Smoking Gun
April 14, 2008 11:52 PM   Subscribe

Help me pick a cigarette for the "infamous gentleman".

I've decided to become an "infamous gentleman". This is to say, I want to be the sort of person whose public comportment is unimpeachable, but about whom it is rumored that I have a private life of villainy and vice.

The infamous gentleman, I think, should have a signature cigarette. I don't smoke, personally, but I constantly find myself around people who do, and I want to be able to offer something to those who constantly find themselves with empty packs. Since I don't smoke, I can afford to spend a little extra cash on a higher-end brand, something that would appeal equally to friends of either gender, but I have no idea what that might be. I am definitely not interested in learning to roll my own. I just want to get a rep as a man who's generous with a tasty brand of cigarettes.

Also, I want some theoretical hard-bitten gumshoe to find cigarette butts at the scene of a crime, and by the distinctive brand know to look for my involvement.

Hivemind, what brand should I choose?
posted by Parasite Unseen to Shopping (88 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
Gitanes.
posted by awfurby at 11:55 PM on April 14, 2008


Nat Shermans.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:57 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Djarum

I'm a fan of the Blacks myself. They're actually black too.
posted by Geppp at 12:01 AM on April 15, 2008


If you're an USian, try Silk Cuts. It's a UK brand, pretty distinctive looking, not too harsh on the lungs. YOu can use it to build that Suave Continental cache. (yes, I know the UK isn't Continental, that's why it's important for the questioner to be from the US; if it isn't Marlboro or Budweiser it's exotic)

If you're a real misanthrope and you want to punish the unsuspecting smoker who innocently asks you for a spare, get some Aeroflot cigarettes. Be all swanky and Eastern European while slipping them a smoke that's not unlike being punched in the neck.

Djarum's are damned tasty (my personal fave) but a lot of people have strong preconceptions and prejudices about them.
posted by lekvar at 12:03 AM on April 15, 2008


Cohibas.
posted by misteraitch at 12:07 AM on April 15, 2008


Yves Saint Laurent
Dunhill
I'm always a little impressed/intimidated by people who smoke unfiltered cigarettes, but good luck getting someone else to smoke them (when I smoked menthol cigarettes no one ever wanted to bum them from me, which I found to be a bonus but it sounds like you may not)

I'll also plug my own brand, Marlboro 27s, because they're delicious and not ubiquitous (though probably not as esoteric as you're looking for)
posted by cosmic osmo at 12:09 AM on April 15, 2008


Bond smoked Gauloises I believe
posted by wayward vagabond at 12:09 AM on April 15, 2008


P.S. Don't smoke cloves
posted by cosmic osmo at 12:11 AM on April 15, 2008


Or rather, don't carry around a pack of cloves and offer them to people who want a real cigarette.
posted by cosmic osmo at 12:13 AM on April 15, 2008


Dunhill's. At least, that's what I smoked when I was like that.
posted by Phred182 at 12:21 AM on April 15, 2008


Gauloises Blondes, the Marlboro Medium of the Continental set.
posted by dhammond at 12:25 AM on April 15, 2008


I second Nat Shermans. Classy, tasty, and unusual enough (I think) to be distinctive.
posted by kram175 at 12:36 AM on April 15, 2008


Dunhill internationals, Exportas, or Davidoff.
posted by suedehead at 12:37 AM on April 15, 2008


Mores or (cough, cough, splutter) Camel.
posted by ceri richard at 12:47 AM on April 15, 2008


Sherman's and Djarums are sophomore cigarettes. Gitanes and Gauloises are better, but still kind of striving. Best to stick to understated classics like Dunhill or Players, or, since you need a "signature" brand, a less popular version of these, take your pick.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 12:47 AM on April 15, 2008


Dunhills (Hunter S. Thompson's brand) and Nat Shermans are pretty classy and good smokes. You won't find them in gas stations, but nearly every tobacconist carries them, I'm sure. But people are probably quick to make a lot of assumptions about imported cigarettes, probably in the way you're intending. British cigarettes are really smooth, rich, and oh-so-classy. Examples would be the Dunhill Internationals or Centennial Edition, or 555 State Express Originals. The Centennials (3 version, kind of a mild, medium, bold situation) came in a schnazzy looking box and are white filtered and pretty simple looking. The 555s have a classy box and interesting filter decoration. Conservative, but interesting. Each of those will set you back between $6.50 to $8 in California, which is somewhat more expensive than other places.

