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John Cotton’s Number 1 is a light, Virginias-forward blend, seasoned with fragrant Orientals and just enough latakia for a flavorful experience.

Notes: John Cotton's No. 1 is a light and refreshing English blend made of matured and bright Virginias, select, small-leaf Orientals and latakia. It's ideal in the morning or as an all-day type of blend. The subtle interplay of the Orientals and latakia are supported by the mellow sweetness of the Virginias The blend has been reconstructed through research and sampling of vintage tins, which triggered blender Russ Ouellette's memories of having smoked the blend in the seventies. For a taste of a traditional, light latakia blend with a great history, give John Cotton's No. 1 a try.

BrandJohn Cotton
Blended ByRuss Ouellette
Manufactured ByLane, Ltd.
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Packaging1.75 ounce tin
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
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Mild to Medium
None Detected
Mild to Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2603)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The bright and red Virginias are mildly grassy, citrusy and tangy dried fruit sweet with a touch of earth and wood, and are the star components. The Cyprian Latakia is smoky, woody, earthy sweet as a supporting player that you’ll notice all the way to the finish. The Orientals play a minor role, but adds some complexity: smokiness, wood, earth, and mildly floral notes with a touch of sweet spice. The sweetness from the Virginias and Latakia hits you as you light up, and this well balanced blend holds a consistent, clean, smooth, cool and creamy flavor to the finish. No dull or weak spots, no moisture in the bowl, and no bite. Barely has any rough edges. Has a pleasant after taste, and the room note passes the wife test. Though the blend purports to be mild - and the nicotine and strength levels are indeed that - the taste is a shade over the mild mark. I attribute that to the rich sweetness you get in every puff. A very good entry level English that an experienced smoker could smoke all day without feeling that they’re missing anything.


32 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (559)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

This is the second of the review samples that I have finished. This was my least favorite so far. This is no slight against the tobacco, rather a slight against my own personal tastes as I just don't like light and sour lat blends as this blend is. If I had to compare this to another blend it would probably be Butera Pelican. That is another blend that I don't like, however several people do like it.

So this is a tough review for me to do as it draws a paradox between whether a review should be objective or subjective. Some reviewers feel a compulsion to be objective; whereas, I prefer to be subjective as the Tobacco reviews is also a way to track your own tastes and compare to those with similar tastes. If all I did was objective reviews then I would have similar tastes as a bunch of people with drastically different tastes.

Now that I have done away with my disclaimer, I can move forward with the review. The blend comes off as lemony sweet and sour with a very light body. I really don't get much hay sweetness as I feel the orientals do dominate the blend. Such is probably the intent. Don't get me wrong, the Virginias are present and they can be tasted, but I feel they are overpowered. As for the Latakia, it is but a whisper to my tastes.

I have never tasted the original John Cotton No. 1 mild and I am pretty sure it would not really be to my liking either as I have every confidence into both the research that went into this coupled with the choice of Russ Oulette as a blender to make a good match.

So for an objective review I would give this three stars for the efforts that were put into this, the quality of leaf and the overall concept of these blends, but subjectively it is a two star blend that I would only recommend if you said that you like your blends sour and light.

Similar Blends: Butera Pelican.

15 people found this review helpful.

lestrout Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
lestrout (6)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I missed the LVPC picnic, to my great regret. But DanJ brought the newest iterations of the STP reincarnations to Morley's. I just puffed my first bowl of the sample to No.1, in a small very old BBB apple that is one of my standard tasting pipes.

Inspection of the leaf and sniffing the baggy note revealed a medium, rather than light Latakia with bright and maybe red Virginias, along with a tangy Oriental. There was a moderate amount of nicotine so this was not all that 'mild' in that respect.

I recall that Mike Butera created his Royal Vintage Latakia blends to bring back 2 John Cottons that were discontinued. I would assume the originals used Syrian Latakia while all the American versions have to use Cyprian. I suppose lightening the proportion of Cyprian and adjusting with Orientals could simulate the fruity tanginess that Syrian would have provided. I think the source Virginias Russ used would be different than what Mike McNeil has, and there is no vinegar undertone, unless Russ 'corrected' that with Turkish.

I never have tasted JC No.1, and on the whole I prefer STP's No.1 to Butera's No. 2, which was one I liked enough to have gone through a number of tins before my Top200 Cellar rankings pushed it aside.

I was struck by a surprising level of complexity all through the 1 inch bowl despite the relative lightness and youth of the blend. There were no raw edges and the flavors interplayed interestingly. I look forward to trying the next bowls in different sized and shaped chambers to see how the flavors develop differently. In a way this STP reminds me of Greg Pease's blending style with its complexity.

