Morland of Grosvenor Street Cigarettes

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.

From the collection of Graham Rye
Back of the box.
From Graham Rye – 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.

Leeds Castle

In Moonraker, while in pursuit of Sir Hugo Drax and his Mercedes Type 300 S, James Bond is in his Bentley on the A20 and they pass by Leeds Castle.

Called “The Loveliest Castle In the World, Leeds Castle has been around in some form since 1119.



He was touching ninety-five on the straight just before the entrance to Leeds Castle when great lights were suddenly switched on behind him and a four-tone windhorn sounded its impudent ‘pom-pim-pom-pam’ almost in his ear.

Ashford Rd (A20) outside Leeds Castle. Note straightaway where Bond hit 95 and the S-Bend where he watched the Alfa grow through.
Ashford Rd (A20) outside Leeds Castle. Note straightaway where Bond hit 95 and the S-Bend where he watched the Alfa grow through.

He watched affectionately as the Alfa wagged its tail in the S-bend abreast of Leeds Castle and then howled off on the long wide road towards the distant Charing-fork.

As you can see in the map above, the A20 does have a straightaway near the entrance and an S-bend further on down, just as described by Fleming.

Thomas Wyatt Hotel

The day before the Moonraker launch, Sir Hugo Drax takes Gala Brand and Krebs into London for some last-minute preparations. On the way, Miss Brand is determined to get a look at Sir Hugo’s notebook which he keeps in his pocket to check for herself the figures that he enters into it each day.

She manages to pick the notebook from Drax’s hip pocket, and get it into her coat. Now she needs him to stop the car so she can get out and take a look at it.

A garage would be dangerous. He might decide to fill up with petrol. And perhaps he also carried his money in his hip-pocket. But was there an hotel? Yes, she remembered, the Thomas Wyatt just outside Maidstone. And it had no petrol pumps. She started to fidget slightly. She pulled the coat back on to her lap. She cleared her throat.

The Thomas Wyatt hotel is still there, though now the part which was the inn back then is now a pub, with a Premier Inn attached to it.


The car swerved up to the front of the inn and stopped with a jerk. “Hurry up. Hurry up,” said Drax as Gala, leaving the door of the car open, sped obediently across the gravel, her coat with its precious secret held tightly in front of her body.


Sir Thomas Wyatt was a fairly prominent poet and rebel of the middle ages.

Patek Philippe Watch

While we’re getting the description of Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, we get a very simple description of his watch:

a plain gold Patek Philippe watch with a black leather strap.

Pretty straightforward. You might even have just read right over it without giving it a thought. However, it is yet another example of Ian Fleming’s eye for detail and top-notch product placement within the series.

Patek Philippe & Co is a high-end Swiss watch manufacturer which has been in business since 1839. They are known for the fine movements and complicated mechanics of their timepieces. They are considered by many to be the most prestigious luxury watchmaker in the industry.

Nothing “plain” about that!

Drax may have been wearing something similar to this 1950 model:


Like this watch? You can purchase it for a mere $14,432!

Jack Hobbs, Gordon Richards

In Moonraker, James Bond is attempting to put the current popularity among the English people of Sir Hugo Drax into some sort of context.

“Well, sir,” said Bond finally. “For one thing the man’s a national hero. The public have taken to him. I suppose he’s in much the same class as Jack Hobbs or Gordon Richards.

With these two names, Fleming not only named the greatest cricketer and the greatest jockey England had ever known, but also two men who had been knighted in 1953, the year before Fleming wrote Moonraker. They were thus very much in the public consciousness at that time, and remain so to this day, at least for those in the United Kingdom.

For some modern readers, outside of the UK, at first glance, the context may not mean as much in this day and time, but for the time when Moonraker was published, these were two of the biggest heroes the country had at that time. Putting Sir Hugo Drax in their company is making a statement, indeed.

Sir Jack Hobbs
Sir Gordon Richards

The Marthe Richard law

During his evening at Blades with M in Moonraker, James Bond observes the starched collar and cuffs on the uniform of the waitress, whose skirt brushes on his arm, and reminisces for a moment.

He recalled a pre-war establishment in Paris where the girls were dressed with the same exciting severity. Until they turned round and showed their backs.  He smiled to himself.

The Marthe Richards law had changed all that.

What we have here is another Ian Fleming reference to something in his (and Bond’s) lifetime. France – Paris in particular – had been known for its brothels. In 1946, a law was passed banning prostitution and closing all the country’s brothels.

This wasn’t the first time Fleming had made reference to this event. In Casino Royale, in giving the background of Le Chiffre, it is mentioned that the SMERSH paymaster had used union funds to purchase a chain of brothels in January of 1946.

Fate rebuked him with terrifying swiftness.

Barely three months later, on 13 April, there was passed in France Law No. 46685 entitled Loi Tendant à la Fermeture des Maisons de Tolérance et au Renforcement de la Lutte contre le Proxénétisme.

That sentence translated to English is roughly “the draft law to the closure of brothels and strengthening the fight against trafficking in women.” This law was also known as La loi Marthe Richard after its initiator. The law was passed on April 13th, 1946, as Fleming notes. The story is a fairly interesting one, as the New York Times points out:

The Loi Marthe Richard was morally impeccable, but its initiator turned out to be very peccable indeed. Her real name was not Richard, she had no right to public office as she was a British citizen, she did join the Résistance very late in the day, undoubtedly to mask her earlier collaboration, and – best of all – she had herself been a hooker since her teens.

