Ashtray mouth: How do you get rid of it?

by Daniel on October 9, 2008

Have you smoked a cigar but found that brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash doesn’t quite get rid of the aftertaste? Of course you have.

My question for you: What’s your go-to item — a drink, something you eat, whatever — for ridding your mouth of the taste? Do you even bother?

Popularity: 47% [?]

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Zaagmans October 9, 2008 at 7:03 am

Licorice does the trick for me…but hey, I’m Dutch ;-)


Mount Chuck October 9, 2008 at 7:30 am

I usually carry the orange Listerine Pocket Paks. The regular green ones are too strong, but the orange ones do a good job, and the package is a lot smaller than a pack of gum or a tin of Altoids.


Daniel October 9, 2008 at 7:51 am

Is it very orange-y? I’ve always shied away from orange mouthwash, etc.


Jason October 9, 2008 at 8:13 am

If it’s so bad that I need something to take away the taste, Sucrets is the only thing shy of gasoline that will do it. Of course, if you try to smoke another cigar within a twelve hour period, you’re SOL. I usually don’t worry about it though.


John B October 9, 2008 at 10:33 am

I come home from my local B&M with not only cigar mouth but cigar aura. My wife and kids practically banish me. So breathe mints and a change of clothes is all I got!


Ben McClure October 9, 2008 at 11:27 am

I’ve found drinking something acidic (water with lemon in it) or lemonade combined with eating gets rid of it most times.


CWS October 9, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Ginger snap cookies – the organic kind made by Midel. Does the trick all the time, plus it tastes good.


Adam Snider October 9, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Normally brushing my teeth will do the trick, as will eating something. A nice shot of scotch or rum can also help (and since I’m often drinking when I’m smoking, it’s a logical choice).

I find that, for some reason, if I use mouthwash after I smoke it will actually make my tongue feel like it’s burning. It’s not a pleasant experience, so I usually avoid mouthwash after I finish a cigar (for some reason, it’s even worse if I’ve been smoking my pipe, rather than a cigar).


Joseph October 9, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Breath-RX mints or mouthwash. It’s the stuff you find in dentists’ offices. Unlike all the commercial stuff on the market (i.e., Listerine), it has no alcohol so it doesn’t dry the palate out.


Jason Sanchez October 9, 2008 at 2:56 pm

I use Big Red gum. I chew about 2-3 immediately aftwards. I try to chew fast and swish a lot of the juices around. Then maybe another 1-2 about 10 mins after that if needed.


Mike October 9, 2008 at 3:11 pm

I use Dr Nicks breath freshner. I heard it advertised on Cigar Dave on SIRIUS Radio. It works pretty good.


Chip October 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm

I keep a bottle of Targon mouthwash in the car for this purpose. Although if I know I’ll be around others not smoking cigars I’ll generally smoke a Rocky Patel. I find They have been consistant with not leaving a bad taste or an intrusive stench and my wife will let me in the bed.


Daniel October 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Jason, Ben, CWS, Adam, Joseph, Mike, Chip – Thanks for the responses.

It looks like I’ve been missing out. There’s a whole world of breath freshening products out there.

I wonder how well original Listerine works…


JackR October 9, 2008 at 3:54 pm

My dentist suggested a mouthwash called CloSys, available in all the chain drug stores around here. It doesn’t burn (no alcohol), just has a nice clean taste. Quite effective for me. Comes with a tiny vial of mint flavoring; you can add as many drops to the bottle as suits your taste (or not). I have also had good luck with a brand of gum called Cobalt 5 (made by Wrigley), particularly the blue variety (peppermint flavor). Very refreshing.


Merrill Guice October 9, 2008 at 7:34 pm

I stay away from cigars with too much pepper and my tongue seems to like me for it. Not as much irritation. Avoiding the real cheap cigars also works wonders.

I always drink either a Manhatten or a Martini with my cigar and that seems to cut the nicotine and tar off the tongue. I used to drink coffee, but the bacteria driven coffee breath was too hard to scrub out. Citrus drinks conflict with certain cigars on my palate.

I brush with a Sonicare and take care to scrub down the back of the tongue (not the front) and I use a non-alcohol mouthwash. That normally takes care of the breath; however, that is not the only smell generator….

If you like to roll some of the smoke up through your sinus, your nose exhalations smell like cigar the next day. I started doing a sinus irrigation in the shower (if you are eating right now, sorry) and my wife says it works, so it must really work.


Daniel October 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Merrill – Just one Manhattan/Martini? Do you do one or the other with dark/light cigars?

