|Product type||Rolling paper|
|Owner||Imperial Brands (1997–)|
Rizla, commercially styled Rizla+ ("Riz La Croix") //, is a French brand of rolling papers and other related paraphernalia in which tobacco, or marijuana, or a mixture, is rolled to make handmade joints and cigarettes. The company was sold in 1997 to Imperial Tobacco.
The name "Rizla" came in 1886 ("Riz" being the French word for rice and "La+" as an abbreviation of Lacroix). Rizla rolling papers are available in a range of thicknesses, indicated by the colour of the packaging, and sizes.
The company breaks out
In 1660, having perfected the first paper specifically designed for rolling, the Lacroix family began production. Despite the early success, it was not until 76 years later in 1736 that the family acquired their own paper-mill, purchased by François Lacroix, founder of the Lacroix Rolling Paper company. In 1796 Napoleon granted the Lacroix company a licence to produce rolling papers for his troops. However, The Economist magazine has questioned the Napoleon story, reporting that "A museum in Angoulème, the Lacroix ancestral seat, calls this historical “fantasy” and says that until 1860 the family manufactured paper but not for cigarettes."
In 1865, a change was made to the formula—the tissue previously used in the papers was replaced with paper made from rice. It is this change to rice paper that caused the name "RizLa+" to emerge: a combination of the French word riz [ʁi] (meaning rice) with "La" and a cross, representing the Lacroix family name, which literally means "The Cross".
20th century and beyond
Rizla produced some of the first flavoured papers in 1906, with the release of menthol and strawberry. The first Rizla Blue fine-weight rolling papers were produced in 1910, with thinner paper and a more pronounced tobacco flavour. RizLa also released one of the first rolling machines.
In 1942, the Rizla brand revolutionized the world of rolling papers when the Lacroix brothers acquired a patent for applying gum to the edge of rolling papers. This new feature solidified Rizla's position as a leader in the rolling paper industry, placing them at the top of the market.
In 1977, thirty-three years after the brand name change, Rizla released the first of their King Size rolling papers. The standard sized papers measure 69x35mm. In most countries they are packed in a single interleaved stack of 50 papers, but in Belgium the packages contain two parallel stacks totalling 100 papers, which typically retail for €0.80-€1.00.
Different thicknesses are colour-coded as follows:
- 26.5 gm−2 liquorice
- 23 white
- 20 orange
- 17.5 red (with cut corners green)
- 14.5 blue, pink
- 13.5 silver
In 1978 Fernand Painblanc took control of Rizla, bringing the tradition of Lacroix family ownership to an end.
The liquorice-flavoured paper was released in 1981. In 1986, Rizla began rapid growth and large-scale advertising. One successful advertising campaign in 1986 was a popular series of calendars, T-Shirts and posters. A café franchise, which was featured at various concerts in the UK in 1996, was also extremely popular. In 1997 they produced a limited edition King Size Rizla+ Purple medium-weight, extra width, king size rolling paper, in celebration of the Phoenix music festival.
In 1997, Rizla was sold to Imperial Tobacco. One year later, Rizla continued their string of expansion and large-scale advertising, going so far as to release their own line of clothing, sold at their cafés. In 2002 Rizla closed a deal with Suzuki and became one of their top motor-bike racing sponsors, forming the Rizla-Suzuki racing team. The Caterham Superlight R500 sports is available with Rizla markings following its launch in collaboration with Rizla-Suzuki.
Rizla added a new paper to its lineup in 2003, with the introduction of the Rizla+ Silver, Ultra-Thin, King Size rolling paper. In 2003 the UK Advertising Standards Agency upheld a complaint that Rizla+ had alluded to their products' association with cannabis in a print advertisement that bore the caption "twist and burn".
In 2004, two more types of Rizla papers were released; one, the Rizla Red, Medium Weight, Slim paper is exclusive to the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland. The other variety released in 2003 was the Rizla+ Silver (regular size) Ultra-Thin rolling paper.
