Prince Albert (tobacco)

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1913 advertisement for Prince Albert tobacco.

Prince Albert is an American brand of tobacco, introduced by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1907.[1] It has been owned since 1987 by John Middleton Inc.[2]


Prince Albert is one of the more popular independent brands of pipe tobacco in the United States; in the 1930s, it was the "second largest money-maker" for Reynolds.[3] More recently, it has also become available in the form of pipe-tobacco cigars. (A 1960s experiment with filtered cigarettes was deemed a failure.[4]) The blend is burley-based and remains one of America's top-selling pipe tobaccos.

The tobacco was personally named by R. J. Reynolds after Edward VII, who was known as Prince Albert before being crowned King.[5] The portrait of Prince Albert was based on one acquired by Reynolds at a tea party with Mark Twain.[5]

The Van Dyke Parks song Clang of the Yankee Reaper references the tobacco with the line "The sun never set on the Empire / Prince Albert came in a can."

Prince Albert's cigars are available in packs of 5. Prince Albert's pipe tobacco is available in 1.5 ounce pouches and 14 ounce tins.



Pipe tobacco[edit]

"Prince Albert in a can"[edit]

The brand is the basis of a practical joke, usually made in the form of a prank call. The prankster typically calls a store and asks if they have "Prince Albert in a can." When the unsuspecting clerk responds "yes" (because the tobacco is typically packaged in a can, though other forms of packaging also existed), the caller follows up with, "Well, you'd better let him out!" or "Then why don't you let him out before he suffocates!?"[6][7]

In pop culture[edit]


  1. ^ "International Directory of Company Histories". Thomson Gale. 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  2. ^ Associated Press (July 7, 1987). "R.J. Reynolds Sells 2 Tobacco Brands". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  3. ^ "Pipe Dream Girl". TIME magazine. November 23, 1931. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  4. ^ "Where There's Smoke There's a Filter". TIME magazine. November 18, 1966. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  5. ^ a b Bryan Burrough. Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco. HarperCollins. p. 44. 
  6. ^ Transcript of Interview with Prince Albert of Monaco, CNN Larry King Weekend, September 15, 2002
  7. ^ Penny Candy and Radio in the Good Old Days, By Tony Stein, The Virginian-Pilot, October 23, 1994
  8. ^ Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Season 4. Episode 10. ABC Family.