Carreras Craven - The Arcadia - (Antiquarian Nicotiana Brittanica Vol. 20)

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Preferred Member
May 31, 2012

For the 20th edition of A/N/B we will give a look to the famous Craven Mixture.
Carreras was quite the big player and I won't go into the intricate involved history,

but default to Wikipedia,

who gives a very good survey:

...of special interest to us pipesmokers was the merger with Rothmans,

which would come to affect PipeWorld in quite a dramatic fashion.

this pdf provides a wonderful write up and is very well done:
Although Carreras is mainly known for their Craven Mixture, and their Craven "A" cigarettes,

they did offer other blends as well:


it was the infamous Craven Mixture which made their fortune and earned a rightful place in the pipeman's mythic baccylore.

on his lovely blog,

did an exquisite write up:

it was way back when,

that an earlier enthused scribe wrote esoteric notes,

which lent an unrelinquished fame...
It was Sir James Barrie, of Peter Pan fame, who had penned such intense reverences for a fictional blend only known as "Arcadia Mixture" in his great work My Lady Nicotine of 1890 --- and supposedly after many inquiries from desperate readers desiring to know where to obtain the incredible stuff, Barrie let on that it was in fact Carreras Craven Mixture which he had modeled it upon, and this, either true or false I cannot fully verify, began an intense campaign of association and Carreras advertised heavily in regards to it...


mention must be made of Bernhard Baron.
He was an incredibly intelligent and industrious man.
He held quite a few patents related to his field.
Here is the very clever cartridge case and pipe filler designed circa 1910...

An Improved Pocket Case for Holding Tobacco Packets or Cartridges, Combined with a Pipe Filler

He also designed a rather odd pipe, with particular adaptations supposedly beneficial for rolled tobacco cartridges:
And now,

here we are at 1928,

when a new factory was built,

inwhich on the occasion of the opening which was attended by many prominent Britishers and 3,000 employees, Mr. Baron (who had started his career in the tobacco industry as a cigar maker in a New York factory) told the story of his life in the following concise sentences:
“I was born in Russia, at Brest-Litovsk. That was in 1850. I was taken as a child to Rostov-on-the-Don, and there I grew up among the Don Cossacks. I am really more of a Cossack than anything else. Then as a young man I went to America. I had nothing in my pocket when I got there.
However I got to work without any waiting-$4 a week-and saved $2.50 of them. I worked, oh, how I worked and I went on saving; every week I saved. I saved because I wanted independence; because I wanted to have a business of my own. I did not think then how great a business.
“After I had been thirty years in America, I came to England. I had invented a machine for making cigarettes. I brought it to England. Then I heard of a small tobacco business that was for sale. It was small, but it was not unknown. It was Carreras. It manufactured a pipe tobacco that Sir James Barrie had written about in his ‘Lady Nicotine.’ In 1903, I bought it, that Carreras firm.
For five years I made no profits. In the sixth year I made £163;11,000, and after that, well, every year more, until now. . .
“I advertised, advertised, advertised.

And now we turn out millions and millions and millions of cigarettes a day. Well, there is the story.
“Just a young man with nothing in his pocket and now this factory, 3,000 people employed-and happy-a million and a half pounds given away-all my family, sons, grandsons, rich,-and happy, and myself feeling now old, used up, tired, old, not well.”


here are a few more advertisements...

...speaking of this ad:

GLPease has a great story about motoring with the Craven Mixture - I would love it if perchance he saw this thread and shared the story with us, but if not, I reckon I'll reprint it here at some point --- it really is an entertaining tale!
...and now,

off we go into the tinnery!

"A" for Arcadia!
J.J.C. for José Joaquin Carreras.
And now,

a brief final sidenote,

about life and the happenstance thereof...
"Arthur Mann joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1914.
His daughter-in-law says he was shot down by the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen Arthur's parachute caught in a tree.
He also fought in the trenches when Arthur was shot, the bullet bounced off this tin and saved his life.
He also survived gassing, but this experience badly affected his long-term health. He died in 1953"
This is that tin:




Preferred Member
May 10, 2009
Akron area of Ohio
I had the opportunity to enjoy a few tins of Craven A. It was the finest blend

I have ever smoked. It changed over time

And not for the better the older stuff, pre EU, was totally unique to my palette.

