John Cotton John Cotton's Smyrna

John Cotton's Smyrna is a Turkish forward blend with plenty of rich latakia. Virginias add a touch of sweetness to a robust, smoky and earthy experience.
Notes: John Cotton's Smyrna was a favorite among connoisseurs. This was a rich, spicy and smoky classic that was a go-to for pipe lovers around the world...and then it was gone. The new owners of this classic brand approached Russ Ouellette to recreate their blends. Through diligent research and sampling vintage tins to help jog Russ' memories of the flavors, Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania is now ready to bring this classic back. A combination of carefully matured Virginias, fragrant and zesty small-leaf Turkish tobaccos and plenty of Cyprian latakia, John Cotton's Smyrna is deep and bold, and a perfect meditative repast.


Brand John Cotton
Blended By Russ Ouellette
Manufactured By Lane, Ltd.
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 1.75 ounce tin
Country United States
Production No longer in production


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Medium to Full
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.48 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 33 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 19, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
The Cyprian Latakia is smoky, woody, earthy, musty sweet as a team player. The Orientals and Turkish are fairly buttery sweet with a touch of sour, and are very woody, herbal, floral and mildly spicy with a deep smoky earthiness as it takes a light lead. Obviously, you can credit the Smyrna for most of that. Playing back-up is a citrusy sweet, lightly grassy, slightly earthy, woody brown Virginia. You can taste all of the inherent tobaccos flavors in every puff. Burns clean and cool with some complexity, and has a refined creamy, spicy sweet, campfire smoothness that makes you think there might be a little less Latakia than there is. Has no dull or harsh moments, and won't bite. The flavor is consistent from top to bottom and translate to the pleasantly lingering after taste. One might think all the spice would nip at your tongue if you puff fast, but that doesn’t happen, nor will it bite, though I do suggest smoking it at a moderate pace. This is the spiciest blend in this company’s line up. The strength is just past the center of medium to strong, and the taste level is full. The nic-hit is medium, and it seems to get a little stronger in the last quarter of the smoke. Burns at a reasonable pace, and requires an average number of relights. Virtually leaves no moisture in your bowl, and produces volumes of smoke as you go along to that fine white ash. The room note is stronger than a camp fire; very pungent. Not an all day smoke.

34 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 13, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
At first view and whiff of the sample baggie, this appears to be a more latakia-heavy version of #1/#2. A little more black in the blend with a heavier latakia aroma. Lighting it up takes it to another level. That level happened to me a lower one for me but it was different.

First of all, this one had one of the best room notes of any tobacco, and it beats out the venerable Dunhill EMP for me in that regard (a tobacco I do not smoke). An aroma so delectable I wanted to eat it! In the smoke, this is a spicier, heavier taste than #1/2. It tasted latakia-heavy but not a "lat bomb", those blends which leave me cold with their dusty, monodimensional flavor. This has a nice shot of Smyrna which both spices up the proceedings and makes the blend kind of creamy as it melds with the latakia. This one is well rounded but with latakia at the forefront and might be a nice change of pace for those who are used to tasting nothing but latakia. The perfect balance of #1/2 was missing but I don't think balance is quite the point here, as this leans towards the smoky leaf. As a result, I found this one less complex than it's lighter stablemate. This blend, while not a rotation-maker for me, is just too well done to merit anything less than a three. I never got a chance to smoke the original but if it was this good, it earned its reputation.
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The prior version of John Cotton’s Smyrna was the only in the line I never had the opportunity to enjoy. The new version, blended by Russ Ouellette offers a tin scent that is a little musty, smoky and a bit sour in a good way. Like a lot of Russ’s blends, I find the moisture level less than many other blends which is something that I appreciate. I was somewhat surprised, based on the scent that more Latakia comes through the smoke than I had anticipated. With that said, there is plenty of Oriental/Turkish flavor to satisfy. Smyrna starts out spicier than I prefer, but it quickly settles down as the flavors come together offering a fair amount of complex flavors. There is body, depth and what I would describe a richness to Smyrna too. There is no bite, but being a bit of a “puffer” it does burn warm for me when pushed. There is a nice interplay between the musty/earthiness of the Orientals and the sweetness of the Virginia. Smyrna nicely fills a unique space in a crowded field.
Age When Smoked: New
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 03, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The pouch note is smoky latakia and some sweet/sour. The tobacco itself looks like roughly equal parts of light yellow, brown and black chopped narrow ribbon. It came at a good moisture level for me and the short ribbon is easy to load. I smoked it mostly in a Cayuga pot or a a GBD Prehistoric pot. They smoked it about the same.

