How do recognise fake cuban cigars from genuine one

Imitation is an indication of quality, or even excellence. We are not surprised that Havanas have been frequently imitated. In those last ten years, falsification has improved greatly, and sometimes, it approaches perfections.
Some irregular aspects noticed in the genuine boxes are not even noticed in some fake boxes.

First of all, let us mention that there is many levels and kinds of fakes.

In this article, we will not talk in details about the ” easy recognizable ” fakes. In this range of fakes, there is many flaws and imperfections… However, let us say a couple of words for beginers and tourists. Don’t buy your cigars everywhere, but try to buy them from a tobacconist you trust. Even some authorized tobacconists deal with fakes, so the fact that some merchants have a Habanos sticker doesn’t mean that all the cigars in his store are genuine. Do not buy cigars in Havana streets from particular persons. A real box of Esplendidos will never be at 50 or 60 U.S.Doll, even if the person try to proof that it’s a real box stolen from the factory or whatever…In this case, the customer may check the box apparence or the official stamps, codes and stickers, sometimes, there such a big difference giving the ultimate proof that the cigars are fake.

When the fake cigars are well packed, because sometimes, the fake cigars are arranged in an original empty box, and in this case, checking the stickers, stamps codes or color of the box is not important…

Smell CigarsAlso, same ” fake makers ” are producing cigar boxes which are more perfect than the real cuban boxes.
At this step, it’s important to be a real smoker and it’s important to be carefull.
While discussing the matter of ” very well made fake “, we will list the main varieties of this kind and we will explain about each of them:The fake cigars made in Cuba, with stolen cuban tobacco leafs -(real tobacco)-, usually, those are cigars rolled in the house of a torcedor. In this case, there is many problems : no real blend, no real filler, the cigars are often less filled, not controlled, not aged, etc… In general, these cigars are packed in NON official boxes easy to recognize, but sometimes, they use official empty boxes, and in this case, the person who rely only on apparence will take the bad decision. Official green sticker and bands with exact dimensions are not sufficient to proof that the cigars are genuine. You must know that there is some employees in the factories selling in the black market, real boxes, real bands and real stickers -(for example, the new cuban green sticker is sold 2 Dollars)-. So, please, don’t trust only some ignorant reporters who are writing pages and pages to give you the dimensions of a Cohiba ring, or the exact color of a box of Montecristo No 2… When you are in front of a box, it’s interesting to check the official marks, but it’s not sufficient… Touch the cigars, smell them, it’s more interesting than the dimensions of the rings, or the dimensions of the cuban cedar paper put in the middle of the box.

Smell CigarsThe fake cigars made in Cuba with bad cuban tobacco, mixed with some dried palm leaf or dried banana leaf. In general, these cigars are easily recognizable… Connoisseurs and professionnals don’t have to waste their time inspecting the ring or the logo…The smell is characteristic, and the touch also. While smelling, smokers of cuban cigars will immediately affirm that these cigars are fake, they don’t have the chareteristic cuban sens.¬† Another info, note that these cigars are usually very “hard on touch”, and if you try them, the draw is impossible.
(Important: please, do not confuse with the genuine cigars containing nodes or bowes).
Cigars Box 1
Cigars Box 2
Cigars Box 3These photos were taken at thePartagas factory

The fake cuban cigars made in other countries: they are easily recognizable by the smell. Sometimes, the boxes are not well imitated, and this will help the customer who relies on reporters articles to recognize these fake boxes. There is also some of these fakes in very well done boxes, because you must understand that it’s not so hard to produce the Cohiba ring or the wooden box. Even sometimes, the ” well made ” fake boxes are much more regular than the genuine one. (we will discuss also this affair, because, many reporters are giving so much details, and some customers obsessed by these details are confusing real and false, which means that some real genuine boxes are declared fake by some customers or reporters obsessed by apparent details).

So, when you are in front of a box, try to remember that all these infos are important, but, remember also that the most important thing is smell and taste.
Dear connoisseurs, you know the we are smoking the cigars and not the bands, we are tasting the Puros and not the green logo or the cedar paper -(separating the middle box)-. I remember the article of a french reporter writing about fakes, he has affirmed that the cedar paper separating the lower row from the upper row must have a round perfect cut on the edge, otherwise, the cigars are fake…I affirm that all what he has said about this affair is false, because I have personally checked some cedar paper in the factories. You can see different kinds of cut, and I have taken special local photos for you…

Dear connoisseurs and tasters, you know that the cubans are not obssessed by the boxes appearancel, and you know that the major part of their job is hand made, you know that they don’t have the same materials in all factories, and you know that they are increasing production… All these facts proove one thing : the genuine boxes appearal may be irregular. I have seen a lot of varieties, let me give you some examples : I have bought and smoked H.Upmann Monarchs with red Upmann ring -(normally, the Monarchs have the brown Upmann ring)-, Recently, during my last trip to Cuba, I bought from Casa Del Habano a Box of Upmann No 2 with red rings, and normally, all the official Upmann No 2 we have in stock have the traditional brown Upmann ring. In the same year, and in the Casa Del Habano at Havana, I have seen different boxes of Bolivar Belicosos Finos with different policy stamps -( the same code letters with two different police)-, and with different cut of cedar paper separating the lower and the upper rows, the dimensions of this cedar paper was different from a box to another. Last year, we have received a small lot of Hoyo des Dieux Cabinets, wrapped with the yellow characteristic silky ribbon of Hoyo du Prince -(printed on the ribbon : Hoyo du Prince)-. I have also seen in the factory, a lot of Upmann Magnum 46 with the mention MAGNUM 46 printed in the yellow ribbon, and another lot without the printing on the ribbon…If you want to trust some reporters, all these real genuine items will be determined as fake…All the reporters are not able to tell only : ” the best way to identify is smelling and tasting “…They don’t even mention the capital character of smelling, touch and tasting…They compose pages and pages and they write novels about the rings, the colors, the wooden boxes, etc.

I agree that all these details are important, and helpful for many beginners, especially when you are asking a friend to bring a box for you…but, this is not all. On the other side, we must know that the ” fake production ” has changed, many ” fake makers ” are reading the reports and articles, and they are sometimes respecting the color of the rings more than the cuban factories…

Let me also remind another detail : sometimes, the genuine boxes are very bad, even while tasting, and this is due to the bad quality control made in some factories, or it may be due to the aging -( not mature cigars)-, or to a very bad draw because of a node.


There is different kind of ” Fake “, some of them are easily recognizable:
In this case, check the logos, rings, stamps, etc.

Another kinds of ” Fake ” are very hard to recognize: in this case, trust your experience, the smell and especially, trust your taste buds.

When reading magazines, try to keep in mind that all the apparent details are important, but remember also the real facts:
– the irregular production in Cuba.
– You are smoking the cigars, not the bands.

Remember also that there is different level of quality -(in genuine cigars)-, and that the quality control is not always excellent: so avoid the bad cigars, even if they are genuine, and don’t avoid very good genuine cigars only because the cedar sheet is not cut with a perfect regular circle at the edge…