Cigar smokers are a funny lot. Although a big part of becoming a "cigar aficionado" is trying a variety of blends and shapes, for the most part, cigar smokers know what they like and tend to stick with it. This includes a preference for how their cigars are rolled, which can be either round or box-pressed, also referred to as "square-pressed."
Also referred to as parejos, it's safe to say that most cigar smokers prefer the round variety. Of course, the more traditional, round handmade premium cigars are produced in greater number, too. Although box-pressed cigars have grown in popularity over the years, there are many cigar smokers who simply refuse to smoke them. To my chagrin, Customer Service has told me on several occasions that a customer returned a box of cigars because I neglected to include that they were box-pressed in the copy. (Sorry.) The main reason for this is, that to many cigar smokers, a square shaped cigar just isn't comfortable.
That said, if a box-pressed cigar gets glowing reviews, most cigar smokers will gladly reach for it and give it a try, even if they usually prefer round cigars.
So how did the box-pressed cigar come into being? According to CigarAdvisor.com, "Box-pressed" or "square-pressed" cigars are literally "pressed" into the factory box, whereby the pressure from the box creates a square shape. Originating in Cuba, this was done to save shipping space. As a result, the process causes the cigars to burn longer and with a more consistent flavor, giving the smoker a more enjoyable smoke.
If you smoke Rocky Patel cigars, you'll notice that some of his more upscale cigars are box-pressed, such as the Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 & 1992, Decade, Olde Worlde Reserve, and Honduran Classic. This is mainly because Rocky personally prefers the box-pressed shape.
CAO is another company that produces a couple of box-pressed selections, such as the CAO Maduro and CAO Italia. They even make a "Cuban Press" sampler that includes cigars made with an authentic Cuban "trunk-press" method. Moreover, CAO regional sales manager, Paul Spence, once told me at a CAO in-store event that he loves box-pressed cigars because they smoke longer, and every puff is as flavorful as the one that preceded it.
Arguably, the most famous box-pressed cigars are the Padron Anniversary selections. Most of their mainline cigars offer pressed shapes, too, but the sharp, trademark edges of the Anniversary seem to be as distinctive as the wonderful flavors they produce as well.
As noted earlier, there are many more round-shaped cigars from which to choose, and they will probably remain the standard for the industry moving forward. If you only smoke round cigars, no problemo amigo, but if you insist on being a stickler about it, you're missing out on some superb experiences.