Date: August 2020
Author: Inspector Z

Printwork to fight counterfeits. There is a huge problem with counterfeit cigars. Mostly it’s a problem for certain Cuban brands, Cohiba in particular. But there are also cases of high-end New World cigars being faked. Think Padron, think Opus X. The exclusive, high-priced, and well-respected brands. Amongst all the measures to fight these fake cigars is security printing. 

Vrijdag Premium Printing

In the last two months, we published two articles about our visit to Vrijdag Premium Printing in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Vrijdag is the leading printer of cigar rings. If you are a cigar smoker, it’s almost impossible that you have never seen a Vrijdag Premium Printing product. Its customers are from all major cigar producing countries. 

In our previous articles, we wrote about the company, and about the different styles of printing and finishes that Vrijdag Premium Printing has to offer. But during our tour through the facility, Henk Nota (title) explained the options for secure printing as well. Worthy of an article we think

Secure printing

Globally companies spend millions or even billions of dollars on fighting counterfeit every year. After building a brand for years, investing in quality, marketing, people, it is hard to see your brand being destroyed by counterfeits. One of the options is secure printing, and this can be done both visible and invisible. Vrijdag Premium Printing offers different solutions, that can be combined as well.


A hologram on the cigar ring is hard to copy for the counterfeiters. The most famous hologram can be found on the Cohiba ring. The Taino Indian on the ring is a hologram. And that makes it much easier to discount a cigar as fake when it doesn’t have the hologram, it’s not a genuine Cohiba. 

Ministry of Cigars - Printwork to fight counterfeits

Infrared security ink

Infrared inks have electromagnetic radiation that is not perceptible to the human eye. The wavelengths vary between approximately 780 nanometers and 1 mm (106 nm), i.e. between the (visible) red light and microwaves. You need special IR sensitive equipment to see infrared printing. 

Infrared ink can be applied both visible and invisible. The invisible infrared ink can only be seen under the influence of IR light. It’s a security feature that is being used on paper money as well. The visible infrared ink shows a black image, when hit with IR light, the image underneath the black ink can be seen.

Ultraviolet security ink

Ultraviolet is not perceptible to the human eye. The electromagnetic radiation falls just outside the observable spectrum of the human eye. Ultraviolet is often abbreviated as UV or referred to as ultraviolet radiation, blacklight or UV light.

Under normal light conditions, the unique identification printed with ultraviolet ink is invisible to the human eye. But when exposed to ultraviolet radiation it is visible. This version is available in various colors. There is also a metallic ultraviolet security ink. This ultraviolet variant is processed in metallic ink. Under normal lighting conditions, only gold or silver printing can be seen. The unique identification is only visible when exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

Thermochromic security ink

Thermochromic ink or thermochromatic ink is a type of dye that changes color when temperatures increase or decrease. There are reversible thermochromic inks and irreversible thermochromic inks to achieve visible or invisible effects. Various temperatures are possible in different colors from which a choice can be made.

Thermochromic ink is more than just security, it can also be a fun gimmick on cigar rings or packaging. It is decorative and fun. The options with thermochromic inks are quite diverse! There are various temperatures and colors available. The effectiveness of the thermochromic ink is mainly determined by the amount of ink that is printed. 

DNA Security ink

This type of security is not used for any cigar bands that we know. For this purpose, microscopic particles are added to the ink that contains a unique code. This code can be read with a special scanner. The particles are resistant to every conceivable damage and temperature. This technique is mainly used when a brand owner wants to identify its own products.

There are lots of articles online about the security features on the cigar bands from Cohiba and other cigar rings. But now you know how these security features are printed. Maybe it helps you to identify whether the Cohiba you bought is real or not.

1 thought on “Printwork to fight counterfeits

  1. Great story 😜,
    But honostly counterfeit premium consumer products are a nightmare for brand owners. And we can help making life more difficult for those criminals that want to profit from somebody else his brand value.

Leave a Reply

Latest from Specials ...

The all-new Fuente The OpusX Society single-vitola cigar made its worldwide début at the Premium...

March 2024

Recently, I visited Havana's Laguito 1492, where I toured and ended in a smoke lounge...

March 2024

Casdagli Cigars unfolds a tale from 1800s trade to premium tobacco, showcasing a legacy of...

March 2024

I recently visited Cuba and on the second day, explored Vuelta Abajo in Pinar Del...

February 2024

Boisdale of Canary Wharf hosted the Bolívar Regentes 2021 launch on Feb 7th, 2024. Joined...

February 2024