Victorians and Smoking Cigars

Victorians and Smoking Cigars

As you aficionados will know, Cuban cigars have been somewhat a global phenomenon for a while now. There was a point in time where London was labelled the smoking capital of the world. So, today we ask the question: when did it blow up in the UK? Looking back to the 1900s, not only was this the era whereby we were bought famous brands such as: Partagàs, Romeo y Julieta and Punch – but it was also the time of the renowned Victorians! It was this era when the British became fond of a good old smoke. 

the peninsula war. egm cigars

The Peninsular War - Source: Weapons & Warfare.


BACK TO THE ROOTS – Back in 1914, military officers thankfully saw the back of the Peninsula War and were able to return to their lives in Britain. Upon their return, they bought cigars gifted to them by their fellow Spanish officers. Little did they know, this would be the start of a new trend. Smoking cigars soon became the new preference over pipes. It wasn’t long before the officer’s messes and London’s gentleman clubs sought after fine examples of cigars – made from Cuban tobacco – like all of our cigars for sale online. Cigars became so admirable that Rudyard Kipling – the author of ‘The Jungle Book’ – wrote a poem dedicated to his love of cigars. Titled “The Betrothed”, one line reads: “A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke”.

mr gliddons cigar divan. egm cigars

Source: Look and


 A SMOKER’S PLAYHOUSE – Now that cigars were firmly established in British society, there came a new creation – Cigar Divans. This was a new type of coffee house, one of which could be seen a smoker’s playhouse. They catered to those who wanted to smoke their cigar in public. Cigar divans would often feature musicians and poets for the aficionado’s entertainment. They were extremely successful and became somewhat of a fashion statement, they certainly became a reputable place to be spotted. The original London joint is thought to be ‘Mr. Gliddon’s Cigar Divan’, which was opened on 42 Kings Street – 8th February 1825. Now, we know that as time has gone on, it’s becoming harder to find a good place for a smoke. Don’t worry, we have it covered – check out our Top 5 Cigar Lounges In London blog post, for the low down on places to spark up in the city.

queen Victoria and king Edward. egm cigars

Left: Queen Victoria - Source: Wikipedia /Right: King Edward VII - Source: Pinterest.


A ROYAL SMOKER – As I’m sure you are aware; this era came under the reign of Queen Victoria – one of the longest reigning British monarchs. Unbeknown as to why, the Queen disapproved massively of this craze. She was very anti-tobacco, so much so that she even imposed a ban on the royal premises. Much to the dismay of her son: Edward. He was a keen cigar smoker. He broke this ban when he took the throne in 1901 – this was the same year Bolívar took to the market. He made a famous line at his coronation dinner: ‘Gentlemen, you may smoke’. 

There you have it, any British aficionados reading this – you have the Victorians to thank! Make sure you have a look at the Cuban cigars that we have on our Cuban Cigar Shop and before you go have a read of our Cuban Cigar Blog – to learn all things Cuban cigars.