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Spotting Fake Cuban Cigar Sales

Cuba is renowned for its cigar sales, and for good reason, but before you waste your money or believe a claim, look for some authentic indicators.

Before going through with any alleged Cuban cigar sales, examine the box. It should be vibrant in color and unsullied—a torn or smudged box might be real, but the cigars themselves could’ve been damaged. Any authentic Cubans will have a white and green seal as warranty on the front left side: a picture of a shield and hat. Additionally, a diagonal white sticker declaring “Habanos” will be on the upper right hand corner, and a heat stamp with the same word will be impressed on the bottom. These are national indicators of authenticity, but counterfeits might still use rubber stamps and fake labels to try to convince buyers.

It isn’t just the tobacco that’s made Cuban cigars famous: their very production method is refined, so that all cigar sales in the country are identical. If you can open the box, smell for a rich, deep aroma, and make sure they all feel firm but pliable. Every cigar should face the same direction, with the foots cut clean, and the bands identical. These factors should reveal authenticity. That said, if you can never find true Cubans, don’t despair. Since the embargo against them has lasted so long, other countries and brands have stepped forward to meet the needs of American cigar aficionados. They might not hold the allure of Cubans, but for experience and taste, other cigars can taste just as good.