No.1 DGTs very nicely, and I bet this fine blend will mellow nicely with age.

Pipe Used: BBB, Quagliata, Luciano, Dunhill

Age When Smoked: 1 month

Purchased From: P&C

Similar Blends: Dunhill Standard Mellow, Rattray 7 Reserve and Professional, C&D Stratfordshire, Brebbia Preludio, Presbyterian, Butera Royal Vintage Latakia No.2.

14 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29751)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Using #1/2 Medium as a baseline and seeing Smyrna as a heavier version, this is touted as a milder version. Indeed it is less black in the bag than #1/2. Still a ribbon with a gorgeously funky note of middle eastern leaf.

Mild? Perhaps. But rich in flavor. This ever so slightly tones down the latakia from the Medium version but it's still a nice hanger-on. It provides plenty of oomph but not enough to make this a Balkan-type blend. This is more Scottish, which I love. Even if I loved Dunhill EMP, I'd probably give it up for this one. The tin note is similar but this produces far more flavor in the bowl. It's luxurious like the other two Cotton's, with a punchy, juicy flavor - plenty of natural sweetness and spice without being overbearing. Excellent complexity here, too. Don't let the word "Mild" throw you - this is one of those ultra rare "mild but rich" blends that I so love and respect... plenty of flavor, plenty of complexity, but not burdened down with tastebud overload. If I smoked first thing in the morning, I might smoke nothing but this at that time. And if you want to make this richer, let it cook at a bit higher temp than normal. Some of the flavor goes away but some of it becomes stronger. Kind of fun to test different blends at different puffing cadences. At any rate, this is a solid 4 star blend for me. I like it a bit less than the Medium and a bit more than the Smyrna. I would be willing to bet that this one hits more people as "just right" than the other two. As I only smoked 1 or 2 tins of the JC original and it was many moons ago, I can't comment as to this one's "accuracy". And I couldn't care less - this one stands on its own.

12 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (379)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

In the pouch, it is mostly tan and brown in the pouch with a few strands of black latakia. The pouch note is fresh hay and a little smoke and spice. It came at a good level of hydration for me, and I loaded it right out of the sample baggie. It might have been slightly on the dry side for some.

There is a great combination of flavors in this one, and while it is in the same camp as EMP and the various clones, I think it works better for me. The latakia is a mild presence - always there with the campfire woodiness, but it is just condimental kicked up two notches maybe. You can always taste it in the flavor profile, but it has more of a sour, spicy oriental signature to me. It has a sweet grassy Virginia as the foundation. I do not get any citrus or detect a topping.

I will admit I have an appreciation for orientals, and this was a very satisfying blend for me. It may have been all the more so because I was expecting mild from the name, and it is closer to a medium in terms of flavor. There is a somewhat thick quality to the smoke and the flavor seemed to be come a little fuller as the bowl progressed.

I don't quite think it merits a 4 (everyone should try this), but it is a great smoke. Depending on the pricing, I could smoke a lot of this.

9 people found this review helpful.

nkulk8r Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
nkulk8r (86)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

John Cotton's Number 1 Mild

In a word, “sensational."

For the life of me, I can’t even begin to understand how or why I ordered this stuff. I like/enjoy/prefer/gravitate towards strong, full-flavored, hearty tobaccos. I consider Irish Flake a breakfast blend – and I’m not being flippant – I just really do enjoy bold flavor. I always considered Nightcap to be "medium" in strength (at best); never "strong". (Irish Flake was one of my first loves – my first Burley blend – and I initially found it strong, but I was also correspondingly smitten). I procured this Number 1 Mild at the same time I purchased a tin of John Cotton’s Smyrna (which I also love, and have voraciously hoarded). But why I bought this particular blend with an appellation that included "Mild" in it, I have nary a clue. Subsequent red flags for me would have/should have been “a light and refreshing English blend”; “a very good entry level English”, and “It's ideal in the morning.”

Well . . .

I just finished my very first bowl of Number 1 Mild at 5 a.m., before breakfast, and I’m completely enamored with this blend. It is indeed “ideal in the morning.” This is just some marvelous material which begs blazing.

Reviewing can be such a tricky, problematic thing: objective versus subjective. More than one person has likened the undertaking to comparing food: cuisine versus grub. People have different tastes – what one person loves, another will abominate; what one person finds “strong”, another will find pathetically mild.

