Numerous cigar brands out there make a cigar that bears the name “8-9-8”. What is 8-9-8? It’s actually very simple. Even though it may make you think of the numbers on your bag of lawn fertilizer, it is nowhere near that complicated.
8-9-8 is a reference to the manner in which the cigars were packaged into the box.
There would be 8 cigars on the bottom row, 9 cigars on top of them, and 8 cigars on the top row. This was a convenient and stable way to package 25 cigars in a box. Many cigar boxes were actually shaped with an outward scallop to the inside edge to accommodate the extra width of the 9th cigar in the middle row.
The origin of the 8-9-8 packaging method is generally attributed to Ramón Allones and the cigar brand of his same name. Allones is also often regarded as the first to use lithograph box art and bands on his cigars, but we’ll get to that later. The shape of the original 8-9-8 cigar was a parejo named the Dalias, which was a Lonsdale measuring 6.7” x 43 ring. Many brands package cigars of various sizes in this three layer staggered orientation; but, generally, if they use the 8-9-8 name on it, you can expect it to be in the Lonsdale size category.