There are very few luxury products left in the world that haven't been faked. That unfortunately includes Cuban cigars.
So what can one do to ensure that the cigars one is buying are really genuine and authentic Cubans?
Here are my pointers to spot a fake cigar:
Firstly, there is the box code. The box code is ink stamped onto the bottom of the cigar box or the cardboard outer packing, sometimes both! Both the production dates and the box codes are applied before leaving the cigar factory, either for warehousing or for immediate export. We are happy to give you the box code for any cigar that we sell from our range. Then you can head to the official Cuban Habanos S.A. Website and type the code in, and see what happens.
Secondly, packaging. Real Cuban cigars come packed in boxes that are marked with the distinctive Habanos seal in the upper right-hand corner on top of the box, with the Cuban warranty seal (the “made in Cuba” stamp) on the left.
Furthermore, Habanos S.A. (the official exclusive worldwide exporter of Cuban cigars) issued a new version of this seal back in March 2010. It has a hologram on the far right side and a bar code on the far left. Holograms are fairly expensive and technologically tricky to copy. These additions, along with watermarks and incredibly strong adhesive, mean the label can’t be easily duplicated, and can’t be removed and affixed to a fake without ruining it entirely.
The bottom of a Cuban cigar box has further proofs. There you’ll see the words Habanos S.A., Hecho En Cuba, and Totalmente a Mano (if the cigar is handmade, as all our range are apart from the Cohiba Club). Counterfeits are often missing some of these details.
Thirdly, the taste. Fake cigars use crappy low grade tobacco which will taste pants. If you cannot tell the difference then perhaps you shouldn't be smoking them in the first place! Check out the image below provided by Cigar Journal:
Forthly, the sellers themselves. Don't buy from someone you don't trust, simple. Have a read online at what people are saying about different sellers. I came across one quite recently called solocigars.com. A quick google search had me suspicious. Then their stupidly cheap prices and their communication with me made me further convinced that these guys were crooks.
Number five, proper Cubans have tremedous construction. All Cuban cigars have a triple cap. Look at your cigars and see if they have this.
The colour and presentation in the box should be uniform and near perfect. Check out this box of beautifully presented Montecristo Petit Edmundos.
Hopefully this article helps you to identify the real from the fake! Look out for more articles coming soon....