Cigar Aficionado's Glossary
of Cigar Terms
The container used to package most premium, handmade cigars. Some credit the start of the practice to Cuba’s H. Upmann brand in the early 1800s. In the United States, laws in 1865, which sought to get an accurate count on sales of cigars for purposes of tax collection, required cigars to be packed in wooden boxes of 25, 50, 100 or 250 cigars. After the U.S. Civil War, cigar boxes were everywhere in the United States. Cigar boxes are traditionally made from wood (particularly Spanish cedar), but tin, cardboard and even plastic have been used.
There are several traditional styles. A Dress Box or Semi-Plain Box is the most common type of cigar box. These boxes are made of wood or cardboard, and the entire box is finished with overlays of decorative embossed paper, usually emblazoned with logos, seals and crests. Many of these boxes are Flat tops, or Thirteen Toppers, the flat rectangular box most popular today, with 13 cigars on top and 12 on the bottom and a spacer. The boxes are typically closed with a brass nail. Semi-Boite Nature is a plain cedar cigar box that has two rear hinges and a brooch-style clasp. A Boite Nature cigar box is a cedar wooden box with two rear hinges, a brooch-style clasp, and four collars within the edges of the box. Cabinet Selection refers to wooden boxes with sliding tops, designed to hold 25 or 50 cigars, often wrapped with a ribbon. This type of packaging is also known as a Slide-Lid box. Cabinets are often much taller than dress or semi-dress boxes, and the cigars are often packed with greater amounts of air between each cigar. Some connoisseurs who age their smokes prefer cigars packed in cabinet style, believing the increased amount of air allows for better aging. 8-9-8 refers to a round-sided box specifically designed to accommodate three rows of cigars—eight on top, nine in the middle, eight on the bottom.