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Unless you're actally buying your Cuban cigars in Cuba, it's tough to know if the Cuban cigars you are being sold are actually from Cuba. So how do you know if you've received real Cuban cigars and not counterfeits? Here are a couple of expert tips to use in your cigar purchase:
* On the box: Look for a seal from the Cuban government and a "Habanos" sticker on the cover with the black silhouette of a tobacco leaf.
* Inside the box: Look for a parchment paper with the Habanos notation in brown and an introduction in four languages
* The cigars: Uniform color and placement, exact confirmation to the size ordered.
There is a lot more that goes into spotting a fake Cuban cigar. 95% of the 'Cubans' out there are fakes. The only way to know that your cigar is in fact Cuban is by knowing your source. Having a friend in Canada, or knowing somebody who knows somebody that works for a factory in Cuba is not a source.
A triple-cap is always applied to every standard parejo Cuban cigar.
Know the current box codes. This includes date codes and factory codes. However, this just confirms that the box is authentic, and may not necessarily confirm that the cigars are, too.
Know the common, foot-like aroma of a Cuban cigar. Know the flavor, both pre-light and throughout the burn. Understand that a Cuban cigar will not form a bright white ash - the ash is actually black due to the low magnesium levels in Cuban soil.
Examine the bands. Counterfeit bands can be both poorly made and expertly made. But, tiny differences or minor flaws should raise the red flag.
Bottom line, know your source. Only authorized Cuban dealers sell genuine Cuban cigars. For the most part, these include authorized LCdH stores. If you're traveling, unless you're shopping in an authorized LCdH store, keep your wallet in your pocket because you're far more likely to get ripped off than enjoy a genuine Cuban.
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