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This is the blend smoked by Basil Rathbone, Wilke's famous No. 515. A blend of ribbon cut Virginias and toasted Black Cavendish, or as the Wilke sisters described it: "exotic tobaccos aged in a rare Jamaica Rum - smooth, mild with a delightful aroma".

BrandPipeworks & Wilke
Blended ByCarole Burns
Manufactured ByPipeworks & Wilke
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Virginia
ProductionCurrently available
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Mild to Medium
Mild to Medium
Room Note
8 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (1009)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Tolerable

This blend took me a little time to figure out how I felt about it. It's not as sweet as I expected, and has a floral essence that may not suit some smokers. There's a light vanilla note that plays well with the spicy rum flavor, which is moderate in strength. I suspect a touch of coumarin or deer tongue is present, too, which would account for the floral notes and vanilla, though black cavendish also accounts for the vanilla. The Virginia is hay-like, grassy, lightly sweet, and as another reviewer suspected, is of the flue cured variety. It may bite if puffed at a fast rate, but it does burn well, even, and leaves no moisture. The room note is sweet and floral.

Having smoked a bit of it now, I'm reminded a little of Germain's Plum Cake. Both must use a similar type of dark spice rum. An interesting change of pace smoke for me, though I have found myself wanting to smoke a bowl a day since I started smoking it. I consider this to be a blend one has to work one's way into to enjoy. If you get used to the floral flavor -which isn't very strong - you'll like it. If you don't, well, you probably won't.

3 people found this review helpful.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (67)
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

Being a fan of Basil Rathbone, especially in his role as Sherlock Holmes in the movies made by Universal in 30's and 40's, I just had to try this blend. The mixture is as described above with a top note of rum. It is soft - not sticky and ready to smoke - the moisture content was perfect. There was no tobacco dust or broken leaf in the 2 oz sample Carole sent me.

On the charing light there is a nice tobacco taste, mild and spicy. The Black Cavendish does not dominate, as in Mixture #191, being a more subtle background note. The taste of a brown spicy rum is present. As this settles into the middle third, the sweet Virginia comes calling. The Virginia appears to be a bright flue cured variety, and there may also be a Turkish varietal present adding its magic. The brown leaf may be Maryland.

This is a nice smoke. It burns to a grey ash leaving no goop in the bottom of the bowl. It does not burn or bite providing a mild sweet spice that lights easily and stays lit. I normally smoke Virginia flakes, but like this as a change. I will order more and the next time I see Rathbone as Sherlock with his bent pipe, I will feel a little closer as a brother smoking the same weed.

3 people found this review helpful.

Ismokeadapipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ismokeadapipe (21)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I am not sure what it was about this blend that didn't quite make an impression on me. I wanted to like it as Basil Rathbone is a hero of mine, ala Sherlock Holmes...but it really was kind of harsh tasting and it gave me wicked tongue bite. Now, in all fairness...I smoked this in my corn cob I will try it in a more expensive pipe in my collection and see how that fairs and if it differs...then I will correct this review. I didn't hate it...but this blend won't be in my normal rotation.

I tried it after about a week in my Philip Trypis Freehand that has only had English Blends in it. I really have no idea why someone would classify this as an is quiet strong.

Strength: Didn't smoke it long enough to get a " buzz "

Flavoring: Like a camel filter

Room Note: Not pleasant or aromatic at all

Taste: Like cigarettes

Unknown if I am smoking what everyone else is...come to think of it I am not sure if the sample that I was gifted is in fact 515, cause it isn't aromatic one bit. Who knows???

2 people found this review helpful.

pipelovingcalvinist Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
pipelovingcalvinist (68)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

I received a sample of this blend in a trade. I thought it had a nice room note and the tobacco burned well with minimal relights. The flavor started of very nice with a light rum note but got bitter towards the end of the bowl. It seemed like this was a nice quality tobacco but not something I would smoke on a regular basis.

Soli Deo gloria!

1 person found this review helpful.

Jimbo_ Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jimbo_ (4)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Pleasant

OK. I got taken in by the Basil Rathbone reference too.

My first order of samples from P&W had this. It's the only one I didn't like. It has a mild soapy taste which doesn't agree with me. I like the Bohemian Mixture and Rumcake better.

I sent it on to another pipe smoking buddy and he says he likes it. There's no accounting for taste.

1 person found this review helpful.

the old man Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
the old man (14)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium Pleasant

this one burned a bit hot to me so only two star. try the rumcake if you like rum flavored tobacco.

i am amending my review. i gave this on another try. it is burning fine. taists fine. i would have no problem recommending this tobacco. three stars!

1 person found this review helpful.

Big Nick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Nick (73)
Mild Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

Those Wilke sisters really hit the nail on the head with thier description of this blend: "Exotic tobaccos aged in a rare Jamaica Rum - smooth, mild with a delightful aroma".

As with most aromatics you will want to let this sit out to dry a little(1/2 to 1 hour). You will then be greeted with something very special, mild yet flavorful, naturally sweet and aromatic, oh ya Rum. I truly believe that this is a blend that everybody could enjoy !

For more strength add a little Perique, you might be amazed ! For something similar and more aromatic try their Rumcake, its grrrrrreat!

1 person found this review helpful.

N7COF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
N7COF (56)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Good stuff the only bulk aromatic I keep on hand. I don't like heavily cased blends so this suits me very well.

I also find that I enjoy trying out vintage blends & better yet in a vintage pipe. I smoke 515 in my 1950s Wilke Lovat.

This is a must try blend for those of us that grew up watching Sherlock Holmes & fans of Basil Rathbone.

22 May 2009 Update: I'm tightening up on my ratings and only give 4 stars to my top 5 blends that are in my core rotation of tobaccos. Those at this date are Escudo, Penzance, University Flake, Churchill & still deciding what the 5th will be.

I now rate this as a solid 3.5

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