Cigar Packaging | Singles, Samplers & Boxes
Lesson 8: Cigar Packaging
Types of Packaging
Most cigars are packaged in cellophane, but some cigars are boxed with nothing to protect the individual cigars. The following are types of packaging:
- Plastic Tubes
- Indvidual Wooden Box
A bundle consists of 10 to 50 cigars wrapped in paper, cellophane or both. Bundled cigars give customers the opportunity to purchase a decent handmade cigar at a reasonable price. Most premium and Super premium cigars are packaged in either cardboard or cedar boxes. Bundles are usually seconds or lower quality cigars, but there are exceptions to this rule. Examples of premium cigars sold in bundles are as follows:
- Special Jamaicans
- Hoyo Executive Bundles
- Five Stars
- Flor de Baloney
Cigars were originally sold in bundles covered with pigs’ bladders (with a pod of vanilla to improve the smell); then came the use of large chests, holding up to 10,000 cigars.
But in 1830, the banking firm of H. Upmann started shipping cigars, to its directors in London, in sealed cedar boxes stamped with the bank’s emblem. When the bank decided to go full-scale into the cigar business, the cedar box took off as a form of packaging for all the major Havana brands, and all handmade cigars (though small quantities today are sometime packages in cardboard cartons, and single cigars of many brands come in aluminum tubes lined with cedar). Cedar helps prevent cigars from drying out and furthers the maturing process. It also draws out excess moisture and repels those nasty little cigar beetles.
The idea of using colorful lithographic labels, now used for all handmade brands, wherever they come from, started when Ramon Allones, a Galician immigrant to Cuba, initiated their use for the brand he started in 1837. As the industry grew in the mid-19th century, so did the need for clear brand identification. Labels or other illustrations also appear on the inside of the lids of many Havana boxes and other brands. Boxes also usually have colorful decorative borders. The cedar box is sometimes referred to as a boite nature. Paper, usually colored, is normally glued to the interior of the box and is used to cover the cigars it contains. Finally, after being filled and checked, the box is nailed shut and tightly sealed with a green and white label (a custom dating from 1912) to guarantee that the cigars are genuine Havanas. The practice of using labels, usually printed in similar colors and with similar wordings, to seal the box continues today for most handmade brands, Cuban or not.
The form of packaging called 8-9-8 is used for some cigars in the Partagas and Ramon Allones brands. These boxes are polished, have curved edges, and contain 25 cigars, arranged in three layers with eight at the bottom, nine in the middle and eight on the top. Cigars with this sort of packaging are relatively expensive.
5-Cigar Brand Packs
Folks are always asking to buy single cigars to sample before committing to a full box… but with a humidor the size of three football fields, full of thousands of different cigars, it has always been impossible for us to do – even if we charged (gasp!) full price. Thanks to some simple ingenuity and a collaborative effort with cigar makers, we now have the solution: The 5-Cigar Brand Packs! These pre-packs come from a wide range of factories, and contain five of their most popular cigars. And, as is JR’s tradition, are available at a 40% discount! The way this works is – you buy 3 cigars and get 2 FREE in the same pack!