My sensory perception is not as keenly honed or as meticulously developed as some of the old-timers on this forum. (I -- like many others I’m sure -- automatically seek the evaluation of JimInks to get the most thoroughly sophisticated synopsis of a blend before proceeding with any additional enquiries). But for mere mortals such as myself, the key questions for evaluation are: Did the stuff taste good? Did you enjoy it? Did it dazzle you? Would you smoke this again (and if so, how often)? Would you/are you going to cellar enough of this stuff to last you a lifetime? If the answers to all of those questions are a resounding “YES”, then I have a 4-star review.

For me, personally, John Cotton's Number 1 Mild rates 4-stars.

5 people found this review helpful.

Big Train Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Train (111)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I smoked #1 back in the 1960's and 70's . The 60's blend was sort of Virginia forward with the right amount of Syrian to make it exactly what it said it was , a mild English mixture . The 70's brew lowered the quality of the Virginias and added more latakia and played a little with the orientals . I stopped smoking it around that time . This new blend by Russ is a commendable attempt to recreate a classic . Although the new #1 is an interesting blend that does provide a decent smoke it falls far from the mark of the late , lamented blend . This one is way too peppery for my taste , placing the focus on the orientals . We must also ask ourselves " exactly what are orientals" ? The answer , unless clearly noted on the tin , the could be dozens of different tobaccos . There is no way memory can serve me to discern exactly which orientals were used back in the day . Neither can one learn that much from opening a 40 year old tin in which the tobacco has totally changed over time . Reissues must rely on memory to succed . My memory tells me that , although this is a decent blend , there is too much pepper and not enough meat for this to be called JC #1 . Nice try though .

5 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1964)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

Standard Tobacco Co. - John Cotton's Number 1 Mild.

Gold and brown ribbons with only a dash of black. When I opened this I was imminently impressed by the moisture.

I'd be inclined to concur with DK about No.1 being mild but rich. The Latakia and Orientals are equal in weight, so neither overtakes the other to create a monopoly where the seasonings are concerned. The two of them give the Virginia based smoke some required pizazz, as the Virginias are easily at the front. I can't detect any added flavour, all I note is a sweetness which I'd expect from decent quality Virginias. For me, a negative is the burns speed, it goes quite fast.

Nicotine: mild to medium. Room-note: pleasant enough.

Number 1? I think it's a good blend, but starts to bore me after one bowl. Somewhat recommended:

Two stars.

Pipe Used: Atinok Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: 4noggins

4 people found this review helpful.

SeoulSister Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SeoulSister (37)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have never smoked the original John Cotton’s Mild so my only reference point is the new release. Each bowl starts off mild and slightly sweet. I like the combination of Virginias and Orientals in this blend. As each bowl progressed the Latakia becomes more prominent and there is some spiciness too. I found John Cotton’s Mild to have no bite at all. While the strength increases a bit toward the end of the bowl, the overall strength is on the mild side. I found this smoke to be very pleasant.

3 people found this review helpful.

Taste Buds Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Taste Buds (64)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is a very good light Virginia forward blend with a generous helping of orientals and a touch of latakia. The Virginia and orientals play off each other with the latakia hardly noticeable. It is too spicy for my taste but excellent in it's own right. My preference is for the 1&2 mixture, which is a little fuller but perfectly balanced. Update. I tried this blend again after a 15 month absense. It is much better then I remember. I notice a lovely sweetness that was not there before and lts a little milder than I remember. Hence the fourth star.

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

3 people found this review helpful.

krg1000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
krg1000 (183)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

There are a number of blends under this name that have recently been reintroduced to the pipe smoking community. I never had the opportunity to smoke the originals, so there won't be any remembrances of days gone by here. I think Russ is a first class blender of tobaccos and I would think that these are as close to the original as possible. With that being said, I find this blend to be at the right moisture level straight out of the tin at first opening. The components come together quite nicely to produce a very fine blend. Everyone seems to play well with the other components and there seems to be a very nice room note and tin note as well. All in all, a very good addition to this updated version of a classic tobacco blend. Can't wait to try some of the others. Definitely recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Pretty nice smoke. The Virginias lead with the Orientals not too far behind. They create a little sweet and sour woody hay thing that's nice. The Lat is ample enough to bring a constant woody smoke to the background. I think some of the sweetness might be an addition. It's a smooth smoke that burns cool.

Mild to medium in body and taste. Added sweetness is extremely mild. Burns very well.

