Sir Winston Churchill, cigar in his mouth defiantly doing his V for victory sign is a classic wartime image. Few photographs of that era show Churchill without a cigar. In fact if you adopt a bulldog-like grimace, chomp down on a fat cigar and do the V for victory sign - everyone will know whom you are doing an impersonation of!
Sir Winston Churchill's cigar smoking habit began during his stay in Havana, Cuba at the end of 1885, just before his 21st birthday. Churchill had gone there to get involved in the fighting between the government soldiers and guerilla fighters - spending the first few days living off little more than Cuban cigars and Cuban oranges! Churchill's preference for Cuban cigars was to last him all his life (as was his other Cuban habit: the afternoon siesta).
What was Winston Churchill's favorite cigar?
Winston Churchill's cigar tastes were limited to a small number of favored suppliers. In particular Churchill's favorite cigar brands included Romeo y Julieta cigars and (the no longer available) La Aroma de Cuba. Churchill's cigar consumption was between 6 and 10 a day and he maintained a supply of several thousand in a room near his study in Chartwell. Winston usually smoked his cigars down to a couple of inches, these would in later years were collected and given to his gardener - the tobacco to be smoked in his pipe.
Churchill's cigar smoking style
In contemplative moments Churchill would often let his cigars go out. He would then chew on them while thinking or writing. In his study Winston kept a candle handy to re-light his chewed and extinguished cigars. With all his unlit chewing causing his cigars to disintegrate, Churchill invented a protective paper wrapping for the end of the cigar. Churchill christened this cigar saver a "bellybando". Despite receiving numerous cigar cutters as gifts (and wearing one on his watch chain) Churchill usually did not cut the end of his cigar prior to lighting. Instead he would pierce the moistened end with a match. Once his cigar was lit, Churchill could be most careless with his ash. There are numerous records of trails and clumps of ash wherever Winston went, not to mention burnt carpets and clothes! This is all despite his favorite silver ashtray accompanying him on many visits!
What is "The Churchill Cigar"?
Pepin Fernandez Rodriguez, who bought the Romeo y Julieta cigar brand from Alvarez y Garcia in 1903 is credited with introducing the "Churchill cigar" (Rodriguez entrepreneurially launched a number of "celebrity" cigars). At 7 inches long, with a ring gauge of 47, the delicious Romeo y Julieta Churchill cigar in its distinctive red and gold band is still a favorite today. If you want to capture the same smoking experience as Winston, this is the one to go for. I think Winston would approve!
Churchill and the smoking ban
Hitler and Mussolini were both dedicated non-smokers while Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill were all keen smokers. Churchill famously did not like cigarettes, believing that "Too many of those will kill you. But no doubt he would disapprove of a smoking ban, even for cigarettes! With Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and other nations gradually introducing smoking bans in public places the repercussions are affecting more people than Winston Churchill impersonators! Churchill viewed his cigar smoking as an essential pleasure - via a translator, he informed the pious non-smoking, teetotal King Ibn Sa'ud of Saudia Arabia, "that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite; smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol". To his great credit King Ibn Sa'ud relented his normally strict rules at their luncheon for the great British Statesman!