Round Cigars vs. Box-pressed Cigars

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, “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.

Some other fine box pressed cigars include the Perdomo2 selections, Alec Bradley Prensado, 601 (Blue) Maduro, and Flor de Gonzalez Selection to name a few.

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.

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  1. George says:

    I really didn’t like the box pressed cigars the first couple of times I had them. But after a couple Oliva Serie G maduros I’m starting to come around (no pun intended) to this shape. I think it will actually open my horizons somewhat.

  2. JimW says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. Lots of great box pressed action out there – also some fine smokes at a very reasonable price. One of my favorites is the Oliva Serie G maduro torpedo Spicy, chocolaty goodness that burns like a champ.

  3. tommyzman says:

    Hey Gary, my brutha,

    The Padron Anniversario Maduro, 601 Blue Label , an the Alec Bradley Prensado are some of the best box pressed smokes on the market for sure! Just smoked the 601 this afternoon… but now you’ve got me jonesing for more!

    - Tommy Z.

  4. Ken says:

    I like box-pressed cigars equally, some are better than their round counterpart.

  5. Art says:

    Yeah, I have to admit I have passed on box pressed cigars solely because of their shape, but the RP 1992 that tried was FABULOUS! I guess I better be a little more flexible.

  6. Cigars says:

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Thanks.

  7. Darrell says:

    Very insightful article….I too was a round head….till I tried the CAO Cameroon…the burn was perfect all the way…the flavor stayed till the end as good as it was at the very light up…I now lean heavy toward the box.

  8. roy.r says:

    And they stay where you put them too. I still love the old Indian Tabac boxed-pressed and have never had a bad one.

  9. Dave Allen says:

    I just got a box of Victor Sinclair Toro Grandes that are cognac infused. The cigar label reads “box pressed” but the cigars are round and in tubes. I thought box pressed cigars were square? Can you shed some light on this?

  10. Gary Korb says:

    Hi Dave,
    You are correct about box-pressing. The cigars should be square. Are you saying the factory label said so, or was it a retailer’s label? It could be a factory error. We’ve had similar situations, but I believe that Famous is no longer carrying Victor Sinclair.

  11. Scott says:

    I started smoking the box pressed 601 blue prominentes about a year ago. They are the absolute best. I have tried hundreds in my search to find a better smoke. I just wish I could find a comperable one that was cheaper.

  12. Gary Korb says:

    @Scott: I like the 601 Blue a lot, too. I’m sure if you did some digging you could find something comparable for a lot less. Feel free to email me and I’ll try to find some brands for you that will fit the bill.

  13. Chad Carruthers says:

    Hey Guys,
    I am generally a cigar fan of every type and size, and have been smoking cigars for well over 20 years. I have to disagree with the comment that box pressed cigars have more flavor and burn more evenly, or for that matter burn slower. While I do agree that all the cigars listed here are great smokes, I believe they would be just as good if they were not box pressed. I understand the tradition of the box pressed cigar, but I am absolutely not a fan. In fact, I only smoke them if the cigar is not offered in a round variety. In fact, I can’t stand box pressed cigars, as I am smoking one right now that was given to me. I had to find a blog to share my disgust. Of course, it is only my opinion and my opinion only matters to me. Just wanted to share my thoughts. The important thing about cigars is there are plenty varieties out there for everyone.

  14. Ed Lopez says:

    Don’t care for box pressed sticks. Don’t like the feel. I know RP makes a lot of pressed cigars and claims they taste better. I have smoked a few and disagree.

  15. Marty McFadden says:

    I always thought that they are funny looking. I got some pressed torpedos as a bonus when I bought some super premiums, so I gave it a try. Now I’m hooked. Love the way they burn, love the way they draw. The pressing seems to improve these two qualities, as I have tried the same stick in both round and pressed.