Why do most cigar boxes have a block of wood in them?
In the early 1800’s cigars were flying off of the shelves. At the time there wasn’t much regulation from the government surrounding the smoking of cigars. In an attempt to change that, cigar boxes were mandated by law in 1863. At this time the amount of cigars that came in a box were regulated as well as the packaging. The law stated that the boxes had to made of either glass or wood. The boxes also had to come in quantities of 25, 50, 100, 250, or 500.
After the packaging laws were put into place the cigar boxes were being made mostly of wood because it was more cost effective and easier to make them that way rather than from glass. The manufacturers also were putting a little block of Spanish cedar in each package in order to keep the cigar rows even. At the time, they were unaware that the cedar block was actually helping to keep the cigars fresher for a longer time. The same way that cedar chests and closets do in homes now. As an added bonus, the wooden block also gave off that nice cedar aroma that we’ve grown so accustomed to when opening the box.
Even in this day and age, you will still find that little block of wood in the cigar box with that familiar cedar smell. It is also a nice idea to save that block of Spanish cedar wood after you have finished your box of cigars and put it in your humidor to keep the cigars smelling and aging nicely. You can replace the cedar block each time you receive a new box of cigars or you can sand it a little bit every now and then to get the cedar smell back.
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