If you can manage to smuggle some French cigarettes somehow, Gauloises Blondes will give you a lot of cred, but the tobacco is very rich and somewhat harsh.

If you want to go crazy, try Chancellor's Treasurer cigarettes. Super expensive, not really worth it, but ultra classy.

All in all, I'd say the Dunhills or 555s are the way to go. They have the connotations you're looking for while, at the same time, they are very satisfying smokes and not that expensive.
posted by okaasan at 12:54 AM on April 15, 2008


I'll second (or third/fourth) the Dunhills. Also don't forget to buy a decent lighter since it'd be self defeating to buy classy cigarettes and then light them with a bic lighter you got at some gas station.
posted by woolylambkin at 1:15 AM on April 15, 2008


1. Smoking is dumb and makes you look and feel like crap.
2. I loved smoking. Then I got old and had to quit. I miss it every day.
3. The coolest smoking is done riding a ratty-looking bicycle, slowly, with one hand, while looking off and thinking of the last thing she said to you.
4.Offering cigarettes to another man (unless you want to sleep with him) is in questionable taste. Cigarettes are about sex, and a man should provide for himself.
/not particularly helpful editorialising


Balkan Sobranies. A little silly because they are black and gold (or other colors), but damn nice and mild. Also good are English Ovals which are plain-looking but oval in shape (which is surprising and interesting). The box is nice as well. Or Camel or Gauloise unfiltered. Nothing with a filter, and if you smoke them yourself pull them out of your jacket pocket (Harris Tweed jacket pocket) without taking the pack out.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:16 AM on April 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


I would also suggest transferring the cigarettes from the pack/boxes they originally came in into a small cigarette case.
posted by PenDevil at 1:18 AM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


On preview, seconding woolylambkin's suggestion about the lighter. It should be hefty and gold, NOT a zippo or a bic or a hand-grenade-shaped thing. Dunhill make nice lighters.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:19 AM on April 15, 2008


Davidoff Magnums.
posted by juv3nal at 1:23 AM on April 15, 2008


If you're an USian, try Silk Cuts. It's a UK brand, pretty distinctive looking, not too harsh on the lungs. YOu can use it to build that Suave Continental cache. (yes, I know the UK isn't Continental, that's why it's important for the questioner to be from the US; if it isn't Marlboro or Budweiser it's exotic)

Unless, that is, you meet anyone from the UK, where there considered girl's fags (I know, I smoked the damn things for years). Suggestions of Dunhills seem pretty much on the money...
posted by prentiz at 1:41 AM on April 15, 2008


obviously I mean 'they're' not 'there'.
posted by prentiz at 1:41 AM on April 15, 2008


I smoke cigarettes that have apparent distinction - my friends continually bum them graciously - but the only people who turn them down seem to do so out of homophobia. They smoke like a marlboro mild, with the addition of a vanilla flavor and a very slight sweet lip residue. I cannot stomach the very scent of cloves, but I smoke Vanilla Dreams. They open like Sinatra, Frank, as a gold caseand close like Sinatra, Nancy. In California, they are found easily enough at head shops and many liquor stores.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:13 AM on April 15, 2008


Roll your own. Halfzware Shag cut.

Bonus points if you can roll a proper grit one-handed.
posted by loquacious at 2:15 AM on April 15, 2008


If you want to go crazy, try Chancellor's Treasurer cigarettes. Super expensive, not really worth it, but ultra classy.

