Pipefuls : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine


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There are many follow-up topics from previous columns. I would like to start off by mentioning that Orlik has reintroduced Dark Strong Kentucky, a blend that provoked many favorable comments from readers. I heard from a reliable source that we may credit Russ Ouellette of PipesandCigars for encouraging this change in heart, and I, for one, am grateful.

As well, there is an additional exciting development involving Mr. Ouellette in the works. He, in conjunction with Meier & Dutch, has made significant progress in recreating several vintage British pipe tobacco brands, including three blends from the revered John Cotton’s line. In a licensing agreement with The Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania, Meier & Dutch will have exclusive rights to produce and market pipe tobacco under the John Cotton’s, Bengal Slices and War Horse marks. Product availability is expected by fall 2015.

This story starts with War Horse, certainly a blend whose true essence is evoked by its name. I recall this from my dim past as one of those rather over-whelming British blends smoked by tough old World War II vets that left me glassy-eyed and limp. It would have been described back in the day as “a corker.” As part of the effort to find out what made it so, a sample was sent to a lab in Israel that does work for Mossad, a fitting place for a chemical analysis of the aptly named War Horse. Dan Z. Johnson, at a Lehigh Valley Pipe Club meeting, discussed with Russ bringing back this and other highly esteemed U.K. blends whose loss was lamented by aficionados, and the project was off and running. Dan mentioned to me at a Christopher Morley Pipe Club meeting in Philadelphia “… the exhaustive process they went through of collecting vintage samples to work from. Folks came out of the woodwork with offers from the cellars. … [I]t was great to see the pipe community rally around this project.” And, in fact, I have pulled out my diminutive supply of John Cotton’s Smyrna and Bengal Slices for my own comparison.

“Working from vintage samples,” Dan continues, “as well as his own recollections of having enjoyed countless tins of this venerable brand, Ouellette has completed the preliminary work on formulating three of these premium English blends. The three Cotton blends span a range of intensity certain to satisfy the palate of many pipe smokers.

“John Cotton’s No. 1 Mild is an Orientals-forward blend with Latakia added as a condiment. While the Latakia is noticeable, the combination of bright and red Virginias and a variety of fragrant Orientals produces a harmonious whole, with the different elements weaving their way in and out of the flavor profile. This can easily be enjoyed all day long.

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Category: Fall 2015, Pipefuls

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