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Cigar Boxes: Works of Art Unto Themselves
Plasencia makes cigar boxes for a large number of cigar makers in Honduras, including Rocky Patel cigars, Toraño cigars, and some private labels such as Maroma, Aspira Corojo, and of course Plasencia Reserva Organica cigars. Plasencia’s box factory is adjacent to Nestor Plasencia’s ranch-style home, which also provides a beautiful view of the lush green mountains.
Outside the factory is a large storage area where the lumber is cut and dried. Inside, the box factory buzzes with the sounds of saw blades, electric sanders, routers, engraving machines, and the acrid smell of lacquer. How meticulously detailed the box should be is discussed with the manufacturer prior to production. Rather than covering the box with printed paper, many boxes are stamped with a lead plate, leaving an impression in the box. Many boite nature, or “natural” wood boxes are done this way, which is also more cost-effective.
When we arrived in Esteli, we were given a through tour of the Perdomo Cigars factory. Nick Perdomo was happy to oblige us with a personal tour of his operation, pointing out that every part of the cigar making process, with the exception of printing the bands, is done in his factory, including making the boxes. As a result, there are two factories on the premises: the cigar factory and the box factory.
Because only Perdomo cigar boxes are made there, Nick puts extra effort into getting the boxes exactly the way he wants them, and his standards are incredibly high. Some of the boxes are exceedingly intricate in their design, and in some cases equally ornate, like the boxes for the Perdomo Edicion de Silvio cigars series (see photo above).
Nick cuts his own trees, dries and cuts the wood, and sorts it based on the type of boxes they make. The boxes are cut to the specs required by the particular line extension and assembled. During the painting process for Perdomo Reserve Selection boxes, for example, he uses the same type of enamel used on automobiles, and similarly, each box gets three coats of paint and is then hand waxed. That’s why the Perdomo Reserve boxes have such a beautiful luster to them.
Others, like the boxes for the Perdomo Habano cigars, are more simple by design. But even here Nick goes the extra mile in the creation of this box. When you slide off the top of the box, it fits into a specially notched slot that runs along the back of the box. This notch is cut at an angle so the top leans back. This is perfect for retailers when they display the cigars, because the lid doesn’t flop back down, and customers can see both the cigars and the brand.
So, the next time you buy cigars in a wooden box, you may want to think twice before tossing the box in the trash. Even the most simply constructed box is a work of art unto itself. £
If you’d like to learn about and see some of the world’s most unusual cigar boxes, click here.