When you think about cigar ashtrays, chances are the first image that comes to your mind is a ceramic piece with a glazed finish and probably a manufacturer’s logo on it. While these do make up a large part of the market, there are a vast majority of materials used to make them including but definitely not limited to glass, steel, pewter, lucite and wood. GRAMM Works went the metal route, choosing aircraft grade aluminum blocks for its Cinque Forte ($99) ashtray.
Two anodized finishes are offered: a black (seen here) or gun metal finish, In many ways, the Cinque Forte looks like an oversized version of a classic cigarette ashtray in metal. There’s five spots to hold cigars and a deep bowl with the GRAMM Works logo laser engraved in the middle. All that adds up to a hefty three and a half pounds, which is great if you are concerned about the product being knocked over.
For those concerned about the Cinque Forte potentially scratching a table, a felt bottom is included. In addition, the bottom is hollowed out, a perfect way to grip the ashtray when emptying it. As for the overall design of the ashtray, it has a very similar look to the cap of the GRAMM Works Travel Humidor.
Looks are always something to consider when shopping for an ashtray, but the real question is how well does it function as a cigar holding, ash catching device. One of my biggest gripes for ashtrays are shallow grooves that don’t really hold your cigar. The good news is that the Cinque Forte’s grooves are deep enough to manage a wide range of ring gauges. Having used it with everything from minuscule 32 ring gauge cigars to beefy 60 ring gauge cigars, the grooves did their job even in windy conditions. The one drawback to the bowl design is simply the length of groove, making it mandatory you set your cigar down close to centered so you don’t have it tip forwards or back. On particularly windy days I did experience my cigar being blown backwards out of the groove, though again this is not a unique problem among the majority of ashtrays.
As far as an ash receptacle, the Cinque Forte does quite well at keeping your cigar ash contained. Windy days can blow some minor ash dust around, though the straight sides keep the large chunks of ash from blowing out unlike other curved, shallow bowl-shaped ashtrays would.
It’s roomy enough to be able to accommodate multiple finished cigars and their ash, usually needing emptied somewhere between three and five average sized cigars. This works great if it’s only one or two of you using it, but the ashtray is designed with five grooves for multiple smokers. If all five individuals were smoking a fat 6 x 60 cigar, the ashtray might not be the ideal choice.
One last note to touch on is the durability of the product. After having used it exclusively for the last couple of months, a quick wipe down with a damp cloth would return it to looking brand new. While I’m sure a drop from four feet up onto concrete would damage the finish, you would still have a solid, functioning ashtray. The same could not be said for many ashtrays made out of various materials. Having lost more than my fair share of ashtrays to tables being knocked over, getting knocked off the table, or even having it slip out of my hands when emptying it, knowing that the GRAMM Works ashtray is so sturdy is a nice reassurance.
While there are plenty of ashtrays to choose from, most people are going to ask why they would pay $99 for this when you can get many other nice ashtrays for a third of the price. Many ceramic ashtrays are cheaper and look nice and stainless steel ashtrays like the Stinky line have larger bowls, but there is something to be said for the Cinque Forte’s combination of looks, functionality and durability. GRAMM Works made a product that functions very well, making the rest of the decision one of personal preference.
Disclosure: The sample used for this review was sent to halfwheel by GRAMM Works.