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Notes: 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".

BrandWilke Pipe Tobacco
Blended ByJohn Brandt
Manufactured ByWilke Pipe Tobacco
Blend TypeAromatic
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Virginia
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Mild to Medium
Mild to Medium
Room Note
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (3025)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

The lightly spicy, richly sweet, slightly floral Jamaican rum topping, which is moderate in strength, sublimates the tobaccos quite a bit, though it doesn’t totally drown them out. The flue cured Virginia is hay-like, grassy, floral and lightly tart and tangy citrusy with a touch of tangy dark fruit. It takes a bare lead over the sugary, vanilla-ish black cavendish. The strength is a couple of steps past the mild mark, while the taste is just past the center of mild to medium. Has a very mild nic-hit. Won't bite or get harsh, and has no rough edges. Well blended, it burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with a very consistent flavor from start to finish. Leaves almost no moisture in the bowl, and requires an average number of relights. The lightly lingering, pleasant after taste and room note are sweet. An all day smoke, one which was favored by actor Basil Rathbone.


21 people found this review helpful.

WmZiggy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WmZiggy (81)
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.

10 people found this review helpful.

HabaneroHardy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
HabaneroHardy (396)
Mild Mild Mild Unnoticeable

I ventured out to the pipe club after a hiatus and a nice gentleman brought some of this in. I got a generous sample of about 4 to 5 regular size bowls and gave him some Astley’s #99 that I had just purchased. I fired some of this up tonight in a couple of Peterson’s and this is a really great light aromatic blend. The tin note was lightly sweet smelling with some describing it as vanilla (me), maple, butterscotch, etc. This is supposed to be rum as described by Wilke sisters, "exotic tobaccos aged in a rare Jamaica Rum” which I am sure it was back in the 1930s and 1940s as Basil Rathbone, the famous actor who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in 14 movies from 1939-1946 smoked this blend. Present time and no reflection on the current Wilke, who really knows. Times change, tobacco crops change, brand of rum may change, etc. But I digress. I have yet to find a Wilke blend that I do not like and this one has met the challenge and I enjoyed the heck out of it. I have said this before with certain aromatics but to me this is a nice, light natural tasting blend that if I did not have such a stash would definitely buy more. I have a few more bowls left and cannot wait until tomorrow afternoon after work so I can finish the rest of my sample. Regardless of what the flavoring is, this is definitely worth trying in my book.

Pipe Used: Peterson's

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Sample from Pipe Club.

6 people found this review helpful.

steppx Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
steppx (186)
Mild Medium Medium Pleasant

Pipeworks & Wilke are known for their aromatics. And they are terrific aromatics. Im not sure why people bash aromatics. I mostly smoke virginia and Va/pers and some burley flakes, too, these days. But when I want a change, and if that change is aromatic, then this is the stuff. This blend and Rumcake are similar but not identical. #191 is the most popular and with good reason I think. Its superb. But again...its not the same as smoking a Gawith virginia for example. Different aesthetic at work. Not better or worse, just different. I think its maybe a bit strange to slam tobaccos you don't like. Just say you don't like it. You don't get it. Period. Some blends of course are of poor quality -- lots of drugstore aromatics for example (if we had drugstores anymore but you know what I mean). But this is not that. Carol blends great aromatics. High quality tobacco. You can like it or not, but the quality is top end. Ive been smoking a pipe for forty years now and I know quality. This is quality. There is room for all kinds of blends and its one of the joys of pipe smoking. Anyway....this is a terrific aromatic, its mild, not much nicotine, but smooth and never bites. In fact none of her blends bite. Its rum flavored but with some nuttiness and hints of vanilla and something else...maybe deer tongue, who knows. Maybe something very small amounts. Its good stuff. Its an aromatic. Dont expect a McClelland virgina. Its an aromatic. But an excellent one;.

5 people found this review helpful.

Michael D Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Michael D (29)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant

An everyday tobacco Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes) approves! If I plan on smoking the same blend all day long, I wouldn't want it heavily flavored. Wilke 515 fills that request. A very high quality mild, pushing toward medium blend that does not bite. A light sweet buttery rum is the flavor I get and it is fantastically blended into some very fine tobacco leaves. Only thing else I could add is BUY IT and TRY IT! I don't see how this could disappoint anyone that likes the taste of Buttery rum. it's Elementary. For something a bit fuller in flavor and stronger try their RumCake. Wilke #515 is a winner by the pound!

