When James Bond first meets Darko Kerim in From Russia With Love, the Head of Station T gets him settled.
He pushed over a flat white box of cigarettes and Bond sat down and took a cigarette and lit it. It was the most wonderful cigarette he had ever tasted – the mildest and sweetest of Turkish tobacco in a slim long oval tube with an elegant gold crescent.
From Bond, who as we know, is very particular about his cigarettes, this is the highest possible praise.
What else? Cigarettes? Smoke only these. I will have a few hundred sent up to your hotel. They’re the best. Diplomates. They’re not easy to get. Most of them go to the Ministries and the Embassies.
There have been several brands of cigarettes (and cigars) called Diplomate or Diplomat, Fleming doesn’t say which one is being referenced here, though the Romanian/Bulgarian brand seems the most likely.
In Thunderball, after James Bond has taken the “nature cure” he has also adjusted his smoking habits. But there was one brand that just didn’t work out for him.
The Dukes tasted of almost nothing, but they were at least better than Vanguards, the new ‘tobaccoless’ from America that despite its health-protecting qualities, filled the room with a faint ‘burning leaves’ smell that made visitors to his office inquire whether ‘something was on fire somewhere.’
The Vanguard was a real product, introduced during the early stages of the creation of Thunderball. The cigarette was actually very controversial, as “big tobacco” viewed it as a threat and did all it could to suppress the introduction of it.
1959-Fall: The “Vanguard Issue.” Vanguard was a tobaccoless smoke introduced in the Fall of 1959. The product’s creator, Bantop Products Corporation of Bay Shore, Long Island, immediately ran into problems advertising it. Bantop claimed the tobacco industry conspired to prevent its “Now Smoke Without Fear” ads. In the New York metropolitan area, for example, only one newspaper would accept the ads. (ASG)
Here is a look at the Vanguard and the claims it was making:
During the 1950’s, tobacco advertising was omnipresent, and made big dollars for Madison Avenue. As various studies were made and questions raised about the health effects of smoking, the industry fought back with various insidious tactics of its own, from doing their own “studies” and carefully finding ways around regulations that were put into place as far as the claims that could be made in cigarette advertising.
When Vanguard was announced, the maker of the product found that it could not get advertisements for the cigarette published. They charged that big tobacco was exerting pressure on outlets to not carry the ads for Vanguard.
This was the subject of an article in the October 2, 1959 issue of Advertising Week
It’s an interesting history for a product that never really made the big time, but is forever immortalized in an Ian Fleming James Bond novel.
There have been other cigarettes named Vanguard, both tobacco and electronic, but the above brand is the one Fleming was referencing in the book.
Tiffany Case is a smart lady. Naturally, her cigarette of choice would be Parliaments. Or at least that is what the advertising of that decade would’ve suggested.
In Diamonds Are Forever, as Bond and Tiffany arrive (together but separate) at Idlewild, Tiffany shows that she might be a little nervous.
THE customs officer, a paunchy good-living man with dark sweat marks at the armpits of his grey uniform shirt, sauntered lazily over from the Supervisor’s desk to where Bond stood, his three pieces of luggage in front of him, under the letter B. Next door, under C, the girl took a packet of Parliaments out of her bag and put a cigarette between her lips. Bond heard several impatient clicks at the lighter, and the sharper snap as she put the lighter back in her bag and closed the fastening. Bond felt aware of her watchfulness.
Bond references this incident when they are at dinner, in response to Tiffany’s teasing of him. He mentions the Parliament brand by name, and then a few minutes later, things are getting a little serious between them, and Tiffany needs to distract herself again.
She picked up her third Martini and looked at it. Then very slowly, in three swallows, she drank it down. She put down the glass and took a Parliament out of the box beside her plate and bent towards the flame of Bond’s lighter.
The “gimmick” with Parliaments was the recessed filter. The paper end of the cigarette extended about 1/4 inch past the filter, making a gap between the end of the cigarette and the filter. It was suggested that this was a “smart choice” because the smoker’s mouth would not touch the filter, and theoretically would not absorb as much tar from the cigarette.
In The Spy Who Loved Me, Vivienne Michel enjoys a Parliament while settling in for her planned evening alone.
Then I pulled the most comfortable armchair over from the reception side of the room to stand beside the radio, turned the radio up, lit a Parliament from the last five in my box, took a stiff pull at my drink, and and curled myself into the armchair.
One of the things that James Bond is famous for is that he has his own brand of cigarette, one that is specially made for him.
We’re first introduced to this brand in Casino Royale.
He lit his first cigarette, a Balkan and Turkish mixture made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street,
We’re given a little more detail a bit later.
he filled a flat, light gunmetal box with fifty of the Morland cigarettes with the triple gold band.
Bond is a prodigious smoker, consuming 60-70 per day.
In Moonraker, when Bond is back in England after his assignment abroad, he’s back on the special brand:
He lit a cigarette, one of the Macedonian blend with the three gold rings round the butt that Morlands of Grosvenor Street made for him, then he settled himself forward in the padded swivel chair and began to read.
In From Russia With Love, Bond has been tossed around in the sky by a batch of turbulence and has a cigarette to recover.
He was pleased to see his hands were dead steady as he took out his lighter and lit one of the Morland cigarettes with the three gold rings.
While following Auric Goldfinger across the continent, Bond feeds his habit:
Bond settled back into second and let the car idle. He reached for the wide gunmetal case of Morland cigarettes on the neighbouring bucket seat, fumbled for one and lit it from the dashboard.
While on a health kick in Thunderball, Bond temporarily stops smoking the Morlands.
