Archive for February, 2012

Re-posted from Duty Free Cigars – They are a trustworthy vendor and great to do business with.


How to spot a Counterfeit or Fake Cuban Cigars

Box Appearance

A green and white warranty seal should be visible on the left front side of box.  The seal’s color can range from forest to lime-green inside the seal is an insignia that contains a shield with a hat resting on top.   The fold line of the seal should run directly through the center of the shield.  On the box’s upper right corner should be a white Habanos sticker, pasted diagonally.  The box should look in neat and clean condition, free of smudges and scuff marks or dull in color.

On the bottom of box you will find a Habanos heat stamp.  Make sure it is a heat stamp impressed into the box and not an ink stamp.  Below this heat stamp will be a factory code stamp in an ink color (usually green, blue or black).  This tells you the factory where the cigars were rolled and the date.


*Websites that always stock limitada Edicions from 2000 and onwards such as Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas that are always in stock at really cheap prices.

* Never stock smaller ring guage brands. Check brands such as Cuaba, Fonseca, Jose L. Piedra, La Flor de Cano, Por Larranaga, Rafael Gonzales always listed but never in stock! *Never have a selection of brands in tubes or 3 and 5 packs

*Never stock Minis,Clubs and Puritos sizes.

*Websites that have Swiss address but their prices are so much less than the majority of websites based in Switzerland.

*Toll free numbers that end up being answered by outsource centers in Costa Rica or seems to be answered at the same call center for different Cuban cigar websites.

Here is the list of known suspects:

Box Contents
Upon opening the box pull back the flap, and smell the tobacco.  The fragrance should be pleasing, with a rich, deep aroma.  The cigars should be uniform in both colour and shape.  The top face of the cigar may appear flattened, or what is known as box-pressed.  This is particularly true for torpedo shape.  The caps should look identical, all resting at an equal distance from the top of the box.  The foot of the cigar should be cut clean and straight, and the bands should be identical and aligned perfectly.

On the top and bottom row of cigars there should be a small strip of wax paper running across the bands.  Next pull a cigar out of box and feel it, by holding between your thumb and forefinger.  Press together down the whole length of the cigar, it should feel firm and even (not a hard spot and then a soft spot).  This is always a dead giveaway that the cigars are counterfeit.

New Habanos SA authenticity warranty seal verification for 2009 onwards:



 As a way to keep all Habanos lovers as well as our Exclusive Distributors updated all over the world, it’s necessary to notify the changes to be occurred as regards as to the Cuban Warranty Seal.

From now on, a new Warranty Seal will be gradually introduced in all the packaging where two new elements are to be added. On the right hand, a hologram as a security item will be added and on the left hand, next to the Cote d´ Arms, a bar code will personalize every package.

This label will always be placed from the upper left side of the box or display, leaving 3 to 6 mm from the edge and to be bending up to the front right over the center of the Cote d´Arms whenever possible.

This Seal has been developed through a base of synthetic paper with special characteristics such as an auto-destructive feature before any attempts of removal and with several maximum security techniques added.

•   Tamper-evident label. Any attempt to remove it, will cause invalidation of the seal by self destruction.
•   Highly adherence of the paper (plastic) Auto-destructive, Self-destructive.
•   Scan and Photocopy Protected System.
•   The holographic band will show a bi-color text in 2nd and 3rd dimension.
•   Elements with optical variations attached.
•   Microdot only visible through laser scanner.

On the other hand, a unique bar code will be applied on every single box thus customizing every packaging. This information will be saved in a data base allowing the identification of this product everywhere, whom this product was addressed to as well as the Invoice number, amongst other details.

The fact is that there will always be a time in which both old and new Warranty Seals designs will exist at the same time in the markets. The length of time in which the two seals will coexist is not so easy to foresee because it depends on the stocks and on the rotation of the different products.

As a reference please find attached here a file of the aforementioned seal and the proper way of affixing it on the boxes, in jpg format.



A pioneer in the craft beer movement, North Coast Brewing Company opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in the historic town of Fort Bragg, located on California’s Mendocino Coast.

Under the leadership of Brewmaster Mark Ruedrich, the brewery has developed a strong reputation for quality having won more than 70 awards in national and international competitions.

In addition to Red Seal Ale, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Scrimshaw Pilsner, and other fine North Coast brands, the brewery has resurrected the old Acme label with a heritage dating back to the San Francisco of the 1860’s.

These exceptional beers are available in 47 states now and also are exported to Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Their Pranqster Beer is touted as a Belgian Style Golden Ale and I have to say that it certainly doesn’t miss the mark!

North Coast Brewing’

s Pranqster is brewed with “antique” yeast to impart a delightful flavor that tastes just as good as a young Trappiste.

This Belgian-style ale is a dark straw color and pours with a very attractive white head and minimal lacing. In the mug, this beer has floral aroma with a pleasant hint of cloves. First mouthful is light and citrus with little bubbles that dance across the tongue in a most delightful way.

Eath mouthful of this beer is progressively more pleasant and I certainly enjoy the subtle hopping; making it an intersting blend of Belgian spiciness with a pleasant nod towards the IPA category. Yeastiness is certainly Belgian with a bready note when you breath in after a drink – not entirely unpleasant at all. The 7.6% ABV is subtle and contributes a nice body to the drink with pleasant mouth-feel and aftertaste. After a bottle or two, I noticed a slightly metallic aftertaste, but it passed when opening the next bottle, so one has to assume that it is an irregularity.

I finished 10 of these tonight (Just to be sure that I liked it) and I DO like it.

North Coast brewing company produces very fine beers, this one will be part of my regular rotation.


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