At the end of the 19th century, smoking a cigar was a symbol of wealth. During this period, Vice President Thomas Marshal declared to the Senate - "What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar".
During this period, one of the more popular premium brands was the Henry Clay Cigar. Named for the famous statesman, Henry Clay Cigars were originally manufactured by Julian Alvarez in Havana. Dating from the 1840s it is one of the oldest original Cuban brands.
Henry Clay (1777-1852), one of America’s most noted statesmen in American history, known as "The Great Pacificator". His ability to arrange compromises resolved three disputed between the states and prevented a civil war. He ran unsuccessfully for President three times. He lived in Lexington, Kentucky on his estate, known as Ashland.
In 1888, Alvarez sold his interest to Henry Clay and Bock & Co., Ltd., a British company, (Romeo y Henry Clay Bock y Ca Manuel Garcias Diaz y Garcia) that was part of the Tobacco Trust.
In 1898, Rudyard Kipling stated in his poem The Betrothed that:
"There's calm in a Henry Clay"
The brand died out around the time of the Great Depression. In the late 1990s, the brand restored and is now manufactured by Tabacalera de Garcia, in the Dominican Republic. The label on the box shows the original Henry Clay factory in Havana.