Cohiba Behike Bands Get New Security Holograms

Cohiba Behike Bands Get New Security Holograms
The Cuban Cigar Industry Fights the War Against Fakes

One of the most counterfeited brands in the world just got harder to fake. New holograms and more sophisticated patterns make the Cohiba Behike’s band nearly impossible to reproduce accurately. 

Like fine wine and fine art, it’s inevitable that fine cigars will be counterfeited as well—perhaps none finer than the Cohiba Behike. Expensive, high-profile smokes like the Behike are always going to be subject to the unscrupulous world of illegal reproduction. This is an unfortunate and undeniable reality, which is exactly why global distributor Habanos S.A. and Vrijdag Premium Printing in the Netherlands have just released an updated band for the Behike BHK series. The new holographic label is now produced with even more complex imagery than before, making it markedly difficult for counterfeiters to duplicate.

While the overall composition of the new Behike bands remains the same, the primary difference is the security strip on the back, which has a redesigned and modernized repeating holographic pattern. The pattern still consists of Cohiba’s trademark Indian head profile and the Behike insignia, though its arrangement has changed.

When the Cohiba Behike BHK first came out commercially in 2010, the band alone was a technological innovation for the cigar market. Full of complex impressions and intricate trim, the bands were encoded with holographic emblems put in place for the sole reason of thwarting fakes. This pioneering security effort marked the first time that 3-D type images appeared on Cuban cigar bands. Not only did the gilded bands have a glittering “wow” factor for consumers, but the advanced design made unauthorized reproduction difficult in a way that forgers and knock-off artists had never seen. This, however, did not stop them from trying. Shortly after the Behike’s release, fakes began to surface everywhere from the beaches of the Bahamas to the private poker rooms of Las Vegas, even before Cigar Aficionado magazine named the Cohiba Behike BHK 52 the Cigar of the Year for 2010.

Habanos is doing its part to ensure that smokers get genuine product, but education is also key. In the case of the Behikes, there are a few simple and common-sense rules to keep in mind. Firstly, Behike BHKs do not come in boxes of 25. Many counterfeiters make this mistake over and over again, hastily packing Behikes into crudely painted, 25-count boxes. This is an immediate incrimination. Behikes only come in boxes of 10, and the boxes themselves are finished with a luxuriously thick, high-gloss piano lacquer. The lids are solid without ridges or collars and do not have brooches. Inner hinges are branded with the words “Cohiba” and the bottom of each box has a smooth swath of felt rather than an exposed wood grain common to other brands. If any of these elements are absent, don’t buy the cigars. Do not accept strange justifications, reaching rationales or outlandish stories of backdoor channels through factory employees. Behikes don’t come in bundles in either.

You’ve heard it before, but we cannot reiterate this enough: buy your Behikes from a reputable source. Real Behikes are not sold on the beach for $10 apiece. Also, look at the bands carefully and be sure that they have all the lustrous dimension of a high-quality 3-D hologram.

 

It should be noted that the new labels have only recently been put into circulation, so old and new bands will coexist in the market for a while until old stock runs out.




"Dennis, Yes, too good to be true. Sounds like you have genuine packaging (or close to it) but fake cigars. The price is a dead giveaway--$200 for a box of Behikes is just too cheap. The 56, even in Cuba, where prices are as low as can be, goes for around $310/box. " —February 8, 2017 10:47 AM
"Too good to be true is usually the case. I found someone on EBAY selling a box of BHK56 for $200 and thought I'd take a look at them. Quite impressive. I ran the serial number on the Habanos.com verifier and it came back saying it was a legit original from habanos s a. So I went ahead with the purchase. $200 for an unopened BHK 56! Wow was I anxious to get this package. It came yesterday and I carefully examined each step of the way. Correct packaging, correct placement/size and accuracy of the stickers including January 17 LBT sticker. I figured I lucked out with a very recent run before they sold out. Not so fast! I opened the outer cardboard package carefully. Inside a nice felt pouch/protector I found a beautiful high gloss black humidor box. Somewhat surprised not wrapped in the nice cellophane often protecting such high gloss. Very impressive humidor though, and all markings seem to be precise. I opened the humidor to find the two cards with information, the cedar sheet and the rice paper protector sheet all as expected. Now I am looking at 10 beautiful cigars with the wonderful BEHIKE under the indian headand they all looked very very impressive. Only thing at this point that concerned me is that the cigars were packed so very tight and without the typical ribbon to lift one with, it was a chore to loosen one without damaging it. Not sure if this is normal of Cohiba, this being my first box ever. Once I got one cigar out I began inspecting it closely with a lighted magnifying glass. Everything looked in order. the letters raised, the hologram and fingerprint effect in the indian head, the hologram under cohiba looked very good with alternating of tuny indian head and cohiba spelled out. I took it outside in the sun and the hologram effect was clear and quite flashy. So at this point I am excited and anxious about actually having this wonderful cigar and at only $20 a stick, WOW! NOT so fast! After communicating with my "source" and showing interest in more habanos, check out the list and prices he sent to me. So tempting to spend $2k isn't it? After thinking I have a legit box of such a sought after habano, I am ready to stock up! Here is his response to the list I asked for prices on: 1 Bx Montecristo #2 150 2 Bx Behike 52 175 2 BX Behike 54 185 1 BX Behike 56 200 2 Bx Siglo VI. 175 1 BX Robusto. 160 1 BX Supremos. 200 1 BX Serie D #4. 150 1 BX Serie P #2. 175 I was ready to test the waters with a couple of boxes, but the prices, when compared with a list I found on another site which had the official habano sa price list for the stores in cuba, I decided it was just too fishy, I mean, check out those deals! too good to be true! I kept looking at you tube videos, even cut open half of one of the BHK's. I am by no means an expert, but I have participated in cutting open some obvious fakes from the DR and finding yard clippings in the filler, this was a pretty impressively rollded cigar, nicely constructed filler, binder and outer wrap. I then decided to torch one and just see how it smoked. What I found was a reasonably decent smoke which did not overwhelm me, it burned fairly consistent with a good draw, but it did nothing to make me want to take it down to burning my fingertips like is typical of my favorite smokem the PDR AFR 75 which I smoke several per week. So, now I am left confused. I know this is a long story, so to find an ending, I will leave you with this and hope for some thoughts/comments. My final decision that these are some really super "faux" replicas comes from the new band that they started using in 2014. The only clue I had once I leaned about the new band which has the new hologram under the word cohiba which has all the tiny little squares alternating the indian heads with the cohiba across the hologram. So I emailed my source with my findings, and of course, I haven't heard back from him. Hope this experience helps to save someone else from spending their money on fakes. I got a nice box and probably cigars that are worth about $8 a stick. And disappointment from still not experiencing BEHIKE!! Best, Dennis " —February 7, 2017 22:04 PM