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Cigars/Buying Cuban cigars online

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Question
Hey Mr. Yee,

 Thanks for all the good advice concerning polymer crystals for humidification. I would like to ask you about ordering Cuban cigars online. Since I live in the US, I was wondering if having Cuban cigars shipped here was possible? What are some reliable sites that offer genuine Cuban cigars and ship to the US? And will there be any trouble with US customs with the shipment? Finally, how can I be sure the Cuban cigars are authentic?

Answer
Hi Joe,

Yes, some reputable Cuban cigar retailers do ship Cuban cigars to the United States and to pass customs, they may alter your order by removing the original box and cigar bands from your cigars. Not all Cuban cigar retailers ship to the United States and those that do, have different policies on how they handle US orders so before ordering, it's best that you contact the retailer and inquire as to whether or not they ship to the United States.

All current Cuban cigar boxes produced after 2009 features a glossy warranty label affixed to the exterior of the box; replacing the older paper warranty label. This new label features a holographic strip, a barcode with a serial number and other security features such as micro-printing. The serial number is unique to each box and can be entered on Habanos' official website (www.habanos.com) to verify authenticity. If the box is not genuine, the website will inform you that the number is not valid. As always, you should never purchase any boxes if the serial number is not valid.

When purchasing cigars, it's always important to purchase Cuban cigars packaged with this newer warranty label and always purchase from a Habanos-approved retailer. A list of approved Habanos distributors can be viewed from Habanos' website and on the distributor's website, you can view a list of authorized retailers that the distributor supplies. (If the distributor does not have a website listed, you can contact them through their contact info and inquire via email or telephone.)

In regards to mailorder websites, I do not discuss or endorse any mailorder websites so you will need to find a retailer on your own. You should visit various cigar message boards and forums and research which online retailers are reputable.  Because you are located in the United States, it is always hard to find a reputable retailer or risk having your cigars confiscated by customs so my suggestion is that you purchase Cuban cigars if and when you travel abroad or ask friends and family to purchase cigars for you when they travel. As always, you should always purchase reputable Habanos retailers such as La Casa Del Habanos (LCDH) stores.

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

Good luck with your search.

Regards,
James

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James Yee

Expertise

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".

Experience

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.

Publications
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)


Education/Credentials
B.A. University of Toronto

Awards and Honors
Allexperts Top 25 Shortest Average Response Time: 2008-2009
Highest Rank:
- 2008 - 6th Overall, July
- 2009 - 10th Overall, February

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