Bond had lit up a Duke of Durham, king-size, with filter. The authoritative Consumers Union of America rates this cigarette the one with the smallest tar and nicotine content. Bond had transferred to the brand from the fragrant but powerful Morland Balkan mixture with three gold rings round the paper he had been smoking since his teens.
They’ve been made for him since his teens?
M sends Bond to Japan on an impossible diplomatic mission in You Only Live Twice, and Tiger Tanaka suggests Shinsei cigarettes.
James Bond was running out of his Morland specials. He would soon have to start on the local stuff.
As a test, the Soft Man in The Man With The Golden Gun makes a remark about cigarettes to a brainwashed Bond to see what his state of mind is.
‘Come in. Come in. Take a pew. Cigarette? Not the ones I seem to remember you favour. Just the good old Senior Service.’
Major Townsend had carefully prepared the loaded remark – a reference to Bond’s liking for the Morland specials with the three gold rings. He noted Bond’s apparent lack of comprehension.
In 007 In New York:
James Bond sat back and lit one of his last Morland Specials. By lunchtime it would be king-size Chesterfields.
The three gold rings could represent the three stripes on the sleeve of Fleming’s (and Bond’s) commander uniform from the RNVR. When Bond is sent abroad, he usually smokes whatever he has left of his Morlands, and thqen switches to a local brand. (In Live and Let Die for example while in America, he was smoking Chesterfield Kings.)
He continues to smoke these cigarettes throughout the novels.
Not surprisingly, these cigarettes were actually made for Ian Fleming, who bought them from Morlands of Grosvenor Street, which was a real business. The store closed not too long after Fleming’s death, leading you to wonder whether he single-handedly kept them in business! The building has also been demolished.
This American brand of cigarette pops up throughout the Bond novels.
In Casino Royale, it is the brand that American agent Felix Leiter is smoking. As they get together for their first drink.
Leiter shook at Chesterfield out of his pack. ‘I’m glad to be working with you on this job,’ he said, looking into his drink
Bond then assesses Leiter.
His grey eyes had a feline slant which was increased by his habit of screwing them up against the smoke of the Chesterfields, which he tapped out of the pack in a chain.
In Live and Let Die, Bond twice is cited as smoking Chesterfield Kings, first at the St Regis while contemplating events that brought him to his present assignment, and then while on the Silver Phantom with Solitaire.
Bond slit open a fresh pack of King Size Chesterfields with his thumb-nail, as he settled back in his comfortable chair in the warm luxurious room, his mind went back two weeks to the bitter raw day in early January when he had walked out of his Chelsea flat into the dreary half-light of a London fog.
On the train:
He dug in his pocket for his cigarettes and lighter. It was a new pack of Chesterfields and with his right hand he scrabbled at the cellophane wrapper.
Solitaire ends up opening the pack, removing a cigarette and lighting it for him. He tells her she’s going to be busy because he smokes three packs a day.
Interestingly, in Diamonds Are Forever, which takes place largely in America, we’re not told which brand Bond is smoking. He could’ve brought enough of his Morland Specials to make it through the trip, I suppose. Tiffany Case smokes her Parliaments throughout.
In Goldfinger, Bond returns to America, and he is back with his Chesterfields. When he is a guest of Mr Du Pont he starts his day as follows.
He went back into the bedroom, picked up the telephone and ordered himself a delicious, wasteful breakfast, a carton of king-sized Chesterfields and the newspapers.
He holds out the pack of Chesterfields to Jill Masterton when he meets her and she accepts one.
Then, later in the book when Bond is a guest/prisoner of Goldfinger, he enjoys bossing Oddjob around.
Oddjob, I want a lot of food, quickly. And a bottle of bourbon, soda and ice. Also a carton of Chesterfields, king-size, and either my own watch or another one as good as mine. Quick march! Chop-chop!
When Bond learns the details of Goldfinger’s plan, “he reached inside his coat pocket for the Chesterfields and lit one.”
Then, as again a prisoner of Goldfinger, he refuses to talk until his demands are met.
We will have a talk, Goldfinger. And I will tell you certain things. But not until you have taken off these straps and brought me a bottle of bourbon, ice, soda water and a packet of Chesterfields. Then, when you have told me what I wish to know, I will decide what to tell you.
When Bond locates Domino in Nassau during Thunderball, she is buying cigarettes, and actually trying to find one that will convince her to stop smoking. Bond recommends Dukes. He orders them, and she objects:
But Bond had already paid for the carton and for a packet of Chesterfields for himself.
When Bond returns to America in The Spy Who Loved Me, he offers Viv a cigarette after she offers to make him some scrambled eggs.
‘Have one? Senior Service. I suppose it’ll have to be Chesterfields from now on.’ His mouth turned slightly down as he smiled.
In 007 in New York, Bond again has his Chesterfields.
James Bond sat back and lit one of his last Morland Specials. By lunchtime it would be king-size Chesterfields.
Originally produced by the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company, the brand was sold in 1999 to Philip Morris, and while still being produced, is more popular in Europe these days. During the 1940’s and 50’s Chesterfield was a major sponsor of television programs, and their advertisements were plentiful, many featuring major movie stars and athletes of the day.
This brand of cigarettes, found in France, makes a few appearances in the Fleming novels.
In Casino Royale, Le Chiffre lights one up as he gets ready to torture Bond.
In From A View To A Kill, Wing Commander Rattray, Head of Station F (France) “chain-smoked Gauloises and his office stank of them.” Bond moves his chair closer to the window “to keep away from the fog of Gauloises.”
Chapter 23 of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is entitled Gauloises and Garlic. Marc-Ange “reached for a blue packet of Gauloises”.