Pipe Used: Army mount

Purchased From:

4 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
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!

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
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.

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
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???

3 people found this review helpful.

Big Nick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Nick (74)
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!

3 people found this review helpful.

dutch Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dutch (9)
Very Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

This is one of the best pipe tobaccos that i have smoked, hard to compare with other tobaccos, it is sure a winner,thank you for making this blend. Dutch

Pipe Used: stanwell,fero italy and graconew c

Age When Smoked: 2months old

Purchased From: john at wilke tobacco

Similar Blends: beeker street, rum and maple, rumkake..

2 people found this review helpful.

doc'spipe Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
doc'spipe (241)
Mild Very Mild Mild Pleasant

I have been meaning to try this one for some time now and ordered 4 ounces from Wilke's. Great service BTW! My 4 ounces arrived in a nice zip lock bag and I could smell the tobacco before opening the seal. A very sweet smelling blend for sure. My first impression was butterscotch - exactly the way butterscotch candies smell (my daughter thought maple). I could not detect any aroma of rum, however. The moisture content was right for loading and lighting and it took to the match relatively easy. First let me say that the butterscotch wasn't much present in the taste - at least for me - just a vague, faint bitter-sweetness. What I did notice on lighting up was a very soapy taste which was quite off-putting for me. Not "Lakeland soap" or the "old codger blends from days gone by soap;" similar to swallowing soapy water. Although not as prevalent as upon lighting, it did remain present throughout the smoke with the ever present after taste of the stuff (whatever it really is). I couldn't taste the rum at all and there was no spice note either. No real tobacco taste at all. It also nipped at my tongue a bit, but not terrible. It smoked somewhat harsh at first and had minimal sweetness at best; tasting the way Peterson aromatics taste to me. There was no moisture/gurgle and it smoked down to a nice grey ash.

All in all, it is nicely presented with an appealing bag note that I suppose aromatic fanciers would enjoy, but something I might only reach for when the mood strikes. Recommended, but a personal rating of 2.5 stars. I thought I could smoke it while I watch the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies to "connect," since it supposedly is what he smoked in his role of Holmes. I'm going to watch one shortly after I post this review, but I'll be loading a pipe of Irish Flake for that one.

Pipe Used: Hardcastle bent billiard

Age When Smoked: Fresh from pouch

Purchased From: Wilke

Similar Blends: McClelland style aromatics, Peterson aromatics.

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
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!

2 people found this review helpful.

Joel A Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Joel A (3)
Mild Medium Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

I’ve been smoking P&W English blends for years...#78 and High Hat.....after many years I started trying out a number of aromatics....some of the old school drug store blends from my youth (first pipe in 1968)....tried #515 out of curiosity....I think it’s a great tasting easy to smoke blend.....wonderful aroma....I discovered the art of discovery....I recommend 515 if you want a truly enjoyable tobacco....sorry I’m not more scientific....just know what I like

Pipe Used: Aldo Velani...Savinelli 1987....Ascorti Business

Age When Smoked: One month

Purchased From: P&W

Similar Blends: Lane 1 Q.

1 person found this review helpful.

aztobaccosavant Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
aztobaccosavant (12)
Very Mild Medium Full Very Pleasant

Beautiful looking, tasting and smelling mix. Smokes great right out of the bag. Exceptional customer service. The aroma and thick creamy smoke are enticing with a back note of dark rum

Pipe Used: LuckyPipes. Dunhill. Castello

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: Wilke

1 person found this review helpful.

Young Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Young Piper (304)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

Another blend I was given to as a sample from Carole since I enjoy Rumcake so much and I order my custom Rumcake blend she makes for me with added burley and Turkish. #515 is although similar to Rumcake is different enough to warrant the two blends being offered. I prefer Rumcake and prefer my blend to Rumcake but both blends are the best Rum cased blends I have tried in my 15 years of smoking. If it was good enough for Sherlock Holmes then its good enough for me!

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30125)
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

1 person found this review helpful.