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John Cotton's Numbers 1&2 is a smooth blend of Virginias, a variety of Orientals and Cyprian latakia for a balanced, enjoyable, all-day mixture.

Notes: John Cotton's Nos. 1 & 2 was a staple for many pipe enthusiasts until it disappeared in the eighties. Through careful research and sampling vintage tins, which jogged the memory of master blender Russ Ouellette, this smooth and smoky blend has returned for a whole new generation of pipe lovers to try.

This is a mild to medium-bodied blend of ripe Virginias, fragrant Orientals, spicy Turkish leaf and latakia. There's enough latakia to let you know it's there, but the marriage of the Cyprian leaf and the various Orientals produce an exotic flavor, and the Virginias add just the right amount of sweetness for beautiful balance. John Cotton's Nos. 1 & 2 can be enjoyed anytime, and will never overwhelm the palate.

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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None Detected
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2587)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The very smoky, woody sweet Cyprian latakia is the star component, but this is not a lat-bomb. The light and red Virginias offer some citrus and tangy stewed fruitiness along with a mild grassiness, plus a little earth. The Orientals are woody sweet with a touch of spice and sour in a supporting role. Has a moderate nic-hit, and is medium in strength and taste as the name states. Well balanced, rich and creamy smooth with some complexity, it burns well, cool, and even with few relights. The deep flavors never weaken, and there’s no dull or harsh spots to be found. Won’t bite, and leaves no moisture in the bowl, so you can burn it down to the last strand of tobacco. Has a camp fire-like room note, and produces a large volume of smoke. Not quite an all day smoke, but it’s repeatable during your smoking day.


27 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29715)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

The first of 5 samples, and thanks to reviewer Jiminks and the folks at the Standard Tobacco Co of PA for the opportunity. This mostly light but mottled ribbon has a traditional latakia blend scent reminiscent of old Dunhill and, yes, John Cotton mixtures of yore. It's a smell that seems to be missing in newer blends these days - latakia smoky but promising much more than just a latakia taste.

Russ says the latakia is the main player here, and I guess that kinda sorta comes out in the flavor. I always knew it was there. But I find this one exquisitely balanced between all the components, particularly the orientals. They are of the juicy and spicy variety, but not overloaded with spice. The Virginias lend their sweetness and color, and this blend just strikes a perfect balance. I smoked several tins of the original back in the day and it was my favorite lat blend, although I was mainly a VA and VaPer man back then. This blend was and is a provider of deep but not strong flavor, and I much preferred it to the other main lat player of the day, Sobranie. My memory for details is, of course, hazy but I fell into this one as I did the original. Excellent room note, deep rich flavor, sweet enough but not too sweet, with a nice stew of exciting flavors. And I loved its easygoing complexity - it didn't slam me over the head with constant change but it was well nuanced and interesting. Based on a single ounce, so take this with however many grains of salt you require, but I honestly believe that this is one of the 3 or 4 best tasting latakia blends on the market (assuming it does indeed hit the market!). If Russ didn't nail the original (and I think he did), he at least created something special. I'm going to load up on this one. Whatever magic John Cotton created back in the day has been recreated by Russ today. This is a shoe-in for my personal Best Discovery of 2015.

18 people found this review helpful.

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

Like Bengal Slices, Mild and Medium 1 & 2, I have been lucky enough to have remaining tins of earlier versions. It arrives at great moisture content for me and in the tin; the Latakia is the most noticeable. The first word that comes to mind is “balance” as the proportions seem to be just right, offering each component tobacco to shine throughout the smoke. While not overly smoky, there’s enough Latakia to make most Lat lovers satisfied. It burns cool with more and more flavor as each bowl progressed. To me, it doesn’t taste a lot like John Cotton’s Medium 1 & 2, but I think it is better than that blend with brighter flavors. I could see myself smoking this daily.

Age When Smoked: new

9 people found this review helpful.

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

The tobacco is a mix of brown, tan and black strands of ribbon in varying widths. Some of it looks chopped and there are a few irregular bits in there. Moisture may have been slightly drier than the #1 Mild. I loaded it as delivered.

Initial impressions are a slightly fuller body than the #1 Mild. The orientals present as a little more sour and there is the spicy tingle on the tongue. I almost get an incense when exhaled through the nose. From the looks of the blend I was expecting more of a latakia presence, but I would still call this oriental-forward with a little more bass. The Virginia tastes a little heavier, although I suspect that is the interplay of the components because a visual inspection suggests it is the same Virginia used in both. My palate is telling me the ratio of bright and red Virginias is heavier on the red side with this one.

This has been a very good smoke, and it is nicely balanced. I have a daughter who is very fond of certain orientals and likes the room note of Bishop's Move. I claim this is blend would get a similar reaction.

