Wilke Pipe Tobacco High Hat

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


Brand Wilke Pipe Tobacco
Blended By John Brandt
Manufactured By Wilke Pipe Tobacco
Blend Type American
Contents Burley, Latakia, Perique, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2 oz. bag, 4 oz. bag, 8 oz. bag 16 oz. bag
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.55 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 40 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 11, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
The smoky, woody, earthy, musty, sweet Cyprian Latakia is the lead component, though it avoids being a lat-bomb. The very spicy, raisiny, plumy, earthy 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.

19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2014 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.
PurchasedFrom: Pipeworks & Wilke, www.vtpipes.com
Age When Smoked: New & up to 4 years
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 09, 2008 Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
IMHO the best American produced English/Balkan blend available today. A cross between Bill Baileys Balkan Blend & Comptons of the Galashiels' Balkan. This is absolutely superb blending! It is by far the most European tasting English I have sampled on these shores. A very robust, tangy, and intoxicating blend. Full beyond your dreams and without nicotine overload. The flavor lasts and will leave you sated. If I could give this 5 stars I would.
15 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2012 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.
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 21, 2007 Strong None Detected Very Full Strong
I tried High Hat before I'd gotten a swing at the newer model of Dunhill's Nightcap, and those who say they're quite similar are correct. But this stuff is better than Nightcap right out of the tin.

Mine came from a 1-lb bag, and is as others have described. A nice musty aroma and some tartness that could be the Perique or just could be some sour VA action. I stuck mine in the requisite Mason jars for melding.

This blend will hit you first off with the Latakia and the perique spiciness. That tartness disappears and turns more into a peppery note. The Latakia sticks around, and the orientals will come in with some brassy middle. Smokes really well and evenly (my first run was through an ash churchwarden, later runs through a Peterson bent.) It's got some zing and a whole lot of flavor, and it will certainly wake you up. Great for a morning drive to work or with that cup of coffee reading the news.

Wife, pets and small children probably will dislike it based on the room note, and it's a bit bold to be an everyday or all-day blend. But it's great in the morning or at day's end when you want a little zip on your lip.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 11, 2017 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.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 17, 2002 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]
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2020 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
One of several Wilke blends I bought on sale and have been smoking on and off these past several weeks. This has a strong sweet tin note, which may or may not be heavy cased. This is described as an American due to the addition of Burley to the English blend. At one point this must have been blended with Syrian Latakia as I have read numerous reviewers stating as such. This is a really good smooth, sweet smoking blend with a room note that my neighbor likes when I went over to talk to her while smoking my pipe. The smoke gets a little less flavorful toward the end of the bowl but the more I smoke this the more I like it. My Hat is Off to High Hat. Try it if you like American blends, I believe you will like it as much as I do. Though this says no flavoring, I am putting down extremely mild and I may be wrong but the sweetness seems to me to be a casing. Of course that is just my 2 cents worth.
Pipe Used: Marxman Bulldog
Age When Smoked: New
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 01, 2009 Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant
I couldn't find "rich" under the review quality of "Taste" but that is the most appropriate descriptor I can find. Another winner and so very nice and different. High Hat isn't overpowering or a one-trick flavor pony. Well compose, arranged and orchestrated for your smoking pleasure. I have no smoked this blend morning, noon and night and it works so well in any time frame. Get some, try it and then find storage for the stock you will be acquiring.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 23, 2007 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.
5 people found this review helpful.
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