Pipe Used: MM Marcus, Country Gentleman, Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I really liked DK's review of John Cotton's Number 1 Mild as he sure nailed where it fits among the various Cotton classics. I was not as impressed though with the overall presentation. I think an attempt (and a successful one), was made at getting a higher quality Virginia leaf for this one and the Latakia was very pleasant. Unfortunately, the fact that the blend was a little "fresh" tasting, keeps me from giving it more than a half a thumb up. The name John Cotton's on the label is really as close as this one comes to the original.

2 people found this review helpful.

LannarkGent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LannarkGent (145)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This latakis,Virginia, and oriental blend is very good. The latakia is very nuanced, serving as a condiment to a very complex blend. Smooth, savory, and complex, this is a keeper.

2 people found this review helpful.

grimpeur Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
grimpeur (83)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Another mild English blend, of which there are quite a number. The tobacco is, as per the blender's purported preference, drier than normal. The scent in the tin is subtle, which foretells the smoking experience: an unassuming, oriental slightly forward, inoffensive smoke.

If I was handed an unmarked bag of this and asked to pay the going retail, I would demur and ask for a tin of Dunhill Standard Mellow, or Skiff, or one of the Kings: Charles (from Germain) or Frederik (from Olsen). And that doesn't exhaust the less expensive, better (?) alternatives.

Glad I tried it, but I won't do it again.

Age When Smoked: Fresh

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My wife (SeoulSister) really loves this blend and so I thought I’d give it a go. Of the new versions that are being now produced by the Standard Tobacco Co. of PA, I have been fortunate to still have earlier tins of this one, No. 1 & 2 and Bengal Slices. I have smoked all three of them side by side with the new blends. Like many of the great blenders, of which I consider Russ one of them, there is a distinct flavor/style that makes these guys great. But in this case, that is a problem for me. It tastes more like one of Russ’s match blends than the original, even taking into account the changes to the older stuff due to the aging process. I find this to be sweeter and the Latakia to play more of a dominate role than previous versions with the new JC Mild not really sharing the same flavor profile (for me) than one of the other versions. While I thought that the new Bengal Slices is the best version of that blend ever made, I found this to be disappointing. It is a good tobacco offering some moderate complexity and standing on its own and I think many will enjoy it. For me personally, it’s too far outside of the taste that I enjoyed with JC Mild for my preference.

Age When Smoked: new

2 people found this review helpful.

Phonomet Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Phonomet (44)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

As others have noted, for a "mild" blend JC #1 packs a lot of flavor. Depending on my palette at any given time, the oriental dominance can either delight or sting. The latakia is present but mild. I think there is a slight topping (which is enjoyable) but that might be my imagination. I have blended this with some muted blends in the cellar with success (Briar Fox to name one.) On some days this is the perfect breakfast blend. Confidently recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

cm1648 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cm1648 (53)
Mild None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A top, mild English contender. As noted in the tin description, this blend is Virginia-forward, more so than other mild English blends like EMP and Good Morning. However, the Orientals and Latakia play an evident role and contribute a quality spiciness and smokiness to the blend. The quality of the tobaccos is quite evident. Back to back smoke did give way to some tongue bite due to the higher Virginia content but only moderately. It delivers a fairly dry smoke. An easy all-day smoke though with a cup of coffee in the morning, it is quite exquisite.

Pipe Used: Peterson system, Erik Norking, Lorenzo Spitfire

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: EMP, Goodmorning.

1 person found this review helpful.

J. Ward Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J. Ward (57)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

John Cotton’s Number 1 is a delicious smoke. Lightly grassy citrus and sweet hay Virginias are complimented and balanced by the ripe dark fruit and earth of the red Virginias, the orientals are fragrant and lend a little wood, while the Latakia provides its signature smoky quality and is very much in a background supporting role. As a whole the smoke is a creamy delight, and is a mild/medium tobacco ideal for morning or all day piping. Highly recommend.

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum cobs

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Lane Limited - LEO.

1 person found this review helpful.

SmokeKing David Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SmokeKing David (129)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I was looking for an oriental blend with just a little latakia, and this fit the bill. No bite and produces enough smoke. A good morning smoke that I enjoyed in my new Scorpius pipe, carved by Portuguese artisan Joao Mandail, that I got at the 2016 Chicago Show. A very nice combination! Although I generally prefer a more flavorful blend.

Pipe Used: Scorpius

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Chicago Show sample

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (321)
Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant

I'll keep this short, I never smoked the original, but this one is not destined for greatness. The latakia is nonexistent , the Virginias might just as well be also, as they lack sweetness. The Orientals burn hot and flavorless. Overall a very hot burning, flavorless smoke. Won't buy again, almost a one star

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: 1 week to one month open

Similar Blends: C&D Oriental Silk.

1 person found this review helpful.