John Cotton tobaccos have held a place in tobacco lore that could be considered "legendary." It all started in the late 1700s, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Advertising places the start of the John Cotton brand in 1770. This origin is disputed, with no documentation that survives from the era offering solid proof. It is possible that the store was opened by George Cotton in 1773. The titular John Cotton was the youngest of George's children and was born in 1801.
This John opened up a shop in 1826 and likely competed with some family members, as there were many Cottons with tobacco shops. In the end, John absorbed his father's store after George's passing and became the John Cotton tobacco store that we knew.
So the origin of the store might be 1770, 1773, or 1826. However, it does not really matter when it was founded, as the John Cotton store and his tobacco became well known and extremely popular blends around the world.
Their popularity grew for a few reasons. One of the biggest reasons was that John Cotton's tobacco served some time as a royal tobacconist, earning that title in 1840 under Queen Victoria. In 1846, the title was altered to "Tobacconists to the Royal Household." This title lasted until 1890, usually changing based on who is in charge at the time.
John Cotton's tobacco stayed in production for at least 160 years before ceasing operations in 1986. It seemed that the name and recipes were doomed to be lost to time.
However, thanks to Russ Ouellette and Standard Tobacco of Pennsylvania, production started up again in 2015, bringing back a line of tobaccos that served Kings and Queens.
The John Cotton series were known for high quality Oriental tobaccos and fantastic use of Latakia. Take advantage of visiting a pipe smoking history by simply packing a bowl of John Cotton tobacco.