What Makes a Box Press Special?

Picture of Terence Reilly
Terence Reilly

CEO at Aganorsa Leaf

Box Pressed cigars have grown in popularity over the years and Aganorsa makes a fair share of them: our Aniversario series; Validation Corojo, Maduro, and Connecticut; and many of the Supreme Leaf vitolas are all box pressed. Box pressing involves putting the cigars into a press after they are rolled to create a square rather than round form. If the cigar is pressed only slightly it’s called a soft press while a sharp, distinctively square or rectangle look is called a hard press. But does a box press alter your cigar experience? Does it impact the flavor? Does it feel different? Does it serve a practical purpose or is it done for aesthetics? The answer to all these questions is… yes.

When you purchase a cigar, the visual impression is important.

If a cigar looks attractive it commands your attention. Box pressing the cigar gives it a distinctive shape and while more and more box pressed cigars are on the market today most cigars are still traditional in appearance, and so box pressing a cigar makes it stand out in the humidor. With so many options to choose from a distinctive format catches one’s attention and tells the consumer there is something special about this size. And it is a special size as box pressing adds an additional step to the production process and because time is money box pressing makes the cigar a more costly vitola to produce.

Noticing a cigar is only the first step in creating the opportunity for an enjoyable smoking experience; the consumer must then touch and taste. Many cigar aficionados prefer a box press because they like how it feels in the hand and how it rests in the mouth while smoking. The square shape creates a distinctive impression and, for those who appreciate it, a more natural feel.

The most important impact the cigar must have is its effect on the palate—its taste. Here, too, box pressing makes a difference. Because the cigar will be pressed the roller must place slightly less tobacco in the filler to ensure the cigar will still draw when smoking. As a result, the ratio of filler to binder and wrapper tobacco will be altered, and box press cigars often taste more like a round cigar in a smaller ring gauge due to the change in proportions of wrapper/binder to filler. For instance, if you take a blend and roll it into a box press 6×54 toro and wish to produce a round cigar in that same blend that tastes as close as possible to the box pressed version, you would need to make the blend in a 6×52 or a 6×50. In other words, a box press cigar gives you a larger cigar with the smoking experience of a thinner one.

Whether it comes to visual appearance, touch, or taste box pressing cigars alters the consumer’s experience. As to if its better or not to box press though is a personal choice and you must decide for yourself if it’s your preferred format. Please let us know YOUR thoughts on box pressed cigars. Do you prefer them? Why or why not?

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How should you smoke a cigar truly to enjoy it? Everyone needs to make that decision for themselves based on their experience level and comfort zone.

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