- May 31, 2012
Capstan Navy Cut is Wills most famous legacy brand, among the many many blends that Wills produced of the years, Capstan still lives and lingers large in our contemporary pipesmoking scene.
Wills is simply too large an entity for me to address them all at once, so I'll start here with Capstan.
Lucky for me, our pijp vriend Arno has done all the hard work of research and did an excellent job of it,
so have a read there for some historical background:
Neill Archer Roan did a wonderful write-up of a vintage tin of Capstan Mild which is also very much worth reading:
a vintage tin of JBR-era Capstan Medium sold for a fairly incredible price, I'm not sure if this is the average market going rate or not, but I was quite astounded nonetheless:
CAPSTAN MEDIUM NAVY CUT -- One Sealed 92g Tin -- vintage circa 2000
Now, briefly, I gotta mention the ciggies, just 'cause they were bigtime popular, with the refrain of "Have a Capstan" competing with "Player's Please".
Capstan Full ciggies are legendary and have a reputation for being the most robust of them all, illustrated here in an excerpt by Harry Turner in Growing Up in Fulham :
"I smoked my first full cigarette at Hammersmith Palais at the age of fifteen and, contrary to popular myth, I didn't turn green or throw up, but found the experience mildly enjoyable.
It was a Capstan Full Strength, untipped, a brand that, if it existed today and were being smoked by a minor, would cause eruptions of disgust and horror by social workers, Guardian readers and other balls-aching do-gooders. In 1950, a Capstan Full Strength was as potent a passport to manhood as full intercourse without your socks on with an older woman who wore suspenders."
In 1971 the UK government published a table of the tar and nicotine contents of cigarettes available in the UK market, and Capstan Full Strength contained, by some margin, the highest tar and nicotine contents of any brand.
After you hear these jingles from the old adverts, it'll be ringing in your head for a good while, the tune truly is an earworm:
Can you believe I've yet to try the new Mac Baren produced Capstan? Well, I ain't. One reason is because I was disgruntled that they didn't bring back Capstan Full dammit, why the bloody hell not?!?!?!?!? But I'm over it now, I'll soon pop a tin of blue cappie and see if it sings to me, I hope it does.
Oh yeah, almost forgot, there was a beer named after it too:
...and the echo of yesteryear still haunts some of the pubs:
Now, off we go into the googly gallery!