As the header image, I primarily smoke three different brands of cigarettes: USA Gold, Maverick, and Liggett. When I am out of pocket, I will sometimes go with Winston or Camel. When I first started smoking, I went with the gold standard: Marlboro. Eventually I found suitable cheaper replacement brands in Doral and Pall Mall. Over time, both either watered down their product or they stopped doing the same thing for me. The above three are both inexpensive and either reasonably or very strong tasting.
USA Gold is the cheapest of the set. The problem with USA Gold is that it has the word Gold in the title. This means two things: First, they are similar in name to Old Golds, which are more popular, more expensive and less worthy. Second, as with other brands they come in various strengths. They can’t call the lighter variations lights or ultra-lights anymore, so they go by color. Almost universally, light cigarettes have gold color. I prefer red-color. So I have to specify that I want USA Gold 100s RED. If I leave off the red, the gold is in their minds and if I’m not looking, I just bought a weaker cigarette than I intended to. This happened recently. Very frustrating.
Mavericks and Liggetts do not have the weakness problem. In fact, I think their limited popularity is due to their rough taste. Mavericks used to be Harley Davidson cigarettes and for a while (even after they became Maverick) had an awesome black-and-gold box with an eagle on it that would be different in color depending on what you were getting. Now they’re colored similarly to all of the others. My wife hates Mavericks and can smell them from two miles away. Liggetts fall in between the two. They’re the most expensive of the three. Both Maverick and Liggett take a toll on the lungs more quickly than USA Gold.
Living in a small town as I do, I have an internal catalog of what is offered where. What’s rather frustrating is that all of them seem to lack good inventory control. Which is to say, when they run out of boxes, they don’t get more until they’ve run out of softpacks. The fact that they always have left over soft packs suggests to me that that they ought to stock more of those than the boxes. The same goes for regular size versus 100s. I go to the Supply Store a lot, and would get all of my cigarettes from there, but they go months with only the short packs and soft packs, and so they lose my business for weeks at a time.
Way back in the day, when Mom smoked and I didn’t, I did not understand why the hell cigarette brand mattered. They didn’t offer Kent in our home state, and so whenever we were the next state over she would buy a bunch of them. How different can something you’re lighting on fire and consuming the smoke taste? Pretty different, it turns out.
On a sidenote, I don’t think the main reason for my preference for strong flavor is that I have particularly strong lungs (I don’t) or even my diminished tastebuds, but rather because I don’t inhale. Never have. Didn’t even realize I was supposed to, when I first tried them. Which is not the same thing as saying that they don’t get into my lungs. But not through breaking it in from the cigarette itself. The other big reason is my preference for longer-lasting 100s, which tend to have longer filters.
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