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Legends and stories: smoking Lucky Strike Original Red cigarettes

These cigarettes, known to more than one generation of smokers, have unfortunately left the domestic market. But they still enjoy a good reputation to this day. What were these cigarettes and what in their history is a legend and where is the real truth – you will find out below!

Lucky Strike is one of the oldest brands of cigarettes, which are still being produced today. The official “birth date” of the brand is considered to be 1871. Although in fact cigarettes with the name Lucky Strike began to be produced much later, since 1916, which is also not a long time.

But then, what does the year 1871 mean? It is true that Lucky Strike was produced in 1871, but it was a pipe tobacco, not a cigarette. It was produced by the American company R.A. Patterson Tobacco, and the name of the tobacco was a kind of reference to the Gold Fever in the United States. According to another version, the brand name is associated with bowling and should be understood as “Happy Strike”. Although it is not clear how a strike can be unlucky. In favor of this version, primarily due to the date – in 1870, bowling as a game of chance was banned in all states, which had no effect on its popularity. And in 1871, Lucky Strike tobacco appeared on the market…

However it was 1871, which puts the date of birth of the brand to this day, but in fact Lucky Strike cigarettes appeared only in 1916, thanks to a tobacco monopolist – American Tobacco Company, which at that time owned the rights to the brand.

The brand through its history has become surrounded by many legends and rumors. Beginning with the history of the “recipe” of cigarettes, when the most often cited example is the story of how the future owner of Lucky Strike bought cheap burnt warehouse with the remains of tobacco and it was from the “not burned out” made his first cigarettes.

Ending with the legend of the special, “fried” tobacco bag of cigarettes. No one fried tobacco in a frying pan, of course, but the tobacco mixture, consisting of Burley, Virginia Bright, Maryland, and a little bit of Turkish Orioles, did go through a stage of processing by superheated steam. Anyone who has done tobacco blending on their own probably knows the benefits of heating the finished tobacco blend. Firstly, the mixture was additionally moistened, and secondly, the essential oils of different tobaccos were actively mixed during this process, creating their own bouquet of flavors and aromas.

Another Lucky Strike legend is related to the shortage of strategic materials during World War II. Initially the Lucky Strike pack was green, and it was only in 1942 that it suddenly turned white. It was just a shortage of copper for the production of gold pigment and chromium for the green one. American Tobacco got out of that predicament by making the packaging cheaper – by making it white with a red edge. There was even a very patriotic “Lucky Strike GREEN has gone to war” advertising campaign. Although in reality it was all about the scarcity of metals… Lucky Strike, like many other tobacco brands, was indeed supplied to the army, but believe me, it was not a voluntary, gratuitous donation.

That’s how big the introduction is =) But today’s review cigarettes aren’t so simple either. Our particular pack is a limited edition from 2006 called “Puzzle”. As you can see in the photo, the packs of this edition were produced in sets and, folded together, formed the Lucky Strike logo. Another feature of this particular edition is in the packaging – all packs of 10 cigarettes, and “Puzzle” itself existed in two versions – with loading cigarettes in two rows (narrow pack) and in one row (wide pack).

Puzzle” was released mainly in Europe and whether it appeared in Russia, I personally do not know. In 2006, if memory serves me correctly, Lucky Strike was produced in St. Petersburg under license from BAT. However, the popularity that it was in the 1990’s, he no longer had and safely was put out of production in the mid-2010’s.

The pack of this review is also “licensed,” but made in Argentina, as evidenced by the excise stamp and the “technicals” on the side of the box.

The tear-off “foil” label bears the same date, which has nothing to do with British American Tobacco or the cigarettes themselves. It’s just a marketing ploy to add “a couple of years” =)

The labeling of the cigarettes is still truly historical, strongly reminiscent of the original version of the last century. Since 2010, the marking has been changed: first, the logo was transferred to the rim paper with a much smaller diameter. And since 2013, only the italicized brand name is left of the round logo. By the way, I am often asked in comments whether there are “button” cigarettes in Europe – there are, and modern Lucky Strike is almost a record-breaker in the number of varieties of cigarettes with a flavored capsule.

The bag of cigarettes consists of many fractions of quite tobacco colors. The base is represented by yellow, dark yellow and red-yellow leaf fragments. There are brown and brown particles, but they are added in a very small amount, as a spice. The slicing is not particularly neat and consists of a lot of different ribbons, flakes and cuts of the vein. Tar characteristics correspond to a normal american blend bag: resin 12 mg, nicotine 0.9 mg

The taste of the smoke is damn good! Dense, strong, resinous, filled with notes of dry wood and unsweetened walnut. A hint of walnut remains in the aftertaste, which has become an incomprehensible luxury for modern cigarettes. In general, the flavor of this Lucky Strike is similar to a real, still American Camel from the 90s. Similar, but still subtly different.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember Lucky Strike from the 90’s very well – I smoked, but not often and somehow the memories were not preserved. A little more often I smoked Peter’s, but these were quite different cigarettes. Modern European brand cigarettes are also somewhat “lighter”, having lost a couple of milligrams of tar, but they say they are still quite smokable.