A couple of years ago, I met a Cuban fellow who told me he had direct ties to Cuban cigar manufacturing plants. Based on his account of history, he worked on a tobacco farm in Cuba as part of his high-school co-op program.

That’s where he met many of the people who now work in the Cuban cigar factories today.

The line he convincingly towed was that the Cuban cigars he sold were real, with counterfeit bands on them. He said that because of Cuba’s communist regime, everyone in nearly every industry breaks off a silver of hustle for themselves.

If you repair or import electronics, a few will inevitably come up missing. If you raise chickens, not all will make it back to the coop.

And if you If you make cigars, then a few boxes of unmarked cigars will eventually get lost. He said this is just the way it is in Cuba.

The reason the bands are often imperfect, because there are only two companies with the ability and willingness to make counterfeit cigar bands; they are located in Canada & Brazil.

Those companies do the best they can to come close, but being fake and all,¬†they often get little details wrong. The cigars however, the cigars themselves… he said “are 100% authentic. No doubt about it brotha!”

Since launching Houston Cigar Life in 2014, I have met some of the oddest people dwelling in the cigar world; this fellow was certainly one of them.

Although I didn’t pay for the cigars he would give me, I did talk about them a lot. Till this day I will not know if his story is legit or not, but I can tell you this.

The Cuban Cohiba Maduro he gave me, produced a 3″ ash and smoked like a dream. Fake or not fake, that cigar was good!


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