Friday, May 16, 2008

Are you a "tipper" or a "tapper?"

By Gary Korb

Last week, I sent out the May CigarAdvisor.com newsletter. Each issue includes a cigar survey that's posted on the home page. This month's question was: Do you feel long, firm ashes are an indication of a cigar's quality?

Which brings me to today's topic. It's based on a comment I received about the survey question from a reader who wrote:
Regarding the long ash being indicative of a cigar's quality, I'd sooner express that the burning of a cigar is at its optimum when that long ash is of a proper color. My favorites are renowned in their ability to extend a solid column of white ash until tipped gently, not tapping as "those paper smokers" do. Tipped refers to gently touching the end of the column to an ashtray...if it wants to disconnect, it will.
What jumped out at me in the comment was this act of "tipping" vs. "tapping" the cigar's ash. So, I began wondering: "Am I a 'tipper' or a 'tapper'?" because how I ash my cigar is one of those things I never really paid much attention to.

Depending on the situation, I'm probably a little bit of both. If I have a good long firm ash going I test its mettle by gently nudging it against the side of the ashtray. If it resists I let it ride. I keep doing this until eventually, the ash either breaks off on its own, or it just tips off into the bowl. Sometimes before tipping, I lightly twirl the column against the side of the bowl to remove the flaky outer layer and reveal the rigid inner core.

On the other hand, with cigars whose ashes tend to be lighter or flakier I find myself tapping the ash off like one would do with a cigarette.

However, upon further observation, it seems that I most often tip the ash off. I also think there's something inherently aesthetic about the act of gently breaking off the ash and watching it come to rest at its final destination.

Your thoughts?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We all love to see the ash grow as we love on and smoke are cigars, period. None of us like the ash in our laps or on the floor between us and the computer. I would have to imagine that the majority of us are like yourself in that we test along the way simply to avoid the clean up time.("Ijust got these pants back from the cleaners" or "Jese-O-pete,I just swept in here last month!") I agree a long firm white ash is a real treat. Joe from Tennessee.

Anonymous said...

You quickly find out (or your floor or desk does) the strength of your cigars' ash-holding ability, but I don't believe it is a reflection of the taste or quality of it. Most cigars, to stay alight, need a certain amount of ash in front, maybe 1/2" or so, as this seems to retain the heat and keep it burning. It is an art with cigars (as well as cigarettes, a few senior ladies confirmed this to me) to keep as long an ash as you can while smoking, as it demonstates control and enjoyment. Bottom line is whatever you are smoking, you will learn the correct time to tip, roll or tap your ashes or suffer the dark stain on the front of your shirt!