Tops Tips on How to Spot a Counterfeit Cuban Cigar
Spotting a counterfeit Cuban Cigar is a skill in itself and to the naïve eye it’s almost impossible to notice the difference between an authentic one and a fake one. An obvious way to avoid being duped when purchasing Cuban Cigars online is to buy from a quality supplier, like EGM Cigars. Nevertheless, from time to time and particularly if you're looking to buy in Cuba there is a high chance that you could be sold counterfeit cigars.
In Havana, cigar smokers will inevitably be approached by people on the street (referred to in spanish as Jineteros) who will tell the most fantastical stories of how their brother works in the factory and they can get cigars out at a fraction of the price, or how they have access to so called ‘co-operatives’ where workers can buy their cigars, trying to sell them what will be almost certainly fake cigars. Our advice is, when in Cuba, to only buy from the official ‘Tiendas’ or Casas del Habano in order to be certain of the authenticity of their cigars.
The following are four factors you should consider when purchasing cuban cigars:
Understandably the easiest way to know if you’ve brought a counterfeit Cuban is by studying the cigar itself. Firstly, a Cuban Cigar generally gives off a strong aroma, particularly at the foot of the cigar. A counterfeit’s aroma will be a lot less potent and more difficult to gage, and should therefore spike your initial suspicions.
Secondly, the wrapper of a cigar is naturally quite oily and the veins should be barely visible or at least not very prominent. So if they’re looking rather bulbous it’s likely that you have been deceived into buying fakes. In addition to this, the wrappers on each Cigar in the box should all be the same colour and quality, therefore make sure that every single cigar in the box are very similar in colour before you purchase them.
Thirdly, the construction of the cigar should be almost impeccable. The torcedores of Cuba take great pride in the way they make their Cuban cigars and always ensure that they are of the highest standard. If your Cigar is bumpy and the foot has been cut untidily, then you can almost be sure that it is a counterfeit.
All of the Cigars in your box should be nearly identical, so if you see any variations in size and shape this can also be a sign that you’ve bought fake Cubans. For example, the Cohiba Behike 56 for sale on our website will all measure at 166mm in length by a 56 ring gauge and our Romeo y Julieta Petit Julietas will all be in the shape of the Mareva Vitola. Easy as that.
In regards to the colour of your Cuban Cigars, Cigars in your box should be aligned according to a colour coding system from left (darkest wrapper) to right (lightest wrapper). There is a slight variation of shades within the box but it’s a gradual one, so if the cigars are mixed and not aligned in a gradient there’s another reason to be suspicious.
2. The Band
The bands on the Cuban Cigars are also an indication of its authenticity. Many counterfeit cigars will have lower quality bands, which to the trained eye (which you will have after this post) will denote various aspects which prove they're fake.
Brands have recently taken stricter measurements in the creation of their brands to deter fraudsters and counterfeiters. Cohiba Cuban Cigars, the most counterfeited cigar in the world have updated theirs to include holograms, which makes them extremely difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.
Some of the things you can look out for when inspecting the band of your cigar is to check for spelling mistakes, faulty alignment, the wrong color and/or typeface, and a lack of embossment. The band is regularly the first thing you look at, therefore if you become very familiar with the brands, their logos and particular qualities, it will be much easier to tell if they are genuine cigars or not.
3. The Box
Particularly difficult to fake, the cigar boxes are another easy way to check if you’re buying genuine goods. Genuine cigar boxes are thankfully a lot harder to counterfeit since the beginning of the 2000s, because of updated warranty seals.
When studying the labels on the box, a few things to remember are that the recently updated Cuban Warranty Seal now contains a hologram on the right hand side and a personalised bar code for every box on the left which will always be placed on the upper left side of the box. In addition to this, Habanos S.A. provides a very useful authenticity checker on their website for those that are sceptical of the seal. All one has to do is type the personal bar code into the the verifier and with one click you'll be able to find out if they are genuine or not (http://verificacion.habanos.
Other things to look out for are spelling mistakes, wrong placement of labels and the box should show little to no signs of wear and tear; this is because many fraudsters recycle old boxes to sell their fraudulent product.
Lastly, one of the most obvious signs that your box is a counterfeit is if the Habanos S.A. label is missing from the top right hand side. If this isn’t there, then you can be 100% sure that your box is full of anything other than real Cuban Cigars.
Cuban Cigars are a luxury item and therefore can be very expensive. The amount of time and effort that goes into creating every Cuban Cigar and the pleasure one takes from them is reflective of this. Therefore, if your Cuban Cigars are being sold for an unbelievably small price, then you probably shouldn’t believe that they’re genuine and should expect them to be of very low quality. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy Gucci shoes for a 10th of the original price and expect them to be made from high quality, durable leather. What you expect is that you’ll be throwing them away in a couple of months because the ‘leather’ is falling apart and the stitching is coming undone. So don’t expect any different from any cigars you buy at a bargain price.
Have you ever had any trouble with counterfeit cigars? We’d love to hear from you, get in contact via our social platforms: EGM Cigars Facebook and EGM Cigars Instagram and buy from EGM Cigars to make sure it never happens again.