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Stogie Tips: Spotting a Fake

11 May 2006

Yesterday’s news item noted that in one recent bust, over $20 million in counterfeit cigars were seized. But with so many fakes floating around, how does the discerning Stogie Guy not waste his money on such frauds?

Spot the Fake

Stogie Guys highly recommends the Cigar Aficionado Counterfeit Gallery as a resource for how to spot fakes of many popular Cuban and a few select non-Cuban cigars.

After enjoying a Cohiba Siglio VI on a recent trip to Spain, I used their gallery to ensure that my cigar was genuine. (Of course the delicious taste was also a tip-off, and I can personally attest that the Siglio VI has a well-deserved reputation as the planet’s finest cigar.)

Using the Cohiba Siglio VI as an example one notices the lack of detail in the fake cigar bands:



Another good resource specifically on avoiding fakes when purchasing Cubans is this article from Smoke Magazine in which author Michael Douglas (no, not that Michael Douglas) covers the many ways to spot fakes – from the cigar’s texture, smell, and firmness, to the box’s label, weight, and even the name of the factory it came from.

One tip (which reassured me about a box of Montecristos I purchased in Spain) is that in boxes of authentic Habanos Cuban cigars – the Cuban state cigar company and only authorized exporter of Cubans – the cedar divider between the two rows of cigars in a cigar box has a cresent machine cut out of one corner.

Basic Rules

And yet despite all the technical jargon you really only need to keep two basic things in mind:

1. Remember that established cigar shops don’t want their reputation tainted by counterfeit cigars, the guy on the street offering you the fantastic deal on those hard to find Stogies has no such worries. So stick with a dependable cigar shop.

2. And the most important thing to remember when buying Cuban or any other premium cigar, is this one most basic rule: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Follow those rules and all your cigars will be authentic and delicious.

-Patrick S


18 Responses to “Stogie Tips: Spotting a Fake”

  1. malick Monday, January 15, 2007 at 9:11 am #

    i am a fan for sharon stone i would know him more

  2. Forbidden Fruit Friday, September 14, 2007 at 6:03 am #

    I'm wondering if all the Forbidden Fruit mystique re. "real" Cuban cigars will disappear when the Castro Regime winds up(Fidel and Raoul have to die sometime)!

    When Cuba busts wide open, and every American citizen can visit(like how the rest of the world already does!) will the Cuban cigar lose some of its attraction?

  3. Michael Thacker Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    Thank you so much for your great tips on counterfit cigars.

  4. M Carter Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at 1:42 am #

    Re: “Stogie Guys highly recommends the Cigar Aficionado Counterfeit Gallery as a resource for how to spot fakes of many popular Cuban and a few select non-Cuban cigars.” You should check it out– “Cohiba – Cuba
    The Genuine Article (for reference)” actually provides a photo of a counterfeit label!!!! WHAT GIVES>??

    The Genuine Article (for reference)

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: Counterfeit Cubans Seized in France - Monday, December 18, 2006

    […] A Custom Service statement said the counterfeits were “difficult to detect” and were included with many authentic items. For more on detecting counterfeit cigars, read our guide to spotting fake Cubans. […]

  2. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: Miami Counterfeit Controversy - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    […] will be watching this case closely, and we’ll keep you updated on all major developments and their implications for the cigar world. Until then, it wouldn’t hurt to revisit our post on spotting a fake. […]

  3. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie News: Florida Counterfeit Case Raises Questions - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    […] will continue to cover counterfeiting stories, but since it is unlikely that counterfeit cigars will ever be completely eliminated, we suggest that for now you read our guide to spotting a fake. […]

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  5. Stogie Reviews: Cohiba Robusto (Cuban) - Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    […] This cigar has a smooth, shiny caramel brown wrapper with only a few prominent veins, all wrapped in the traditional black and gold Cohiba band. It retails for $12-15. (Check if yours is a fake with this tip.) […]

  6. Stogie Reviews: Cohiba Siglo VI (Cuban) - Monday, February 25, 2008

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  10. Stogie Review: Cohiba Esplendido (Cuban) - Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    […] by 47 ring gauge Esplendidos I smoked for this review, both because they checked out based on our guide to spotting a fake and because they were procured from an official Casa de Habanos […]

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  13. Stogie Tips: A Good Beginning - Thursday, August 28, 2008

    […] to buy Cuban cigars. Warning: they are almost unquestionably counterfeits. Back in 2006, Patrick S. detailed how you can avoid getting […]

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