The life of Marthe Richard was a very interesting one, indeed. An early woman airplane pilot, WWI spy, prostitute, widow, politician, her life was made into a movie even before the events of 1946.

As usual, even the tiniest of background references placed in the novels by Fleming can yield fascinating sub-stories which really add context and flavor to the Bond novels.

Alfa-Romeo Supercharged Straight-Eight

While James Bond in his Bentley is chasing Hugo Drax in his Mercedes, a third car suddenly appears on the scene, passing Bond.

Bond grinned in admiration as he raised a hand to the driver. Alfa-Romeo supercharged straight-eight, he thought to himself. Must be nearly as old as mine. ‘Thirty-two or ‘33 probably.

Bond recognized it as it came up on him by the “famous Alfa radiator” and also notes the edge of the bonnet has “in bold white script the words Attaboy II.” He also tells us that it is a red car.

It seems likely that Ian Fleming was referring to the Alfa Romeo 8C which was used on many models in the 1930’s. The 8C means eight-cylinder, or straight-eight.

This 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spyder seems like it could be a good fit for what Fleming was describing. It’s similar in some ways to Bond’s Bentley.



Here is a look at the supercharged straight-eight:



This similar model could also fit the description.


Black and White

In Moonraker, when James Bond stops at the World Without Want in, he orders a large whisky and soda.

He sat up at the bar and waited while the man poured two measures of Black and White and put the glass in front of him with a syphon of soda.  Bond filled the glass with soda and drank.

Black and White is a blended scotch whisky which was originally made by James Buchanan & Co Ltd and known as House of Commons. The nickname of its black and white label eventually stuck.

After a series of sales, the brand is now owned by Diageo.

Black and White Whisky Ad 1945black-and-white-scotch


Page will be updated as we go through the novels.

There are times James Bond drinks brandy, or even a (few) brandy and soda(s) or ginger ale.

For the latter, he seems to drink them when flying, or getting ready to fly. Perhaps the ginger ale is for his stomach?

In Casino Royale, when Bond and Vesper have their first dinner at the inn following Bond’s recovery, they finish their meal with coffee and brandy.

In Moonraker, when playing cards at Blades, large balloon glasses of brandy, along with coffee, are served at the tables. After Bond tries the brandy, M says:

“Comes from one of the Rothschild estates at Cognac. About a hundred years ago one of the family bequeathed us a barrel of it every year in perpetuity. During the war they hid a barrel for us every year and then sent us over the whole lot in 1945. Ever since then we’ve been drinking doubles.

Also, when Bond and Gala Brand are returning from having a cliff face dropped on them, they head off to a local inn where Gala has two, and Bond has three brandy and sodas.

In Thunderball, after his experience on “the rack,” Patricia Fearing sneaks Bond some Brandy as a “stimulant.” Bond drinks two glasses, over ice.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, while in character as Sir Hilary Bray, as he is waiting to depart for Switzerland,

Bond had a double brandy and ginger ale and stood aloof from the handful of other privileged passengers in the gracious lounge, trying to feel like a baronet. 

Bond then has another just prior to takeoff.

When Bond has escaped and has gotten back to London, he instructs Mary Goodnight to have May brew him “plenty of black coffee and to pour two jiggers of our best brandy into the pot.”

After the assault on Piz Gloria, Bond finds himself in the hands of the Red Cross, being treated for his injuries, and the Red Cross man “produced a flask of brandy out of his box and offered it to Bond. Bond gratefully took a long swig.”

In You Only Live Twice, on his way to Japan via J.A.L., Bond “ordered the first in a chain of brandies and ginger ales that was to sustain him over the Channel, a leg of the North Sea, the Kattegat , the Arctic Ocean, the Beaufort Sea, the Bering sea, and the North Pacific Ocean…

In Octopussy, the brandy and ginger ale “the drunkard’s drink” is the drink of choice for Major Dexter Smythe, who has them invariably “stiff” – “almost fifty-fifty” beginning at 10:30 am.


Mercedes Type 300 S

In Moonraker, Sir Hugo Drax drives this model car, which features in the Thursday afternoon/Early Friday morning aspect of the story.

It was a Type 300 S, the sports model with a disappearing hood—one of only half a dozen in England, he reflected. Left-hand drive. Probably bought in Germany. He had seen a few of them over there. One had hissed by him on the Munich Autobahn the year before when he was doing a solid ninety in the Bentley. The body, too short and heavy to be graceful, was painted white, with red leather upholstery.

Bond feels that it was typical of Drax to buy a Mercedes. There was something ruthless and majestic about the cars, he decided, and notes that Krebs obediently climbed into the narrow back seat behind the driver. He sat sideways – likely due to the lack of room in the rear.

The 300 series was Mercedes’ most expensive line of models in the 1950’s. If I had to guess, I’d say that Drax had the W188 I version of the Type 300 S, which was hand-built, higher engine output and a pricetag 50% higher than the W186 version.



MERCEDESBENZTyp300Roadster-W188IMerc 300 S art