When a cigar burns well…

In conference room number 3 in the Convention Palace of Habana, a large number of people hindered our step, at exactly two in the afternoon on the 27th of February 2014.

What was the cause of this infrequent situation in this building?

I found the answer in the program for the Sixteenth Annual Habanos Cigar Festival…precisely at this hour, a masterful conference was developing about the combustibility of tobacco that included an original competition…the longest lasting ash. This competition is also known as el cenicerazo, the big ash-off.

The conference speakers were Vladimir Andino and Felipe Milanés, who explained, between other elements and concepts, that the humidity of the tobacco plant leaf plays a primary role in the combustion of the Habano cigar of the future.

Throughout the years it has been proven that the high percentages of concentrated potassium, magnesium, and calcium in the tobacco leaves constitute a vital aspect in the quality of combustion. It is also very important to make a point of having an efficient drying process for the leaves.

It is the combustion, good or bad, on which the quality of the ash obtained depends. In order to evaluate this aspect you need to take into account the color, length, duration and compaction.

A good ash is one that presents a clear grey color…an excellent ash is one that shows us a white grey color.

While the interesting conference went on, hundreds of cigars burned and the enclosure filled with an exquisite aroma that rose supplying many fragrances, including  H. Upman, Partagás series 6, Hoyo of Moterrey, Vegas Robaina, and Cohíba, among others.

The day went on full of expectation in the face of so much ceniza larga, long lasting ash…but in the end, it demonstrated that when a good cigar burns well, many favorable things come about.

– Lic. Armando Álvarez