A Brief History of Black and Mild Cigars

November 9, 2015

What a strange concept, making a cigar out of pipe tobacco. At the time it may have sounded crazy, but not to the John Middleton Company. With roots dating back to 1856 Philadelphia, this company has a portfolio of some of the best-loved pipe tobaccos in the world, -so why not make a cigar using these same fine tobaccos.

Well this epiphany certainly didn’t happen overnight; in fact, it took over 100 years!
In the 1960’s the innovative folks at John Middleton realized that many smokers were eager to try a pipe to experience the heavenly aroma, and tremendous variety of tasty blends. They also realized that for some, the arduous task of tamping, packing and fiddling with the bowl, just wasn’t worth the trouble – so they created the long overdue, Black and Mild Cigars.

This was quite a challenge, because premium pipe tobacco comes from different parts of the world. Cigar leaf comes primarily from Central America, where the tropical climates produce a thick bountiful plant that is similar in shape and size.

Pipe tobacco on the other hand, comes from all over the world, starting right here in the northeast, and Deep South, and as far away as Syria, and the orient! A wide variety of weather conditions, and unique soils, produce plants that have various textures, thickness, taste, and strength profiles. This huge diversity is what makes the hobby so intriguing, as the choice of top-quality blends are virtually endless.

While Cavendish and Virginia pipe tobaccos lie at the core of each Black and Mild cigar, the wrappers found on Black and Mild Cigars are also quite interesting. Rather than using paper like for cigarettes or expensive whole tobacco leaves like those found on top-shelf premium cigars, Black and Mild uses a homogenized tobacco leaf. This is essentially a fusion of the two – paper made entirely with tobacco.

With all of this in mind, and after considerable trial and error, the company finally chose their special blend, one that would create optimum flavor while being smoked in the form of a cigar.

The Black & Mild you know and love today, is a machine-made, pipe tobacco, cigar brand, still produced in Pennsylvania by John Middleton Co. The recipe includes broad-cut black Cavendish, Thick cubed Burley from Kentucky, and the best golden Virginia tobaccos. The result is mild, silky smooth pipe tobacco flavor, and aroma, that smokers have been enjoying for over five decades!


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