Mike S



Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
You may have missed this one, somewhere between Basra and Piccadilly.
Thanks for that Dukdalf,

many more out there I'm sure --- it'd be great to comprehensively compile them all!
Has anyone here smoked the mythical Cravens Mixture?
I haven't.
It's not one that I really desire to try, but man do I love the history involved with it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ad that grabbed me is this one:

...proclaiming how Craven Mixture would be available on the Titanic --- I wonder how well-stocked it was?

Are the tins still down there?

Did some float away and wash up on shore?
All very intriguing!




Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
Love these threads Troy, and for more about the Carreras Cigarette Factory see,
...a large Art Deco building in Camden, London in the United Kingdom. It is noted as a striking example of early 20th Century Egyptian Revival architecture.



Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
Dope you've got a tin of Beacon Light, I'm pretty sure this is the brand that was bought out by Gawith Hoggarth, and GH continued to produce the blend. Was Carrera the company that Gh bought out or did another co make Beacon Light as well
The Carreras Beacon is unrelated to the GH brand,

it was an Australian variant baccy for handrolling most likely.
As for the GH&Co. Beacon Light,

they inherited the Beacon Light trademark from the makers they bought out and took over in 1887, Messrs Noble and Wilson - the older firm had started making Beacon Light in 1854 and it had became very popular with many smokers over a wide area - GH&Co decided to use the Beacon Light emblem as their trademark upon their foundation since the brand was already so well-known. The emblem is a representation of the battlemented top of a watchtower (Kendal Castle?) surmounted by a flaming brazier with its helmeted attendant:

It was also sold as a twist, in full, Beacon Light Kendal Twist.
Another interesting note:

in the GH companies main office there stands an old wooden cupboard of some four feet in width, and this cupboard is capped by a low rise pediment on which is nicely carved in low relief, a facsimile of the Beacon Light emblem - this, in the center, is flanked and entwined by a long twisting scroll, and on this scroll is carved the legend Est. 1854 Trade Mark Beacon Light first adopted Jubilee Year 1887.



Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
I had the opportunity to enjoy a few tins of Craven A. It was the finest blend I have ever smoked.
It changed over time and not for the better the older stuff, pre EU, was totally unique to my palette.
Mike S
Thanks for that Mike!
Most excellent,

sounds like it lived up to the legend.



Preferred Member
May 31, 2012

with regards to the GLP story I was thinking of,

just looked it up and it seems that I was conflating 2 different stories into what GLPease had written about Craven, I had thought that he had to pull his car over to the side of the road while smoking Craven Mixture, but that was another story and a different baccy I think...'s the Craven story:

The Craven was probably discontinued sometime in the 1980s, or perhaps as

late as the early 1990s; I don't recall precisely when it disappeared. I

have only a few tins left in my stash, and they're aging wonderfully.

And, records do indicate this was, indeed, the blend to which Barrie

referred in My Lady Nicotine.
Craven was a very stout tobacco. I'll never forget the first day I tried

it - it was some time in 1984. I was at Drucquer's on a Saturday,

chatting pipes and tobaccos with the boyz. Someone had an aged tin open,

and several of us filled our pipes. The aroma and flavour of the blend

were remarkable - and quite intense. I was ready to leave, so I filled my

pipe and had a few puffs on the way out the door, but, it wasn't until

I'd gotten home that the full effect was experienced.
First, I noticed my nose was sweating. Then, as I walked inside, the room

began to turn, ever so slightly. I had to have a lie down, but it didn't

help. Closing my eyes only made the spinning worse. Then came the

digestive distress, shall we say.
I finally ended up "walking it off," and gained a well deserved respect

for the stronger blends. I can smoke it, now, but carefully, slowly, and

in smaller pipes...
Several have claimed to reproduce the original, and I've tried most of

these attempts. They've not even come even close. Many are wonderful

blends in their own right, but none have the same depth, complexity and

velvet sledgehammer intensity of the original.
Not even Drucquer's Arcadia really lived up to the name. The only way

you'll ever experience anything close to Barrie's Lady Nicotine is to try

the real thing.
The above was posted online circa 2008.
What a wonderful description,

velvet sledgehammer .
In addition,

see here:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
See also,

the great Benjamin Rapaport's comprehensive article

regarding My Lady Nicotine,

it is a very fine reading:



Senior Member
Apr 3, 2013
Excellent post Troy!!! Damn, how do you find all this stuff??? Your Google-Fu is above black-belt! And thanks for mentioning my humble blog :mrgreen: So yes, I smoked the real old stuff.. But have no more of it, gave it to a forum member here.

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