What Are Box Pressed Cigars?

What Are Box Pressed Cigars?

Box-pressed cigars are a distinctive choice among cigar enthusiasts, offering a unique smoking experience. These cigars, pressed into a square or rectangular shape, provide both aesthetic appeal and practical advantages. This comprehensive guide delves into the world of box-pressed cigars, exploring their history, differences from traditional round cigars, how to cut them, their manufacturing process, and some top-rated selections. Whether you're a seasoned aficionado or a curious newcomer, this article will enrich your understanding and appreciation of box-pressed cigars.

History of Box-Pressed Cigars

The origins of box-pressed cigars are somewhat mysterious, with roots tracing back to pre-embargo Cuba. Although it's unclear which brand first introduced box-pressing, several theories exist regarding its inception. Some believe it was a method to maximize packaging efficiency by fitting more cigars into each box. Others suggest that box-pressing was designed to prevent cigars from rolling off flat surfaces, particularly useful once they are lit. Another theory posits that box-pressing helped protect cigars from damage during transport, especially on sailing vessels.

Regardless of the exact origin, box-pressed cigars gained significant popularity during the Cigar Boom of the 1990s. A pivotal moment came when Padron released its Padrón 1964 Anniversary blend to mark the company’s 30th anniversary. The cigar’s unique box-pressed profile captivated smokers and critics alike, setting a trend that many other brands followed.

Differences Between Box-Pressed and Round Cigars

While the most obvious difference between box-pressed and traditional round cigars is their shape, several other factors distinguish these two formats. Box-pressed cigars are often credited with offering a slower burn and a looser draw, partly due to the way air flows through the cigar; because the square shape doesn't allow for a full seal with your lips, air from outside the cigar mixes with the smoke, potentially resulting in a cooler and more consistent flavor.

The shape of a box-pressed cigar can also affect how it fits in your mouth. Some smokers find the square profile less comfortable, while others appreciate the unique feel. Personal preference plays a significant role here, as the experience can vary widely among individuals. Many aficionados believe box-pressed cigars burn more evenly than their round counterparts, as the tighter packing and squared-off edges can lead to a more controlled burn, enhancing the smoking experience.

How to Cut a Box-Pressed Cigar

Cutting a box-pressed cigar requires a bit more finesse compared to a traditional round cigar. While a standard guillotine cutter can be used, especially on smaller ring gauges, it might not accommodate larger box-pressed cigars easily. For best results, use a large double-blade guillotine cutter and ensure the cigar is properly aligned before making the cut.

A punch cutter is a great alternative for box-pressed cigars; by applying multiple punch cuts to the cigar's cap, you can increase airflow, but be gentle to avoid cracking the cap. Cigar scissors offer precise control and are ideal for larger ring gauges, so ensure the scissors open wide enough to encompass the cigar's width for a clean, straight cut.

How Box-Pressed Cigars Are Made

Box-pressed cigars can be created through several methods, each affecting the final shape and smoking characteristics. The most common method involves pressing the cigars after rolling; freshly rolled cigars are packed tightly into boxes, which are then stacked and placed under gradual pressure, gently compressing the cigars into a square shape. Trunk-pressing is a more meticulous technique, where individual cigars are pressed between wooden slats for 30 minutes to 12 hours. This method results in sharp, defined edges but requires careful handling to prevent damage to the wrapper leaf.

Top-Rated Box-Pressed Cigars

Box-pressed cigars have earned high praise in the cigar community, with many receiving top ratings and awards. Here are some notable examples:

  • Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark: This cigar's unique shape and exceptional flavor have earned it high accolades, including Cigar Aficionado’s #1 Cigar of the Year.
  • My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Press: Known for its rich, complex flavors, this cigar is a favorite among connoisseurs.
  • Padron Family Reserve #45 Maduro: A celebration of Padron’s legacy, this cigar offers a rich, full-bodied experience.
  • Flor de las Antillas Toro: This box-pressed gem from Nicaragua is praised for its balance and consistency.
  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado: Renowned for its complexity and smoothness, this cigar has won numerous awards.
  • Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill: With a robust flavor profile, this cigar is a standout in the box-pressed category.

Other notable mentions include the Ashton VSG, La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor, and Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro, all of which have received high ratings and are beloved by cigar enthusiasts.


Box-pressed cigars offer a unique and enjoyable smoking experience, distinguished by their shape, burn characteristics, and flavor profiles. Whether you're drawn to their aesthetic appeal or the distinctive draw and taste, box-pressed cigars are a worthy addition to any cigar collection. Explore different brands and blends to find your favorite, and enjoy the rich history and craftsmanship that goes into every box-pressed cigar.

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