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Anto’s Blog

Cigar Date 5/12/17

The results of our Longest Ash Competition came as a surprise to all our regulars, as the winner turned out to be someone who’d pretty much just strolled into the shop that evening. He was interested in the cigar that was going to be used for the competition, and, when he found out that the only way to get the cigar was to compete, he decided to stick around.

He stuck around for an hour and 36 minutes, to be exact.

The reason I know that he stuck around for an hour and 36 minutes is that the rules of the competition proved to be a little more complex than simply keeping a long ash on your cigar. Our official umpire explained that, while the ash was important, there was another aspect to the contest: who could keep his cigar burning longest.

Thus you had to light up, and everyone had to keep their ash in place for the first 40 minutes, or receive a time penalty when it came to the keeping it lit phase. I hope I make that sound as simple as it seemed to us on the night.

Things were complicated by the dimensions of the cigars provided: the challenge was increased by the small length and ring gauge of the sticks. One could conceivably smoke the stick through long before other people had reached the ends of theirs. Thus one had to pace oneself, but the challenge existed on the other end of the spectrum as well: you weren’t allowed to relight your cigar.

In point of fact, this second phase of the competition was a great deal more challenging than simply sitting there without dribbling ash. While going forty minutes without getting ash on your clothes is something of a feat, the achievement is largely a physical one. The keeping the cigar lit with neither relighting it nor finishing it too quickly is a game of strategy and not just one of sitting still. It made the competition a great deal more intriguing than we made it sound on the announcements.

Our winner was thus the unexpected gentleman who literally came in off the street, who went home with the snappy watch (and a box of cigars) as a prize. He seemed most pleased with the evening…and its results.


Our runner-up was no one other than my wife, Aida. I’m not sure at least a few of the men in the room had not been expecting a woman to come out ahead of all our regulars, but that she did.

Brava, Aida.

And maybe it’s time we had some Girl Power at Cigars by Chivas.

(I guess I have to add that, although Aida took part in the fun, members of Team Chivas and their immediate families are, of course, not eligible to win prizes at our events.)

The competition proved a very big success – as big a success as it could have been, as the shop was Standing Room Only that night. I’m glad we hosted it. I hope we get the chance to do so next year.