A box-pressed cigar, which is sometimes called "square-pressed" is not round but square shaped at the ring gauge. See photo above.
Lack of Information:
Before moving on however, I would like to point out further the lack of detailed information about this cigar-shape. As for myself, I honestly and humbly admit that I knew very little about this subject. In a very non-excusable and weak defense I am European, and in Europe box-pressed are not a hit like in the United States. Of course there are some box-pressed cigars that are very popular in Europe as well: just to mention a couple - Padrón 1964th Anniversary, Aging Room Quattro F55... And Rocky Patel box pressed also seem to sell largely on my beautiful Continent. CAO also produces great box-pressed lines, and many more...!
Nonetheless, in my culture, and also from my years working in Europe with premium cigars (see "About Me"), I confirm that the general talk and hype felt for this shape of cigars are very slim in comparison to the American market. We tend to stay rather "classic" in some regards.
I must also add that, for me personally, box-pressed shaped cigars are not the ones of my choice. This square pressed stick does not feel comfortable in my hand nor on my lips.
On the contrary, I have read in many forums, that some smokers specifically prefer box-pressed for the exact same reasons as I mentioned here above about my classic beauties! So, many smokers feel comfort of that shape between their fingers and even in their mouth as they puff.... Interesting!
To get back to the topic of this section: Lack of Information
There is information, but for a tobacco-geek, a hungry one, like me, there just isn´t enough. Cigar Aficionado has written about Box-pressed cigars with a very interesting little video in Partagás Cigar Factory in Havana, Cuba, not to mention their enchanting article about Padrón!
Furthermore, Padrón have talked a good deal about this shape, so has Rafael Nodal (you can see him on Youtube if you search for his name and "Box-pressed cigars"), as has Rocky Patel, CAO, and many more certainly.
It is easy to Google up all these names in connection with "box pressed cigars," good information as well as opinions are being openly told.
I also read through a good number of forums on this matter and once more the lack of knowledge was palpable. Yet it was also very refreshing! This lack of expertise was not in a bad way, it was in a genuinely sweet and comical way. Smokers did not try to show off some false knowledge, there were barely any misconceptions and what was true awareness was deep and genuine... but hence, quite little.
What made these forums enlightening to me, as I was researching on the topic, was how many (it was MANY) smokers who jokingly wrote "it won´t roll off the table!"
I liked that because it was simply honest and funny, loving cigars with a pinch of humor.
Moreover though, these forums confirmed what I mentioned above: many smokers enjoy the feel in their hand and on their lips (on the exact contrary to me and many other smokers).
Affect on Tasting Profile of Box-Pressed Cigars
There is a lot being said about the taste being enhanced in this shape, mostly due to tightly pressed tobaccos which get to marry each other on another level.
This is true, yet not always:
Every Vitola of one given blend will have a certain give, and its own profile-notes added, such as in the growth of the ring gauge of a Perfecto or the thinning of the latter such as in a Pyramid, and so on... The box-pressed shape will also have its special give to the profile but it is not the only shape with "more flavor" as is often thought.
In like manner, I have seen in some forums that a box-pressed cigar will smoke longer: this could be true in some tight square-pressed blends, yet not always, in the thinner filler-cases, in which case the smoke performed longer thanks to Excellency in blending and so much more along the process.
- Moreover, the amount of ligero versus the amount of seco tobaccos will also affect the length of the burn regardless of the shape.
Yet, some other opinions are what I just called them - "opinions," as in for instance:
"Box-pressed cigars will have just as much, or more, flavor as the previous inch or more..." This latter opinion which I have frankly seen a few times now should not be applied solely to a cigar being box-pressed!
- As I find myself recurrently saying, this should be the fact for any well-blended, well-proportioned, well-constructed cigar, regardless of it being round, square-pressed, a parallel or a figurado!
(Note: See my previous article "Smoking Different Sizes, Vitolas and Ring Gauges of Premium Cigars" here in Cigar Fantasía).
Likewise, in forums smokers talk about box-pressed cigars as providing "a better burn..." or "a worse burn...!"
--- Well, taste is, as I repeatedly say, subjective.
On the other hand, it is correct that often tobaccos will be pressed more tightly and how they marry can show extremely interesting and rich in a box-pressed cigar!
Yet will pressing the tobaccos in this manner work for every blend?
- No. Some blends simply will not perform well as box-pressed.
Some blends will perform fantastically as a box-pressed stick but cannot have their specific tobaccos pressed so tightly together which is when the proportion is worked carefully to fit in which case the statement of "the cigar being more rich and flavorful due to the tobaccos pressed tightly together" will not hold.
Finally, there is a difference in the taste-profile as with all vitolas, and in the cases of given blends that can afford to keep their original proportion pressed tightly together, those are indeed extremely interesting and often memorable cigars!
My Personal Conclusion to this Topic
First of all, I would like again to point out the lack of detailed information and general knowledge on this matter - why? Maybe there is not much more to say about it, or maybe it is understood enough already to know how, when or if to enjoy a box-pressed cigar.
As many know though, I never settle with "Maybe there is not much more to say about it" so if anyone has more information and deeper wisdom about this shaped cigar then please contact me, enlighten me and I will be happy to write further (of course with mention of the name to whom credit is due!).