Cuban cigars do not necessarily have to be bought in Cuba, as they are also sold in Mexico, Canada, Europe and other countries. It is also possible to buy them online. However, it is important to be on the lookout for fakes.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of individuals and even whole companies that dedicate themselves to making sub-par fake cigars. It is not easy to tell whether or not these cigars are fake just by looking at them, but once a person has tried out the cigar, it is clear whether or not it is a genuine Cuban cigar.
Genuine Cuban cigars have an unmistakable aroma that can only come from high quality tobacco that has been properly harvested, dried, cut, and wrapped.
The most obvious tell tell sign of fake Cuban cigars is poorly made packaging. Cuban government has spent last decade investing in development of new cigar bands and packaging which are more difficult to counterfeit
Instead of shopping for a Cuban cigar box on the black market, it is best to shop from reputable online dealers with already established brick and mortar stores. Remember that Cuban cigars are expensive even in Cuba. Cheap Cuban cigars tend to be fake.
The UK use their own quality check procedures for its market. EMS means 'English Market Selection', a description used in Cuba for over a century to identify the quality of cigars designated for the UK Market. It is the cornerstone of the UK's long established reputation as a world center for the finest Havanas. All packs of Havanas, which are officially selected for sale in the UK domestic market, now bear an EMS stamp.
All Cuban cigars imported to UK are inspected before release to its market and if any imperfection is found, they are send back to Cuba.
Havana Cigar Exchange holds all their Cuban cigars stamped by EMS and are again checked by its trained staff before the cigars are being dispatch to customers.