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Cigars/Vintage Cigars possibly Cuban?


Cigars and boxes
Cigars and boxes  

side of boxes
side of boxes  
Hope you've had a great Christmas and New Year.
I recently emailed Bill Finck Jr and he advised me to email you.

I have two boxes of cigar's which belonged to my dad.
I know that they are at definitely 20years - 30 years old, but not had any joy identifying any dates on the boxes.

The first is a box of H.Upmann's 2 Amatistas, opened with box seals on it, there are 12 unopened Cigars inc the "Inspectora No.2" paper and a little welcoming print about the cigars.
There was also a Cubao in there all cigars are about 6" in length.

The second box are Hoyo De Monterrey De Jose Gener.
On the side 'hoyo de monterrey Presidentes' then the original name is replaced with a red label stating Maduro Maduro? The cigars are all 8 1/2 inches long and still wrapped.

Are they all still good to smoke (as I smoked one of H.Upmanns on New years eve and it was still very mellow and mild) and is there any way to find out how old they are at all and if they have any value?

Look forward to hearing back from you.
Gerard Watts

Hi Gerard,

I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, thanks for asking. I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas and New Year as well. :)

Yes, your cigars should be fine to smoke providing that the cigars have not suffered any damage or deterioration from cigar mold and/or tobacco beetles and your cigars have been properly stored at the ideal humidor conditions (70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit).  Be sure to thoroughly inspect your cigars visually for holes (caused by tobacco beetles) or cigar mold.  Any cigars with with holes and mold should be discarded as the mold particles and residual powder of chewed up tobacco/fecal matter created by the tobacco beetles are respiratory irritants and can make you sick if they are inhaled during smoking.  If the cigars have not been properly stored all these years, you can move them to a humidor or humi-pouch immediately.

Those are fantastic pictures!  Unfortunately, Cuban cigar boxes were not marked with date or factory codes prior to the mid-1980's.  This means that it's hard to pinpoint the exact manufacturing date of your cigars if they were made before 1985.  However, it's still possible to find the approximate time period that the cigars were made in based on packaging details.  For example, does the phrase "MADE IN HAVANA-CUBA" or "HECHO EN CUBA" appear on the underside of the boxes?  If the latter phrase appears on the boxes, it means that the cigars were made after 1960.  If the word "CUBATABACO" appears on the box, it would indicate that your cigars were made between 1985 and 1994.  If the name "HABANOS S.A." appears on the box, the box was made after 1995.  If the underside of the boxes has the phrase "Totalmente a mano", it would indicated that the box was made after 1989.

The Amatista was a popular cigar by H. Upmann. It was a pre-revolutionary cigar (made before 1960) and production of this cigar lasted until 2002 when the cigar was discontinued.

The Hoyo de Monterrey Presidentes is interesting... I think this cigar may be non-Cuban.  The cigar band does not match any of the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey cigar band designs and the "Presidente" cigar does not appear on any list of current or discontinued Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey cigars.  However, it should be noted that this particular cigar band is used by non-Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey for their "Excalibur" line in the 1980's and 90's.  In the late 1990's, an additional band of text was added to the cigar band and in 2000's, the band was switched to a gold foil stamped band with a shield crown motif similar to the Cuban "shield version" of the Hoyo de Monterrey band.

Coincidentally, a non-Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey "Presidente" cigar does exist (made in the Honduras with Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduran tobacco) and the cigar measures 8 1/2 inches long.  This cigar is still being made today.  In addition, the maduro sticker and plastic/cellophane wrapper on a large cigar is common practice among non-Cuban cigars.  Cuban cigar brands only use plastic wrappers on their smaller, machine-made cigars.

Are there any words or markings on the boxes that refers to Habana/Havana, Cuba?  If not, I believe the cigars are non-Cuban.  Non-Cuban versions of H. Upmann and Hoyo de Monterrey do exist (as do other brands that share the Cuban brand names and design such as Montecristo, Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, etc.)

Considering the cigars are more than 15 years old, it's perfectly fine and normal for your cigars to taste mild and mellow now.  Over time, aged cigars will become richer in flavours before eventually softening and becoming more mild and mellow.  When aging cigars, the flavours tend to peak at around 8-10 years before mellowing.

I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.



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James Yee


My main area of expertise is Cuban cigars and I can assist you if you have questions pertaining to Cuban cigars. I can also assist you with the following:

- General cigar-related questions and advice
- Humidor maintenance and troubleshooting (How to treat humidor mold, correct high/low humidity, humidor seasoning, etc.)
- Accessory maintenance and troubleshooting (Cigar cutters, hygrometers, humidifiers, etc.)
- Cigar restoration, preservation and troubleshooting (How to treat cigar mold/tobacco beetles, restoring vintage/dry cigars, etc.)
- Cigar/Brand identification
- Cigar etiquette

Unsure of a certain cigar brand? Wondering what a certain cigar tastes like? Have a question about Cuban cigars? Having problems with a humidor or Just let me know! I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. (NOTE: My main focus is on premium, hand-rolled cigars and not cheap, machine made, convenience store cigars.) IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE CIGAR OR CIGAR-RELATED APPRAISALS. If you have a vintage cigar item and you want to know if it's worth something, please contact an antique dealer that specializes in "TOBACCIANA".


I currently have 19 dedicated years of cigar smoking and counting. I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. For 5 years, I studied with Cuban torcedores (rollers), catadores (taste testers) and revisadores (inspectors) on every aspect involving the production of the Cuban cigar and I am currently writing a book that will help beginners understand everything they need to know about cigars and cigar smoking.

Maple Leaf Gardens: Memories & Dreams 1931-1999 (1999; ISBN: 0920445616)
50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do (2006; ISBN: 0452286654)
The [London] Times (October 8, 2009)

B.A. University of Toronto

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