Decades ago I caught Hal Holbrook‘s one-man play, “Mark Twain Tonight!” in a theatre in Washington, D.C. (possibly Ford’s Theatre, but I think not). It was heaven. I knew what to expect, but it still caught me by surprise: There is no curtain. The opening of the second act is the lights slowly fading up. The audience keeps talking until, suddenly, there is an enormous puff of cigar smoke from offstage. The stunned audience gasps, then laughs, and at the peak of the laughter, Mark Twain treks on stage.
As a man’s reputation precedes him, so Mark Twain’s use of a cigar could precede him onto a stage, or into a room.
Once upon a time, Mark Twain was THE symbol of a good cigar in America — he always had one, after all.
And so, some enterprising cigar company created Mark Twains.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a Mark Twain cigar to smoke, in his honor, on his birthday? And remember, he shares a birthday with that other cigar conoisseur, Winston Churchill.
“DON’T FAIL TO SMOKE MARK TWAIN CIGARS.” Heckuva slogan. But not the only one.
Various cigar makers sold “Mark Twain” cigars from as early as 1870; probably the most famous, from the Wolf Brothers, were marketed from 1913, into the 1930s. Twain died in 1910, so it is almost certain that none of the proceeds from the sale of these cigars went to his estate (I’d be happy to report otherwise, should anyone stumble upon such information). Wolf Brothers Mark Twain Cigars were marketed under the slogan, “Known to Everyone — Liked By All.” It was a slogan Twain devised himself, to use on handbills and signs advertising his lectures.Twain built at least three different fortunes. Had to, after he’d lost the first one, and then the second. It’s difficult to imagine Twain failing to seize on the marketing value of his own image. But those were different times.
Were the cigars good? It’s unlikely a cigar could have stayed on the market for more than a decade without being of good enough quality to keep some customers coming back and asking for them specifically. I have not found any descriptions of these older, 19th century and early-20th century Mark Twains, however. (If you see one, will you call our attention to it?)
A modern incarnation of Mark Twain cigars exists, made by yet another company. Cigars International sells them on the internet:
Silky smooth 50-54 ring Churchills for 3 bucks.
If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go.
In addition to being a true American treasure, Mark Twain was rarely seen sans cigar. The man’s list of positive attributes didn’t stop there – humanitarian, novelist, humorist, scholar, plus world class jump roper and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master. Just kidding about that part. Mark Twain cigars also happen to bring an extensive list of positive attributes to the table. All smooth and mild, all tasty, all extremely affordable, all monster Churchill sizes ranging from 7”x50 to 8”x54. Draped in a silky Connecticut shade wrapper and generously filled with an aged blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers, Mark Twain delivers a flavorful, mild to medium-bodied experience. Notes of oak, cream, white pepper add to a rich tobacco core, completing a mellow but eventful 60+ minutes of your time.
For 3 bucks, these big boom sticks are the ultimate value-priced handmades.
Now, on to track down what kind of whiskey he preferred . . .
- Whiskey and Cigar Day, November 30, 2013: We toast Mark Twain’s and Winston Churchill’s births (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- November 30, Whiskey and Cigar Day: How will you celebrate Twain and Churchill? (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- Day 140: Mark Twain on Fatherhood (yearofthedad.wordpress.com)
- Mark Twain’s Birthday is today, Nov 30th (lunaticoutpost.com)
- Mark Twain’s Eternal Chatter (newyorker.com)
- You may purchase a print of the ad below, through Amazon.com