9 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

A very nearly perfectly balanced English. If one component lags a little it's the Virginias and it's only by the smallest margin. What strikes me most about this blend is how smooth and gentle it is while exhibiting medium strength. It's pretty remarkable. If this is what the original was like I really hate missing out on it. A lovely smoke in every regard.

Medium in body and taste. No added flavoring. Burns very well.

Pipe Used: MM Little Devil Cutty, Little Devil Acorn, Marcus

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From:

8 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (553)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I just finished this, the fourth of the five review samples I had received and I now have a new favorite of the five. I really did not think it could get much better than the Smyrna, but this one is just magical. It is a medium blend as is called out in the title and is right there with EMP and Squadron Leader to my tastes and quite possibly better than both.

It is to my tastes the near perfect combination of V, O and L. The Virginias are much sweeter and earthier than they are in the John Cotton Number one, which combines to give the orientals more of a flavorful punch. The latakia is light enough where you could easily smoke this all day without having that smoky leathery mouth feel that the lat bombs can deliver, yet hardy enough that there is no denying its existence.

This blend also has a heavenly side stream. I can't help but sniff the smoke coming off the top of the pipe every few puffs or so. It just adds to the entire experience. In this caliber of blend, I always thought Squadron Leader was the top, but I would put this right at the top and quite possible above SL.

Fantastic work. I will cellar a lot of this one when it is released.

8 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (321)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Well, this is intriguing, flavorful yet smooth . I don't know how Russ accomplished this, to get such a dark creamy taste from the Latakia without overpowering the other ingredients. Not strong, but flavorful, it's hard to explain, think of the difference between boiled vegetables and roasted , dark chocolate and milk chocolate, oh, you get the idea . Agree with "Gentleman Zombie " ,"well balanced ".

I'm normally a Cob smoker but this is even better from a Briar , the smoke was even creamier. I never smoked the original, but if it was like this,. it was a loss. Also feel reviewer, "DK', did a much better job with the review than I could .

Pipe Used: cob & Briar

Age When Smoked: 2 months/ open one week

5 people found this review helpful.

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

I think master blender Russ Ouellette did a great job of putting together this Cotton's clone of an old classic after sampling and studying the components of the original. The Latakia was very good and the Orientals flowed right into the blend beautifully. The original Cotton's 1&2 did not have to rely on the Latakia and Orientals as this one does but perhaps that's because I didn't get along with the Virginia. There is just not much variance as one works down the bowl as one expects from a blend with Virginia leaf. The backbone fell a little short of the original, but still, a very good effort and this is a very nice smoke.

5 people found this review helpful.

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

I ordered a tin based on the rave reviews of those who sampled this blend prior to it's release. It is a very satisfying medium strength mixture of the highest order. The orientals and latakia play off each other perfectly. The balance is exceptional. There are moments of complete nirvana while smoking this. It burns cool and completely to the bottom of the bowl. The quality of the leaf used is beyond compare. Delicious in every way. Leaves a light taste on the tongue. Lovely spicy taste in every puff, but not heavy. I think this is a masterpiece of exceptional quality. One of my favorites.

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

5 people found this review helpful.

Greekpipesmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Greekpipesmoker (201)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

When i was informed that John Cotton's blends are available again i was very happy.i had a big dilemma because i could not order every blend so i went for this one as the middle strength blend.once the tin pops up you instantly realize that this is a wonderfull english blend.a wonderfull aroma of coals,citruses,fruits and spices prepares you for a unique smoking experience.the blend is dry with nice texture° packs and lights easy with a few relights needed.while smoking the flavours are very natural,well balanced and pleasing from the beginning till the end.latakia is the strongest compoment without subtlimating the other compoments.coals,woods,smokey and sweet notes are giving the main note from the latakias.virginias offer some complexity being citrusy,grassy,fruity and rarelly sour.the orientals add a spicy and earthy note making the blend very tasty.all these are combined to a great and very tasty blend.burns slow and cool to total ash till the end of the bowl with a few moisture at the end of the bowl.the room note is smokey wich is unpleasant to others as most english blends are.the nicotine level is medium and the aftertaste pleasant.not an all day smoke to me ,but a unique relaxing blend that can fill a churchwarden pipe.totally recommended!

Age When Smoked: New

4 people found this review helpful.

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

A delightful woody, earthy, and, smoky English blend is sure to delight. I smoked much of this in my car and the room note is great. It smoked evenly and without a hitch. A quality smoke of the highest order, I strongly recommend.

4 people found this review helpful.

