When you have a reputable brand like Habanos, it is no surprise that unscrupulous persons may try to pass off their products as from the Habanos stable.

Make sure you always buy your cigars at authorised outlets.

To ensure you are buying genuine Habanos, here are the authenticating marks that you should look for:

Cuban Government warranty seal

The warranty seal was first introduced in 1889 by Royal Decree of the King of Spain.

In 1912, the independent Cuban Government passed a law authorising the use of a new design, which is similar to the one in use today.

It was modified slightly in 1931 and more radically in 1999 with the addition of the red serial number and an emblem that is visible only under ultra-violet light.

Most recently, in 2009, a new version was introduced with a hologram on each seal as well as an individual bar code that tracks every box of Habanos, from production to each Habanos distributor anywhere in the world.

The bar code allows you to find out if a box is genuine by using the Authenticity Check that you will find on at www.habanos.com.

Denomination of origin

Since 1994, all boxes have carried the Habanos seal as a mark of the cigars’ denomination of origin. No box of Habanos is shipped from Cuba without it.

Local importers’ stamps

Individual countries or regions have their own certifying marks as an extra, local defence against counterfeiting. These marks are the responsibility of the local exclusive distributors.

For more information about the stamp in the market where you are, check with your local authorised Habanos Specialist.

On the bottom of the box

Since 1960, the bottoms of all Habano boxes have been hot-stamped with the words ‘Hecho en Cuba’.

Previously, it was often written in English (‘Made in Cuba’).

Since 1994, the bottoms of the boxes have also been hot-stamped with ‘Habanos s.a.’, the name of the company that distributes Habanos worldwide.

From 1985 to 1994, the name was ‘Cubatabaco’.

Nowadays they are marked as shown below:

Totalmente a Mano – Tripa Larga

Since 1989, boxes of classic, Tripa Larga – Long Filler – Habanos have been hot-stamped with the words ‘Totalmente a Mano’ – ‘Totally by hand’.

Totalmente a Mano – Tripa Corta

Boxes of short-filler Habanos are also hot-stamped with the words ‘Totalmente a Mano’ – ‘Totally by hand’ – and since 2002, ink-stamped with the letters ‘TC’ (Tripa Corta – Short Filler).

There are also some boxes of cigars that are inscribed only with ‘Habanos s.a.’ and ‘Hecho en Cuba’ (‘Made in Cuba’) omitting the words ‘Totalmente a mano’ (‘Totally by hand’).

These are machine made cigars which are not essentially covered by the Habanos Denomination of Origin (D.O.P). Most of them are covered by the ‘Cuba. Tabaco Mecanizado’ Denomination of Origin (D.O.P.) for machine made cigars’

Factory code and box date

There are two ink-stamps on the bottoms of Habanos boxes. One is a secret code that tells the industry which factory made the cigars. The other is the month and year when they were boxed.

The dates are not in code, and the year is simple enough. The system started in 2000 with ‘00’, then ‘01’ and so on. However, unless you know a little Spanish, the months may need deciphering.

They are:

ENE (Enero) January

FEB (Febrero) Frebruary

MAR (Marzo) March

ABR (Abril) April

MAY (Mayo) May

JUN (Junio) June

JUL (Julio) July

AGO (Agosto) August

SEP (Septiembre) September

OCT (Octubre) October

NOV (Noviembre) November

DIC (Diciembre) December

Habanos improve with age, so the date is important to connoisseurs.

Note: Ink-stamps indicating the factory and date of manufacture were first introduced on Habano boxes in 1985, but both were in code. If you want to check the date of a box between 1985 and 1999, ask your authorised Habanos Specialist.

Source: Habanos

Earlier articles:

Dressing the cigar box

Applying cigar bands

Sorting wrapper colours

Strict quality control

The craft of the Torcedor

Other methods of cigar manufacture

Totally handmade filler

Processing sun-grown leaf for Habano fillers and binders

Shade-grown leaf for Habano wrappers

Harvesting leaf by leaf

Cuba’s elite tobacco farmers

The only true Cuban seed

Nothing lesser than the best leaf for a Habano

Too wet, too dry, infestation issues

Humidors for your Habanos

Storing Habanos

The ritual of cutting, lighting and smoking a Habano

The leaves that clothe the body

Cigar anatomy

Cohiba: Fidel Castro’s all-time favourite cigar

Tobacco paradise

The best cigars come from Cuba

What’s the big deal with Havana cigar