With that level of classiness you might as well smoke it yourself. Too expensive to share.
posted by drea at 2:28 AM on April 15, 2008


Lucky Strikes.

Those are what I smoked when I was going through my Hemingway phase. I don't know if Hemingway smoked other than cigars, but it seemed right to me at the time.
posted by psmealey at 2:48 AM on April 15, 2008


Craven A is another option.
Here are a few Craven A trivia (courtesy of the 'pedia):

Norwegian resistance worker Dagmar Lahlum was smoking Craven A's when she met the British double agent Eddie Chapman in Oslo in 1943.

Craven A was the brand of cigarette smoked by the founder of Pakistan, Muhammed Ali Jinnah.

Craven A appear in the Bob Marley song "Craven Choke Puppy".

Craven A cigarettes are featured in Dr. No, the first installment in James Bond's series. The driver - who is working for Dr. No - bites into a Craven A to ingest some instant deadly poison rather than reveal to James Bond the name of his employer

In several of his biographies, Charles de Gaulle is often said to have been smoking up to 2 packs of plain-tipped Craven A cigarettes a day while he was in London during WWII as the leader of "Free France".
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:57 AM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would say stay away from any posh or fancy cigarette (Dunhill, Davidoff, YSL or other designer brands), as they will give you an air of an effete dandy. If you're looking for the gentlemanly, but undoubtedly man's man cigarette, go with Luckies, Camels (unfiltered), Pall Mall (old school). For the euro flavored tough guy, Gitanes and Gauloises will do in a pinch, but do not expect to get any takers. Those are not for the uninitiated. The last time I was a serious smoker, I rolled my own (Drums for taste, Bugler for the just got out of prison vibe), but if you're not a smoker, you may not get enough practice to master the art and it's a bit awkward if you offer someone a handrolled cigarette, yet cannot do it for them.
posted by psmealey at 3:04 AM on April 15, 2008


I agree with Pen Devil's suggestion about a cigarette case; infrequently smoked cigarettes that have been crushed in a pocket or rolling a the bottom of a bag for weeks can take a surprising amount of damage, even in a hard pack. Plus, so slick. The lighter and cigarette case don't have to match exactly but I'd at least try to match metals (gold and gold or silver and silver).
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:41 AM on April 15, 2008


I believe that carrying cigarettes if you're not a smoker is not unlike carrying a sausage if you're a vegetarian--it marks you as an also-ran at best and a hopeless tit at worst. It does not tell the world that you are a playa.

"No, sorry, I don't smoke. Snuff?" will carry far more of the kind of impression you're trying to cultivate. Snuff seems foolish and eccentric on one level but the word has acquired all kinds of sinister overtones in the last few decades. If snuff doesn't appeal, don't carry cigarettes but do carry a lighter--something sleek and gold with a mysterious crest or monogram that isn't yours, or an inscription reading "Do with me what you will--Sabrina"

Either that or have the courage of your convictions and learn to smoke.
posted by Hogshead at 3:42 AM on April 15, 2008 [21 favorites]


Dunhills are so jumped up. Gauloises Blondes are instead of the real thing which are Gauloises unfiltered, pulled from the pack and tapped on your thumbnail to compress the tobacco. Or go with the Nat Shermans or English Ovals. Or even Camel untipped. It's all about devotion to the smoke, not pandering to the look. And have a lighter, a really quiet one.

Damn this thread; I haven't wanted to smoke for six years.
posted by firstdrop at 4:12 AM on April 15, 2008


You should go for a lighter type of cigarette - while luckies and camels are perhaps a better stylistic choice, they're disgusting unless you're a pack a day person already. No point giving someone a fag if it makes them regret the experience.

