Whether you’re a cigar lover yourself or you want to treat your friends to a Havana-inspired treat, you need to purchase Cuban cigars with caution. Unfortunately, their sheer popularity has meant that there are a lot of fake Cuban cigars on the market today.
It certainly pays to take the time to educate yourself on authentic Cuban cigars. This will ensure you do not waste your hard-earned cash on a counterfeit product. Below, we will reveal some of the telltale signs of a fake Cuban cigar so that you do not end up being duped.
Stay away from cigars with a sloppy or rounded head
Our first piece of advice is to stay away from a cigar with a sloppy or rounded head. This is a clear indicator that the cigar has been rolled somewhere else.
Straight-sided Cuban cigars, known as parejos, have mounted heads, which are also known as three-seam caps.
However, just because a cigar has a mounted head does not mean that it is Cuban. The lack of such a shape does guarantee a fake, though, so this is a good starting point.
Examine the packaging carefully
Again, proper packaging does not guarantee that the cigar is a genuine Cuban cigar. However, bad packaging is one of the easiest and quickest ways of spotting a fake.
There should be stamps on the bottom, the Cuba guarantee seal on the left, and a Habanos label in the top-right corner of the box.
Fake brands tend to have poor packaging. The correct details are missing. The color is also faded, and there is a lack of embossing.
Make sure there is a good degree of symmetry
An authentic box of Cuban cigars is going to have a high degree of symmetry. The cigars will be virtually the same size and color.
Plus, the cigars will be placed next to one another carefully, ensuring they are well-aligned. This sort of quality control can often be lacking when it comes to counterfeit cigars.
Avoid clear lids
If the box of Cuban cigars you are considering purchasing has a clear lid, such as a Lucite or glass lid, don’t bother! You will never find Cuban cigars packaged in a box with a clear lid.
Assess the ash
A genuine Cuban cigar will typically burn with a gray ash or one that looks a little bit like salt and pepper.
If the ash is white and bright, there is a very good chance that it has been made using non-Cuban tobacco.
Study the prices of Cuban cigars
We also recommend that you spend some time researching the price of Cuban cigars, so you can understand what constitutes a fair deal.
While everyone loves a bargain, if a cigar is sold at an unrealistically low price, there is a very, very high chance you are dealing with a fake.
The good news is that Cuban has the lowest Cuban cigar prices you will find anywhere in the world.
Here are some benchmark prices to help you get a better understanding:
- Behikes cost around 30 to 40 CUC each
- Genuine Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos sell for approximately 23 CUC
- Montecristo No. 2s cost around 8.50 CUC
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is!
Pass on the Barber Pole
If you want to bring cigars back from Cuba, beware of Barber Pole cigars. These are cigars that have been made with two wrappers that are different colors, which are intertwined in a manner that looks just like a barber pole.
A lot of people are attracted to these cigars because they look good. However, they are not part of the Cuban cigar portfolio. Stay away from this method if it is genuine Cuban cigars you’re looking for.
Be careful when buying Edición Limitadas
There are some brands that are copied and faked more than others, and Edición Limitadas cigars certainly fall into this category.
Cuba releases three per annum. All three of these releases will be documented on this website.
So, if for example, someone offers you Cohiba Limitada from 2015 or 2016, you will know it is definitely fake because Cohibas were not part of the three Edición Limitadas within those two years.
A little bit of education can go a very long way when buying Cuban cigars, which is why it is always a good idea to do a bit of research first.
Do your due diligence on the retailer
Our final piece of advice is to choose a retailer with care when purchasing Cuban cigars.
We certainly do not recommend purchasing cigars on the streets of Havana. This is an almost certain way of purchasing a fake.
If someone offers to sell you cigars from their apartment in Cuba, you are simply going to be walking into a den of discounted fake cigars. Many will come up with stories, saying that they know someone who works in a factory, so they often sneak cigars out of the back door. Nine times out of ten this is simply nothing more than a tale!
The truth is that Cuban cigars are one of those items where you really do get what you pay for. There are rarely any discounts.
This is why you should take the time to source a genuine supplier. The Internet makes this a lot easier because most stores have an online presence so you will be able to do a little bit of digging and find out what other people have had to say about the Cuban cigars they purchased from the retailer in question.
Follow the tips above when purchasing a Cuban cigar
So there you have it: everything you need to consider when purchasing a Cuban cigar. We hope that the advice that we have provided you with above will have given you a good understanding of some of the biggest indicators of a fake Cuban cigar. After all, no one wants to spend their money on a counterfeit!
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