My favoprite is the Rum, Coffee, Cigar shop on Middle Street. Saul will prepare your cigars in such a way as to make it easy for you to take them home. He also roasts his own coffee and I buy the beans from him. They are always very fresh.
I should, but I'm not going to name names here. One of the ways to check for a fake Cuban cigar is to take your finger and feel the label. If the label is flat, you are looking at a fake. They stamp the labels out at the factory with a machine, so the real labels will have ridges and indentations that you can easily feel with the end of your finger. There are other things to look for, but that seems to be the easiest way to tell around there.
Bear, I took your advice a while back, and have made a few visits to Saul's Rum Shop. His walk in Humidor is very nice, and have sampled a few nice sticks. The Pura Maya's, and he has had a few Beliceno's as well. Nice guy too.
The rum samples help of course.:D
Ps...I have smoked many a Dominican Cohiba, that had embossed bands, so....
DC, thats good. I liked Sauls shop he takes a lot of pride in his products. I should clarify; I was only agreeing with Bwanas recommendation of Havana's. Counterfeit Cubans are so rampant (everywhere) and the quality of counterfeting so high with respect to the labeling that I finally just settled on a store where the product met my own standards of taste and product quality. But I have to say that I was intitally led to Carlos' as he was specifically identifed as the only authorized Habanos dealer in Belize when I researched it through Habanos' website and had an email exchange with their regional distributor. Personally I'm satisfied with the product and quality at Havanas.
Cigars are such a matter of personal choise and taste that I simply view them like wine...if you like it, great! Your favorite might 2 Buck Chuck, or it could be a Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, as long as you like it who cares?