I'd go with Silk Cut, because, although they are a bit girly in the UK, 1) They're eminently smokable and 2) John Constantine smokes them (the real comic one, not the Keanu abortifacient) and 3) I smoke them and if I wanted to cadge a cigarette I'd be your friend forever if you had them. QED.
posted by Sparx at 4:25 AM on April 15, 2008


I'm partial to some Mild Sevens. At least I think it was Mild Sevens. Long time ago. It's a Japanese brand.
posted by seanyboy at 4:33 AM on April 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


b.t.w. I currently smoke Regal King Size. It's a top British Brand but one you'd have trouble finding in London.
posted by seanyboy at 4:35 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pay attention to Hogshead, his lighter recommendation is on the money.

If you're still going ahead then I recommend the English Ovals, flagship of the Phillip Morris (now the Altria Group) brand. Damn fine cigarette, so good that thinking about them makes me want to start up again. Very distinctive, a nice, smooth unfiltered cigarette. Don't buy Pall Malls, few people who are unaccustomed to the brand can actually smoke one.
posted by BigSky at 4:38 AM on April 15, 2008


If you're in the US, and you're hoping to give people cigarettes and have them willingly and gratefully accept them, go for either Marlboros (medium or light), Camel Lights or Newports.
posted by box at 4:55 AM on April 15, 2008


MaryLongs
posted by jontyjago at 4:56 AM on April 15, 2008


Oh, and I think soft pack is much cooler than box, especially if you can master the tapping the bottom and having the cigarette stick out trick. Bit tricky to stop them getting squashed though.
posted by jontyjago at 4:57 AM on April 15, 2008


Back in the days when I smoked, one of my "signature brands" was HB. Not too fancy or outstanding, but continental, and interesting enough to US smokers to start a conversation. Not so exotic that they'd choke someone on the first puff, either. More importantly, local smoke shops carried them, so I had reliable suppliers.

If you can get Roth-Händle, those might be more interesting for flavor--if they're fresh and haven't been sitting in the store for years waiting for someone to ask for them (a problem for any "interesting" brand). Unfiltered are fairly powerful, look for the filters.

I love a clove once in a long while, but to me they're evocative of Indonesia, where the smell of them is all over the place (along with kerosene lamps and grilled sate). I'm not typical though--an American who's heard of Djarums is more likely to associate them with goths or some other subculture, which is probably not what you're trying to accomplish.
posted by gimonca at 5:13 AM on April 15, 2008


Also, I have to quote a scolding Fran Lebowitz to you regarding Sobranies and other odd-looking items:

"If plain white cigarettes were good enough for Edward R. Murrow, they're good enough for you."
posted by gimonca at 5:16 AM on April 15, 2008


I currently smoke Regal King Size. It's a top British Brand

Yes, if you're a pikey.
posted by ReiToei at 5:31 AM on April 15, 2008


marshall mcgearty--although they no longer blend the carmelita. Just as well, since I can't even remember the last time I had a cigarette.
posted by crush-onastick at 5:45 AM on April 15, 2008


Gauloises cigarettes are absolutely disgusting and overpriced. They're the Marlboro of France, and I liken them to a Camel (but not as smooth).

When I feel like being fancy, I tend to go for 555. They taste excellent, smoke well and aren't too harsh. They also look classy as fuck.
posted by nonmerci at 5:56 AM on April 15, 2008


2nding Hogshead. You will not look like an international man of mystery, you'll look like a desperate tool.
posted by toomuchpete at 5:56 AM on April 15, 2008


When I wanted to stand out from the Camel Light and Marlboro Light crowd in college, I smoked Rothmans. Fairly smooth, and they always reminded me of Derek Bell. No idea what sort of image that would project to a Brit (though I'm guessing I'll hear soon enough).
posted by jalexei at 6:00 AM on April 15, 2008


Androns. Used to smoke them in college. Go for the nonfilter Turkish Special listed in the middle of the website. The distinctive oval shape of the cig makes it unlike any other brand in appearance. And, if you ever succumb to a desire to smoke, you'll love the ropey, musky flavor of the Turkish tobacco. Turkish leaves are superb. Once you've tasted them, you'll never go back to smoking Virginian. (For the uninitiated, you can taste a watered-down version of Turkish by buying a pack of Camels.)

