Collection: Mint Julep
In the early 1940s, Julep cigarettes were advertised as the solution to an addiction to cigarettes: “If you really enjoy smoking,” one ad explains, “you don’t have to cut down and deprive yourself of smoking pleasure! Follow the lead of thousands of others – switch to new Julep Cigarettes. Smoke all you want without unpleasant symptoms of over smoking!” Ironically, the advertisement reveals many of the negative side effects of smoking, such as a “raw ‘burned out’ throat” or “tobacco breath.” However, the ad does not urge smokers to quit. Instead, it insists that with Julep cigarettes, you can “smoke all you want.” This technique mirrors contemporaneous advertising copy for menthol cigarettes at the time, but presents mint as a “miracle” flavorant which should not be confused with “menthol-tasting cigarettes.” Additionally, the name “julep” evokes images of the alcoholic cocktail, the mint julep. This association has the power to accomplish many effects on the subconscious of the consumer – the cigarette can be equated with the forbidden for young smokers or with pleasure and refreshment for older smokers.
According to a November, 1932, article in Fortune Magazine, after Lloyd “Spud” Hughes found success from his mentholated Spuds cigarettes, sold his company, and reportedly frivolled away his profits, he came up with this new flavored tobacco recipe in the hopes of earning a few extra bucks. In 1928, the article explains, Hughes patented “Julep” cigarettes, a cigarette flavored with spearmint rather than menthol. Then, in 1932, he made his way to Hahira, Georgia, with his new blend in tow. Julep cigarettes were indeed first manufactured by Julep Cigarette Company of Boston and Hahira, Georgia, later by Penn Tobacco Company, and finally by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company. The ads in our collection date from 1942, when the brand was under the purview of Penn.