What tobaccos did the great men smoke?

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New member
Jan 27, 2015
What kind of tobacco do you think (or know) they smoked?
--Skagit 8)



Preferred Member
Feb 15, 2015
From reddit
"C. S. Lewis liked Gold Block and Three Nuns. Both are available, but the consensus seems to be neither reincarnation is the same as the originals. Three nuns has two clones that supposedly come close to the original (Three Friars and Cocktail Hour), but I doubt they're 100% the same.

Albert Einstein smoked House of Windsor - Revelation almost exclusively. It's out of production now, but Pipes & Cigars offers a clone.

Earl Bertrand Russell, philosopher, smoked "Golden Mixture" from his local shop, Fribourg & Treyer. You can still get it at Pipes & Cigars.

I can't find the name of the blend Bing Crosby smoked, but Cornell & Diehl 104: Crooner is supposed to be a recreation of it.

Tolkien's blend was Capstan Medium Navy Cut. I searched for it, but I could only find it by the unit, not individual tins. Maybe some Tolkien-loving Redditors can group-buy a case and give us a review.

Twain would buy Blackwell's Durham, now defunct, by the pound, but by all accounts (and his own admission) he wasn't too picky.

William Faulkner smoked My Mixture 965, A10528 by Dunhill, and Prince Albert when he was out of both of those. I, for one, would love to hear compare modern 965 with today's blend, but until we get Futurama head jar technology, hearing his views on smoking is just a pipe dream. (Bad pun unintentional)

President Gerald Ford favored Edgeworth.

Gen. MacArthur smoked Harkness D and F, the House of Windsor blends, and "whatever was available at the PX."

Edit: It was fun looking these things up, so I figured I'd do another batch!

First, props to jarvis400 for pointing out Pres. Ford also enjoyed Field and Stream.

Basil Rathbone, the definitive Sherlock Holmes actor, smoked Wilke's No. 515.

Rather inauspiciously, Joseph Stalin, leader of the second world, smoked Dunhill's Royal Yacht. Guess being a brutal dictator doesn't bar one from having good taste."




Preferred Member
Jul 23, 2014
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
"Albert Einstein smoked House of Windsor - Revelation..."
No, Professor Einstein smoked Philip Morris' Revelation which the House of Windsor attempted to duplicate many, many years later.
"President Gerald Ford favored Edgeworth."
According to a letter from President Ford to Richard Carleton Hacker, and which was shown in the latter's book titled "The Ultimate Pipe Book," his favorite pipe-tobaccos were Walnut and Field & Stream.



Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
It was still an interesting read. I thought the consensus for Tolkien was Capstan Blue (flake)?
I am curious, but not curious enough to put in the effort to research it.



May 12, 2014
I too had always heard Tolkien smoked Capstan Blue Flake. This description from SmokingPipes website would seem to confirm it:
"Like the milder-bodied Capstan Yellow, Capstan Blue was originally created by W.D. & H.O. Wills of Bristol well over a century ago. It's remained a favorite to countless pipe smokers across generations (J.R.R. Tolkien having been on of its most noted aficionados), a testament to the quality of this fine Virgina flake."



Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
Anthony David Rosenthal smoked McClelland Blue Mountain, McClelland Navy Cavendish, and an assortment of fine aromatics... oh wait... My mistake. I'm not famous. Yet :D



Preferred Member
Oct 22, 2013
Georges Simenon (author of the Inspector Maigret novels) smoked Dunhill Royal Yacht.
I have seen at least one picture of Umberto Eco (author of 'Name of the Rose' and "Foucault's Pendulum') with a tin of MacBaren Symphony.



Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
I've always loved this topic, but it is fraught is disaster, misconception, and many convenient pigeonholes.
Like the story of Latakia being cured with camel dung, reported upon by one fanciful British journalist of yesteryear, these stories or "facts" become enmeshed in the culture and regurgitated over and over, and often the case, as with life itself, is much more complex.
It is indeed wellknown that Einstein favored Revelation, but he was only in the USA fulltime from '33 to '55, he was born in 1879, when he did start smoking? What did he smoke back in the Fatherland? More often than not, nobody put forth an effort for indepth research, so the same bullshit gets plastered everywhere.
But it ain't bullshit, at least in Einstein's case, but there are unanswered questions it seems to me.
The thing with Tolkien being a dedicated Capstan Medium smoker rings true to me, but I'm almost sure he smoked other stuff as well.

This old tobacconist receipt sold at Bonham's for $ 2,114 because it had JRRT's siggy onnit, he bought a whole pound of Capstan.

In other instances, like Georges Simenon for example, it's noted that Dunhill's Royal Yacht was his favorite smoke, and that may very well be the case, but it certainly wasn't all he smoked. In the photo below you see the ever-present tin of RY, but also a tin of Dobie's Four Square along with an unidentifiable tin...