Or, why not smoke a cigar? I love a sweet Arturo Fuente, especially after a satisfying meal. You'll gain poseur brownie points, but also be able to enjoy a smoke without nicotinizing your lung alveoli (cigars aren't inhaled).
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:07 AM on April 15, 2008


I think you should know, carrying fancy cigarettes with the intent of looking cool and not actually, like, smoking them, is likely to convey one of three impressions: (1) Fop; (2) vending machine; (3) foppish vending machine. "Infamous gentleman" will probably not figure in. That aside, I second the recommendation of Silk Cut. But sorry, bro: You kinda have to smoke 'em yourself. Looking cool -> lung cancer? I say yes!


(...*cough*)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:19 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


perhaps someone mentioned this already but you should keep in mind that tobacco goes stale after a while - unless you're really constantly around smoking folks you may end up having to purge & refresh your supply on a regular basis - either that or look into getting a cigarette case that seals tightly - you're not going to enhance your image as a gentleman, infamous or not, if you're handing out stale smokes

really, though, i think you could cultivate the air you're looking for just by getting a swank lighter

also, a sword cane
posted by jammy at 6:23 AM on April 15, 2008


dunhill internationals. sadly, they seem to have stopped making the superior milds in the awesomely blue box. those were the best, and the ones hunter s. thompson and elizabeth david supposedly smoked. best cigarette ever.

standard hip cigs include gitanes, gauloises, and whatever cloves you prefer. lots of hipsters smoke nat shermans, and when i lamented the demise of my blue dunhills, the guy at the specialty shop said i oughta use nat shermans as a substitute. but i personally find them gross. (shrug)
posted by ifjuly at 6:37 AM on April 15, 2008


If you must smoke, go with Gauloises. They don't smell as bad as most other cigarettes, and taste much better. They were the last brand I smoked -- been more than twenty years since I quit. I'll never go back, but it I did, I'd be smoking those.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:47 AM on April 15, 2008


Oh, and shaken, not stirred.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:49 AM on April 15, 2008


What an odd question. I don't know if Chesterfields qualify as gentlemanly but they are certainly infamous.
posted by danOstuporStar at 6:55 AM on April 15, 2008


Pipes are where it's at.
posted by electroboy at 6:56 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned American Spirits.

And, upon further reflection, the 'infamous gentleman' thing might best be accomplished with cigarettes that aren't widely available, or even ones that aren't sold in your home country.
posted by box at 7:22 AM on April 15, 2008


Dunhill Internationals
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:27 AM on April 15, 2008


The infamous gentleman smokes cigars or a pipe, of course. These cigars are from some place in the Caribbean, but you've forgotten, or would rather not give away your secrets, of course. Could they be Cuban? Why, no gentleman would smoke illegally smuggled Cuban cigars. But this particular gentleman is quite infamous... He must be hiding something.

Of course they're really just Dominican, because they're every bit as good, from what I've heard, and cheaper and easier to come by.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 7:38 AM on April 15, 2008


According to this site;

One of James Bond's greatest pleasures is cigarettes and he usually smokes sixty per day of a special Balkan and Turkish mixture with three gold bands on the filter. The cigarettes are specially made for him by Morland's and carried in a wide, thin cigarette case of black gunmetal with room for fifty. Whilst working abroad Bond smokes local brands, such as Chesterfield king-size in the US, and Royal Blend in the West Indies.
posted by merocet at 7:44 AM on April 15, 2008


When I think "guy who doesn't smoke but has cigarettes handy," I think of those guys at nice bars or nightclubs who sit in the restroom and offer you a towel, cologne, or a cigarette. An infamous gentleman would always offer a cigarette if he's having one (and if he's kind, abstain from smoking should company prefer) and always have a light for anyone he might be standing around. Carrying a lighter would be preferable -- and less jarring to others -- if you're a non-smoker. You're a gentleman, not a one-stop shop for assorted sundries, for god's sake.