Jack – Thanks for recommending CloSys. Here’s the link.


Merrill Guice October 9, 2008 at 10:02 pm

I do try to keep it to one cigar and one drink a night! I’m on a diet, after all. I tend to pair the maduros with the Manhattens and the lighter cigars with the Martini’s — made classic style with orange bitters and stirred, not shaken.


Edward October 10, 2008 at 12:37 am

Chocolate ice cream, usually just a few spoons does the trick. I think the creaminess helps coat your mouth, and the chocolate is a nice counterpoint to cover the spiciness of the cigars I tend to smoke


Edward October 10, 2008 at 12:39 am

“made classic style with orange bitters and stirred, not shaken.”

Stirred…outstanding. I love a good stirred martini. Have never tried one with orange bitters. Have a recipe?


Patrick October 10, 2008 at 11:49 am

Lemonade (as long as it’s made with fresh/real lemons!) – Anything with a high acid rating helps out (as long as you don’t have a lot of plaque in your mouth!!! that will keep the flavor longer than anything that can instantly rid the stink!! The only way to fix that is to brush/scrape it out!).


Merrill Guice October 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

The recipe comes from Eric Feltman’s WSJ Weekend column “How’s Your Drink?”. Unfortunately, this column is older than 90 days and is in the paid section on Activa.

Eric is a cocktail geek who searches out original recipes. The orange bitters was to balance the sweetness of the vermouth.

2 oz Gin
1 oz White Vermouth
2 dashes Orange bitters

Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker, add cracked ice, stir with long spoon, strain into Martini glass. Add olive.

If your liquor store doesn’t carry it, you can purchase Fee Brother’s Orange Bitters at: KegWorks


Daniel October 10, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Hell yeah. Sounds like a great recipe.

Any of you own Trader Vic’s Bartender Guide? There are some great classic drink recipes in there.


Carl Riley October 10, 2008 at 11:26 pm

I know this sounds funny,but I brush and gargle with cola any brand. This has been working for me for many years. I also prefer it as my cigar drink
It seems to keep the flavor clean and helps when you are smoking several different brands at the same time. Of course some dark rum is great with the cola also, but brush with the plain coke. ope this helps


CWS October 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Did an experiment this weekend with mouth “fresheners.”

I bought CloSys and an organic brand from Whole Foods. My wife shops at Whole Foods so we get a lot of organic food to offset my alcohol and tobacco oriented ways.

Anyway – CloSys is great but I liked it better at night before I went to bed. Depending on the strength of the cigar, sometimes it hid my cigar breath and other times, it did not. However – my mouth felt clean when using it and since there is no alcohol – no dry mouth.

The Whole Foods brand is organic and contains lots of healthy stuff like tea tree oil. It has a slight, subtle spearmint flavor and certainly no alcohol. It’s passed the kiss test immediately after finishing off a 601 Obscuro.

Both work well and are worth the investment.


Ken October 17, 2008 at 12:09 am

re: #8 Adam:

I think the pipe running hotter on your tongue is a consequence of the fact that pipe smoke tends to be more concentrated on one particular spot due to the draw hole on a pipe being smaller than the typical cigar cut. Since you use your tongue to create suction on the pipe bit, it tends to be close to the concentrated point where the smoke comes through the hole, and I think it results in the hotter spot. At least that’s as much as I’ve been able to discern in my smoking adventures.

As far as smoking breath, I tend to brush with my sonicare using baking soda-based tooth powder. I also find washing my face seems to help, since when I smoke I tend to revel in the wisps of blue smoke that the cigar produces. I also have a “smoking jacket” that I wear over my clothes, which is an old thin Japanese-style robe that I picked up for a song. It stays out on the rack, while I come in and brush. The wife seems to appreciate that.


Adam Snider October 17, 2008 at 9:55 am

@Ken – That makes sense. I guess I never made the connection between the more focused heat and the resulting extra intensity of mouthwash on my tongue after I finish smoking the pipe.

I love that you have a smoking jacket. That’s so classy.


Trian November 17, 2008 at 9:38 pm

An owner of a cigar bar once suggested the tannins in apples reduces the ashtray mouth.

I tried it a couple of times and it seemed to help


ElTigre July 10, 2010 at 12:54 am

I always use Dark Chocolate, really dark. At least 70% or more cocoa. This helps cleanse the palate and goes well with a good cigar. Must be done immediately for best taste and results.And if you dont like chocolate try a handful of garlic!


Connor April 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm



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