Rattray Hal O' the Wynd

"A pure Virginian tobacco of a most unusual share of strength". This is a strong, sharp aged red Virginia blend that will perk you up quickly. New tin description: "Hal O' The Wynd" is an unusually strong Virginia-based mixture. Fire-cured Kentucky is added to a base of a variety of Virginias and Perique completes this mixture. It is then pressed and finally rubbed by hand.
Notes: The booklet inside the tin says "A full-bodied Virginia tobacco with a slight sweetness and extremely pleasant smoking characteristics. The name comes from that of the armourer in the novel "The Fair Maid of Perth" - a man who had "a most unusual share of strength". In the German decription is written: "und einem Hauch wurzigem Perique" that means: "and a touch of spicy Perique".


Brand Rattray
Series British Collection
Blended By Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Virginia Based
Contents Kentucky, Perique, Virginia
Cut Ready Rubbed
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.38 / 4





Please login to post a review.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 271 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 30, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
The Virginias offer a very mild tart and tangy citrusy, moderate tangy ripe and dried dark fruit with a hint of grass, and a little earth and wood. It has an extremely mild fermented sweetness as well. They are the lead components. The Kentucky adds a touch of strength and a very mild nutty, earthy woodiness, though it mostly lurks in the background. The perique is also a minor player, but it has a little pepper, raisin, dates, plums and fig flavor that adds a nice dimension to the blend, and does just a little more for it than the Kentucky does. The strength and taste barely reach the medium level. The nicotine hit is a couple of steps past the mild mark. It won't bite even when pushed. Has no dull or harsh spots, but does have a few very light rough edges. Mildly complex and lightly moist out of the tin, it burns at a reasonable rate, cool and clean with a very consistent tangy, fruity, lightly spicy flavor from start to finish. Burns to ash with no trouble, and leaves very little dampness in the bowl. Requires an average number of relights. Has a very pleasant, lightly lingering after taste, and room note. Can be an all day smoke for the experienced piper, and repeatable for the novice.

93 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 26, 2002 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
I finally gave this highly acclaimed Rattray's tobacco a try recently. I had a tin of it in my tobacco "cellar" (hall closet - top shelf) for about three years. So, it was nicely aged.

Folks, the tin says Hal O' The Wynd has a most unusual share of strength. Well, it was smooth as silk from top to bottom and as refined as any straight Virginia I've ever smoked. It was cool, and it wouldn't nip even when the puffing cadence was stepped up a notch or two. And, it didn't seem to have a particularly strong nicotine content either. The taste leans toward a subtle sweetness, and I often loaded back-to-back bowls of this delightful weed.

It did take some work for me to get the leaf into what is my favorite style - totally rubbed out and zapped in my blender. It is loaded with broken chunks in the tin, which will allow outdoor smokers to lock and load quickly.

The only unusual thing about this tobacco is that while it produced a lot of moisture in the stem and shank, the tobacco itself burned to a mostly dry ash. While some other reviewers hinted that Hal gets stronger as you work you way down the bowl, I didn't get that impression at all. In fact, it is a fairly monochromatic smoke to me.

All in all, old Hal was an absolute pleasure to puff on and you can bet that I will be purchasing more of this delightful tobacco for my hall closet, uh, I mean my tobacco cellar.
46 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 15, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I have had a long love-affair with the Rattray's Virginias; moving back and fourth between this, Old Gowrie, Marlin Flake, Brown Clunee, and finally back to this. In my opinion these blends (with the possible exception of Marlin) are so similar in profile, that it really comes down to how strong you prefer your blends to be, and how much Perique/KY influence you are looking for. Really, that is part of what makes the lineup brilliant; there is something for everyone. Hal O' the Wynd is the one for me. It not only packs the best punch, but it has the most Perique and by extension, the most interesting flavor to my tastes. I like many blends and reserve some for special occasions/aging potential, and while I do have some Hal in the cellar, I mostly smoke it fresh. There is always a 500g jar on my desk and I smoke this when nothing else sounds good, or when I want to break-in a pipe, or when I need something familiar, satisfying and easy to enjoy. The backbone of my rotation.
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh
34 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 24, 2008 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Not much to add to the other reviews except a note on aging. I recently got back into pipe smoking (quit while raising my kids) and once back, I dug out my one tin on hand of this that I'd kept in storage since 1994. It was even better than I remembered. I've since ordered a new tin and a bulk pound and neither taste like the aged tin. The 1994 tin was even more complex and sweet and tasty.

