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A rare 1870's Wilke formula of selected Cyprian Latakia blended with Kentucky Burley, Louisiana Perique and Golden Virginia. A pinnacle amongst English blends.

BrandWilke Pipe Tobacco
Blended ByCarole Burns
Manufactured ByWilke Pipe Tobacco
Blend TypeAmerican
ContentsBurley, Latakia, Perique, Virginia
Packaging2 oz. bag, 4 oz. bag, 8 oz. bag 16 oz. bag
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant, Tolerable to Strong

Favorite Of 3 Users

26 reviews
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zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

It took me a year to finally open my sample of High Hat. I've been spoiled with 965 and Nightcap, my favorite Latakia mixes, and found little reason to venture away, which I've forced myself to do by limiting my insatiable urge to order more and more tobacco. I know people are still crying over Murray's demise, yet I can't fault the newer blending, as these Dunhills manage to retain essential features--they are smokey, and more importantly, strong. It's easy to find a full English with a ton of Latakia, but I crave nicotine laden blends--preferably with the strength coming from the Virginias, rather than the addition of Perique and Kentucky, as in the case of High Hat.

My experience with Wilke began as a kid. In my father's den there was an old tobacco tin listing a custom blend from the Pipework's and Wilke NY shop, no longer in existence. I didn't realize this until I began smoking years later. The reference clicked when I'd run across the occasional blurb about Wilke while ruminating through pipe literature on the internet. "The place still exists??!," I thought, in excitement. I decided to give the shop, now in Vermont, a call. People always seemed to have nice things to say about Wilke tobaccos, why not? A woman named Carole picked up the phone, and when I told her about the tin, she gave me a wonderful backstory about the place, and the nostalgia was overwhelming. I immediately told the woman that I loved her. It was instantly awkward.

I ordered four of her English blends--400, 10, 524 and High Hat. The tobaccos were unique, as most of them were said to include Syrian Latakia and exotic Orientals including the famed Yenidje of Sobranie fame, and a few others, from Shiraz to Xanthi.

400 is often mentioned as a Nighcap killer, strong and smokey. I devoured that sample first, and while tasty, it didn't appear to dramatically diverge from the standard. I didn't find the blend overwhelming in strength as many remarked, and the subtlety of the Syrian leaf was lost on me. I suppose that over the years I've hardened my taste receptors and killed whatever ability I had to detect the nuance of the leaf. It was no matter, 400 was a tasty blend, of which I consumed a couple of ounces quickly, in a matter of a few days. I next opened my sample of High Hat, hoping for a good comparison.

High Hat is a bit different from 400--chiefly, there are no Orientals included, but both blends contain Syrian leaf, Perique, and Kentucky. I normally skip Latakia mixes without Orientals, but I picked this one up out of curiosity and the measure of fine reviews. In the instances which I've sampled Latakia mixes that forgo Oriental leaf, including Gawith's Balkan Flake and Commonwealth, the blends have felt flat and unexciting, but I'm open to continued experimentation.

In that respect, High Hat is great. To me, it certainly feels heavier than 400, with that strong smokey element retained, and it also smokes rather sweet, perhaps from the inclusion of Golden Virginias, mentioned by the tin description. I'm currently puffing on my last bowl of a two ounce sample consumed over just a couple of days, and don't quite know what to do when I'm finished, having no other strong Latakia mixes on hand. I might just have to spike one of the remaining blends in my cabinet with a hard shot of Perique. Generally, that will kill the spirit of a Latakia forward blend, yet I really do hate puffing on a steamy English. But High Hat also feels Perique heavy, and though the blend includes Kentucky, which likely contributes to the strength, I'm poor at placing its presence. I would easily compare this to Night Cap in strength, and for once, I don't miss the Orientals, which tend to add an element of spiciness that I typically miss dearly in their absence. Despite this, High Hat strikes a wonderful balance of smokiness, sweetness and strength, a profile absent in many of the more popular smokes on the market.

I do have a full two ounces of 524 and 10 remaining, one of which should be sampled next...and we shall see where that takes us. 524 mentions "pan fired" Virginias. That's enough to garner my excitement (please excuse me while I dig through the contents of my sample in preparation).

Give Carole a call...she's a great tobacconist and a joy to speak with. But lay off! She's mine.

8 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have long felt that P&W’s blends are among some of America’s best blends and often overlooked in the huge landscape of available tobaccos. A quick visit to the P&W blend's page confirms that those that have tried them agree. High Hat is a “rich” rewarding, smoky English blend that claims its origin back to the 1870’s when the Wilke Pipe Shop existed in New York City. High Hat offers billows of smoke and is a terrific evening mixture with Latakia, Perique and Virginia tobaccos along with some Kentucky. The P&W website doesn’t claim that the Latakia is Syrian, but as others have pointed it out it may have or had in its past. My jar from 2010 seems to taste that way. There are only a small number of English blends (aka American English) that utilize Burley that I enjoy and this one of them. It adds some additional strength to the blend while melding into a supporting role. I have smoked this new and as old as four years. I don’t find that the additional age adds much sweetness from the Virginias. It isn’t quite as strong as #400 from P&W, but more complex. There is a bit of sour, but in a good way. Lovers of the difficult to find Compton’s of Galashiels full English blends should definitely give this one a try. High Hat is one of the best full American style English blends I have smoked in a long time.

