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When you think about Clint Eastwood cigars, it’s hard to shake the iconic image from High Plains Drifter, with a cigar in his mouth, throwing out his patented, squinting death stare. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to find the nearest cigar lounge and smoke a good cigar of your own.
The cigars Clint Eastwood are known for typically showed up in his many Spaghetti Westerns. For a time, it was thought that Clint Eastwood smoked De Nobli Toscani cigars in Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the dollars trilogy films by Sergio Leone.
While some go back and forth over the cigars he smoked throughout the majority of his films, most agree these cigars were narrow, almost twiglike, open on both ends, and just as harsh and dry as the man Clint Eastwood portrayed.
Clint Eastwood Cigars
Does Clint Eastwood smoke?
It’s hard to imagine Clint Eastwood not smoking. Of course, cigarettes are out of the question. The iconic western star just doesn’t have that “cigarette smoking” vibe about him. No, where Clint Eastwood was concerned, cigarettes were out, but cigars were very much in.
The reality is, Clint Eastwood only smoked cigars on set, during the scenes as they were filmed. He was never much of a smoker in his private life. It’s hard to believe with his rough, gravelly voice—like sandpaper rubbed over hard, cracked leather.
He does smoke in other movies as well, though the cigarettes are fake. There are a ton of prop stores in the Hollywood region of California, for obvious reasons, and they supply actors/actresses with fake cigarettes and fake cigars.
These are usually cigarettes that light up and smoke just like a regular cigarette, but they are packed with harmless herbs and such. It’s well known in the industry that Sergio Leone insisted that Clint Eastwood smoke cigars throughout the filming of the dollars trilogy.
So the cigars you see in Clint Eastwood’s mouth are very real and not fake props from the many supply stores in Hollywood. While there are plenty of actors that are iconic cigar smokers, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood is not one of them.
What cigars did he smoke in films?
This is a bit of a mystery. It’s not one of those deals you’ll see on Unsolved Mysteries one day, but everyone seems to have their own opinion on what cigar he was smoking while filming the dollars trilogy.
It’s well known that Sergio Leone insisted Clint Eastwood smoke real cigars. It’s equally well-known that Eastwood complied with Leone’s desire for authenticity. At some point, the belief that Eastwood smoked De Nobli Toscani cigars throughout the filming process became pretty widespread.
Apparently, that’s incorrect. Some cigar aficionados with a keen eye for cigars suggest that he was smoking Virginians, which are more of a cheroot than a cigar. According to Clint Eastwood, Virginians are correct.
The interview over the cigars occurred a long time after the Italian spaghetti westerns had cemented themselves in the American consciousness. So although the interview occurred long after the fact, Eastwood’s word is the most reliable information we have as to the brand of cigar he used.
Ironically, though Clint Eastwood wasn’t—and still isn’t—a smoker, neither was the director, Sergio Leone. Ultimately, one of the most iconic and incredible roles that Clint Eastwood ever played, cementing the cigar-smoking gunslinger in the American lexicon for all time, didn’t smoke cigars.
What are Cheroots?
Old Virginia Cheroots were the brand that it’s assumed Clint Eastwood smoked as he worked on the dollars trilogy. As described above, they are almost like ugly little twigs, cut on both ends.
This type of cigar made a lot of sense in a spaghetti western, as the first Old Virginia Cheroots began rolling out in 1865, thanks to the P. Whitlock Company, formed by Philip Whitlock.
Cheroots are machine manufactured, as you can see in Philip Whitlock’s patent linked to above. They are roughly four inches long and are every bit as rough and ragged as Clint Eastwood.
Cheroots are often pretty cheap, and you can buy them at just about any convenience store across the country. They have a harsh flavor, and the bitterness of the smoke is liable to stick with you long after you’ve finished smoking one.
The iconic, Clint Eastwood cigar, as it turns out, is no more than a cheroot, manufactured by an Old Virginia company that opened shop during the period in which his films would later represent.
They aren’t the best cigars in the world, but they represented a time when such things were a luxury, especially in the west. So, if you’re itching for the taste of the old west, you can always pick up a cheroot at the local Tom Thumb.