Smoking it brings out all the flavors in the pouch note. It has sweet and sour. The campfire smokiness is there and gains and loses strength. The Virginia is a little grassy and has a fruit note now and then. The spiciness is always in the background. The description here sounds complex, and it is. The tastes play nicely together and make for a great combo. It might take some practice to smoke this absent-mindedly while doing something else, but it might be worth setting some time aside too.

It was an easy smoke, and it burned cool, stayed lit, etc. It did not leave any moisture in the pipe. While it did not smoke to a fine gray ash since there were some black cinders in the bottom of the bowl, it was pretty close to achieving this legendary state o' combustion.

I am claiming strength is medium and taste is medium to full. This blend was very good, and it is in a crowded category with a lot of competition for the tobacco dollar. This is a solid 3+.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 24, 2015 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
My third of the five review samples I received. I must say I had low expectations for this one as most blends that call out Smyrna, or iszmir as it is also known, usually don't do a lot for me. Well this one shattered those expectations. It is fantastic. Smooth, cool, spicy and sweet with a fantastic side stream to boot.

This is one of the better Balkan type blends I have tasted and I will certainly be putting up a few tins of this when they become available to the public. This one seems to let the Smyrna shine while keeping a respectable balance between the earth sweet Virginias and the smokiness from the Latakia, which is lightly applied.

This one is fantastic, so much so, that I have even started bidding on old tins of this on ebay in hopes of scoring one at a not to obscene price.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I actually think STC's rendition of Cotton's Smyrna is stronger (in the nicotine department) than the original. The Smyrna is of good quality, but of course, totally different in flavor and presentation than the original, which had some of the finest small center cut Smyrna leaf that the world had to offer (and back in the "good" old days, there was a lot more variety and grades to choose from). The way Russ O. put together the various tobaccos was masterfully done and this is a quality smoke that I believe will be really good with some real age to it.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 02, 2016 Mild None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
An excellent blend, complex rich and not too heavy with some mild Virginia sweetness, Nicotine not overly noticeable, thankfully. A slight cigarette note albeit 'good European cigarette' thanks to the Smyrna (lzmir), a very nice room-note as well. The quality is right up there with JF Germain and a very similar cut too. I don't collect empty tins; however, the classic logo is great.

My tin was a tad dry, added a few drops of water, let leaves balance themselves out for 4 or 5 days. There's no casing apart from water not even Propylene glycol; nice to see, akin to JF Germain's King Charles.

I adored this one cellar worthy without question, with extra thanks to Russ, Larry and the rest of the gang for their attention to detail, virtually a dead-ringer.

10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 15, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
John Cotton's Smyrna is an oriental blend comprised of mostly longer thin ribbon cut tobacco. The components are visually some light tan, mostly brown and some short black ribbon. The moisture level is perfect out of the tin and ready to smoke. This blend is medium in flavor and is smooth and fairly creamy. The dominant flavor is toasty like a heavily roasted nut with a moderate musty pungence. There is a constant interplay between a sour note and the sweetness of the virginias. The sour note is usually present with the sweetness sometimes coming forward and replacing it. There is a sustained constant level of sweetness to the smoke. There is often a spicy and floral flavor that punches forward, but usually stays in the background. There is a slight smokiness that fills out the foundation of the flavor profile and comes with a slightly woody taste. Towards the end of the bowl the flavor mellows out and becomes a bit more smokey. Overall I found this to be a pretty complex blend and very enjoyable. I would highly recommend this blend since it is flavorful and interesting without any harshness or overbearance.
Pipe Used: Briar Clay Cob
Age When Smoked: Fresh
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2015 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I'm a bit biased as I am typing my review while smoking the heavenly bottom half of the bowl where the sweet latakia and sour Smyrna leaves are working their magic. To risk unfair comparisons, JC Smyrna is not as floral as Whiteknight, nor as leathery as Black House, nor as zingy as Magnum Opus, but woodsy with a cedar-y tang. Highly recommended.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 18, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Received a sample of this to try in my tin society box. Never had a chance to try prior versions of this, but they are now on my "hope to find someday list".

In the bag/tin had a spicy, smoky smell. I enjoy Turkish tobaccos and used to smoke camels, so I packed the bowl with the easy to pack ribbons and was able to fire up my Castello Bulldog without even a charring light.

First thing I noticed was lots of creamy smoke. It burns cool and produced clouds of smoke. I know we're not vapors.. but its nice to get white clouds sometimes too..

Taste was a combination led by the Smyrna and complimented by the latakias. Consistent through each bowl from start to finish with no major changes. Very consistent and stay lit without any major relights, except when I set it down for 5 minutes.

This is a blend I could see smoking all day as the nic hit was mild to my taste and there was no bite. I'm going to be getting some of this to cellar and add it to my normal rotation.
Pipe Used: Castello Bulldog
Age When Smoked: Fresh from Tin
6 people found this review helpful.
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