Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Presentation of a True Habano

On March 1st, 2014 Catfish and I talked about the packaging and presentation of a true Habano on What Embargo?: Episode Tres. Since then we have had requests from our viewers to do a recap of the shows in written form so that it would be easy to come back and look over the material we talked about. Because it took us ten days to do a recap, it won't for future episodes, we are going to be showing a couple different boxes, but the concept will be the same and you should get the points. Below you will see two examples of the styles that Habanos S.A. used in its presentation of a true Habano, and these are items to look for when purchasing a box of Habanos.

I should begin by saying there are eight styles of presentation for Habanos S.A. and over the years we will cover them all. Those styles are...
  1. Labelled Boxes
  2. Cabinet Selection
  3. '8-9-8'
  4. Bundles or Mazos
  5. Special Boxes
  6. Cabinet Boîte Nature (BN)
  7. Semi Boîte Nature (SBN)
  8. Small Packs

Above is a photo of a Labeled Box. This is the most common form of Habanos packaging and all Habanos inside are box-pressed. You see these boxes being used with Montecristo No. 2, Punch Punch, Saint Luis Rey Serie A, etc. Above is a Labeled Box of the H. Upmann Half Coronas. You see it shows the H. Upmann logo in the center and on either side are box seals.  

Above is a photo of a Box Seal. These seals are applied by Habanos before the boxes leave the factory. It has been in place since 1994 and we are in the third generation of its lifespan. The seal will say Habanos in bold colors and underneath that is written Denominación de Origen Protegida. Along the Habanos title will be a small D.O.P. as well. This seal is typically applied to the upper right hand corner of the box and is at an angle like such. 

On the opposite side of the box is the Warranty Seal. This seal has been in place since 1889 and has undergone many changes over the years. The most recent change was in 2010 and this box reflects that change. One side will feature a hologram seal that has Habanos and Aqui Su Garantia written, and on the other side is a bar code and serial numbers. You can scan the bar-code or enter the serial numbers with Habanos to determine whether or not the box is legit. (Link Here)  

This is an example of the results with a genuine product. This is my results for the Trinidad Reyes box below. 

Here is an example of a serial number and bar-code for a box from 2013.  

At the bottom of the box is the Box Stamp. This box stamp has been in place since 1989 and states that this box is a product of Habanos S.A. and that it is made in Cuba. (Hecho En Cuba) It also states that the product inside is totally handmade. (Totalamente a mano) Underneath that you will see three letters and underneath that another three letters followed by two numbers.

The first three letter represent the factory code. This code is not given out and changes all the time. It is never the same factory and cigar production for cigars moves factories from time to time. This code is AME and was the code for the factory that was making H. Upmann Half Coronas for April 2013. I know that it is April 2013 because the second code is ABR 13 which is April (ABR) 2013 (13).  

This box stamp is pressed in, not inked. It is pressed in by a hot iron. The factory code and date of packaging is inked however. This is our example of a Labelled Box and what to look for.


Above is a photo of a Semi Boîte Nature. The brands are hot-stamped into the wood and these cigars always round. You see these boxes with Montecristo Petit Edmundos, Partagas Serie D No. 4s, Trinidad Reyes and others. This box is from 2008 so it is going to be a little different than the seals you see today. (At least boxes younger than 2010)

At the bottom of the box you see a God awful sticker from Australia and it covers up the box stamp. We are seeing more and more of these warnings on Habanos S.A. packaging and it is terrible when you get them on your Limitadas. You do see the factory code under that and the month and date. The factory code is OUR and the date the cigars were packaged was NOV 08. (November 2008)

There was a period, mostly 2008-2010, where there were two warranty seals applied to the cigar boxes. Those seals were the new seals that were in place from 2009 to 2010 and the old seal that was in place before that. Recent packaging has shown only one seal in place though. Don't ask me why Habanos S.A. had both seals in place, maybe they were just using up old seals up, but they did and that is that.

I hope that covers most of everybody's questions. If you have any more though, please do not hold back. As I said earlier, we will be covering more packaging of Habanos S.A. down the road and thanks for checking it out. See you this Saturday for What Embargo?: Episode Quatro.