How to Spot Fake Cubans – Submitted by Ken Hughey (a cigar smoker from Redondo Beach, CA)


The Cigar Guys received the below comment from Ken who commented on the post, “My Trip to Mexico”.  We appreciated his insight so much we decided to turn it into a blog post! Thanks Ken!  Email me your mailing address and as a token of our appreciation we will send you a free Vector lighter!  Email me at tony@thecigarguys.net!

Below is Ken’s comments!

I would never attempt to buy Cohiba cigars in Mexico. Cohiba is one of most counterfeited Cubans out there. My experiences in Mexico buying authentic Cuban cigars has been with a chain called Habana Banana. They do not negotiate price. They know what they have. I purchased Vegas Robaina and Hoyo De Monterrey and they were definitely the real deal.

When purchasing in Mexico, you go the reputable dealers and know how to spot the fakes. If the dealer doesn’t let you open the box and examine both layers right off the bat, its time to leave. When you examine the cigars, you look at the color and color consistency of the cigars in the box. Check the cap.  Cuban cigars have a triple cap. Check the band and have sample bands to compare. When checking the band, observe how they’re glued. Its easy to see if the band has been heavily glued, which is a big indicator of being counterfeit.

One of the things, when trying to spot the fakes,  is the box exam. Is there a Habanos holograph on the top and proper authenticity seals as well such as a certificate? On the bottom, the stamp should be branded not inked and factory codes and dates should be clearly present.

I know how to spot the fakes but its taken years of practice and being duped once or twice to know.


10 thoughts on “How to Spot Fake Cubans – Submitted by Ken Hughey (a cigar smoker from Redondo Beach, CA)

  1. Mike says:

    Hi, I am a Marine in Iraq. There are Cohiba cigars out here that I belive are the real deal. We have cut one down the middle inspected leaves. The boxes appear to be branded on the bottom and the Seal looks authintic, the serial number is red and we looked at all the boxes and there were no repeat numbers. The only thing I dont have on my box of Esplindidos is the Habanos holograph on the top.
    The bands are good quality. Its hard to say if these are the real deal.

    Any advice is appreciated


    • Ken Hughey says:

      First of all be safe out there and thank you for your service to our great nation. Cohiba’s are the most counterfeited cuban out there so be careful. Cigar Afficianado has a section that shows photos of fake a real bands so check that out it helps. As far as the box goes it sounds like the box markings and branding is good. The holograph typically appears on Habanos boxes distributed within cuba so don’t be concerned.

  2. 3rdworldrum says:

    What’s up guys, man this is a good web page. I just got back from Cuba, and judging from this web-page I got duped. Last year in Dominican Republic I purchased a box of Cohiba, again judging from this web page those were real. I wish I knew of this stuff before I went to Cuba. My question is this: do you have any insight on how to spot real/fake Romeo & Juliet & Monte Crsito, because I also purchased some of those. I know of some people who are heading down to Cuba soon, and I have given them the name and address of my hook-up there, yet I would like to inform them to decline these ‘dealers’ if they have sold me fakes.
    Thanks for the help


  3. Ken Hughey says:


    The very best place to get the cubans is at the Partagas factory in downtown Havana. Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and Bolivar as well as others are rolled in this factory. Go there and you will get the real goods.

  4. Rob Williams says:

    I’m also in Iraq and I’ve bought a couple of the Cohiba-branded Siglo VI. They taste great and are very smooth, but I’m curious about their authenticity. The Habanos website has an authenticity checker and I entered the numbers from the tubes I’ve purchased. Both returned that I am a victim of fraud! My question is whether the authenticity checker on the Habanos website applies only to boxes or to the tubes, as well. The cigars appear to be triple capped and are of very good quality. Even the rings appear to match the photos provided. Has anyone used the Habanos authenticity checker before?

    • Ken says:


      The authenticity checker applies to the box codes on the bottom of the box not the tube. By the way your describing the cigar it could be the real deal but keep in mind that Cohiba is probably the most counterfeited brand out there. I personally steer clear of the brand due to this reason.

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