King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (176)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I had a chance to smoke this well remembered blend in the early to mid-sixties when it came in razor cut tins. I remember great stacks of the two and four ounce tins in campus smoke shops; but, it was expensive and I was living on a few dollars a week. I picked 1&2 up a few years later in graduate school in two ounce flat round tins. Now that I could afford it, it was a frequent choice and very much in competition with Balkan Sobranie Mixture - it's nearest rival. I always thought 1&2 was stronger than BS Mixture; however, the current blend is lighter than the original and more on par with what I remember BS Mixture smoking like. I agree with reviewer Steel Cowboy 2016-02-20 that it doesn't taste like the original all that much. I also agree with reviewer Tabaco 2016-02-26 in that my preference of the three revivals is Smyrna, and for the very same reasons: 1. it has more zest and 2. it is much closer to the original blend. The new 1&2 looks like the original in packaging and overall tin appearance, with a beautiful range of colors from blond to dark umber brown. My first indication that it might be milder than the original was in the tin aroma; weaker than I remember in the original. On lighting up I knew it was similar to but different from the old blend. When you opened a tin back then, you knew from the strength of the aroma that you were opening a solidly medium English blend. The current offering is more toned down and noticeably oriental forward and, ironically, reminds me of early tins of Balkan Sobranie Mixture - a mixture that I always considered to be a little more oriental forward than John Cotton 1&2. So, all in all, not a bad experience and one that I recommend to be enjoyed by all of us, even though it might not be the old blend.

Pipe Used: Ashton LX Brindle thick-walled Dublin

Age When Smoked: current

Purchased From: pipes and cigars

Similar Blends: other medium English blends that are Oriental forward, rather than Latakia forward.

3 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 Numbers 1&2 Medium is a mild-to-medium blend in both strength and taste, wonderfully balanced, which is easy to smoke, and eminently enjoyable. Or as Gentleman Zombie so aptly put it: “A lovely smoke in every regard.”

Russ Oullette and his forensics team merit only praise for bringing this blend (along with Smyrna and Number 1 Mild) back to life -- irrespective of whether or not these indeed taste anything at all like the originals. As a comparative newcomer to the pipe, I actually (oddly) consider myself fortunate to have never had the pleasure of experiencing the original versions of these John Cottons, as I am not held hostage by their memories; consequently I can appreciate these more recent incarnations on their own, for what they essentially are in their own right.

Hard to believe this was released in 2015, and that in 2019 there are still fewer than 20 reviews for this superbly splendid blend. A real find – not to be missed – highly recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

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

This is another in the series of blends put together by Russ Ouellette guided by some great recipes from the past. Russ has done a great job with this one I think. All the components come together and play rather nicely here. The nicotine level is a little above middle of the road to me. The moisture level is great right out of a just opened tin. I can see getting more of this as time goes by. Definitely recommended.

2 people found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1954)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Standard Tobacco Co. - John Cottons Numbers 1&2 Medium.

It's a well rubbed blend, so the ribbons are a little below medium in size. The mixture's deficient of any twigs, or unsmokeable pieces, and the moisture couldn't be any better.

The Orientals and Latakia are about equal in weight, so 1&2 isn't a Lat-Bomb. Of the three it's the Virginia that's the laziest, it gives a slight bready taste, but isn't in the same league as the others. I don't think I'd qualify as a fast puffer, but 1&2 burns too quickly for me, and a bit too hot.

Nicotine: medium. Room-note: pleasant to tolerable.

If I'm honest I find this a bit disappointing. A little 'boring'. Two stars:

Somewhat recommended.

Pipe Used: Peterson Christmas 2017

Age When Smoked: One month

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (111)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Very well done, tin moisture is just right, combusts great, fairly complex and nuanced. I found I got more out of it by paying attention going slow and combusting indoors. I've not had the original so no comparisons; however, my preference is Smyrna more zest and zing, it's also very close to the original.

I'll keep a tin or two of the medium in my cellar for a change-up but not to hoard whereas Smyrna I'll be double ordering to acquire inventory for the long run . . . good Lord willing.

2 people found this review helpful.

archéologue Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
archéologue (14)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Good English blend in itself. But, I don't know how accurate is the reconstruction. The tine note: Latakia smells first, then, Orientals and Virginias. Burning: It burns relatively well (it doesn't have so much moisture) to the bottom of the bowl. Leave almost no moisture. Nicotine level is medium, especially in the last quarter of the bowl. It is smokey and crisp. I wouldn't say it is an all day blend.

Pipe Used: Peterson Churchwarden

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Mac Baren - HH Vintage Syrian.

1 person found this review helpful.

pinko Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pinko (52)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Mid-strength English, a little less smoky than I’d like. The Turkish is fantastic, and the Virginias provide some body and sweetness. Not rich, though. I’ve chained this in a meer and it smokes back-to-back just fine.

It comes perfectly dry, airs out quickly, and carries a deep rich chocolatey whiff in the tin. On light, VA, Turkish, and Latakia almost immediately merge. The nicotine is mild to medium, reinforcing that all-day reputation.

It’s quality leaf. I have a hard time justifying the extra tin cost in such a crowded genre. There are better blends under the Standard Tobacco Co of Pennsylvania banner. If you’re a confirmed medium English smoker though, this might just be heaven.

Age When Smoked: fresh

1 person found this review helpful.