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A cigar question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Got back this a.m. from the Domincan Republic. Had a nice few days in a villa on the beach with the family. Other than having to suffer the indignity of seeing German tourists in butt thongs slow dance to "Hotel California," it was a great trip. I drank about 28,000 Presidentes. I bought a box of Montecristo there. They were in a tobacco shop and they were supposedly Cubans. I'm not sure if they are real Cubans or not: Why they might be: The box was sealed and has the green "Republica de Cuba" seal on it, as do all Cuban boxes. On the bottom it says "Totalmente hecho a mano," as do all Cuban boxes. It was purchased in a legitimate tobacco shop, not in a kiosk on the beach. The labels are brown and say Habana, just as do all the real Monty's I've smoked before The box construction is not out of this world, not shoddy but not great. This is similar to the boxes of most of the Cubans I've purchased. Why they might be fake: $25 for a box of Monty No. 3s? They didn't have the little business-card sized plastecine card inside the box which most of the Cubans I've purchased contain. The bottom of the box was not stamped with a date, whereas at the duty free in the airport in Punta Cana, the boxes of Cuban Monty's had a package date stamped on the bottom. Any ideas? I'm going to take it to a local cigar shop to see what they think. The cigars smell and feel like they are first rate, so even if they aren't real Cubans, they are come great smokes for $1 a piece.
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Got back this a.m. from the Domincan Republic. Had a nice few days in a villa on the beach with the family. Other than having to suffer the indignity of seeing German tourists in butt thongs slow dance to "Hotel California," it was a great trip.  I drank about 28,000 Presidentes. I bought a box of Montecristo there. They were in a tobacco shop and they were supposedly Cubans. I'm not sure if they are real Cubans or not: Why they might be: The box was sealed and has the green "Republica de Cuba" seal on it, as do all Cuban boxes. On the bottom it says "Totalmente hecho a mano," as do all Cuban boxes. It was purchased in a legitimate tobacco shop, not in a kiosk on the beach. The labels are brown and say Habana, just as do all the real Monty's I've smoked before The box construction is not out of this world,  not shoddy but not great. This is similar to the boxes of most of the Cubans I've purchased. Why they might be fake: $25 for a box of Monty No. 3s?   They didn't have the little business-card sized plastecine card inside the box which most of the Cubans I've purchased contain. The bottom of the box was not stamped with a date, whereas at the duty free in the airport in Punta Cana, the boxes of Cuban Monty's had a package date stamped on the bottom. Any ideas? I'm going to take it to a local cigar shop to see what they think.  The cigars smell and feel like they are first rate, so even if they aren't real Cubans, they are come great smokes for $1 a piece.
stu, I had a similar thing happen to me in Cartegena - a box of Monticristo 2's for 80 bucks, after heated negotiations. they looked like the real deal, the box had all the stamps, they feeled good and tasted very good. my conclusion was that I dind't care if they were real or not, like you say, they were a good deal. enjoy them.
post #3 of 14
$25 does seem too cheap for the real thing. I think they retail for about $125 in Cuba. Also, all Cuban boxes I've seen have the factory and date code, and have the care instructions sheet inside. Does yours have the hologram on the box? There are lots of websites with tips on telling if they're fake or not. But, if you enjoy them, and it's only $25, don't worry.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
$25 does seem too cheap for the real thing.  I think they retail for about $125 in Cuba.  Also, all Cuban boxes I've seen have the factory and date code, and have the care instructions sheet inside.  Does yours have the hologram on the box? There are lots of websites with tips on telling if they're fake or not. But, if you enjoy them, and it's only $25, don't worry.
