Q: Cuban boxes date codes
Q: Cuban Davidoff authenticity
Q: How to choose cigars / Cuban cigar age
Q: Counterfeit Cohibas
Q: Fake Cohiba Lanceros
Q: Fake Cohibas FR
Q: Montecristo
Q: Montecristo #4(FL code)
Q: Bolivar Belicosos Finos

Q: What are the new codes from Habanos? (R. Austin, USA 04/99)
A: Please check our codes page at http://www.cigars-of-cuba.com/readings/box_codes.asp

Q: I have received a box of Cuban Davidoff N'1 as a gift. How can I be sure that these cigars are authentic? Thank you. (Johny K., London. 11/97)
A:You must give us more details about this box: factory and date code, the stamp of Cubatobaco, etc. And if one of these elements isn't concurrent, we can conclude that it is not authentic.
For example, if the logo of Habanos S.A. is on the box, you can be sure that it is counterfeited, because Habanos S.A. didn't yet exist when the last Davidoff NĄ1 boxes were made; it was Cubatobaco at that point.
If all the elements are in agreement, we recommend that you visit personally one of Davidoff's boutiques (consult our addresses page), because without a certificate issued by Davidoff, your box will be considered a counterfeit.

Q: I'm about to have a friend go on an international flight, and they said they would pick up some cigars for me, as a gift for my father...i'm wondering, though, when it comes to the date codes (i believe those mean when they were packaged?), what type is it better to get? Something Old? Something new? (Michael, USA 12/97)
A:Regarding date box codes, It depends on the quality of the humidor where the boxes were stored in.
- Always buy your cigar at serious stores, even if that means paying 1% more. You can not compromise with Cuban cigars.
- Do not buy cigars from boxes produced in the current year. Five years ago, it was not possible to find cigars on the market that were produced in the same year, because a good cigar is just like good wine. It needs maturity. The reason why there are boxes from 1997 or 1998 in cigar stores today is because the Cubans need ... money!
- To conclude in response to age, try to buy boxes 2 to 4 years old (1994-1996) (look at the code for determining age on our website - advice page)
- Of course, look at the cigars before you buy them. Do not be afraid to sniff them or touch them : they must have a flavor, and they must be soft when touched. Always avoid dry cigars.
- Finally do not be afraid of the outer appearance of your cigar, for instance the wrapper. Cuban cigars do not always have a beautiful wrapper, when compared with a Dominican cigar like the Davidoffs, but what matters is what is inside. The wrapper has no impact on the cigar.

Q: I just received a wooden box of "COHIBA'S". The box is flat on the front and rear face and rounded on the sides. It has a seal on the outside which says "CUBAN GOVERNMENT'S WARRANTY FOR CIGARS EXPORTED FROM HAVANA" as well as several other markings and pictures. Looks very official. The cigars are about 6 inches in length. The end tapers to a sharp point like a torpedo. Each cigar also has an official looking COHIBA band. Can you tell me if these are counterfeit? (Tom, USA 12/97) 
A: As you have described your cigars, they seem to be Cohiba Coronas Especiales. They should be wrapped in a carton with the cuban warranty seal stuck on the carton and not on the wooden box. The Habanos or the Cubatabaco logo, the manufacturer code and the date must be checked for authenticity. 

Q: I bought some Cohiba Lancero's and am wondering if they are FAKE.If you have any defining info let me know.THANX. (Erik, Canada 02/98) 
A:First, the cigars must be in a wooden varnished box with the Habanos sticker on the side. Engraved on the bottom there must be Habanos logo + the words "HECHO EN CUBA" and "Totalmente a mano" in italics.You must also find the box date code and factory name (example: EL NNSA). The wooden box is wrapped in a carton with two stickers: one for "Republica de Cuba" another for "Cohiba Lanceros".
The ring of each cigar is made of three colors: The black part measures 4.5 mm with square white dots (not round dots) and the yellowish part measures 9 mm. On this part is written in italics " La Habana, Cuba". The dimensions mentioned above are very specific to the Lanceros. Finally the cigars must not be claro (claro=bright color which is specific to Dominican cigars). Check the cigar's node, this is another caracteristic of the Lanceros. The ultimate test is the Cuban smell and you are the one who can tell.
We need more information about the box code you have, the place where the cigars were purchased and of course the price to answer your question with more detail. 

Q: I bought cigars in Cuba.The date stamp shows for the Cohibas FR and for the Montecristo FPG. In your list you show other manufacturers who produce these cigars. Are my cigars fake? The Cohibas look like you write in your advice, but the sticker Cohiba Esplendidos was cut out by hand. (Werner, Germany 02/98) 
A:FPG makes large cigars in general. They are experts in Churchills,Robustos and 8-9-8. EL is a Cohiba specialist (1.5 & 1.6 cm ). JM works for Montecristo and from time to time for Cohiba for the large shapes and the Siglos. HM makes the Upmanns. They are also experts in large modules so they work for everybody. BM makes the R & J. FR is a punch specialist.

Q: I have a question concerning Montecristos. I have been studying my reference book; The Cigar Companion, by Anwer Bati and was not sure which factory manufactures the Montecristos. It stated that the founders were Alonzo Menendez and Pepe Garcia who bought the H. Upmann brand from the British firm J. Frankau.

As history carried on these two left Cuba to the Canary Islands with an associate behind; Jose Manuel Gonzalez. I figured if the "Menendez Garcia y Cia" H. Upmann factory code is JM, is this what should be stamped on a genuine Montecristo box?
Also, could you share information as to translating the alphabetical code to puros manufactured dates? I have been attempting to gain knowledge on this also.

