the amount of magnesium in the soil would

» have to be off the charts. This is the chemist in me talking. I just

» can't see it.

»

» Now, the completeness of combustion theory, I can buy into. The more

» complete the combustion, the whiter the ash...that is usually how the

» theory goes. What can affect this? Like El Prez said, humidity, age, the

» tobacco itself, tightness of the roll...many things. For a while, I was

» actually taking pictures of all of the ashes that I smoked. Trying to

» come to some correlation...I didn't have the patience to put together all

» of the variables. What I did observe was...

»

» 1. The tighter the ash, the whiter the ash. Cigars that did not draw

» well (were tight) typically had white ashes.

» 2. The more tannic the cigar, the darker the ash. I use tannic as a

» descriptor for youngish, slightly acid tastes found in cigars such as the

» Punch RS12 and Punch SS#2.

» 3. Age did not seem to impact the color of the ash as much as I would

» have liked to think it would. It really varied with the cigar and the

» roll.

» 4. I was smoking cigars out of the same humidor, so the moisture content

» was very close...can remove that variable.

» 5. The fuller-bodied the cigar, the darker the ash. Mild-bodied cigars

» (RG CE, etc) typically had lighter ashes. I think this goes hand-in-hand

» with the tannic part of my observations.

»

» There were some outliers, but this pretty much sums up my experience with

» Habanos.

»

» With non-Cubans, I typically get a whiter (lighter ash). Why...just plain

» old better combustion. For the most part, the tobacco is aged longer than

» Cuban tobacco and the tobacco is less tannic. There are some exceptions

» (many JdN Antanos will have a darker ash...very strong cigar).

»

» These are just my musings and observations. I do not promote them as

» correct. I have actually seen no "studies" on this. I continue to note

» the ash color and think about it, but I got bored with documenting

» everything. Hope this helps to spur further conversation.

Nice work Dawg :ok:

I am going to trial your strength and ash colour theory today by having a light HDM for lunch and a PASDC3 for afternoon tea. Will report back ;-)

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  • 6 years later...

although on the whole the CCs ive smoked have had various grey shades, I have also had very light grey/white ash too. So imo it is too absolute to say CCs dont have light/white ash. The main issue I have with this is that when someone buys a box of CCs and they have light ash, all of a sudden they are stressing whether they have fakes - then they ask their fellow BOTLs and most likely get the advice to trust their retailer - but i feel that some must still have the doubt in the back of their mind...

I definitely think Cigardawg had some interesting points, but i have also had more than a couple of outliers go against his suggestions e.g. partagas shorts (a stronger cigar) with near white ash. However I would say that as far as I can recall every white ashed CC i have had has had dense/tight ash.

This is one of those topics that intigues me about cigars but also leaves me without any satisfactory answers. I think, as with whisky, we are dealing with a natural product with so many variables along the line of production that rigorous scientific examination is almost impossible.

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