Yes, that’s what it was.) It’s true that there weren’t many purely English brands on the market, especially if you compare them to all the others. But what cigarettes they were!
Dunhill International. Of course, this is the first brand that comes to mind when “inquiring” about “English cigarettes. The chic two-section cigarette cases, nicknamed “double-bottom” in our eyes, simply exuding high style and luxury! All three varieties were on sale: the red classic, the menthol green, and the light blue pack.
It is true that Alfred Dunhill Limited only owned the Dunhill cigarette brand in the 1990s, but it was produced by many others, ranging from the German Martin Brinkmann to British American Tobacco. And the difference? Well apparently there was, because within the same brand, depending on the manufacturer, tar characteristics slightly “varied” – from 10 to 14 mg of tar and from 0.9 to 1.1 mg of nicotine. Anyway, the cigarettes were extremely dandy)) And fabulously expensive…
Rothmans International. And how can you do without Rothmans?)) In terms of coolness of the pack it could compete with Dunhill! True, the “double” version had only one kind. And, by the way, in the release of these cigarettes, too, “lit up” the Germans. And, yes, there was a difference between the releases. So absolutely identical packs, but produced by Martin Brinkmann were slightly stronger and tarrier than the original English ones from Rothmans of Pall Mall. I remember Rothmans International was not cheaper than Dunhill, the price tag was also pretty dope, but I managed to try them and… I’ll never forget the taste!
And yes, Rothmans was also available in a King Size version. The pack was simpler, but the cigarettes were even a bit stronger than the International. And do you remember what an amazing aroma came out of the open pack? Even an empty pack kept the aroma of good tobacco for a while! Not all that stuff with “buttons” on the shelves of modern tobaccos(!
Sovereign. These cigarettes were already in a lower class than Dunhill and Rothmans, but I managed to smoke them all the time. It was a nice daily cigarette and, remarkably, quite affordable. And it was sold everywhere, so I didn’t have to look for it. The glory of Sovereign came to an end rather quickly (( I’m talking about the kind of smoke that Ducat started to put in these packs, after a collaboration with the original production of Gallaher.
Berkeley. These cigarettes were produced by the same English Gallaher, but I don’t remember them at all. They tasted smooth, not particularly strong “hundreds” and… That’s all. It seems that the brand came in three varieties and in addition to the “red” classic, there was also a “light” version and menthol. But I only came across the classics a couple of times by accident.
Benson & Hedges. Another cult brand, owned by the English Gallaher, and produced by almost all major manufacturers) They were quite strong, rich and fragrant cigarettes, but also not cheap. I couldn’t afford them in the ’90s, but I managed to get a few lucky shots.)
State Express 555. And another almost cult brand. “Three Fives” was remembered for its excellent taste with notes of baked bread, as it turned out later because of the pure Virginia bag of tobacco. But the price tag on the 555 was also somehow not democratic. By the way, I smoked a modern version once, in a dark blue pack, and the quality, IMHO of course, was not worse, but they seemed to me all the same lighter than the historical original.
Of course, these were not the only brands that were on sale at our junkyards, stalls, and grannies on trays. There was Gold Mark from Park Lane Tobacco, Red Band from Curzon Tobacco, Superkings, Embassy, Mayfair, Silk Cut… But all these cigarettes somehow passed me by. So I hope someone will remember them and write their impressions in the comments. It would be very interesting!