It's hard to picture Clint Eastwood in a classic western without a cigar clamped between his teeth. But keen observers of iconic flicks like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West will have noted that they were neither Cuban monstrosities nor mere cigarillos, but stylish smokes that lent the quick-shooting star an added element of gunslinging sprezzatura.
That's because these were "spaghetti westerns" made by Italian directors who of course dictated that Italian cigars be used – specifically Toscano cigars, which have been made in Tuscany since 1818. In celebration of Toscano's 200th anniversary next year, a cool new book published by Rizzoli and now available to order on Amazon traces the story of the unique brand, its stylish history and the Italian culture it's innately tied to, dominated by the Tuscan countryside, fine wine, leather goods, good food, film, and opera.
Brigitte Bardot also chomped on a character-building Toscano in her own stylish western, 1971's Frenchie Jean, showing the slender cigar wasn't just for tough guys. It's featured in one of the all-time great photos of the bombshell actress by Terry O'Neill, taken on set.
The world of Tuscan cigars may not be one your familiar with, but any connoisseur of the finer things in life should pick up a copy of the book posthaste, if not an actual smoke.