W.D. & H.O. Wills The Three Castles Tobacco

There's no sweeter tobacco comes from Virginia & no better brand than the Three Castles.


Brand W.D. & H.O. Wills
Blended By  
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 92 grams tin, 50 grams tin
Country United Kingdom
Production No longer in production


Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Tolerable to Strong
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat)
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

2.80 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 04, 2017 Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable to Strong
Not sure why this is in this database, in the UK it was sold as a hand-rolling tobacco not a pipe tobacco.

But since it's here, and I remember hand-rolling it from the 80s I'll give it a review anyway.

Three Castles was a very thin-cut hand rolling tobacco, the strands often being several inches long. It was a very pale yellow in colour throughout. Very easy to handle and roll in paper. The pouch aroma was of very little, mostly a hint of ea de cologne or something very similar like a cheap aftershave, no noticeable tobacco aromas at all.

On smoking it tasted flat, nothing there at all, except a faint haze of ea de cologne or cheap aftershave. No noticable nicotine either. Like smoking hot air.

And boy did it bite - like sucking on a blast furnace. Not just the tip of your tongue but your whole mouth. And that's as a roll-up, I dread to think what it would have been like in a pipe. The acrid smoke produced didn't smell of much, but caught in spectator's throats.

When I was a student in 79-82 lots of us hand-rolled and the campus shop sold Golden Virginia and Old Holborne in huge quantities. Out of all the people I knew back then who smoked only one bought Three Castles more than once, and he said that was because it was cheap.

I'm not surprised it's no longer available, and it probably isn't missed by many.
Pipe Used: none, this is a rolloing tobacco
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 05, 2017 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
This was a simple uncomplicated shag cut Virginia with a lot of tart and tangy citrus, grass, hay, light bread, rough and floral notes. While it was also sold for RYO, I smoked it in a pipe only as some people did. The nic-hit was just past being mild. The strength level was in the center of mild to medium. Had a very consistent flavor from start to finish, and didn’t bite or get harsh. Burned a little fast, and needed to be puffed at a slower than usual pace to avoid a hot pipe, and a few cigarette notes. Left virtually no moisture in the bowl, and hardly needed a relight. Had a lightly lingering, pleasant after taste, and room note. Was an all day smoke.

5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 17, 2018 Very Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
Three Castles may have been the best handrolling tobacco ever produced. Incredibly subtle, it wasn't for every taste. Its exceptional mildness was the result of some kind of esoteric method of water treatment borrowed from the ancient Chinese; I cannot recollect the specifics, but I believe the leaves were soaked before being cured, removing a fair amount of nicotine.

I do still remember the scent of the tobacco, though: hay and brown sugar, a vague whisper of lemon. Room aroma was kith and kin to a classic straight Virginia: something like baking bread, and very acceptable to most non-smokers if rolled in a good quality hemp or rice paper. It was a fairly damp tobacco; Imperial cased it with humectant before tinning.

A knockout smoke, all told. When I started smoking it I'd tried nearly every handrolling tobacco I could find. Three Castles was entirely unique; it burned cool, was easy on the lungs, and had a marvelous flavor. If I ever smell it burning again, I'm going to have one whopper of a Proustian moment.

Nothing like it, before or since. A few come close, though, most notably Auld Kendal Gold, if you can find it in the original fine shag cut. Stokkebye Danish is a solid choice, too, although it's a little more citrus forward. McConnell Special London is the wild card: sometimes it overwhelms with citrus, sometimes it's more even-tempered, like Three Castles.

A brand revival was attempted a few years back. Disaster. If some enterprising person could bribe the original formula out of an old Imperial employee and resume production in the U.S., they'd have a hit on their hands.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 10, 2019 Mild None Detected Extremely Mild (Flat) Pleasant to Tolerable
I got a 3 bowl sample of this and D&R 3 Sails from a friend. This tobacco was estimated to be about 20 years old. It was a yellowish-brown shag cut with an aroma of fine hay. When I worked at a pipeshop many years ago, I bought 3 tins for the shop, not realizing it was cigarette tobacco. The shop employees opened one tin to share in their pipes and the other two were still there years later when the shop closed. Two demerits for me! I think most of the opened tin got tossed. My memory of smoking a bowl or two of this way back then is beyond hazy, but smoking it today tells me why.

I can't imagine anyone smoking this in a pipe even occasionally. It's clearly a RYO cig tobacco. The flavor is extremely flat, which is fine since the act of inhaling dumbs down tobacco flavor anyway. There is a wisp of citrus, plenty of grass and hay, but it tastes more like not inhaling a Winston would taste rather than something for the pipe. There are much better choices out there, and I don't recall any Virginia-smoking pipesters being impressed with it back in the day. Even snorking this one didn't bring out much flavor. It's something to smoke if you like a nice, unobtrusive smoke and it doesn't taste bad - it barely tastes of anything at all! Might be a good smoke for yardwork or whenever your attention will have to wander from what you're smoking. Best left to the pages of history... except D&R seems to have brought it back! On to that review....

2 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2023 Mild None Detected Mild Tolerable
In all honesty- a cool chap from near Glasgow, who is now one of the World\'s oldest, well respected, Techno/ House Music DJs, introduced us to this in the early 1980s.
It was never for pipes. It was rolling tobacco (though in the early 20th century, there were cigarettes available). I suspect there is confusion, because the round, vintage tins resemble pipe tobacco packaging.
It was, to be frank, as he discovered, the ideal vehicle for the rolling of 'joints'- 'spliffs', containing light coloured hashish.
I absolutely do not support, or in any way encourage, the use of recreational illicit substances. I am including this review as a little footnote in the history of tobacco.

It was mild, easy to smoke, easy to handle and roll with, therefore suitable for anyone whose primary interest in 3 Castles, was for this sort of vehicle.
It had to be used sparingly for ideal effectiveness

It was useful because it burned consistently and evenly, at an ideal pace, thus giving the illicit embers time to fully combust, and not 'bomb' the smoker with little flesh burns and holes in their attire.

Was cheaper, smoother, and healthier, than breaking down normal cigarettes for the purpose.

Smoked as a normal roll up, it was unlike any other available in the UK. Sweetness predominated. It was acrid, like singed rope, but in a way I found pleasant, and not overwhelming.
It was fairly easy on the throat and lungs. The room smell was acrid and sweet. That was basically the whole character of it. Acrid and sweet. Mild and pleasant. If you liked that, there was nothing similar, easily available. I missed it as a rolling tobacco when it ceased production.

Not something I'd put in a pipe, unless I'd run out of rolling papers and needed to keep up my nicotine level.
Thankfully I was cured of cigarette addiction, and grew out of the more exotic substances, many years ago
Pipe Used: none
PurchasedFrom: Newsagent/ Corner Shop
Age When Smoked: 1980s
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