Cigars 101

That Was A Great Cuban Cigar! Or Was It?

An authentic box of Cubans should have the green and white Havana Seal label, which reads, “Republica de Cuba. Sello de garantia nacional de procedencia” (Cuban Government’s warranty for cigars exported from Havana). The box will also have an oval stamp on the bottom that reads: “HECHO EN CUBA” (“Made in Cuba) with the words “Totalamente a mano” (“Entirely by hand”) underneath, a factory code and the words “Habanos s.a.” Cubans made between 1961 and 1989 will only have the HECHO EN CUBA stamp with post-1985 boxes also featuring the factory code. The Habanos, S.A. stamp didn’t appear until 1994. If you’re lucky enough to find a box of pre-Revolutionary Havanas, the stamp will read “MADE IN HAVANA-CUBA,” with the factory name stamped below, a lot number below that and the word “HABANA” stamped below that. Be wary of a box that has “Envuelto a mano” on the bottom. This only means “hand-packed.”

A good “pre-purchase” solution is to familiarize yourself with the “legal” and phony Cuban cigar bands. There are several cigar websites that have this information. Again, there’s a good chance you’ll hit pay dirt if you buy the cigars in a good tobacco store, not a trinket shop. You’re also more likely to find “legal” Cubans in Europe and Canada where the demand is much higher.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com 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: Aging Room Pura Cepa Rondo

Aging Room Pura Cepa hits the bulls-eye on all counts: see more of our quick review, and who we’d recommend this cigar to

Read More
5 Things About Torpedo Cigars CACover

5 Things You Need to Know About… Torpedo Cigars

If you love Torpedo cigars - you're in good company among cigar lovers. But have you wondered WHY these figurados command such a loyal following, or why they might be your favorite? Get 5 pearls of torpedo cigar wisdom that you need to know, and extra info that will help you become an expert on this classic shape.
Read More

#NowSmoking: H. Upmann Mogul

Trending: #nowsmoking H. Upmann Mogul Toro...see our 10-second cigar review here, and share! Find us on Instagram: @famoussmokeshop and @cigaradvisor
Read More
Arturo Fuente Cigar Review

Arturo Fuente Cigar Review

Cigar expert Gary Korb provides readers with his Arturo Fuente cigar review, giving his opinion on one of the most historic and iconic cigar brands.
Read More