|I hope he didn't light it with a Zippo!|
Hammett expert and San Francisco resident Don Herron reported the discovery on his wonderful Hammett-related web site. Apparently a shot of Hammett about to light a cigar appears in a film about composer Harold Arlen. You can't tell what kind of cigar it is but to me it looks like a five-inch corona. I bet it was a Clear Havana or another Cuban cigar. The closest I have ever come to a Cuban is what I'm smoking as I type this, a Churchill-sized Havana Blend from the Finck Cigar Company. This cigar is blended, the company says, with Cuban tobacco from the 1959 crop (it's 30% Cuban; the rest of the filler is made up of non-Cuban tobacco). I don't know if that's advertising hype or not, but this is one of the best and one of the smoothest cigars I have ever smoked. It's very mild and creamy and tastes great. I'll be buying more of these, for sure, to go along with my regular supply of Punch and Mr. B. Right now I have two humidors full of stogies; I think a total of 90. That should cover me for the next two weeks! The only downside of the Havana Blend is that eventually they will run out of Cuban tobacco. That will be a sad day indeed. But in the meantime, I shall light up and enjoy!
Call me a geek but this discovery is pretty neat. When I write, there's always a cigar going. I hate when the ash gets on my keyboard, but that's my fault. I wonder if Hammett had the same routine when he wrote (I know he smoked cigarettes based on other pictures). He certainly, as we all know, put away a ton of whiskey, and I can report I in no way can keep up with his consumption (no pun intended), but Dash and I share a love of stogies and that is pretty cool.
Every now and then the question arises of which figure in history would you want to have dinner with. I've never been able to answer the question to my satisfaction, but now I would say Hammett. And after dinner, we would light up a couple of Cubans and kill a few bottles of whiskey and talk writing and politics and hopefully not kill each other in the process. Of course, cigar people are friendly people, so even if we disagree on things we could still be civil.