As for Stalin, I've always read it was Edgeworth, not RY, which was his favorite.
Just like the "camel dung" myth, it was probably started by a well-respected source, like Life magazine or something...

LIFE Jan 1, 1945
...and there is a kernel of truth there - it's been well-documented that he received special gifts of Edgeworth from the American ambassador, just as perhaps he got all his Dunhill pipes from Churchill, but as to "favorite tobacco", most biographical sketches point to his fave being Herzegovina Flor, cigarettes available at any kiosk inwhich he would unroll and stuff into his pipe.
This thread was pretty good,


I added a little about William Faulkner and how he was a multivaried smoker, along with the Dunhill blends, he also very much loved Balkan Sobranie and St. Bruno, having them special ordered for him at the Oxford Rexall Drugstore, but he actually seemed to have smoked all kinds of stuff according to the few first-hand accounts from friends and acquaintances that I've read.
I also enjoyed this thread,


trying to discover the exact Dunhill blend from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
Despite the pitfalls, it's still fun finding out what the famous folk smoked, just like discovering which typewriters certain writers preferred...
William S. Burroughs:

1950s, various typewriters, since he was constantly pawning them; many of his manuscripts were done on a Remington; Naked Lunch typed from handwritten notes by Kerouac, presumably on Kerouac's Underwood; Hermes Rocket (photo Oct. 1959); Antares (Burroughs shoots up as the Antares watches); Facit Portable (1965 Paris Review interview); Olympia SG1 (cover of Word Virus anthology, 1970s photo); Olivetti Studio 44
Lewis Carroll:

Hammond no. 1, received on May 3, 1888, used to write a mathematical treatise and some letters
Leonard Cohen:

Olivetti Lettera 22
Francis Ford Coppola:

Olivetti Lettera 32
e.e. cummings:

1940s Smith-Corona Clipper
Philip K. Dick:

Hermes Rocket, Olympia SG3
William Faulkner:

Royal KHM, Remington Noiseless desktop, 1930s Underwood portable
Allen Ginsberg:

Remington portable no. 5, Smith Corona Electra
Dashiell Hammett:

Royal De Luxe
Ernest Hemingway:

Corona 3, 1926 Underwood, Underwood Noiseless Portable, various Royal portables (including a Royal Arrow and Royal #P207059), Halda portable model P
Alfred Hitchcock:

'30s black Underwood Champion portable
Aldous Huxley:

Remington portable no. 5 (streamlined with touch regulator)
Franz Kafka:

Oliver 5
Buster Keaton:

Blickensderfer no. 5
Stanley Kubrick:

Adler Tippa S
Jack London:

Standard Folding, Bar-Lock no. 10
H. P. Lovecraft:

1904 Remington Standard (understroke)
Mickey Spillane:

L.C. Smith Standard Super Speed
Mark Twain:

Sholes & Glidden, Hammond no. 2
Kurt Vonnegut:

Smith-Corona Courier, Smith-Corona Coronamatic 2200
J.G. Ballard:

Olympia Monica
Charles Bukowski:

Royal HH, Underwood Standard, Olympia SG1, IBM Selectric II or III
J.R.R. Tolkien: Hammond
& et cetera ampersand et cetera


Preferred Member
Sep 30, 2011
I've always been interested in finding out what our favorite artisan pipe makers smoke. Someone should start that thread. I don't think it's ever been done.



Preferred Member
Oct 17, 2013
I'd wager that while they had their favourites, I'm sure they sampled other blends as well. Heck, even Condorlover has been known to try something other then condor once or twice.



New member
Jan 27, 2015
Awesome! So much interesting information. I love the receipt signed by JRRT.
--Skagit 8)



Preferred Member
Aug 31, 2012
I don't know about Bing and Crooner, but I know a friend of mine saw Bing go into a tobacco shop in 1945 in La. Being a big Crosby fan, but a non-smoker, it was hard for him to stay in the shop, but he did see Bing buy a pouch of tobacco. He couldn't remember the name of the tobacco, unfortunately. It's very possible that Bing may have smoked more than one brand of pipe tobacco.
As for Stalin, I always heard he smoked Edgeworth Ready Rubbed. In the 1940s, Groucho's face appeared on an ad for ERR, and the ad stated that he smoked that blend.
Hugh Hefner also smoked Sail, along with Mixture #79. I was told that by a long time employee.
Shelby Foote smoked Edward G. Robinson's Pipe Blend, but he was also known to mix Carter Hall with it.
I saw a photo of JFK with a pipe. Wonder what pipe blend he smoked when he wasn't smoking cigars?



Junior Member
Nov 14, 2014
I had heard a story that Stalin only smoked a pipe because of the image of a pipe smoker being thoughtful. The story goes that he was a die hard cigarette smoker and that he filled his pipe with cigarette tobacco. But then I could be wrong.

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