Ash Fetish?

Figuring out why I am so interested in the ash of a cigar may take professional help. And I will admit, most, if not all, of my cigar reviews describe the ash in great detail. Why? Maybe by the end of this post we’ll have come to some conclusion, but for now let’s take a look at one of the more interesting ashes I’ve seen in a long, long time.

I didn’t know when I fired up the 90 Miles 1980 Edition that it would compel me to reveal this fetish for ashes. The cigar looks like any other cigar. Yet, as the cigar’s tobacco leaves burn, not only do you capture a variety of flavors, but the ash is a performance in itself. As it grows, the flavor intensity follows along and it’s impossible to sever the two from each other.

The 1980 Edition was created by Yadi Gonzalez, the owner of Flor de Gonzalez Cigars. It’s named for the year that she and the family made their way from Cuba to the US shores. The cigar is a long-filler blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos with an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder that is then lovingly surrounded in a San Andres leaf.

The flavors are not that interesting or intense in the very beginning. But you want to continue smoking it because you can sense that this is just the start of a memorable cigar smoking experience. How? About half an inch in you begin to recognize hints of cedar laced with whiffs of mocha. This zesty mix goes on throughout the smoke.

Not a spicy cigar, this blend will fool you into thinking that you are smoking a medium-bodied blend, but no — the fullness captures your attention further in and never lets go.

The ash itself is what caught my eye first off. A soft, pillow of gray begins to build slowly and silently. The strength of the ash is a testament to the quality of tobacco and the construction of the cigar. You can easily see that if carefully maneuvered, this ash will begin to have a life of its own as it grows in length.

Its colors of gray, white and black are interspersed with lean and fat lines of cracking residue. Mineral-rich soil contributed to the Bauhaus-like, monochromatic shades that undoubtedly give this cigar its unique and satisfying flavor profile. When will this ash fall off? I was out with Flo when I was smoking the cigar and the wind was blowing, so conditions were not the best. But this ash just held on until I was able to return to the back yard and document its journey into maturity.

Shot after shot took I. The ridges and the valleys of burnt tobacco leaves building to a crescendo until its own weight, and the force of gravity, pulled the elongated ash to descend onto the patio bricks smattering into thousands of shapes and sizes. The cigar hesitated for only a few moments. It regained its composure and began to grow its ash once more. If I could, I would have taken the fallen ashes, reconstructed them and preserved nature’s architectural miracle in Lucite for all to see.

Can I come up with any concrete conclusions about this fascination with the ash of cigars? Not really. Only to say I appreciate all that goes into — and comes out of a cigar.

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