Otherwise, just go for whatever cigarette mentioned above that is 1. Most easily smokable 2. Most affected. If you're trying to offer a service and be kind to smokers, pick the most favorable of the cigarettes often smoked in your locality. If your friends have empty packs, then do your homework and observe what those packs are. If you're trying to fedora this, then pick whatever you want to convey -- a mild smoke, a harsh smoke of quality that only some will take you up on, or some sort of unfortunate half-tobacco concoction that will appeal to some occasional smokers in addition to the regulars (hello, flavored cigarettes).

I occasionally have my cigar lighter on me and will offer a light with that, although it doesn't work as well for lighting cigarettes. That could be your affectation if you so chose -- most cigar smokers will only have the occasional one, and seldom carry a cigar on their person.
posted by mikeh at 7:52 AM on April 15, 2008


From a dame's perspective, Gauloise, Dunhills, 555s, Gitanes, Players for the Bond-Richard Burton-vibe, Camels or Pall Mall for the squinty Bogey-McQueen vibe -- infamous gentlemen all. And I have to agree, Silk Cuts are lady cigarettes and really, you must smoke 'em if you got 'em. Damn, smoking was fun!
posted by thinkpiece at 7:55 AM on April 15, 2008


English Ovals, no question.
posted by mattbucher at 8:01 AM on April 15, 2008


Gitanes or Gauloises.
posted by charlesv at 8:02 AM on April 15, 2008


All right, I really think you're underselling your own potential here. You want to be the infamous gentleman, so a fancy and exotic cigarette is what you're going for. But no matter what brand you carry, someone else, somewhere, is going to have heard of it. You need the Great Unknown Secret.

So here's what I suggest: You make your own, and you make them look distinctive. NEVER tell anyone that you did so; just say that you know a very exclusive tobacconist. Roll your own, or find a type with no logo on the side of them and print your own logo on the smokes. Make your own cigarette box so that it looks like you got it from a manufacturer, but with your own brand and logo. You might consider going to an actual print shop to get a bunch of boxes printed up (unfold a box of Winstons or whatever to see how each box is constructed from a single sheet of light cardboard), then fold and glue the boxes together yourself. Again, do not EVER tell anyone you've done this; you'll likely be proud of your efforts if the case and cigarettes look real, but you gotta keep that secret a secret.

As for the branding: I suggest a deep grey box with a Victorian motif, and perhaps the brand name "Lupin Cigarettes" after the famous gentleman-thief. But your taste in villainy may vary, so go nuts, man. Whatever looks the most ridiculously exotic to you.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:17 AM on April 15, 2008 [8 favorites]


Oh, and shaken, not stirred.

Only because Bond drank vodka and vermouth, which is of course not a martini. Always gin, always stirred.
posted by jalexei at 8:20 AM on April 15, 2008


Sweet Aftons, they are delicious, named after a Robert Burns poem, they instantly go stale as soon as you open the pack, which has a lovely design (that design is probably totally out of date, the packs I remember were white, but they had the same image) unfiltered, mild, oddly shaped like English Ovals. Also they are impossible to get, at least in the US recently (possibly defunct), which will help you cultivate your air of mystery and secret access to the finer/stranger things.

