The Longest Ash Contest is officially held by H. Upmann in Havana, Cuba. Read about it and find a Longest Ash Contest at a local cigar store near you!
A good cigar burns properly and evenly. The ash almost seems to cling to the cigar. Though, of course, it may slope downward toward the ground a little due to gravity. Well, that and the incohesive chemical bonds created once fire ravages through the tobacco. But, for longer than you probably think, it can hold.
In recognition of that fact, the longest ash contest is held every year. It determines who can smoke a cigar for the longest time before the ash breaks off and plunges to the Earth (or, if your luck is anything like mine, to your nicest shirt).
The Longest Ash Contest is an annual festival that is run by H. Upmann. It’s held in Havana, Cuba, at the Palace of Conventions. The purpose is simple. Contestants from around the world come to the convention. They pay their entry fee. And then they smoke a cigar, seeing how much of the cigar they can smoke before the ash falls to the ground.
The goal, of course, is to smoke as much of the cigar as possible before the ash breaks off. In an attempt to achieve that, people are allowed to hold the cigar however they would like, to take as much (or as little) time as they would like to smoke it. And they do plenty of other things that they think will help to extend the length of ash on their cigar.
When, eventually, the ash falls to the floor, a judge will measure how much of the cigar is left and then record the number. And if ANY length of ash breaks off from the cigar, the game is over for the contestant. Once each cigar is measured, that’s it. Much like the ashes blow away, the contest is over, even before the lingering smell of smoke is gone.
There are a number of techniques that people attempt to use to win, but a common one involves the angle at which the cigar is smoked and held. When you and I smoke a cigar for enjoyment, we typically hold the cigar (more or less) parallel to the ground and horizon. We first bring the cigar to our mouth to take a puff. Then we lower our hand, likely holding the cigar at an angle pointing somewhat downward or towards the ground.
The people at the Longest Ash Contest tend to hold their cigars as close to straight up and down as they can possibly manage. They tilt their head back uncomfortably far to take a puff, keeping the cigar positioned as straight up and down they can manage. Then they go back to just holding their cigar straight up and down again.
Now, while the ‘official’ contest is held in Cuba, there are plenty of other places that host such events, too. Many local cigar shops and companies are more than happy to hold their own.
When you go to a Longest Ash Contest, you will likely find everyone smoking the same type of cigar. This is mostly done in the interest of those putting on the contest to make sure that everyone is smoking the same cigar. It not only helps to ensure the contest is fair but also ensures that everyone begins the contest with cigars that are the same length. In other words, it helps to keep the integrity of the contest intact.
If you go to such a contest and you find that you are allowed to bring (or purchase) your own cigar, find the longest burning and best-constructed cigar you can. More often than not, these are the cigars that will help you win the contest.
Of course, when you’re looking for a well-constructed cigar, look for a hand-rolled cigar, rolled by an expert cigar-maker. Unfortunately, these cigars are not common, nor are they inexpensive. Basically, if you’re allowed to bring your own cigar to the event and hope to win easily, buy an expensive, hand-rolled number.
Whether you’ve been smoking cigars for years or you’ve just had your first few, it may be fun to see how long you can keep your cigar ash intact. And these contests are the perfect place for it. Check out local cigar shops near you to see if there is a Longest Ash Contest being held soon!
El Cigar Shop is a local cigar store located in Glenside, PA. We have an online cigar store that is stocked with a large variety of new, rare, premium, and hard to find cigars from all of your favorite cigar makers. If you are in the greater Philadelphia, come by and visit us at 401 W Glenside Ave or call us at 215-576-5300. Be sure to check out our selection of cigars online at El Cigar Shop and look at our outrageous deals on cigar bundles and more. You can also read more cigar-related articles here. Contact Us to ask us about finding your favorite rare cigars!