STP John Cotton's No.1 Mild

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Well-known member
Apr 19, 2008
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I have been sampling iterations of STP's recreations of Bengal Slices, Warhorse and 3 John Cotton's for several months now. So I might as well let the good folks here know what my experiences have been.

The great RussO and the co-conspirators at STP have been very busy studying, in some cases analyzing, researching, blending, tweaking, and of course puffing several distinguished (and extinguished) blends of renown for a number of months. What made these exercises more interesting was that the samples of the originals are now greatly aged, and of course one can extrapolate that the Latakias and Orientals have changed, and perhaps diminished. There are attempts to correct for this by seeking out puffers who had experience with the originals, although in the case of War Horse, I'm not sure if there are any still alive. But then, there is the problem of imperfect memories with the span of decades. And unlike winetasting, the protocols and methodologies, and even the nomenclatures of tobacco tasting are rudimentary, to say the least. The volunteers with the historical experience aren't necessarily in the business of sorting out their olfactory stimuli - some of them had just happened to dip into the old tins in the course of their smoking; but it still was a big checkpoint to tap their memories and compare them against the new stuff.

A good part of my participation was at the monthly meetings of the Lehigh Valley and Christopher Morley's Pipe Clubs, which provided a steady stream of the newest refinements on the themes. But now the recipes and processes have mostly settled down.

As posted in TR (with slight changes):

"I missed the LVPC picnic, to my great regret, since this marked the points where the samples were essentially preproduction ready. But DanJ brought the newest iterations of the STP reincarnations to Morley's. I just puffed my first bowl of that 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."

Since then, with repeated calibrations and sequences with the controls, I still come away very impressed by the artistry and cohesion of this light medium Balkany English. For many pipers, No.1 would suit as an all-day blend. Probably due to the quality of the Virginias, No. 1 DGTs quite well. It is fun to have several pre-loaded pipes in varying levels of DGT and work my way back through them.


PS more will be revealed..


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Aug 31, 2012
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Good post, Les. I'm not far from finishing my reviews of the blends.