In 2002, Imperial Tobacco closed Rizla's historic factory at Mazères-sur-Salat near Saint-Gaudens (south of France). In September 2005 Imperial Tobacco announced the closure of Rizla's Treforest factory at Pontypridd near Cardiff in South Wales with a loss of 134 jobs. After the closure of the factory, Rizla production is now concentrated at Wilrijk, Belgium.
- The brand is mentioned several times in Alex Garland’s 1996 novel The Beach.
- In the 2014 film Kingsman, Dean and his mother ask Eggsy if he has any Rizla.
- Amy Winehouse mentions Rizla in her 2003 song "Bestfriends, right".
- QBoy mentions Rizla in his rap in the single "DragOn" - a weed smoking hip hop anthem in 2015; "Blue Slims and a fat 20 bag of Lemon Haze".
- Parquet Courts mentions Rizla in the song "Yonder is Closer to the Heart" off the 2012 album Light Up Gold.
- Lily Allen mentions Rizla in her 2014 song, "Our Time".
- Natalia Kills mentions Rizla in her 2013 song "Problem".
- English folk singer Nick Drake's first album, Five Leaves Left, took its title from a warning which was included in packs of Rizla papers in the 1960s indicating that only five papers remained. More recently, this warning has been replaced by a ten-paper warning.
- Julian Marley mentions Rizla Papers in "Boom Draw" ... Lyrics: "Haffa send fi a Rizla, we gonna burn down Babylon.."
- Reggae artist Pablo Gad's 1980 song, Hard Times, mentions Rizla papers in its hook. The lyric, which has become recognizable in its own right, goes, "When I was a youth I used to bun [sic] Cali weed, in a Rizla, we used to bun it in a Rizla." This line has since been sampled by electronic artists such as The Prodigy, Ed Solo & Skool of Thought, Krafty Kuts, and Matta.
- Reggae Artist Triston Palmer's Song "Joker Smoker", released 1982, is about a stoner guy who begs for all the ingredients for rolling a Joint, also mentioning Rizla rolling papers.
- 1985 album Whatever Happened to Jugula? by Roy Harper and Jimmy Page features an unravelled orange Rizla pack as cover art.
- In Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Perú, Ireland, South Africa, Israel, Pakistan, Finland and the United Kingdom, Rizla is genericized trademark name for rolling paper.
- 1991 Bim Sherman and Japanese Fusion band Audio Active had a hit with Free The Marijuana. Opening lyric: "Pass me the Rizla, let me wrap-up me ganja".
- 1993 12-inch single I Ain't Goin' Out Like That by Cypress Hill features an unravelled orange Rizla pack as cover art.
- In the British TV series Peep Show, Season 6, episode 4, 'The Affair' (2009), Mark assures Jez on the phone that he bought his Rizla papers from the corner shop.
- The Greek group Zontanoi Nekroi mentions Rizla in their song "Halia Halia".
- The Streets mention Rizla in their song "Has It Come to This?".
- The UK Grime artist, Skepta, mentions Rizla in his song "Track 8" on his 2012 mixtape, Blacklisted.
- UK Grime MC, D Double E, mentions Rizla in his song "Seeing Double" from his 2018 album, Jackuum.
- UK hip-hop artists London Posse mention Rizla in the song "Pass Me The Rizla" on the "Ruffness: The British Underground" EP
- Peter Tosh sang the line, "Lend me a Rizla" in his 1979 song "Buk-In-Hamm Palace" off the album Mystic Man.
- The British post-punk band, Shame, has a song titled "One Rizla" on their 2018 Songs of Praise album.
- British urban act Ratpack released a club anthem named “Searching for my Rizla” in 1998
- History on Rizla website (7 Sep 2020)
- "A History of Tobacco". Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Branding lessons from Rizla". The Economist. 2021-01-16. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
- "Parquet Courts - Yonder Is Closer To The Heart Lyrics | MetroLyrics." http://www.metrolyrics.com/yonder-is-closer-to-the-heart-lyrics-parquet-courts.html. Retrieved 2015-08-24
- "Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake". www.nickdrake.com. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "Roots Archive: Pablo Gad - The Best of Pablo Gad". www.roots=-archives.com. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
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