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.
13 thoughts on “Morland of Grosvenor Street Cigarettes”
I’m always amazed that Fleming managed to get to the age of 56 considering how much he smoked. I sometimes wonder if the stress of the Thunderball/Kevin McClory legal battle had never occurred (exacerbating his heart condition), he may have lived another fifteen or twenty years, despite all the Morland’s Specials that he lit up over the years.
I agree. After reading a lot about the ongoing saga Fleming had with McClory, it was clear it played heavily on his health.
“The Battle For Bond,” while frowned upon by the Fleming estate, is a fantastic account of how much that particular episode really weighed on Fleming and likely contributed to his death.
Of course, without the 70 cigarettes a day, he might’ve been better equipped to handle to stress, but who knows. Part of the appeal of the Bond books and of Fleming is the hard living.
Perhaps he needed 60-70 per day to cope with the stress? 😉
Kidding aside, I would have loved to try one of these.
They can’t be found in USA any longer but try to get Sobranie Black Russians. (Black papered cigarettes with a gold tip) I think Faulks had 007 smoke them in Devil May Care.
I was smoking Black Russians YEARS ago. Circa 1989-1992. I remember them fondly. I used to tell people if i was going to kill myself with someothing it would be the very best.
His cigarettes were made for him by a lady by the name of Julia Garcia Cohen who owned the Moreland Brand. They became friends even while he was with Naval Intelligence and he told her that he would be happy for her to use his name officially – but incredibly she failed to get permission from the Authorities for her to legalise the brand. Julia became a friend of Fleming’s Secretary ‘ Griffie’.
misterpaul5a. Thank you for that information. In the early 1970s my office was next door to Morelands where I bought my cigarettes. I had forgotten Mrs Cohen’s name. Thanks for jogging my memory. We often used tio have long chats. Happy days!
Thanks! I had a wholesale and retail business in Shepherds Bush and saw quite a lot of her – in fact her sister lived next door to me.
Her nephew, who I got to know quite well, used to ‘deliver’ Julie to see her sister from time to time. He was a fine gentleman.
In fact I inherited a considerable amount of memorabilia which I still have, which detailed some of her correspondence with Ian Fleming and also the history of Morlands.
Nice to see some of my photography of the Morland & Co items in the 007 MAGAZINE ARCHIVE on your entertaining Blog. A few more images can be seen here: http://www.007magazine.co.uk/props_archive/props_archive.htm
I still have the box, in a display case in my office, unfortunately the contents I smoked a very long time ago. Having visited the Morland & Co shop a number of times when still at school in the 1960s, I could kick myself now for not ever taking any photographs of the exterior and interior, a rare sight indeed. After 56 years I am still searching for images of the old place. Perhaps Paul Austin could help?
The yellow printed item you have illustrated above is actually a loose-leaf information leaflet that was inserted into the box on top of the wax paper wrap in which the 50 cigarettes sat inside the box.
I look forward to reading more of your Blog.
007 MAGAZINE (1979-2020)
007 MAGAZINE & ARCHIVE Limited
This is amazing. What a trove of information! Does anyone have a picture of the shop front of Morlands?
I still have a number of letterheads of Morland & Co.and a lot of information on Julia Garcia Cohen to this day.
Copies of letters she sent to Ian Fleming and a number of her customers.
In 1958, I worked for bank located just off Hanover Square and used to buy cigarettes from Morlands’. Just before I was called-up to do national Service in the RAF I bought a rather lovely pipe with a bamboo stem and a small round bowl (Prince?) which I carried with me all round the world in the pocket of my flying suit. A few years ago we moved house and the pipe went awol, never to be found. I miss it every day and would love to know whether it was a known brand but i never saw another like it. Happy days.