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The Sobranie (Russian: Собрание, "Gathering", "Collection", "Assembly") cigarette brand is one of the oldest tobacco brands in the world. Sobranie of London was established in 1879 by the Redstone family, when cigarettes had just become fashionable in Europe. Several generations of the Redstone family blended this tobacco from a secret formula. The original cigarettes were handmade in the Russian tradition. Sobranie was the supplier of royal courts of Great Britain, Spain, Romania, and Greece. In the early 1980s, the trademarks for Sobranie were sold to Gallaher Group, one of the English conglomerates, which continued to produce it, albeit with a modified formula, at various places in Europe. Gallaher was subsequently purchased by Japan Tobacco.
Premium varieties include the evening-out styles Sobranie Cocktail and Sobranie Black Russian, which are produced in Ukraine and as of 2005 in Russia itself. Sobranie produces several styles geared specifically for ladies, some slimmer than standard cigarettes and others brightly coloured.
- Cocktails are five separate bright pastel shades with a gold foil filter, and are the same ring gauge as standard cigarettes, unlike Nat Sherman's Fantasias, which are slimmer and use deeper, primary colours.
- Black Russians are black paper with a gold foil filter end. While both Cocktail and Black Russian variants are emblazoned with the Russian imperial eagle and use blends suited to Russian tastes, this is a different blend than Cocktails.
The logotype used on the packets is identical to a lesser version of the Coat of arms of Russia dating 1883.
- Sobranie Classic cigarettes (Tar - 14 mg; Nicotine - 1 mg)
- Sobranie Classic Lights (Tar - 10 mg; Nicotine - 0.9 mg)
- Sobranie Black Russians (Tar - 9 mg; Nicotine - 0.8 mg)
- Sobranie White Russians (Tar - 8 mg; Nicotine - 0.8 mg)
- Sobranie Cocktails (Tar - 7 mg; Nicotine - 0.7 mg)
- Sobranie Blues (Tar - 5 mg; Nicotine - 0.5 mg)
- Sobranie Mints (Tar - 5 mg; f- 0.5 mg)
- Sobranie Pinks (Tar - 5 mg; Nicotine - 0.5 mg)
- Sobranie Whites (Tar - 1 mg; Nicotine - 0.1 mg)
- Sobranie Yellow (citrus menthol) (Tar - 5 mg; Nicotine - 0.5 mg; Carbon Monoxide 5 mg) – sold in China with English and Chinese text on packet, displaying a health warning on the lower region of the packet. The front warning is in Chinese; the reverse is in English. This variety has a yellow stub and distinctive lemon aroma and notes "China Duty Not Paid", suggesting it is sold in Chinese airports.
In popular culture
In Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin in Land of Black Gold, the Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab is shown smoking Sobranies. He remarks how his son Abdullah swapped his Sobranies with "filthy joke cigarrettes."
In Chapter 5 of the 1999 Helen Fielding novel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, after a difficult lunch with her parents and her parents' friends, Mark Darcy's mother Elaine, in sympathy, presses "a couple of Sobranies" into Bridget's hand to sustain her on the drive home to London.
In the TV adaptation of 'Call the Midwife' one of the midwives is regularly seen smoking Black Russian cigarettes.
In the book Phantom, by Jo Nesbø, one of the henchman, to the criminal mastermind, is smoking Sobranies.
In the 2000 film Under Suspicion, Gene Hackman's character Henry Hearst and Monica Bellucci's character Henry's wife Chantal Hearst both smoke Black Russian Sobranies. Henry holds his between his middle & 4th fingers.