Age When Smoked: New & up to 4 years

Purchased From: Pipeworks & Wilke,

7 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

The smoky, woody, musty, sweet Cyprian latakia is the lead component, though it avoids being a lat-bomb. The very spicy, raisiny, plummy perique is a supporting player. The spice is more noticeable than the other attributes that the perique brings to the mix. The nutty, earthy, woody Kentucky burley has a light sweetness as it straddles the line between being a secondary role and a condiment. The citrusy, grassy golden Virginia is a condiment that mostly lurks in the background. The strength is medium. The taste falls a tad short of the center of medium to full. The nic-hit is a little closer to medium than it is to mild. No chance of bite or harshness, but it does sport a rough edge every so often. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a deep rich, consistently savory and lightly creamy sweet, leathery flavor that translates into the pleasantly lingering campfire after taste. Leaves little dampness in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. Not an all day smoke.

6 people found this review helpful.

Eulenburg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Eulenburg (193)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is No 13 WITHOUT the scented cavendish, and still seems a great blend to me: a classic clubman's choice from the glory days of Imperial New York, American-English. Smoke it in the evening, strawling down Madison Avenue looking at the Christmas displays. It doesn't get better than that.

Merry Christmas, everybody! [12/'02]

5 people found this review helpful.

Perique Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Perique (150)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

Yes, it's all true.  What you've read in reviews dating back to 2002 - it's all here.

Wilke High Hat is a barn-burner: an extraordinary tobacco.  The jar note hints at what's to come: musty, smokey, piney, savory, and subtly sweet with a hint of cinnamon and clove on the nose.  While the blenders description does not include Orientals, the complexity of aromas from the jar certainly suggest their presence.  The jar aroma of this blend has no equal. 

From the moment of the charring light, High Hat delivers what the jar note promises: deep, musty Latakia wrapped in smooth, succulent Virginias and buffered by that famous Wilke burley. Perique is a light condiment touch in this delicious, full blend, adding a mere suggestion of pepper that asserts itself slightly after mid-bowl.  The old Wilke recipes seem to have grasped the secret of making rich, full-tasting, flavorful blends that are medium in body and incredibly easy-smoking. That cinnamon and clove on the nose does not, thank God, translate into the taste. High Hat has only just enough natural sweetness, that tiny bit, to balance perfectly with what is an otherwise earthy, leathery, musty smoke: a masterpiece. It's no wonder this blend has been around for over 140 years. 

The mouth-feel in this blend is world-class: rich, thick, and creamy while never overwhelming the palate. High Hat burns smoothly, with absolutely no bite, and provides copious amounts of thick, creamy smoke. This is an arm chair tobacco, an evening tobacco: a tobacco blend of substance. The flavor stays with you a long, long time after the bowl is finished. You'll want to sit back in that chair and just revel in it.

This is a masterpiece of a proprietary blend that leaves other, mass-produced tinned blends in its wake.  

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Although I've not smoked High Hat in over a decade, it was one that I really enjoyed over a decade ago when I got in my order of 15 different P&W blends for my local pipe club to sample at our tobacco bar over a 2-3 month period back in 2005. Nicely aged Virginia along with rare Syrian grades of Latakia made this one (now gone from the lineup), really shine. The Burley and Perique added a powerful presence to the overall presentation and at times, according to my notes from back then, my palate would get overwhelmed if I puffed too fast. Overall, a quality smoke that for me, was not a blend I wanted to smoke everyday.

2 people found this review helpful.

Pipe Newb Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe Newb (49)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

How do you make a blend that showcases Latakia without making it a Lat Bomb? I don't know, but this seems to be the ticket.

Smell in the jar after a day of rest is a very subdued Latakia, all the smoky richness and only a wisp of the familiar "tirefire/boot polish" smell that some (my wife) associate with this particular treatment of leaf. There is a thick but faint sweetness in here that rounds it all out (from the kentucky I'd assume, which always carries a molasses tone to my nose).

Char and first few draws reveal a soft latakia and an interesting sweetness. The body on the smoke is incredible, very little effort to get a ridiculous amount of smoke. Right off the bat I would compare the body and even some notes of the flavor of this tobacco as quite cigar-like with latakia taking center note. As the bowl warms I'm getting a very sharp peppery spice that lingers on the palate. The snork is a monster, filling my nose with wonderful black pepper and clearing my sinuses better than any saline rinse would. Towards the end of the bowl the body intensifies. Interestingly I'm not getting much of the "dried fruit" flavors that I sometimes get from perique, the black pepper is all that's coming through past the thick chewy smoke, but that's just fine.

Heavyish hitter on the Vitamin N, but smooth as all getout. Room note is absolutely latakia forward, but not as severe as most "bombs". Burn mechanics were excellent, even in our humidity. Burned to a mottled black and grey fine ash and zero dottle, one relight when I neglected my tamp.

