Last summer, just as we were in the middle of our booth coverage from the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, I saw an article on our site about an ashtray.
And suddenly, for the first time in my life, I was ready to spend $250 on an ashtray.
That story announced that Czevitrum, a Czech Republic-based glassworks company, was selling its ashtrays in the U.S. for the first time. It came through a new distribution deal with a company called LVL Global Trade. Czevitrum has been selling these ashtrays in Europe since 2015 and the company makes a variety of other products like decorative glass, lamps and even a pipe stand.
I didn’t see the ashtrays in person, but it didn’t matter. I was still ready to spend more money than is rational on an ashtray.
WHAT IS IT?
Czevitrum—pronounced Ze-veh-truum—creates each ashtray individually using handblown glass. You can see a video of the process here.
The ashtrays, called Czevitrum Salamander, are offered in a variety of colors and two different sizes, though they are more or less the same style. Each has a relatively circular appearance from the top, with a cut-out that reminds me of a pizza oven. The ash goes inside the bowl, while your cigar rests on the top of the ashtray in slots. As you might guess, the entire design looks like that of the head of a salamander. The small model has two slots, while the larger ones have three slots.
Czevitrum offers a standard option which uses a frosted white exterior—much the same texture as frosted shower glass—and then the inside is made of smooth, colored glass.
There are also two special color options, gold or clear with soda, which don’t have the frosted texture but features small bubbles because of the soda treatment.
Pricing for the U.S. market is as follows:
- Small Standard (Amber/Green/Smoke/White) — $287
- Large Standard (Amber/Blue/Red/Smoke) — $398
- Small Gold — $447
- Large Gold — $574
When we ordered the ashtrays late last year, LVL Global wasn’t carrying all of the models that Czevitrum makes, though I listed what was available above. There is also a white/black combo and I’ve seen pictures of something that resembles pink. Notably, the clear ashtrays weren’t available.
Because each one is made individually, the ashtrays are all a bit different. For example, we ordered a large blue and a large gold ashtray. The blue is larger and heavier, but the gold has a much wider opening.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It’s an ashtray, so rather intuitively.
Your cigar rests in one of the slots on top of the ashtray. Our small ashtray had about 1 3/4 inches between the overhang and the bottom of the ash, meaning that if your cigar has three inches of built-up ash and the ash naturally fell you might find yourself cleaning ash off of a table.
On the larger ashtrays, it varied between 2-2 1/2 inches depending on the model from the middle inlet. Also somewhat of note, the tops of the ashtrays weren’t all flat. The white/blue large ashtray we bought is angled somewhat down, the small ashtray has been made so that the ash is higher up than the top of the cigar, and the gold one was flat. Once again, I suspect that this is due to their handmade nature.
There’s a small bump in the center of each ashtray. You probably wouldn’t notice this at first, but once you pick up the ashtray you can see the dimple that the bump creates in the bottom. It’s subtle, but it’s definitely useful for knocking off the ash.
- They Are Stunning — Every time we have someone over to the office and they see the ashtrays, they ask about them. If you are trying to build a nice lounge, the last thing in the world most people want to do is stick one of those square ashtrays with a company’s branding on each side. This completely avoids it.
- It’s Unique — Similarly, many of those people have asked what it is. Most of them have seemed to sense that it’s an ashtray, but these don’t inherently look like an ashtray which is always a plus. Also, every ashtray is likely to be a little bit different.
- It’s Made for Cigars — My recommendation for trying to find unique ashtrays at a much more affordable price is to browse Etsy. I’ve bought some very interesting looking ashtrays for under $50 off Etsy, but a lot of them aren’t really designed for cigars. Sure, they can fit a cigar, but they oftentimes end up causing a lot more ash fragments than an ashtray that is designed for cigars.
- The Weight — This could be a con for some, but the ashtrays are substantial. When you pick them up, you can understand why they cost so much.
- It Works — It’s an ashtray so the bar is pretty low, but it catches and holds the ash as you would expect.
- Price — This isn’t the most expensive ashtray I’ve ever seen but this is definitely the absolute limit of what I’d spend on an ashtray. For what it’s worth, there’s one other luxury ashtray I’ve been enamored with, this Stefano Ricci ashtray, in particular, because of the seamless mother of pearl border. Given the pricing of Stefano Ricci’s other cigar accessories, I haven’t bothered asking but it is inevitably quite a bit more than the gold Salamander.
- Using This for More Than One Person is Tough — While the large model has slots for three cigars, it’s not designed to be used by three people at once. Because the slots are close together and all in the same direction, you would need to sitting parallel to two other people to really make use of the slots. Even then, the person in the middle is going to get annoyed pretty quickly by the number of times the other two people are going to reach over. And because the ashtrays weigh so much, I’m not even sure regularly turning the ashtray is much of an option without a lazy Susan-like device, but even then, it’s really just a one-person ashtray.
- Durability — We were originally shipped a different blue ashtray that was a slightly different shape. Unfortunately, it broke during shipping. Here’s a picture of what it looked like before shipping. LVL Global sent us a replacement free of charge. But it’s a glass ashtray; dropping it on the floor is likely going to have the same effect as you burning a few hundred dollar bills.
- Cleaning — This isn’t the most challenging ashtray I’ve ever had to clean but it’s a bit more work than cleaning one of the aforementioned square ashtrays or something like a Stinky. I’d recommend using some sort of wipe instead of a rag or paper towel.
I have no idea what is similar. I’ve never really seen an ashtray quite like this, though if you have, please leave a comment as it’s a new year, which means a new ashtray budget.
A FUN FACT
The gold ashtray is smooth on the outside, but if you run your hand on the inside you can feel the bubbles. Also, I managed to write a 1,000-plus word ashtray review.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
If you have any sense about buying an ashtray, you should not. There are a lot of ashtrays for less than $30 that will hold your ash, are easier to clean and nearly indestructible.
But if you are like me and want your cigar lounge to have the coolest ashtray in the area, I’m not sure there’s any better option.