Cuban cigars are the ultimate prize for cigar lovers worldwide. But with this prestige comes counterfeits. Cuban cigars are copied more than any others, and you really don’t want to light up an imitation when the real ones cost the same price!

With this short guide, you will learn what to look for. So you can easily spot authentic Cuban cigars from the fakes.

Authentic Cuban Cigars

The combination of climate, soil, terroir, expert tobacco growers and the world’s best cigar makers helps keep Cubans as the very best cigars in the world. Demand is always high for these magnificent smokes, which unfortunately makes a situation ripe for counterfeiting.

As technology evolves, so too do counterfeiting techniques. I can make it difficult to spot the fakes from the real deal. Cigar bands, boxes, or even labels might appear authentic, but looks can certainly be deceiving. For example, the Cohiba Maduro Genios 5 and the Montecristo 2 are the world’s most copied cigars and they look completely authentic, even when held in your hand. 

The good news is that Cuban cigar makers continue to develop methods to stay ahead of counterfeiters and give you several complementary ways to easily check a Cuban cigar’s authenticity. One of these methods is not a sign of authenticity. But an authentic Cuban cigar will meet all of the following characteristics and signs, not just one or two.

The Boxes

Each box of Cuban cigars will have telltale markings that guarantee their factory authenticity. Besides the box’s style, other things on the box to look for including the official Cuban warranty stamp, an engraved imprint on the bottom of the box, and an official Habanos origin sticker on top of the box. You can also check for factory and date codes, which further help you verify cigars’ origins and authenticity.

The Bands

Cigar bands are another way to spot a fake as each has features unique to their Cuban brand, which are occasionally updated to stay ahead of counterfeiters. Cohiba cigars, for example, use an iconic black and white checkerboard design with yellow, which has seen a variety of alterations over the years, most recently using holograms. 

The Cigars

The cigars themselves can clue you into if a cigar is real or fake. Not only will fake Cuban use tobacco that is inferior to the real thing, but the cigars’ construction is also lacking. Some of the most counterfeited Cuban cigars are often of the most difficult cigar shapes to make, resulting in poorly crafted and hard to smoke cigars.

Other Signs

If you still aren’t sure about a cigar’s origin, you can look at other clues. Check cigar bands for quality and placement on the cigar. Also, the cedar sheets between cigars in a full box should feature a special curved opening. Ensure a box features cigars all of the same size. The ultimate test for a cigar’s authenticity is cutting it open to examine the tobacco type and quality.

How to spot a fake Cuban cigar
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Cuban cigar factories’ techniques help you spot differences between real and fake Cuban cigars with just a quick look at the outer cigar box. 

  • Warranty Seal- Not only does this serve as the cigar makers guarantee, but the latest technology allows the label to feature robust anti-counterfeiting measures.
  • Hot-stamped Imprint- Every box features a heat pressed marking guaranteeing the cigars are genuine Cuban-made cigars.
  • Habanos Sticker- No box of authentic Cuban cigars is allowed to leave Cuba without an official Habanos “Denomination of Origin” sticker.
Cuban Cigar Factories
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Cuba’s cigar factories are renowned for creating cigars that blend traditional cigar making methods with the latest innovations. The factories use the latest techniques to protect consumers from counterfeiting schemes more diligently.

One of these ways is the use of hot-stamped information on the bottom of the box. Each stamp features “Habanos SA,” the Cuban-controlled global distributor’s official mark for Cuban cigars. The stamp also features specifics about how the cigar was made, helping you identify authentic smokes from Cuban factories. 

Click here to read about Cuban cigar factories.

Cuban Cigar Box Codes
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Boxes of Cuban cigars also feature box codes. These ink-stamped codes identify the exact factory where the cigars were made, as well as when they were made. This info enables the cigars’ origin to be traced and compared to any fake cigars that might use a generic or old code if they use one at all. 

Not only are the codes a key element in the fight against counterfeiting, but codes also are useful for cigar aficionados and collectors. Time codes, in particular, show the month and year the cigars were made, letting you keep track of the age of your cigars. The best part is you can check codes in just minutes.

Click here to read about Cuban cigar box codes.

Find Authentic Cuban Cigars

For over ten years Swisscubancigars has been the trusted online store for authentic Cuban cigars. We’ve been part of the fight against counterfeit Cuban cigars and work with Cuban cigar factories to help ensure people get to experience the true brilliance of Cuban cigars. 

Buy with confidence at Swisscubancigars today!