This is a creamy, spicy, smoky, dark and brooding tobacco, to use my coffee analogy this is a dark roasted sumatra. It also suited my smoking style which is a little on the hot side, this blend actually got better for me with long pulls on the pipe, at least until I got near the end where I had to sip it a bit more carefully. Even though I definitely veer towards the Oriental side I enjoyed this one.

Pipe Used: Savinelli KS Lovat

Purchased From: Pipeworks & Wilke

2 people found this review helpful.

Country Doc Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Country Doc (20)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

An elegant example of the blender's art. Very high quality. If you like delicious smokey English just slightly on the sweet side (e.g. much less sweet than Black House, which is delightful in its own right), you owe it to yourself to at least try a little High Hat.

2 people found this review helpful.

Fumatore Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fumatore (48)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I don?t know what it is that Pipeworks & Wilke sprays on or adds to their tobacco before they pack it up, but it certainly doesn?t agree with me. I thought I would love this blend but was very disappointed. If you like something that smells nice added to your tobacco, perhaps this one will suit you, so I won?t give it the 1 star I think it really deserves.

2 people found this review helpful.

Mongo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mongo (10)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

High Hat is one of the few tobaccos that I can honestly call "delicious". It's a wonderful blend of high quality tobaccos, expertly balanced, and delivered ready to smoke.

The various tobaccos share the stage throughout the bowl, coming forth and then receding in a wonderfully flavorful dance. The burley always takes the stage first, but after that it's impossible to know which tobacco will come forward next. Individual tobaccos, and various combinations of tobaccos, move to the forefront as the bowl progresses. None of the flavors ever becomes overpowering, but they all spend some time in the spotlight. This is a great blend for "breath smoking". The flavor seems to change with each cycle.

I've found that High Hat smokes well in almost any pipe, from small to large. It's a slow smoking tobacco for me, so a medium bowl is my usual weapon of choice for High Hat.

It requires very few relights (often none at all); other than tamping occasionally, High Hat requires no attention. At the end of the bowl you're left with some mottled gray ash, and nothing else.

High Hat is one of the very best blends I've ever tried. It truly is delicious, and well worth a try by anyone who enjoys English blends.

2 people found this review helpful.

Young Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Young Piper (300)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

I have smoked High Hat on and off for the last decade or so. It is an amazingly flavorful American English that has a delightful combination of smokiness from the Latakia and Kentucky, sweetness from top shelf Virginia's and a wonderfully spicy finish from the Perique. The Nicotine strength is right on the money which for me is an unusual bonus in an English blend. I also love the fact that I can smoke a recipe that is over a 100 years old and has stood the test of time allowing one to share the experience that folks in the late 1800's enjoyed. Pricey but worth every penny due to P&W using the very finest leaf. Try some of Carole's blends while they are still available!!

Age When Smoked: 5 years on this batch

Purchased From: Pipeworks and Wilke

1 person found this review helpful.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

To me this is dominated by the kentucky flavour in the first part, then it becomes very complex with all the tobaccos playing their role her and there. The main feeling is a little bitterness, but of a pleasant kind. As the other P&W offerings, it burns perfectly and evenly. Recommended.

1 person found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

Mostly on the darker side ribbon cut full aroma latakia blend. I was under the impression that Syrian latakia was the domain of only a few blenders but the latakia here certainly smelled like Syrian. A nice musty earth-smell in the bag. I smoked about an ounce. It came very wet and I dried it out a bit but it worked best with some moisture - not crispy.

Rather disappointed in this one. I should have read the ingredients before I fired up. Latakia blends without orientals tend to have a dry flavor that doesn't appeal to me much, as I prefer the juiciness that good orientals provide to a blend. This was no exception. As a fan of #400, I was expecting more from this one but it was my own fault for not doing my homework. I found this brooding and slow, bordering on dull, but I did like the latakia flavor, which I would classify as Syrian (there seems to be some debate about that). The burley added an interesting dark toast essence but the sweetness the Virginia should provide was MIA. Instead, I could swear there is some kind of flavoring to this one that I found objectionable. I tasted "sweet" but it was contrived rather than a natural sweetness obtained thru tobacco leaf. Mild complexity in this one but nothing like #400. I've enjoyed the PW&W blends I've smoked in the past but this one falls flat for me. But what the heck, nobody loves everything.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

aadelma Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
aadelma (66)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an extremely well balanced mixture. Though it contains burley, VA, Latakia, and perique, they all come together harmoniously to produce a medium-full English mixture. If I am in the mood for latakia and perique but don't want to get bowled over by Nightcap, this is what I reach for. It's almost a cross between 965 and Nightcap and is up there in quality with Dunhill. There is a slight bite at light up, but then it settles into a smooth and satisfying mixture. It's heavy enough that one bowl satisfies me, but doesn't knock me out. For a blender known for their aromatics, P & W makes some killer English blends.

3/14/2006 I've downgraded this slightly as there is some harshness which prevents me from smoking this as much as I would like. Still a great blend, just a bit rough on the throat for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.