Ashing a cigar is the act of placing a thin layer of ash over the tip to preserve its flavor and ensure it remains lit. It's a tedious process, but if done incorrectly, it can lead to frustration and sore thumbs. A cigar user does it to keep the cigar from going out from lack of airflow and to keep it burning evenly. There are different ways to ashing a cigar, but if done incorrectly, you will find that your cigar has an unpleasant taste or won't burn evenly.
#1: Wet the Cigar
Wetting the cigar is wrong because it affects its taste and combustion, most of the time ruining it. Many smokers wet the end of the cigar with their tongue, but this is not recommended. According to the Cigar Association of America, it's a good idea to wet the cigar with saliva only as a last resort, as it can alter the taste. Most of the time, the end of a cigar burns unevenly when wet due to so much moisture at one end and not enough at the other. Always take your time when ashing a cigar, and don't get in a hurry.
#2: Use Other People's Ashes
Be wary of using ashes from other people's cigars. This could give you a nasty surprise when you light up your cigar, as the taste may be off, or it might not burn properly. Be sure to use ashes from the same brand and size as a cigar. A study undertaken by the Cigar Association of America found that using ashes from a cigar doesn't harm the taste but using ashes from different brands or different sizes could end up with a bad taste and uneven burn. Remember that the same cigar brand and size will burn differently based on age. Older cigars tend to smoke harsher and are more susceptible to uneven burning and bad tastes.
#3: Hold the Ash On with Your Thumb
Depending on the size of your cigar, you may be tempted to hold the ash with your thumb. Unless you’re using a very large cigar or have exceptionally long fingers, don’t hold the ash in place with your thumb or finger. A study by the Cigar Association of America found that holding the ash on with your thumb is unnecessary. Keep in mind that the longer the ash stays on, the more likely it will fall off.
#1: Using a Cigar Cutter
Using your cutter to ashen the cigar is one of the best ways to do it, as it ensures that you are ashing the tip and keeping it from falling out of your mouth. Many cigar smokers use the end of the cutter to ash their cigar, but you can do it by cutting off a small piece of the wrapper. Use your cigar cutter to give you a clean cut without altering the taste or burning quality. You can also use your cutter to give the cigar a fresh look, as the habit of cutting off a small piece of the wrapper is very common.
#2: The Bottle Method
One of the most commonly used ways to ash a cigar, the bottle method, involves placing the tip of your cigar on the edge of a glass or bottle. This way, you can ensure that as little ash as possible falls off, and you don't have to worry about holding it with your thumb or finger. You can also use an ashtray if you feel more comfortable holding it with your hand. In this case, use a lid on top of the ashtray, so that little ash escapes. Don't press down on the ash with your thumb or finger, as it will just fall off. Be sure to hold the bottle or glass firmly so that you will keep your cigar if it falls over.
#3: The Tap Method
If you're in a windy area or outdoors, tap the ash carefully until it's at the tip. Don't flick it off, as it will come right back to your cigar. This is also a good trick to try in your office if you get complaints about a smoke smell. Be sure there are no ashes on the cigar before you start tapping. Not only that, but also be careful not to press down hard with your finger. Why? Because this can affect the taste of your cigar if done too often. Many smokers tap their ash off even if sitting inside, so it's easier to clean.