Barring that, have a tobacconist prepare and roll you a special blend, like James Bond, make sure it is laced with hashish or cocaine or opium.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:48 AM on April 15, 2008


Proper villains, I imagine, smoke an unfiltered brand, and light the end with the inked name or logo, so that the Shamus will never be able to trace the butts to them, without going all CSI and sending them off to a lab for DNA analysis.
posted by steef at 8:56 AM on April 15, 2008


Seconding Jalexei: never shake a martini of any kind you heathen. Shaking a gin martini bruises the gin (assuming you're drinking a gin good enough to be bruised, which any International Man of Mystery would. Try Hendricks, it makes an amazing martini). It also speeds the melting of the ice, diluting the alcohol and spoiling the taste, which is idiotic... unless you're a secret agent who needs to have his wits about him. Though Fleming never said that was why Bond did it, it's the only plausible reason.

Plus it's one of the most overused lines in cinema and a very good way to make a bartender sneer at you.
posted by Hogshead at 8:58 AM on April 15, 2008


My dad used to smoke Dunhills. They have a very distinctive red and gold packaging. It should get you noticed.

As for the rest of the plan, you need to begin spreading rumors about your supposed life of villainy and vice. These reputations don't build themselves.
posted by reenum at 9:01 AM on April 15, 2008


2nding Marshall McGearty. They're very fine cigarettes.
posted by liketitanic at 9:28 AM on April 15, 2008


Throwing my vote for Nat Sherman's. Lot's of options, all high quality.
posted by taliaferro at 9:35 AM on April 15, 2008


I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned American Spirits.

That's because they taste like crap and they're not cool. The only villain that smokes American Spirits is the person who still has them left when everyone runs out of their own, better tasting cigarettes, forcing us to smoke "twigs and squirrels."

Sorry....just really, really hate American Spirits.....
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:46 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a former smoker, I must also throw in for the Nat Sherman's. At least in the US. Most smokers have heard of them and are suitable impressed when you pull the box out.

Another one I always liked was the 555 but it's tastes very much like a normal premium cigarette, like the American Spirits.

Don't go with American Spirit. That's the hippy cigarette.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:55 AM on April 15, 2008


The infamous gentlemen? Go for cigars! No one remembers cigarettes anymore. I'm in school of a class of 200, and they all know I smoke cigars. You can get some great cheaper brands, or some higher end ones. Try Artuero Fuente to start, or better yet, Padron 2000. Give those a try, and people will remember you then.
posted by uncballzer at 9:58 AM on April 15, 2008


Way back when I used to, my signature brand was the John Player Special.
posted by Arthur Dent at 10:08 AM on April 15, 2008


When I was a student in university and not without affectation I smoked Dimitrino Botschafter.
Oval cigarettes of the egyption type. The old fashioned black box was marked with the gold coats of arms of the russian czar, the prince of Prussia and the king-emperors of Austria. Yes, as if the first world war and the russian revolution had never happened.
Also I used to smoke Frères Kyriazi cigarettes. Also oval egyptian type.
When I'd visit London I'd get Balkan Sobranie cigarettes in Bond street.
posted by jouke at 10:50 AM on April 15, 2008


Shaking a gin martini bruises the gin

Ignore this, it's nonsensical.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:19 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nat Shermans are nice. But please don't go around carrying 555s. They taste pretty rough.
posted by brina at 2:26 PM on April 15, 2008


This whole long thread and not one mention of the "international passport to smoking pleasure" that is Peter Stuyvesant reds? Philistines.

Roll-your-owns will give you the exact opposite of the look you want - rollies are for hippies and poor people.
posted by goo at 2:29 PM on April 15, 2008


(I smoked rollies for years, just to be clear that I'm not disparaging rollie smokers, but it is not a look you want to go for if you want to be an international man of mystery).
posted by goo at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2008


I second the following:

Davidoff Magnums - Sobranie Blacks - Lucky Strike Unfiltered

Hard to get your hands on (especially the first two), but absolutely villainous and supremely delicious.
posted by s01110011 at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2008


alors.. you can not go to such trouble and not smoke them! but you know I'd say be a gentleman, plain and simple, and maybe the shady stuff will take care of itself and if not.. it's a win-win.. what kind do your friends like, or a particular friend?

otherwise, Camel Reds.. They don't have any fancy flavoring stuff but have cool packaging. (Botschafters are impossible to find in the US now.. or anywhere?)

but.. ugh, cigarettes are terrible for you. this thread really makes me want one. mm, Gauloises blondes. Oh wait - that's what it is - someone I used to bum cigarettes from knew I liked the Gauloises blondes and I think he would buy them for this reason? that was very gentlemanly of him.
posted by citron at 6:48 PM on April 15, 2008


Seconding Balkan Sobranies, but only if you can get them in
this tin.

