Henry Clay (cigar)

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A 1905 advertisement.

Henry Clay is a brand of cigars named after early American politician Henry Clay (1777-1852).[1] The cigars are currently manufactured in the Dominican Republic.[2]


The Henry Clay brand was first created in the 1840s by the Cuban tobacco magnate, Spanish emigrant Julian Alvarez. The name was proposed by Alvarez when he was in the service of an employer and he maintained it once he was in business for himself.[3]

The Cuban business interest of Alvarez eventually was transferred to a British company named Henry Clay and Bock & Co. Ltd. which was founded in 1888. Henry Clay and Bock & Co. Ltd. would become a component of the Tobacco Trust that, along with other trusts, was an object of the anti-trust legislation of the United States.[4]

The brand is currently in the possession of the Spanish company Altadis, a division of Imperial Tobacco.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The brand is mentioned in James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses: "Long John Fanning made no way for them. He removed his large Henry Clay decisively and his large fierce eyes scowled intelligently over all their faces."[5]
  • Reference is made to Henry Clay as a London grocer's "finest cigar" in the 1929 Alfred Hitchcock film Blackmail.
  • Rudyard Kipling mused, "There's calm in a Henry Clay," in his 1886 poem The Betrothed.
  • Mentioned in "Die matrosen tango" from Bertolt Brechts 1929 play "Happy end"
  • Mentioned in Aleister Crowley's "Absinthe: The Green Goddess" (1918)
  • Claire Zachanassian in Friedrich Dürrenmatt's "The Visit" (1955) smokes Henry Clays.


Mentioned in the poem "Black and White" by Mayakovsky (1925) Mentioned in the poem "A Busy Man" by Robert William Service http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-busy-man/

External links[edit]