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Cigars/fake or real

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Question
my wife's grandmother brought back a box of cohibas from cuba. none of the stickers were affixed to the box. is it possible that they could be real but stolen? the box and stickers are all good quality.

Answer
Hi Andrew,

Your cigars are either black market cigars (meaning they are genuine and were stolen from the factory) or counterfeit cigars with labels stolen from the factory. In most cases, it's the latter.  Counterfeit Cuban cigars sold with the box labels and stickers unaffixed have become more popular in recent years because it's easier for people to steal a sheet of genuine labels than steal the actual cigars.  Counterfeiters will then manufacture counterfeit boxes or steal/recycle genuine boxes and pack their counterfeit cigars in the boxes to be sold with the labels.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to tell whether or not the cigars are genuine unless you smoke one. You can also examine the box as subtle differences in the logo and lettering can indicate a counterfeit box from a real box. Although counterfeiters can produce an extremely convincing box, the size and placement of the logo as well as the size and thickness of the print is usually off.

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

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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