This isn't much help to most of us since we aren't going to wait 14 years to smoke! But I've just purchased 3 pounds for cellaring and am going to crack one every 3 years or so, meanwhile replenishing stock. This is one tobacco that fares really well in the cellar.
28 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 08, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
This would be the forth time I am writing a review on this blend and the last.

This blend is perfect, another reviewer noted very accurately that if you do not wish to waste money trying out all different Virginias, start here and forget the others as there is no better Virginia IMHO.

I am sorry to say this, but after smoking many of the other brands like McClellands, McCranies, Samuel Gawith etc, I doubt that any of them can make a blend that can match this masterpiece.

Ok, to put it another way, I would smoke this if it cost me $100 a tin.

Mo, South Africa
28 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 24, 2004 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Perhaps my favourite Virginia is McClelland's 5100 - "Red Cake", even though I find that I lose most of the flavour when smoking it in anything other than corncobs and small briars and meerschaums. In my quest for something in a similar vein, albeit stronger and more complex, I come now to Rattray's "Hal O' The Wynd".

First of all, this tobacco has none of that ketchup/vinegar smell so often associated with McClelland. Secondly, the tobacco lights very easily and burns evenly, leaving a fine white/grey ash in the pipe. The flavour and aroma are similar to those of 5100, although the taste, in particular, is quite a bit stronger and multi-layered than that of McClelland.

Despite my impressions of "HOTW", I am STILL primarily a 5100 fan. Rattray has a reputation of fine products, but they do tend to be a bit merciless on the wallet. Also, there are times when I still prefer the more monochromatic sweetness of the 5100.

Even though the Ambassador is fine for daily driving, it's nice to know that the Javelin sits in the garage, all gassed up and ready to go. I don't see why a fan of red virginias can't have both.
27 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Having smoked my way through several 100gm tins of this now I've a few thoughts about it I feel might be worth adding to the many reviews already here.

Tastewise, I find it pretty flavourful for a blend that stresses the Virginia/Kentucky (I don't mean to insult VA blends, merely that a Latikia-heavy blend will always have a more pronounced flavour than a blend such as HOTW). The Perique adds a depth I find straight VAs lack.

What seems to make a big difference to the flavour is the pipe itself and how it is packed. I smoke clays, which means the bowls are generally not huge, and narrow and deep in proportions. Packed loosley, HOTW is a good, medium flavoured VA/Per type blend, with little variation as the bowl burns down. Rubbed out and packed quite tightly then smoked slowly it gradually develops a very marked and remarkable sweetness that starts around the half way point the nbuilds and builds which compliments the initial spiciness very well.

It's a very deceptive blend. I first found it very basic, montone and simple, but began to appreciate it more as I got the taste for it and experimented with how I pack the pipe. It's a bit like those wines or good-quality beers,ciders and coffees that you don't think are anything particularly outstanding at first but grow on you over time.

If puffed at frantically it can (and will) bite like a starving piranha, but with a little care it's possible to get it to produce large quantities of smoke without biting at all. What you can't do is smoke it absent-mindedly. Not unless you're fond of hot tongue syndrome, anyway.

Overall, as I got the "feel" for HTOW it's raised itself from "OK but nothing that remarkable" to a through the day regular. I prefer Old Gowrie as the "breakfast" pipe with coffee, but then tend to find HOTW suits more later on.

As far as nicotine goes, I'd call it a medium, with Nightcap/Artisan's Blend counting as "High" and the Captain Black aromatics counting as "low". Slightly stronger than Erinmore Balkan Mix or Dunhill Early Morning, perhaps and certainly strong for a blend of this type.