It has a serial number on the green Republica de Cuba stamp. It does not have a production code that I can tell, but when I went to Cuba and bought cigars in the past, they didn't either. So who knows. I'll light one up this weekend and let ya'll know. If it's a great smoke, who the hell cares at $1 a stick?
post #5 of 14
Stu, Glad you liked them, but the were fakes. To a greater or lesser extent, the sale of Montecristos is controlled by the Cuban government and they are sold at specific prices to various countries, which then impose various taxes and the retailers add their markups. There are no increadible deals to be had on genuine Cuban cigars, although buying them in Spain generally gets you the best prices. Authentic Monte No.3's would run you around 175 euros in Spain. I may be off a bit, but getting them for $25 is assurance they aren't authentic, regardless of how well they might've looked like the real deal. Buying from a government controlled or very reputable shop is the way to go.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Stu, Glad you liked them, but the were fakes.  To a greater or lesser extent, the sale of Montecristos is controlled by the Cuban government and they are sold at specific prices to various countries, which then impose various taxes and the retailers add their markups.  There are no increadible deals to be had on genuine Cuban cigars, although buying them in Spain generally gets you the best prices.  Authentic Monte No.3's would run you around 175 euros in Spain.  I may be off a bit, but getting them for $25 is assurance they aren't authentic, regardless of how well they might've looked like the real deal. Buying from a government controlled or very reputable shop is the way to go.
I'm sure you are right. But could they be factory seconds? Or do the Communists not understand that concept. Interesting story, by the way, I took them into a cigar shop today owned by a Cuban exile to see if he could tell me if they were real or not. He got pissed and threw me out. Wouldn't even look at them. Just the thought that i might have patronized Fidel infuriated him.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
I'm sure you are right. But could they be factory seconds?  Or do the Communists not understand that concept.  Interesting story, by the way, I took them into a cigar shop today owned by a Cuban exile to see if he could tell me if they were real or not. He got pissed and threw me out. Wouldn't even look at them.  Just the thought that i might have patronized Fidel infuriated him.
I'm no expert on Cuban cigars (although last Satuday I enjoyed a Montecristo No. 2 and an R & J corona while eating prime veal chops and polishing off a 6 liter bottle of 2000 Egglehoff cabernet; but that's another story.) but there really are no Habana "factory seconds" for sale to the public that I'm aware of. No doubt, if they do exist, they'd never be sold in a "firsts" box. There is a proliferation of Habana fakes. I've smoked my fair share. The best story was when I visited my cousin in Florida. He's a notorious cheapskate who usually gifts me crappy cigars while I, the one who is visiting him, gift him some primo stiks. The last time I saw him, he generously gave me a Cohiba Churchill sized Habana, telling me he bought it from a street vendor who worked at the factory and snuck a box out. Once home, I lit it up and it wasn't bad, but nothing great. The cigar started to flake and when I was about 2/3 done I cut it open and found mixed filler. I laughed my ass off. I suppose the best fake Cuban cigar you can get is one that was actually made in Cuba with real Cuban tobacco. It's easy to buy counterfeit bands and boxes on the internet and put them on any cigar that resembles the one you're trying to copy. For what you paid, just enjoy the cigars and don't worry about where they came from. LOL at your experience with the Cuban expatriot. Many of them are proud people who consider it near treason to support Castro in any way.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Quote:
(Stu @ July 08 2005,11:09) I'm sure you are right. But could they be factory seconds?  Or do the Communists not understand that concept.  Interesting story, by the way, I took them into a cigar shop today owned by a Cuban exile to see if he could tell me if they were real or not. He got pissed and threw me out. Wouldn't even look at them.  Just the thought that i might have patronized Fidel infuriated him.