(and of course, only if you plan on taking up the habit yourself).

Carrying matches or a lighter to offer people is more what you are after, and is less pretentious as well as actually gentlemanly.

When I smoked, I used to carry a replica of a WW1 brass trench lighter.

It was difficult to use, but made an impression.

Fumbling with a lighter you don't use frequently enough to be second nature is toolish.

A gentleman always carries matches. I would carry these.
posted by aninom at 8:28 PM on April 15, 2008


Sobranies. Very distinctive. Very nice. Mild but flavoursome. Not common.

Personally, I smoke Champion Ruby tobacco and roll a sophisticated cigarette. I think I like my soft leather tobacco pouch and the art of rolling part as much as the smoking itself.
posted by Kerasia at 8:53 PM on April 15, 2008


aninom, if I'd read your' post first I wouldn't have written mine. You are right. A lighter is what he wants, not a cigarette. Lighting someone's cigarette is courtesy, offering them one is generosity. Courtesy is more gentlemanly.
posted by Kerasia at 9:03 PM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a worthy debate above about whether you want cigarettes, or a lighter, or That Certain je ne sais quoi.

I still say you want Faros. They're Mexican and come in a range of fancy-as-hell tins (sample). There are filterless varieties, but I always went for the filtered ones. They are super-tasty; less chemical than other cigarettes. Once a stern-looking bouncer checking my bag gave me an approving nod when he saw I had Faros "son los buenos..."; they are.

I've quit, but I got a little kick out of typing this.
posted by eponymouse at 6:31 AM on April 16, 2008


Fumbling with a lighter you don't use frequently enough to be second nature is toolish.

I totally agree. You'll have to practice with whatever device you get. Obviously a 49 cent red plastic bic is not acceptable in this situation.

The irony is whatever device he gets to light with he'll need to practice, which will probably lead him to start smoking as he'll have all these really nice cigarettes laying around. They're the obvious choice to practice on.

A gentleman always carries matches. I would carry these.

Here I must disagree. I think a Zippo would be the most well suited for these purposes. They make about a million different patters, so its just a question of finding one that conveys the right image here. I'd suggest trying to find an antique one.

Then go watch some youtube videos on how to use it.

Though if you do decide to carry matches, go stick matches.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:41 AM on April 16, 2008


Not to get all MeTa in an AskMe thread, but this was an enjoyable one to follow. Though I smoked my last cigarette on Memorial Day 2004 and won't ever go back, I think there will always be moments where I'll want to have one. But the thing I had forgotten was the kind of the romance and aesthetics that are so tied to the smoking ritual. Going through all the brands and finding the one that "fit" was almost a rite of passage.

Let's face it, as much as many of us smokers tended to be rebellious by nature (anyone who started smoking after 1980 was, after all, part of a distinct and shrinking minority), and as a result anti-corporate and anti-consumerist, most of us invested heavily in the brand we chose to represent us. Whether we smoked the Hardpack Reds with the burnouts behind the auto shop in high school, smoked cloves with the goths in the Art wing, Dunhill Reds with hotel bar posh wannabe crowd, black Russians with the Eurotrash, or American Spirits with the hippies, the brand we chose invariably said something about us that we wanted to have been said about us... even if it was a worthless and even destructive consumer good.
posted by psmealey at 12:29 PM on April 16, 2008


Blue American Spirits.
posted by stenseng at 1:20 PM on April 16, 2008


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