Notes: John Cotton's Latakia is aptly named, because this is a distinctly latakia forward blend with just enough Oriental and Virginia influence to keep it from becoming monochromatic. Remarkably cool and robustly deep in flavor, this is a treat for the real latakiaphile.
Once in a while I find myself craving a good stout Latakia blend. Something without the distraction of Perique or a little unsweetened Cavendish. This blend really sings for me because the Virginias and Oriental components support the wonderful rich, smoky Latakia just perfectly. There are other Lat forward blends out there-- think Ironsides, Lane BS-005 that have a similar makeup, but for me, this one ticks all the boxes-- just wonderfully rich and smooth, without the added sweetness or fruitiness of the above mentioned tobaccos and makes no apologies for it. It might not have the Oriental forward elegance of JC Smyrna, but this is a great full smoke for the Latakiaphile!
Pipe Used: Large Castello, Dunhills
Age When Smoked: 6 months
Purchased From: Smokingpipes
Similar Blends: Old Ironsides (sort of), Lane BS-005, GLP Odyssey, H&H Larry's Blend, Ten to Midnight.
If you are feint of heart, don't open these tins. If you are made of stronger stuff, have at it. When you open a tin of John Cotton's Latakia, you are assailed by a very strong aroma of Latakia that approaches, but does not reach, overwhelming status. Although variegated in color range, this blend is darker than any of the other current John Cotton's blends and it is heavier in it's smoking qualities; so, be ready. You are now smoking a full English blend - congratulations. Here's how my initial smoke went: first third of bowl - wild and somewhat chaotic and hard to get settled down, but, we did manage to get there; second third of bowl - now, this was another matter entirely as the blend nestled down into an absolutely beautiful and rich smoke; last third of bowl - well, all good things have to come to an end and the blend settled down too far and ended in, what struck me as, a Virginia and Oriental blend with only a hint of Latakia. I would rate these third scores as: three stars, four stars and two stars and I recommend this blend with a three star rating.
Pipe Used: Michael Parks and Ashton Billiards
Age When Smoked: current production
Purchased From: pipes and cigars
Similar Blends: those dark and nasty looking English blends in the very last jars down on the English ends of the offerings of, just about, every pipe shop in the heydays of pipe smoking.
The moment this is opened up the Latakia's in the lead. In the appearance the dark pieces supersede the quantity of lighter ones and the aroma's indicative of a healthy amount of the smoky leaf! My moisture couldn't be any better.
Again, in the flavour, the Latakia's at the forefront. But, I still wouldn't call it an ascetic 'Lat-Bomb'. The Orientals add a redolence, and keep the smoky Lat' in check. Being fair, the Virginia sits miles behind, this could easily be missed; JCL is more concerned with the smoky and exotic, than it is the sprightly Virginia! JCL creates, typically for a Lat-heavy blend, a cool smoke. I've been smoking this all morning and have yet to get bitten.
Nicotine: strong. Room-note: pungent but nice!
John Cotton's Latakia? A steadfast four star blend:
This tobacco caused me to finally create an account here.
Light up: a heavy smoke with an almost perfume like taste. Takes 3-4 lights to get going. Moisture perfect straight from the tin.
First third: perfumey flavor continues, but not in an unpleasant way, over the top of a traditional full English blend. The end of the first third I got a hint of a savory type flavor. A pleasant surprise.
Second third: mellow perfume still continues but it’s grown on me. Now moving towards a more traditional flavor. Have decided to continue this as my evening relaxation blend. So far no gurgles or moisture issues.
Final third: a floral and hardwood smoked meat combined with a small hint of leather. Fine white ash all the way to the bottom of the bowl.
Final verdict: a surprising tobacco that had some unexpected flavors. Overall I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys an English blend but wants something slightly outside the norm. Makes me imagine that this is what a Victorian gentleman might smoke after dinner on a mild summer night. Goes great with a beer but would also work with a hot tea or a scotch without issue.
Tin note of smokey and mild spices. Tobacco is mostly black with a bit of brown and small amount of tan. The ribbon cut has a moisture content that's fairly dry and soft. No drying/prep needed. Burns slow with a few relights. The strength is medium to strong and nic is mild. No flavoring detected. Taste is full and consistent/inconsistent, with notes of smoky, dry wood, burn toast, buttery, mildly sweet tartness, savory, earth, sour, herbal spice, leather, mild musty vegetation, bready, floral, a tangy incense like background note, and a peppery retro. Latakia is leading with Virginia supporting. Oriental/Turkish are supporting from the rear. Room note is tolerable, and aftertaste is great.
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