Lately the box-pressed shape (sometimes called square press, trunk press, or cuadrado) has been a growing trend in the cigar industry. Some love the shape and some can’t stand it, but regardless, there have been more and more of these squared stogies on the market lately. This poses the question of where this unique shape originated, and you know what that means—time for another installation of Cigar 101!
The box-pressed shape was originally a product of efficiency rather than a novelty. To save space, cigar manufacturers in Cuba used to pack cigars very tightly in wooden boxes for shipment. They’d eventually take on the shape of the box, hence, box-pressed. Interestingly, some box-pressed cigars will return to their original round shape if left in a humidor for an extended period of time, but a lot of them will keep their shape perfectly.
To achieve the box-pressed shape, manufacturers use a few different techniques. One involves packing freshly rolled cigars into square molds. Another technique is to shape the cigars with a wooden trunk press for up to several hours and then quickly pack them into boxes so they retain their shape.
The first ever non-Cuban box-pressed cigars were the Padron 1964 Anniversary series, several of which earned the highest scores in Cigar Aficionado that have ever been achieved by a non-Cuban. Hundreds of cigar brands now use a box-pressed shape, including Sancho Panza, Oliva Serie G (aside from the “Round” vitolas), Java by Drew Estate, Alec Bradley Prensado, and our very own Alec Bradley Star Insignia. I think the coolest one is the Arturo Fuente Añejos “Shark” #77, which starts as a box-press at the foot and eventually tapers into a rounded torpedo. I’m not sure how they did this but it’s pretty awesome.
I personally prefer box-pressed cigars to round ones. I think they have a better draw and I generally notice a much more even burn—in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a plugged box-pressed cigar. They also won’t roll away if you set them down (which would also make the torcedor’s job easier). But that’s just my opinion—what do you guys think of box-pressed cigars?