I really do not approve of smoking - and I notice that Daniel Craig, the latest actor to play James Bond, refuses to smoke in the films [even though he himself is a heavy smoker off set] But in Ian Fleming's books, we learn that 007 is a 60-a-day man. Craig maintains you could not remain fit if you smoked that heavily.
But I know that the spy is supposed to smoke his own exclusive cigarettes, produced for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street. The paper wrapper has three gold bands [acknowledging his is Commander Bond] and the tobacco is a Balkan Sobranie mixture.
Balkan Sobranie tobacco is described thus; Balkan Sobranie Original Smoking Mixture is one of the most legendary Latakia-based blends in history. Dating back to around the 1920s, this is a combination of wonderful Virginias, excellent Orientals and enough Latakia for a robust and flavourful mixture. The aroma has an incense-like scent that will thrill the senses. Balkan refers to the Greek Macedonian yenidze tobacco that gives this blend its characteristic flavour and aroma. It has a peaty, brackish astringency that is unique. To this is added a large quantity of fiery, tenebrific, real, Syrian/Cypriot latakia tobacco, all of it held together by the background notes of red Virginia.
Personally this information is of little use to me - as I I am not, and never will be, a smoker. But I love packaging and tins. Look at this picture from a 1920's B-S tin
Who are the two women? why are they waving cheerfully at the chap leading his wagon load of tobacco leaves to market? A few years later, the design changed- the two women are on the other side, looking at lots of wagons going up the road. And is that lady now not waving, but holding her own cigarette?.
But the Balkan Sobranie mixture was deemed exotic, and interesting - far more esoteric than the Gold Flake that the old men down the pub were putting into their pipes, or rolling into the Rizla papers.
And despite my abhorrence of the evil weed, I am afraid I succumbed and purchased an empty B-S tin this week. My paperclip pot has lost its lid - and the artwork on this tin is lovely, and it did only cost me 20p in a charity shop!
There's a message inside the lid too -I am not altogether convinced that this long cool smoke will calm a troubled world, with an aroma to answer all life's worries.
But it will at least hold my paperclips securely!