Cigar smoke and ash colors

Cigar smoke and ash colors

When you kick back and smoke a cigar, there are a few things to note, the obvious being the delightful flavors and sense of enjoyment you feel.

However, the color of your cigar ash may also have crossed your mind.

Many cigar smokers may not be aware that the color of a cigar’s smoke and ash is significant — it can actually say a lot about your chosen cigar.

Let’s explore the various shades and hues your cigars ash and smoke might produce and why.

Smoke color

The color of cigar smoke is impacted by the size of smoke particles and how they interact with light waves.

Smoke particles that come off the lit end of a cigar are tiny as they have burned more, and when light hits them, the reflection is only slight.

Colors carry different wavelengths, and some appear in different sizes. If your smoke carries a blue-looking tint, the smoke particles are at the smaller end of the spectrum.

When blue waves scatter in smoke, they will appear, as you would expect, blue. Longer or more considerable light wavelengths will go past the tiny smoke particles, so they don’t affect them as they have no reflection of color.

The smoke that goes into your mouth when you puff on a cigar is made of larger particles, as they haven’t been burned out as much as the ones coming off the lit end of your cigar.

When you blow the smoke out, it appears white, and there are a few reasons for this.

The less-burned particles go into your mouth and remain bigger. When you expel the smoke, the particles collect moisture and become even more significant.

Particles that re inhaled and blown out are big enough to reflect all light waves and create white light, so the smoke appears white as a combination of all the colors.

What does white ash mean?

When smoking your cigar, you may wonder why the ash is white.

It’s very simple — the color of the ash indicates what minerals can be found within the tobacco. If the ash appears white or gray, the tobacco is grown in vibrant, nutrient-dense soil. Darker or black ash indicates less mineral-rich soil.

The mineral content doesn’t impact the flavor of a cigar, and fewer minerals in the soil will provide an acidic taste within the cigar.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a pleasant taste or smell. To be more precise, bright white ash suggests the tobacco has received enough magnesium and calcium from the soil during the growing process.

A great example of this is Cameroon tobacco, which is mainly used for a wrapper leaf and tends to burn with a bright white ash.

If your ash is flaky, this indicates too much magnesium in the soil. Cuban tobacco produces grayer ash, and premium cigars (those made with long filler tobaccos) generally produce an intense ache even after they burn.

When to ash cigar?

When beginning to smoke for the first time, there is always a bit of confusion about when to ash your cigar.

You need to ash it and knock off the burned tobacco. There are several techniques to this, and one is to lay the cigar in the bed of the ashtray and let the ash fall when it’s ready. This will cause less damage to the cigar, although it does mean you have to wait between puffs.

If you have no ash or a very short ash, it can cause the cigar to burn too hot. Long ash can help cool the cigar smoke. If you follow the one-inch rule, you’ll likely have a good shape of ash form that will help you avoid brushing it over yourself.

We’d recommend resisting the urge to tap the ash when it builds up. It’s always best to allow it to fall when it’s ready and after you see a seam develop.

If you feel you can’t wait between puffs of your cigar, the best way to tap the ash is to gently tap the cigar to drop it off the ash tray. Don’t go in with a heavy hand, or you may find yourself littered in ash. 

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