A Cigar – Cohiba Habana Robusto Counterfeits on an afternoon in Venice, CA
Louise and I ran the two-hour drive to Venice for a Sunday birthday party. Christopher and Elaine, Louise’s niece and her husband, were throwing a birthday party on the front lawn of their house and their baby Lydia got passed from lap to lap. It was Enda King’s birthday and we were invited. What turned out to be a beautiful day of beachy weather became the perfect backdrop to a delicious lunch with friends and family.
Beers and Champagne in buckets of ice under a small white-topped tent made for a festive scene and the layback attitude of their Venice neighbors was evident as they walked by our in-their-face party next to the sidewalk. That and the soft, tented light was a photographer’s perfect setting. Seeing that there were at least three pro shooters there, it was hard to tell who was the photographer with all the phone-cams in use.
Cohiba Habana Robusto Counterfeits
I’d put away my stash of cigars and took none with me for the day in Venice, as I try to take some measure in the frequency of my partaking. A good smoke usually satisfies me for a few days at a time. So it was unexpected when Christopher took me aside and with some presentation, gifted me with a 5-stick glass-top cedar box of Cohiba Habana Robustos that he and Elaine brought back from Mexico. They’d returned from a south-of-the border wedding for friends and Christopher was very sweet to think of me in buying the box as the delicacies of Cubans were, as yet, still unavailable to citizens in our country as embargoed goods. I was touched by the thoughtfulness.
So with surprise and delight, I gratefully accepted the box and cut the importation seals to light one of these hunnies up. Getting a bunch of Cubans was still something special in its seeming illicitness. And while Christopher seemed a little unsure about the pedigree of the gift, providing that he’d bought the cigars on the beach from a vendor, I guessed a couple of things on the spot – maybe they WEREN’T real Cohibas and maybe he paid a lot of money for these smokes.
Sitting at the table after we’d all finished eating, Christopher and I lit up.
The first draw was a little strained and the wrapper felt dry. Oops. Another draw or two and I was feeling that dryness come through in the tobacco. “Had they been in the sun on the beach too long?” Maybe. The wrappers looked a little bleached and uneven in color. Being inexperienced with Cohibas – I had smoked a Siglo IV that a Canadian acquaintance shared – I thought I’d still get the hang of this one. But after a third of the thing was gone, it became apparent it was a pretty harsh smoke. With some difficulty I finished most of it. Later at home, a little research online told a story.
These are the facts. Cohibas are not sold in glass-top boxes – ever. The genuine version of the band has 5 rows of white dots above the band midline, not four. The printing registration of the gold embossing is not out of register on real Cohibas and an Edición Limitada 2016 had not been released as of my date-of-smoke.
It turns out that beach vendors in Mexico sell these things day in and day out, and at a good premium. These Cohiba Habana Robusto Counterfeits are sub-par cigars, packaged to look like the ‘real deal’ Cohibas, but are not. Counterfeits. Had I this new information I would have known it before I opened the box.
All photos ©2016 Wm. Stetz, all rights reserved