Modern day Dutch in their native Holland, are known to have a liking for small cigars or cigarillos and a painting called “The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild” (De Staalmeesters) painted by Rembrandt in 1662 does appear on the packaging for Dutch Masters Cigarillos. Could he have been enjoying Dutch Masters Cigarillos while painting?
Unlikely If Not Impossible
Rembrandt lived from 15TH July 1606 to 4TH October 1669 and Christopher Columbus is credited with introducing tobacco into Europe after his 1492 voyages across the Atlantic to “the Americas” (for tobacco, this was primarily Hispaniola, now called the Dominican Republic, and present day Cuba where Columbus’s sailors settled). However, tobacco was slow to gain popular support throughout Europe; as late as 1604, King James of England was writing against the evils of smoking tobacco; liking tobacco smoke to the fumes rising out of the very pits of hell. So, it is possible that Rembrandt had encountered smoking when he painted the Syndics; but, if you look at the painting, they appear to be a somewhat puritanical looking group and there isn’t even a pipe in sight.
Getting back closer to reality (rather than the fancy above); the real proof is that Dutch Masters Cigarillos and cigars were first made in the USA around 1911 by the G.H. Johnson Cigar Company and their products were machine made (as against hand rolled). Machine made cigars and the smaller cigarillos did not come about until long after Rembrandt was dead; so, even if he could have smoked a handmade cigarillo; it couldn’t have been one of the machine-made Dutch Masters Cigarillos.
Rembrandt Could Not Smoke Them – But, You Can
Although the G.H. Johnson Cigar Company has been merged and taken over a few times; the current owners (Altadis U.S.A., Inc., who, in turn were acquired by the multi-national British tobacco giant – Imperial Tobacco Group plc in 2008) continue to make Dutch Masters Cigarillos and cigars. Furthermore, they still pack them in boxes carry the iconic Rembrandt painting. Incidentally, because of their smaller size (compared to a full sized cigar); Dutch Masters Cigarillos are sometimes referred to as “mini-dutches”.
Be careful if your fancy turns to the Dutch Masters Vanilla flavored cigarillos; these gained notoriety from being included in hip hop songs in the 1990’s. The songs claimed the vanilla “Dutches” were being recycled using marijuana to replace the internal tobacco!