fake cohibas

This box of Cohiba Robustos containing just two cigars from its original contents was sent to British Havana importers, Hunters & Frankau. The owner had received it as a gift from a friend who had been to Havana and he wanted to know if it was genuine.

The exterior gave very little away. It was well finished with all the stamps and stickers in place. True the green Cuban Government warranty seal had come off but it was included and this can happen on proper boxes. The only tangible pointer was that the factory stamp was missing from the base but this too has been known on the real thing. So there was nothing conclusive to prove it was fake even if there was cause for suspicion and it would have taken an expert to notice it.

On opening the box, the Robusto sticker on the glacine paper that encloses the bundle of cigars was perfect, but underneath, the yellow ribbon that wrapped the cigars was totally wrong. It was from a box of Cohiba Siglos and badly printed too.

Now the suspicion that it was counterfeit was a virtual certainty but what about the cigars? The owner had given his permission for them to besmoked. Theinspectorschoseto decline his offer for fear of what they might taste. Instead they took each one apart.

One cigar(A above) had a genuine band on it while the other (B above) carried one, which had clearly been run off` on a colour photocopier.

Ironically the one with the photocopied band (B) was the better-made cigar. As you can see it had long filler leaves, a decent binder and an attractive wrapper. But, all the filler leaves were of exactly the same type with no blend of ligero. seco and volado. II would have smoked all right but it would not have had much taste and certainly not the Cohiba taste.

Cohiba Box

The other felt like a rock and proved to be chock-a-block with all sorts of bits and pieces of tobacco. Had it been smokeable goodness knows what it would have tasted like, but it wasn't.

There are several lessons to be learnt from this episode. First. it's very easy to be taken in by fakes. The box looked fine and so did the cigars at first sight. Second, the counterfeiters use many different ways to make their cigars. At least both these cigars were made of tobacco. which is not always the case. And last, no matter how little they charge for cigars like this, you'll do better to stick to the real thing bought from a reputable retailer.