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tak8426

August Trip Report (Picture Heavy)

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tak8426   
On 8/27/2017 at 9:56 PM, Customsfan said:

Just curious. Wich custom rolls did you get wth the humidor?

I don't know exactly what they were. My spanish understanding is very average and I'm not sure he stated who made them. They smell fantastic and I'm sure he has some pretty good connections in town. Can't wait to try them soon!

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tak8426   
1 hour ago, oakalley said:

Those are some serious purchases. How do you get all that back into the USA?


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I checked two bags with about 150 cigars in each bag, carried on another 100 cigars and my facturas, and also carried on the humidors in a pretty large duffle bag. I definitely had more luggage than most when I arrived back home but customs was so busy with other international flights I had no issues at all.

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uscmd310   

Great haul! Just a warning on Havana Lbre. Those cigars are definitely fake Behike. That's why they wouldn't sell you the box. The moment you left they refilled box with more fakes. Cohiba melia is the same. Try not to buy singles from stores. The boxes with factura is always real. Great pictures and a great trip though!

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On 9/4/2017 at 0:24 PM, uscmd310 said:

Great haul! Just a warning on Havana Lbre. Those cigars are definitely fake Behike. That's why they wouldn't sell you the box. The moment you left they refilled box with more fakes. Cohiba melia is the same. Try not to buy singles from stores. The boxes with factura is always real. Great pictures and a great trip though!

I have been trying to rationalize the fact that they wouldn't sell the box since I originally read this thread.  Unfortunately there is just no other logical reason for them to refuse other than they were "recharging" the box.  

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uscmd310   

The store manager at havana libre admitted it. He was terrified of the habanos official we were with. He said, 'Sir, if you let me know when you come next time, i will make sure the cigars aren't here'. The manager pulled down all the cigars and price tags. 

Here is how it was explained to me. The store workers share the pot. Since they only make less than $20/month, they all have something on the side. The boxes are counted very often by the state, but single cigars aren't inventoried. So the store employees can restock fakes and sell, the state never finds out. I guarantee you weren't given a factura for the single cigars. 

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tak8426   

What is interesting however is that they wouldn't include the box with any of their other cigars, not trinidad topes, not behike 54, not piramides extra, sir winstons, hoyo double coronas, esplendidos, dantes, capuletos. If they had extra boxes in the humidor they would sell those which as you can see I did get sir winstons and hoyo double coronas and received factura for those. I understand that behike and cohiba products are the most faked cigars but I'm not sure they are trying to fake trinidad topes, hoyo double coronas, and sir winstons even though those can be tough to find as well. 

There clearly is corruption throughout cuba and even in casa del habanos, hotel melia habana has a curtain that they hide premium products back and when pressed they tell you that those are not for sale. Last time behind the curtain they had montecristo A's, 80 anniversario, dantes, and full boxes of cohiba lanceros. I pointed at the boxes and was told I was not supposed to be looking in there. Habana libre had a full box of behike 56 reserved in the bottom of the walk in humidor. Anyways long story short, I also suspect that they are required to display the product they receive and as long as they have a box out they can pull a few behikes out and display them while still saving boxes for private clients or saving boxes that they sell out the back door. 

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uscmd310   

The sir winston and DC with factura is 100% real. And you were lucky to get them as they are hard to get in Cuba. Yes corruption everywhere, I've been learning through trial and error. I got burned by lots of fakes at Cohiba Melia. I was irritated at a nice hotel selling fakes to all the tourists.

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I don't think all the singles at Habana Libre are fake, just the "hard to get" or "rare" stuff that they can sucker people on. The below video shows the singles cabinet at Habana Libre, along with pricing, all matching the standard across the island. I bought some beautiful and very tasty RA Superiores and a couple other singles (I cant remember what) last November. This was the only place that I saw a single "Behike" during the trip. Again, two or three singles of each size sitting in the boxes. I passed on them, as I would regardless of their availability. But the location in the middle of Vedado, along the Rampa, plus its reputation for having a large selection of singles probably draws alot of people coming in straight from the airport. (as I did) Seeing a cabinet full of LEs and Behikes at the first LCDH you walk into can be too much for some people to pass up, even if alarm bells are ringing. 

I have a hard time getting too upset with the employees. They earn far less per month than they should earn in a day, it is impossible to live on this much money, even with the meager food rations. Everybody or a family member of everybody has a side hustle in order to supplement their income. They do it because they have to, not because they want to. The vast majority of Cuban income is generated in this "Black market". I do agree that its very unfortunate seeing it happen at the historic and beautiful "Havana Hilton" and I'm surprised the HSA official was so calm. This type of s**t is the exact reason that customs can be such a pain checking facturas when leaving the country. They know that fakes are a huge problem and that they can only contain so much of the manufacturing and distribution on the island, the last line of defense is customs.  

 

 

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dezbo   

Some score! I’d be thrilled with a fraction of that. Most curious about the Hoyo DC’s and whether they are worth it. When it comes to DC’s, they’d better be damn good to warrant smoking that much cigar for 90 to 120 minutes. If you find them to be that good, let us know


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dshapiro   
On 9/7/2017 at 8:54 AM, uscmd310 said:

I guarantee you weren't given a factura for the single cigars. 

interesting. i was given a factura for all the singles EL's, sir winstons, monte 80ths, and behikes i bought at habana libre back in september. i know they had full boxes in their secondary storage, next to the walk in humidor that most people go in, but they would not sell me a box. even when i bought 10 monte dantes, no box.

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Fake Behike's at the Libre?  NO Sir, they are not as this place selling ANY fakes would be a disaster to even tread on this type of activity at this establishment. Been there numerous times and cleaned them out of all 52/54's last time I was there, TWICE! :)

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