Angesichts der winkenen Gewinne erstaunt wenig, dass gefälschte Havannas (und selbstverständlich auch Cigarren aus anderen Herkunftsländern) im Umlauf sind. Cape Argus schreibt über die Problematik in Südafrika:
Close, but no cigar
By David Yutar
Cigars have always conjured up a certain ineffable quality, a romance or mystique. What would Winston Churchill and Fidel Castro have been sans cigars?
But when is a cigar not a cigar?
When it’s fake, says cigar aficionado Bernhard Gutman.
A member of the Cigar Club of South Africa and a retail cigar seller, Gutman says the problem of fake cigars is a new phenomenon in South Africa, although it has plagued cigar lovers around the world.
He believes that cheroot cheats are conning local cigar smokers by selling them fake Cuban cigars.
„I found some fake Montecristo 5 cigars at a Cape Town retail outlet in February,“ said Gutman.
„I wrote a letter to the person who sells them but he denied they were fakes.“
„I then sent photographs of the cigars to leading experts around the world and they all confirmed my suspicions.“
Gutman said he alerted the official Montecristo agents but they had taken no formal steps to date.
„It amazes me that the people who are licensed to sell Cuban cigars are doing nothing about the threat from counterfeit products.“
Gutman said he had written to the local and overseas agents of the cigar sellers in South Africa but had had no response.
He threatened to report the matter to the police, to Habanos (the company that controls the sale of Cuban cigars around the world) and to issue a public warning to unwary consumers.
Gutman, who „doesn’t claim to be an expert on cigars, just a cigar lover“, said fake and real cigars were „chalk and cheese“.
„The labels are completely different for a start. The construction of the cap of the cigar is a telling feature. In a real Cuban cigar there are three seams clearly evident in the cap, while the fake cigars have no such seams.“
„The fake cigars are also smaller.“
„I know many people who have smoked counterfeits that they said were great. But more likely it caused a terrible chest pain and severe nausea.“
„More often than not, the tobacco has not been aged properly and the cigar has not been rolled correctly.“
„You may find paper, banana leaves and other oddities in your cigar.“
He said fake cigars were often hidden among genuine ones by a deceptive process known as „blending“.
„You might buy a box of 25 Cuban cigars, but only the top layer are real Cubans, the second layer being fakes.“
Gutman said counterfeit cigars provided dealers with an easy way to make a fast buck from unsuspecting consumers. A box of fake cigars costs between R50 and R100, but the real thing would set you back R1 000.
# The distribution of Cuban cigars in South Africa is controlled by Diramex Tabacs, a Swiss company described by Habanos as „the sole and exclusive distributors of Cuban cigars in South Africa“. – Staff Reporter.