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Cigar Culture

The Cigars of James Bond

Holt's Staff Cigar's picture

Holt's Staff

Agent 007 may be most notorious for loving his martinis shaken, not stirred, but the suave spy liked his cigars just like he liked his women – distinguished with a potent bite. With an illustrious catalog of films that spans more than 50 years, the smooth-speaking, woman-wooing British Secret Service Agent (and his supporting cast) had quite the affinity for cigars. Out of the smoke rises the question:

What were James Bond’s cigars of choice?

The Spy Who Smoked Cigars

In the original books by Ian Fleming, Bond was written as a frequent smoker (pretty much everybody was back then) who had an affinity for cigarettes. Even Sean Connery’s first foray as Bond included an introduction to Dr. No, cigarette firmly pressed between his lips. But when Roger Moore took over as the debonair tuxedo-clad hero, he wanted to differentiate his Bond and bring his avid off-screen cigar hobby to the big screen. So, for his seven-film stint, Moore’s Bond was a cigar connoisseur. Moore even made it official by including a rider in his contract, asking for an unlimited supply of handmade cigars while filming, particularly in the entries Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.

However, prior to Moore’s contract, cigars were quite often featured in the films – they just weren’t smoked by our illustrious protagonist. In fact, in Goldfinger, Connery’s Bond actually declines a cigar during the Bank of England scene, opting for his patented cigarette instead. Even Pierce Brosnan didn’t light up during his Bond stint, but finally decided to sign off his term with one in Die Another Day.

Because Bond hasn’t always been the character on the other end of the cigar, who are some characters that have bit it and lit it throughout the film franchise?

  • Jeffrey Wright (who plays Bond’s American ally, Felix Leiter) smokes a cigar in Quantum of Solace
  • Famke Janssen’s portrayal of crazy seductress Xenia Onatopp smokes a Romeo y Julieta in Golden Eye
  • Robert Davi’s drug baron, Franz Sanchez, smokes in several scenes during Licensed to Kill
  • Adolfo Celi’s villain, Emilio Largo, smokes his signature cigarillos in Thunderball
  • Bernard Lee’s “M” smokes a cigar after Bond refuses one in Goldfinger

The Name’s Julieta... Romeo y Julieta

So far, we’ve covered that James Bond himself isn’t typically the one seen with a cigar in-hand throughout a franchise that’s full of cigar smokers – the exception being Roger Moore, of course. However, in the movies he is actually shown with a cigar (even though he doesn’t smoke them), it’s often the same, recognizable brand: Romeo y Julieta.

In Sean Connery’s 1965 hit Thunderball, “Q” offers Bond a Romeo y Julieta, but it’s all a ruse as the cigar’s classic aluminum case is nothing but a disguise for one of Bond’s gadgets – an underwater breathing apparatus. But hey, at least “Q” has good taste when it comes to exquisite cigars.

Then, in The World Is Not Enough, Bond is set to enjoy a Romeo y Julieta Churchill in the pre-title scene, but before he can even light it, the bank is compromised, thus putting the kibosh to his R&R smoke time.

In fact, Romeo y Julieta has seen so much product placement in the James Bond franchise that it’s practically the exclusive Bond brand. So much so that they released their 2002 Anniversario James Bond 007 Edition Cigar – a special edition cigar that was co-released with Die Another Day. It was the ultimate spy smoking kit, complete with its own 007 humidor.

License to Light

Throughout a film franchise that’s spanned nearly 60 years of cool smoking sophistication, it’s clear that Bond and cigars go together like Bond and martinis; like Bond and beautiful women; like Bond and charm; like Bond and awesome gadgets; like Bond and – well, you get the point.

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