Cigars 101

Are my Romeos fakes?

A: This is a most interesting situation. They may be swapping out the boxes and filling them with Habanos, as you suggest. However, the bands on your cigars do not match the band in my Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars. Those in the book have a thinner brown band with two black rule lines above and below, but the Cuban version says “ROMEO Y JULIETA” (all in caps) in a small font, and the word “CHURCHILL” below in a bold, all-caps font, with the word “HABANA” to the right in small type in all caps. The only thing yours had in common were the black rules and the word HABANA to the right in caps. So, there is a strong chance they are knock-offs.

If they were the genuine Dominican brand, they wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of printing Habana on the label, either. That said, if they smoke well and taste great, and you got them as a gift, then perhaps it doesn’t matter.

*   *   *

In the meantime, I sent an email to my contact at Altadis, U.S.A., maker of Romeo y Julieta cigars,with Bob’s photos attached and received the following reply: 

“They are probably knock-offs. I can’t imagine why anyone would put real Cuban cigars in a Dominican-marked box. The packaging, nor the cigars appear to be from our Dominican Factory, TDG, which is the manufacturer for all RyJ cigars legal in the U.S.”

*   *   *

Sorry ’bout that Bob, but since your daughter believed she was buying you the genuine article, no harm no foul. I just hope she didn’t overpay for them. The important thing here is that at least you like the way they taste, so maybe they are decent Cuban cigars or good Dominicans in sheep’s clothing. (And bad clothing, too.)

For the record, it’s probably in the best interest of all consumers traveling abroad to have the merchant open the box before completing the sale, especially when buying any cigars in the Caribbean and Mexico. Better to find a genuine tobacconist or stick with the duty-free shops.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
nowsmoking H Upmann Connecticut Toro cigar review Cigar Advisor Cover

#nowsmoking: H. Upmann Connecticut Toro

The H. Upmann Connecticut is “smooth, smooth, smooth…” – it’s also a contender to be one of the best Connecticut cigars we’ve smoked all year. Want more? See what else you need to know about this cigar, when you click & read our super-fast H. Upmann Connecticut cigar review now…

Read More
cacover fan mail cigar questions pt 25

Fan Mail: Your Burning Cigar Questions, Answered (Part 25)

Fan Mail returns: so many questions have come in since our last presentation it was hard to choose, but some of topics we’re talking about today include tips for cutting extra-wide ring gauge cigars, a trick to unplug a torch lighter, plus questions about Maduro and cigar flavor profiles…watch our videos now!

Read More
Top 5 First Generation Cigar Makers

2018 CA Report: The Top 5 First Generation Cigar Makers

There are countless cigar making legends who were born into tobacco families from Central America & the Caribbean: Fuente, Oliva, Padrón, Eiroa and many more. But we've made a list of the top 5 cigar makers who entered the business with very little first-hand knowledge and a whole lot of big dreams. Read now!
Read More
cigar questions and answers part 10

More Cigar Questions: Answered (Pt. X)

Make smoking cigars a learning experience: the Advisors answer 4 more of the most often-asked cigar questions from their readers. Watch now! 
Read More