Box-pressed cigars, also known as square-pressed cigars, are cigars that have been molded with square or rectangular edges, as opposed to the traditional cylindrical shape.
The box-pressed process can be done in several ways. The most common method is to roll the cigars in the traditional form, place them in their boxes and pack them tightly. The boxes are then placed in groups that are fixed inside a large crank press whose pressure is gradually increased.
The other method is called log pressing, whereby each individual cigar is compressed between a series of wooden slats for a period of 30 minutes to 12 hours. It is then clamped into a fixed square shape and rotated to press all four sides with the same pressure. Pressing the log gives the cigar a sharp and meticulous corner, but requires more time and skill. It must be done carefully so as not to split or damage the wrapper leaf.
Because freshly twisted cigars are moist and somewhat malleable, pressure helps reshape the cigars. Once the desired shape is achieved, the cigars are removed from the molds and usually placed in boxes for aging. The shapes of the cigars become squarer as the space between the cigars is reduced and they are gently forced to conform to the inside of the box.
There are different grades of box-pressed, which vary from a smooth box-pressed profile with partially rounded corners like Ashton VSG, to a cigar with very sharp 90-degree corners as in the case of Padron 40 Anniversary. Box-pressed cigars represent dozens of Cigar Aficionado magazine's most sought-after and top-rated cigars.
Although some experts claim that the main reason for box-pressing cigars is aesthetics, it cannot be overlooked that they have a number of characteristics that distinguish them from their round counterparts. In terms of taste, some smokers claim that box-pressed cigars offer a slightly different smoking experience compared to their round counterparts, with variations in flavor and aroma. Compression also influences the way the tobacco burns and the evolution of flavors throughout the smoking process. However, the impact on flavor is subjective and can vary depending on the specific cigar and the smoker's preferences.
In addition, box-pressed cigars may produce a different sensation in the hand compared to traditional cigars. In fact, some people prefer the square shape because they find it more comfortable to hold and smoke. Others enjoy the novelty and distinction they add to their cigar collection.
The box-pressing technique has been used for many years in the cigar industry, particularly in regions such as Cuba and Nicaragua. It is believed to have originated in Cuba, where the technique was developed to maximize the number of cigars that would fit in a box, as the square shape facilitated tighter packing, thus maximizing the space available in the boxes and achieving greater packing efficiency.
Others claim that box-pressing was initiated to prevent cigars from rolling on a table or flat surface, especially after lighting, while some argue that cigars were box-pressed to prevent them from rolling and being damaged during transport, for example, on sailing ships.
Regardless of the reasons for their origin, the current popularity of these cigars is due to the Padron brand and its renowned Padron 1964 Anniversary blend, launched in 1994 to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. This cigar captivated cigar lovers and critics alike and became a hallmark that Padron fans associated with the brand's best cigars.
Subsequently, other brands followed suit and since then, several box-pressed cigars have earned the coveted title of Cigar of the Year, awarded annually by Cigar Aficionado magazine. Among them: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark, My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Press, Padron Family Reserve #45 Maduro, Flor de las Antillas Toro, Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado and Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill.
Some of these cigars are available in our store.