Cigar Ash Explained!

Cigar smoke

Cigar ash has been linked to the quality of cigars for some time and if you really think about it then it makes sense. The burning of the outer leaves will give some pretty big hints about how it was made and how you have smoked it. So let’s take a look a little further.

How Long Should My Ash Be?

This length with vary depending on who you talk to but as a general consensus, the ideal length of ash should be 1 inch before falling off. You don’t want to be making any rapid, jerking movements and  you want to sit back and enjoy your cigar and the result will be 1 inch of ash before it falls off.

If you cigar ash is coming away much sooner than this then it’s probably a cheap cigar. The better quality your cigar leaves the more dense the ash will be. The denser the ash the longer it will take to fall off, hence the benchmark amount of 1inch.

The ash will also slightly change the flavor of your cigar. How you say? Wellthe ash part will work to cool the smoke making for a pleasant experience. If you have purposefully tapped the ash away you will notice that your cigar burns fast and hot. You’ll also notice that sensation when the 1 inch of ash falls away on its own.

Read: 12 of the best cigar ashtrays in 2019.

Shape of the Cigar Ash

Once the 1 inch of ash falls away from your cigar the exposed end should be either hollowed in the middle with share edges, completely lat or cone shaped. You should be aiming for the cone shape. So now let me explain why.

The center of your cigar should burn constantly regardless of if and when the ash falls off. This is because through the center of the cigar  is the ligero. This is the tip of the tobacco plant that has the highest level of nicotine and sugar. If your cigar doesn’t have this then your ash is going to be either hollow or flat which are not desired! The more ligero the more pointy and sharp the cone will be.

Ash Colors

The color of your cigar ash shows the growing area of the tobacco and is a direct reflection of the chemicals found in the soil.

Different growing regions have different minerals present in their soil and the ash is sometimes known as the signature of a cigar.

Central Cuban cigars will produce an almost white ash  due to the high amount of potassium in the soil. Cigars from Vuelta Abajo will have a gray ash with what is referred to as white veins. Either of these are good quality cigars, if you ever have a cigar that produces black ash then this is a very bad sign. Black ash means there is poor mineral concentration in the soil and chances are the cigar itself tastes awful and smells bad.


The length, color and shape of your ash is evidence of the quality of your cigar. Ideally your cigar ash should be 1 inch before falling off and once it has fallen off the new ash should be cone shaped. The color of the ash is a sign of the area where the tobacco was grown.

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