Notes: John Cotton's Number Three is a great addition to their English blend lineup. Like most of their other latakia based blends, there are wonderful Virginias and Orientals joining smoky Cyprian latakia, but what sets Number Three apart is the addition of just enough perique to add depth, spice and sweetness, making this a perfect late evening repast.
The smoky, woody, mildly sweet Cyprian latakia is the lead component. The woody, mildly spicy, buttery sweet and sour Orientals play an important second lead. The grassy, citrusy Virginia mostly forms the base for the other tobaccos as a supporting player. The peppery, raisiny perique constantly underscores the blend. The nic-hit is a couple steps past the mild threshold. Wont bite or get harsh. The tobacco is a little dry, but I did not hydrate it. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with very consistent flavor that sports a touch of smooth, creamy sweetness. I suspect an extremely mild topping is present. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Has a pleasant, lingering spicy, woody after taste, and a noticeable campfire room note. Can be an all day smoke.
"Well then there now", as James Dean once said. By resurrecting this blend from the dim past, Standard of PA has finally filled in the last remaining blank in the triumvirate of heavy-hitting English blends from the golden era of pipe smoking. My exposure to this blend in the early days was inhibited by growing up in a town full of Rexall drug stores with pipe tobacco displays that had nothing like this, if you don't count Brush Creek with its hint of Englishness. When I arrived in Columbus to attend Ohio State I discovered the dazzling world of heavy English Euro blends and, among them, was John Cotton #3 in vertical razor-cut tins. As a poor student living on a shoestring, the cost of most of these early imports was equal to eating for a week. So, I only got to smoke this blend in fits and starts here and there. When I did it was a soporific type of experience-like being transported to another time and place. Well, anyway, on to the current blend. It looks like a heavy English, it has the tin aroma of a heavy English and it smokes like a heavy English-full, stout and strong. It has a smoking aroma that is heavily laced with both latakia and perique, so, be aware. The room aroma is heavenly and this blend smokes rather consistently down to the bottom third of the bowl, where it mellows-out some. Not for the feint of heart but very welcome to some of us for it's memory-provoking abilities - a very solid four stars.
Pipe Used: Larry Roush Liverpool and Ashton Quaint Dublin
Age When Smoked: current production
Purchased From: pipes and cigars
Similar Blends: In the old days(50+ yrs ago) it was in a strength/Englishness category with things like Balkan Sobranie 759 and Smoker's Haven Exotique. Today its a little harder; maybe mix one half Brebbia Balkan with one half H&H Magnum Opus..
This blend immediately reminded me of Dunhill Nightcap, but I thought it was a little better to my tastes. To start with, standard Balkan blends with perique added are not typically my cup of tea, so I doubt I will reorder this one. In this flavor profile, I much prefer Lane's Crown Achievement to both this and Nightcap.
What I like so much about CA versus this and the other is that it is smoother and creamier IMO. It also is not as dominated by sour orientals as the other two. I am also not a big fan of sour orientals. I find that both Nightcap and JC3 seem to come off as sour to my tastes, but JC3 seems to be better balanced against the other elements, making for a smoother and smokier tasting experience.
The only area where Nightcap may excel to JC3 may be in nicotine content. While I, personally, don't find either to be a strong nicotine blend, I would say that Nightcap is probably a little stronger. This is likely due to a higher perique content. In any case, the perique in any of these blends is lightly applied.
I think that most fans of nightcap should try both this blend and Lane CA.
This John Cotton blend is a delight. The Virginia 's and the orientals are complex and nuanced to the end. The latakia adds the right among of smokiness. The peri questions adds the mystery. This blend smokes well to the bottom of the bowl. The tin note is superb, while the room note is more sensually oriental and complex.
A genius blend because there are many Latakia in this blend but in the same time, it keeps so much nuanced; more importantly, the added Perique makes this blend so interesting and richer because Perique in the standard Balkan mixture ( not flake, crumble cake or plug) is usually distracting.
Like TallPuffO'Burley, "standard Balkan blends with Perique added are not typically my cup of tea, but JC3 seems to be better balanced against the other elements, making for a smoother and smokier tasting experience."
Enjoy + Buy it on sales → Three Stars Rating
Age When Smoked: eight months
Purchased From: pipesandcigars
Similar Blends: Smoother and smokier than Nightcap but with less Nicotine..
Tin note of smoky, vinegary fruit wine, and spices. Tobacco is brown and black ribbon cut with a little tan mixed in. Moisture content is good, no drying or prep needed. Burns moderate with few relights. The strength is medium and nic is mild. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium to full and mostly consistent, with notes of smoky incense, peaty vegetation, musty wood, rich earth, floral, toasted bread, spicy, sour, bitter dryness, leather, lemon zest/peel, mild citrus, a savory herbal background note, and a peppery retro. Latakia is leading with Oriental/Turkish and Virginia supporting. Perique is doing its own thing. Room note is tolerable, and aftertaste is great.
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