Hope to hear from you soon, and hope all is well. Again thanks. (Nicholas Muragin, Hawai 04/98) 

A:Any cigar may be rolled at many factories.
Example: Montecristo #2 may be rolled at FPG, JM or HM. They are all genuine. FPG makes large cigars in general. They are experts in Churchills,Robustos and 8-9-8.
EL is a Cohiba specialist (1.5 & 1.6 cm ).
JM works for Montecristo and from time to time for Cohiba for the large shapes and the Siglos.
HM makes the Upmanns. They are also experts in large modules so they work for everybody.
BM makes the Romeo & Julieta.
FR is a punch specialist
The date codes are as follows:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

Q: I received a box of Monte #4's as a gift from Cuba but the manufacture and date stamp on mine do not correspond to the ones that are listed i.e. (HM, JM, SS, VSC) mine have FL.OISU.
What does this mean? (I know it means they are very newly made 02/98) but is FL a new manufacturer or are they fake?
Well they have all the right markings, Habanos: top right; Republica de Cuba: bottom left; Habanos s.a., HECHO EN CUBA and Totalmente a mano printed on wood bottom, the inside cedar strip is rounded at the top right corner. Inside there was the yellow wrapping along with a thin, small, white sheet of paper with the instructions in 4 languages (spanish, english, french and german?).
Also I asked the guy who bought them, he says he went to a government store; the box was in perfect condition and looks exactly like others I've seen before. The purple stamp with the FL.OISU is where it should be... Finally, they look great, all evenly coloured, smell heavenly, soft to the touch, and they taste young but fine (which is appropriate since they are dated OISU, 02/98)- It's just that darn FL can't figure it out... please help, many thanks... (Marc & Tracy, Canada 04/98) 

A:As you said everything looks genuine except the FL code. We don't have any information regarding this factory . It may be helping out a peripheral factory like Villa Clara. The cigars may be ok but we advise the JM for Montecristo. 

Q: I was impressed with your website while I was surfing gathering information regarding Cuban cigar counterfeits. I came across some Bolivar Belicosos through a supposedly "reputable" dealer and assumed by the size it was a Belicosos Finos.
Using my text book references, and through fellow aficionados, the Bolivar seemed genuinely Cuban. The scent prior to smoking displayed the unique stronger odor compared to most premium Dominican brands. When smoking, again the aroma was more pungent, and of course the taste was just as expected for Cubans.

When I replied to the shop owner with my more than satisfied opinion towards the Bolivar Belicosos, I was told that they also (the shop) had other Bolivar Belicosos which measured approxiately one inch longer than the one I tried. Assuming the Belicosos I tried was indeed the Belicosos Finos, I researched all I could find and could not find any other Belicosos that Bolivar produces. Only the Belicosos Finos.

I immediately became sceptical even though I was reassured that this was a new item to the Bolivar inventory. Are manufacturers able to produce different sizes and not have them shown in reference books until the publishing is up to date? Or are these "Belicosos" indeed NOT genuine Cuban Bolivars? If your club has any information concerning these Bolivars I would appreciate finding out.

I am obsessed with any knowledge regarding genuine authentic Cuban Manufactured cigars. Being that there is so much negative information towards Cuban cigar counterfeiting, I was hoping my experience would have been true and honest. Please share any information that you are aware of and I would be deeply grateful. Thank you for your time and dedication to preserving these precious jewels for true cigar connoisseurs to enjoy the whole purpose behind genuine Cuban cigar smoking. (Nicholas, Hawai 03/98) 

A:Many details in your mail reveal that you have a fine connoisseur's palate. Congratulations.
Concerning the Bolivar Belicosos Finos: As you know there are two Belicosos from Bolivar, the first come in SBN boxes (Semi Boite Nature) and the second is conditioned in a 25 cigars Cabinet, both have the same size (L = 14cm, G = 2.6cm).
Theorically, both Bolivars must have the same taste, but we know that the cigars of the Cabinet undergo a high quality control and are matured in excellent conditions. Unitl now, our experts have not been informed about a new Belicosos Finos from Bolivar.
The cigar you are talking about might be:

1- A new Cuban Torpedo. In fact, the Cubans have launched many new shapes (Churchills, Torpedos, Robustos) handrolled in Cuba, not referenced as a new brand, without rings, and presented in common Cabinets of 50 cigars with no labels, or in small carton cases of 5 cigars. These cigars have been launched at low prices compared to other famous Cubans. The purpose of this maneuver is to test the market and to offer a wider range of smokers equivalent shapes at a better price.

2- Not a Cuban cigar.

3- A new Belicosos finos from Bolivar that we haven't heard about (we say it to be exhaustive). We will contact Habanos S.A. for more specific information. You will hear from us as soon as possible.
Replying to your obsession with any knowledge regarding genuine authentic Cuban, we inform you that:

  • There are many counterfeits of Cuban cigars. The Habanos logo and the Cuban Republic warranty are no longer enough to tell if the box is genuine. The best way to recognize a genuine Cuban puros is the feel, the touch, the smell and the taste. We are confident of your expertise in all this.

  • Many Dominican, Nicaraguan, Honduran and American producers take advantage of the marketing for a new brand or a special event to launch some professionally counterfeited cigars (as it was for the Cohiba Cristals: many conterfeited "Cohiba Esplendidos" made in Nicaragua and presented in boxes with a glassy top have been sold at the market place - at la Havana also as special boxes launched for the 30th Cohiba anniversary).

  • Nowadays even some genuine Cuban puros are made with non-Cuban wrappers ! This is due to the large demand for Cuban cigars and because the wrappers are limited in production. (This must not have influence on the taste if the filler remains Cuban.)

  • Check the inventory made by Havanahouse on our brands page. PS: the Bolivar Especiales is not listed.

  • For more information about counterfeiting, check the interview with Mr G. Mouawad in our news page.


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