Hobbies
Fact-checked

At Sports&Hobbies, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How can I Spot a Fake Cuban Cigar?

Identifying a fake Cuban cigar requires a keen eye for detail. Authentic Cubans have a distinctive, high-quality wrapper, an even burn, and a rich aroma. Check for the official hologram label and a properly embossed logo. Counterfeits often fall short in craftsmanship and packaging. Want to become a savvy cigar connoisseur? Learn more about the art of spotting genuine Cuban cigars.
Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal

For nearly every luxury product, there is a counterfeit version available, from fake designer garments to perfume that will burn the skin from your wrist. If there is a market out there for certain expensive products, someone somewhere will make a cheaper, shoddier version. Fake Cuban cigars have left many a tourist gagging on the cheap stogies they have purchased.

Tourists in places such as the Caribbean are often duped into buying counterfeit Cuban cigars. What was once a small market has now grown into a huge criminal money spinner. There are a few methods that can help you spot a fake Cuban cigar.

If pieces tobacco fall from a "cuban" cigar, the cigar is considered a fake.
If pieces tobacco fall from a "cuban" cigar, the cigar is considered a fake.

The leaves that Cuban cigars are rolled in are a big giveaway. Fake Cuban cigars are made from unblended leaves that break and fall apart easily. Most of the leaves that make up fake Cuban cigars are broken leaves that are stolen from the cigar factory floor. Look at how the cigars are rolled. If they look as if they were rolled by a three fingered monkey, do not touch them.

Authentic Cuban cigars should read read hecho en Cuba, which means "Made in Cuba."
Authentic Cuban cigars should read read hecho en Cuba, which means "Made in Cuba."

Another giveaway is the size of the cigars. A box of fake Cuban cigars may include cigars of varying lengths. Ask if you can try one before buying them. Slice off the end of the cigar and see if it holds together. If it falls apart, then it is a definite fake. If the tobacco falls out of the cigar, then it is a fake Cuban cigar made up of factory floor tobacco shavings.

Real Cuban cigars should be well-rolled and of uniform length.
Real Cuban cigars should be well-rolled and of uniform length.

A box of real Cuban cigars will have some hallmarks that you can check. There should be three marks burnt into the bottom of each box. One will read Hababo S.A. This is the mark of the official Cuban cigar export agency. Another mark will read hecho en Cuba, which means "Made in Cuba". The third mark will read totalmente a mano, which is translated as "totally by hand".

A huge demand for Cuban cigars has created a black market of fakes.
A huge demand for Cuban cigars has created a black market of fakes.

Another sign that you are about to buy real Cuban cigars is the seal that wraps around the box. This should be a green-colored, official government seal. There should also be a yellow Habanos chevron situated in the top right-hand corner. This chevron has been used on Cuban cigar boxes since 1994.

Of course, counterfeiters have also wised up on these markings and use increasingly sophisticated methods to dupe the unsuspecting buyer. To combat the counterfeiters, some importers are now using their own security methods. In the United Kingdom, stamps such as the English Market Selection (EMS) are now in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the visual signs of a fake Cuban cigar?

Due to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, it is illegal to sell or purchase Cuban cigars in the United States.
Due to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, it is illegal to sell or purchase Cuban cigars in the United States.

Authentic Cuban cigars have a high-quality appearance. Look for a well-applied cap, a consistent and even color, and a lack of any rough veins or blemishes on the wrapper. The band should be embossed, not flat, and the holographic elements should be crisp. According to Habanos S.A., the official Cuban cigar corporation, genuine bands have a distinct holographic label with a micro portrait of Che Guevara.

How can I verify the authenticity of a Cuban cigar's band?

To verify a Cuban cigar's band, examine the printing quality and alignment. Authentic bands have sharp, detailed printing without smudges or misalignments. The hologram on the band should be clear and feature the Taino Indian head, a barcode, and a serial number. Habanos S.A. provides images of genuine bands for comparison on their official website.

Can the taste of a cigar indicate its authenticity?

Yes, the taste can be an indicator. Genuine Cuban cigars are known for their rich, complex flavor profiles that include a balance of spice, earthiness, and a hint of sweetness. If the cigar tastes excessively harsh, lacks complexity, or has an ammonia-like aftertaste, it may be counterfeit. However, taste can be subjective, and experience is required to discern these nuances.

Is there a way to check the authenticity of a Cuban cigar using its box?

Authentic Cuban cigar boxes have several features to check. Look for the official Habanos seal and a correctly stamped 'Hecho en Cuba' (Made in Cuba) declaration. The bottom of the box should have a heat stamp with the factory code and date of production. The Cuban warranty seal should have a unique barcode that can be verified on the Habanos S.A. website.

What should I look for in the construction of a Cuban cigar to ensure it's real?

Examine the construction quality. Authentic Cuban cigars are hand-rolled with precision, featuring a uniform shape, a smooth and tight wrapper, and a firm but not hard feel when gently squeezed. The ash of a real Cuban should be a consistent gray color, indicating the use of high-quality tobacco leaves.

Are there any reliable resources or databases to authenticate Cuban cigars?

Yes, Habanos S.A. offers a verification system on their official website where you can input the serial number found on the Cuban warranty seal to authenticate your cigars. Additionally, reputable cigar forums and communities often share knowledge and can be a resource for verification. Always purchase from authorized and reputable dealers to reduce the risk of encountering fakes.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

dbuckley212

The internet has a lot of sham dealers coming from places such as unregulated third world markets and the black market of Russia. Knowing which sites are regulated by legal boundaries and understanding that a healthy dose of suspicion is always in order will help you in researching and keeping track of top notch products and spotting fakes.

Armas1313

The internet is often the worst place to buy cigars. Even popular cigar shops should be suspect, however. If you trust the owner of a cigar shop, have him guide you to a good cigar and explain why it is the price it is and how it is made. If a storeowner is not trustworthy, however, have him guide you to cigars he recommends, and then make sure that you do NOT buy those cigars.

ShadowGenius

I think the best way to get legitimate cigars is to befriend a cigar connoisseur who can tell you about all the details of cigar making, including varieties, leaves, and the process which goes into it. Normally, a well made Cuban cigar will burn evenly when being lit evenly. Bad cigars have a mixture of different types of leaves in the filler, binder, and wrapper, making the burn lopsided.

anon140643

They're getting better at these fakes. For example, some sites sell decent looking fakes, but there are little nuances that, as a whole, make them questionable. And then when you finally smoke them, they're nasty.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • If pieces tobacco fall from a "cuban" cigar, the cigar is considered a fake.
      By: Klaus Eppele
      If pieces tobacco fall from a "cuban" cigar, the cigar is considered a fake.
    • Authentic Cuban cigars should read read hecho en Cuba, which means "Made in Cuba."
      By: Stephen Finn
      Authentic Cuban cigars should read read hecho en Cuba, which means "Made in Cuba."
    • Real Cuban cigars should be well-rolled and of uniform length.
      By: Marco Mayer
      Real Cuban cigars should be well-rolled and of uniform length.
    • A huge demand for Cuban cigars has created a black market of fakes.
      By: Sergey Furtaev
      A huge demand for Cuban cigars has created a black market of fakes.
    • Due to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, it is illegal to sell or purchase Cuban cigars in the United States.
      By: nyul
      Due to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, it is illegal to sell or purchase Cuban cigars in the United States.