Fake Cuban cigars can be found anywhere, not just in the United States where true Cubans are illegal. Counterfeit cigars can even be found right on the streets of Havana, so knowing a bit about cigars can really help you avoid fakes.
One of the best ways to really test out a Cuban cigar is to smoke one before buying a box, but unless you are already familiar with the taste and quality of real Cubans, this may not be of much help.
Examine the cigars closely before making any purchase from a questionable source.
- Evenly filled – True Cuban cigars should be uniform from end to end, with no soft or hard patches.
- Not over-filled – Not only should your cigars be even, they should not be packed so tightly as to be rock hard. Counterfeiters tend to over-pack their cigars because the labels are easier to put on that way.
- Whole tobacco leaves – Your cigars shouldn’t be filled with scrappy pieces of tobacco. Cuban cigars are rolled with whole leaves, usually as large as the cigar is long, in order to create that perfect “tube” for smoking.
If you are buying an entire box of cigars, there are a few things to watch for about the box itself that can tip you off to fake Cuban cigars.
- Warranty seal – The green and white warranty seal will be applied to the left front of the box, sealing it closed. But if the box has been legitimately opened for quality inspection, it may be broken. So a broken seal may not indicate that you have fake cigars.
- Habanos stamp – There should be a Habanos heat stamp on the bottom of the box, not an ink stamp. Look closely, as it’s not always easy to tell the difference
Of course, the best way to avoid fake Cuban cigars is to only purchase them at an authorized Habanos dealer, either in Havana or elsewhere in the world. The term “Habanos” is used for all true Cuban cigars, and they are controlled by the Cuban government.
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