Overall I'd recommend giving it a try, it's an excellent example of its type of blend. Just treat it with a little caution at first unless you're used to VA/Per blends already and be prepared to put in a little patience.

PS.. It will build cake at high speed if you're looking to break in a new briar and, unlike English or aromatics blends is unlikely to cause too much ghosting.
20 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2002 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Appearance: A mostly dark brown and red broken flake, almost fully rubbed out. There is a considerable moisture content, typical of Rattray blends both new and historical. Speaking of hisorical, my recollection of this tobacco is that it was ready rubbed.

Aroma: Oh, boy. The first impression is dark chocolate with raisins and figs (not too dry). I haven?t smelled anything like it since Sobranie Flake went off the market. It smelled so good, I had to chew a bit to see if there were any additives. This is unusual, as I am not a tobacco chewer.

Packing: Since it?s almost rubbed out, it can be packed right from the can into medium and large bowls. Smaller bowls might need a bit more rubbing out.

Lighting: Best left to dry a bit before smoking, or lighting may be difficult. Once it?s aired out, it lights and burns well.

Initial flavor: Just a rich, sweet, full Va. Flavor with many nuances. The smoke is dense, and there is a decided strength of flavor to it, although I don?t feel a high nicotine content.

Mid-bowl: There is a good range of medium and low notes to the blend, very little in the way of higher range. The blend continues to delight the palate, and remains cool to the tongue. Even a few strong puffs occasionally doesn?t result in any bite. One of the best tasting Virginias I?ve tried in years, very similar to Marlin Flake.

Finish: Smokes dry, cool and gentle right to the end. If I remember to rub out the first pinch a bit, it will burn down to clean ash.

Summary: Maybe too strong for a first experience with Va, especially for a new pipe smoker. Having made that disclaimer, I will recommend to any smoker who loves Virginias, particularly the darker matured varieties
17 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 15, 2009 Medium Mild Full Tolerable
I've been an on and off pipe smoker for some years. I've tried many of highly rated English blends including Dunhill 965 and Rattrays thinking that a "real" pipe smoker has to enjoy Latakia. My mouth discomfort and foul taste made it clear that Latakia was not something I enjoyed. I came to believe that pipe smoking was not for me and I was going to give up completely until I came across Hal O' the Wynd. It was a smoking revelation! It's an extremely flavorful and satisfying smoke experience. I buy two 100 gm tins at a time, one to enjoy and the other to age. It burns very well and I smoke it slowly with light draws and allow myself the luxury of a completely satisfying smoking experience. Highly recommended.
14 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2014 Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
EDIT 4-19-2016

I just finished a second tin of this since my original review and have nothing to change on this one. Just a great blend. I did have a chance to try some of this from the 1990's at last year's Chicago Show and it was out of this world. I still highly recommend this one and have several tins aging in the cellar.


This is easily my favorite of the famous Rattray Trio. It is a VaBurPer, that packs a pretty good punch without overwhelming the smoker with the Perique or Kentucky.

The burley, which is of the Dark Fired variety does not overwhelm as it can easily do with many blends. I find the perique to be moderate in its presence as the spiciness attributed to this leaf is pretty mild. But the star of this blend is no doubt the Virginia, just as it is with the other two in the trio. (Old Gowrie and Marlin Flake).

There is an earthy sweetness that makes smoking this blend a real pleasure. This differentiates it from Old Gowrie which I feel leans heavier to the bright Va side with abundant Hay and citrus notes. I find the Virginia mix in HOTW to be similar to that used in Marlin Flake, but HOTW has substantially more backbone than Marlin Flake; most likely due to the difference of DFK and Cavendish used in the respective blends. All three of these blends are awesome and similar, but different enough that you will want all three in the cellar; and that is why as a grouping I feel they all deserve four stars. YMMV
Pipe Used: Savinelli Dry Oscar 412 primarily
Age When Smoked: new tin
13 people found this review helpful.
Please login to upvote this review.