I'm no expert on Cuban cigars (although last Satuday I enjoyed a Montecristo No. 2 and an R & J corona while eating prime veal chops and polishing off a 6 liter bottle of 2000 Egglehoff cabernet; but that's another story.)  but there really are no Habana "factory seconds" for sale to the public that I'm aware of.  No doubt, if they do exist, they'd never be sold in a "firsts" box.   There is a proliferation of Habana fakes.  I've smoked my fair share.  The best story was when I visited my cousin in Florida.  He's a notorious cheapskate who usually gifts me crappy cigars while I, the one who is visiting him, gift him some primo stiks.  The last time I saw him, he generously gave me a Cohiba Churchill sized Habana, telling me he bought it from a street vendor who worked at the factory and snuck a box out.  Once home, I lit it up and it wasn't bad, but nothing great.  The cigar started to flake and when I was about 2/3 done I cut it open and found mixed filler.  I laughed my ass off. I suppose the best fake Cuban cigar you can get is one that was actually made in Cuba with real Cuban tobacco.  It's easy to buy counterfeit bands and boxes on the internet and put them on any cigar that resembles the one you're trying to copy. For what you paid, just enjoy the cigars and don't worry about where they came from. LOL at your experience with the Cuban expatriot.  Many of them are proud people who consider it near treason to support  Castro in any way.
Actually I would never have purchased them myself because of the almost certainty they are fake. My mother in law went into town and bought them for me. She thought she was doing me a huge favor. So I at least have to smoke one to make her feel better. I've smoked my share of Cubans as well, and apart from the double corona Romeo y Julietas I smoked in Havana, which were amazing, the Cuban cigars I've smoked were at about the same level as the best Domincans. Cuban quality has fallen in recent years IMO. Construction is not always that great, sometimes the tobacco hasn't been fully cured and tastes a bit harsh, and many of the Cubans I've bought had little mites in them that ate holes in the cigars, making it impossible to get a good draw.
post #9 of 14
Stu, a MIL who buys you cigars.  You are a lucky fella.  I hope you are as kind to her as she is to you.  
post #10 of 14
The cuban cigar factory "seconds" are only sold to the locals under a different brand. They don't have the brand-name bands or boxes. They are never sold to foreigners and are certainly never exported. The quality control for cuban cigars is amazingly tight; they have a reputation to uphold. I think most people who have smoked a "bad" Cuban cigar have smoked a fake. The last time I was in Cuba, I had the pleasure of visiting a cigar factory. The cigar making process is fantastic to watch. The cigars are completely handmade. The only thing running on electricity in the factories are the ceiling fans. Even the cigar bands and the decorative stickers on the box are put on by hand.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Actually, the plot has just thickened a bit. Turns out, the price on these cigars was $125. But the clerk furtively glanced around, leaned forward and told my MIL: "$25." He grabbed the money out of her hand and hustled her out of the store. I wonder if the clerk just ripped off the store's owner and pocketed the cash. The cigars were priced at $125, which is in legit territory.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Actually, the plot has just thickened a bit. Turns out, the price on these cigars was $125. But the clerk furtively glanced around, leaned forward and told my MIL:  "$25." He grabbed the money out of her hand and hustled her out of the store. I wonder if the clerk just ripped off the store's owner and pocketed the cash. The cigars were priced at $125, which is in legit territory.
Stu, again, maybe but doubtful. $125 is still way too low for these cigars. Also, remember my cousin who bought Cohibas from the fellow who stole them from the factory? It's intersting how being the recipeint of a furtive illegal deal often gives an air of legitimacy to something that is bogus. Your MIL continues to impress me. Buying cigars for her SIL and getting involved in illegal activity at the same time. She's a wild-woman.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Stu, again, maybe but doubtful.  $125 is still way too low for these cigars.  Also, remember my cousin who bought Cohibas from the fellow who stole them from the factory?   It's intersting how being the recipeint of a furtive illegal deal often gives an air of legitimacy to something that is bogus. Your MIL continues to impress me.  Buying cigars for her SIL and getting involved in illegal activity at the same time.  She's a wild-woman.
LOL yeah. And my wife encourages me to consume mass quantities of rum, as well. Back to the cigars, the airport duty free shop had them priced at $125, for whatever that means.
post #14 of 14
$125 is about right for a purchase in Cuba. I don't know if the prices would be the same in the DR. Here are some prices for Cuban cigars in Cuba. It's from 2000, and most prices have gone up a good 25% since then. CubaPrices Just smoke 'em and tell us if they're any good.
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