Rattray Hal O' the Wynd

(3.39)
"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".

Details

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

Profile

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

Average Rating

3.39 / 4
152

80

27

10

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 152 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.

-JimInks
92 people found this review helpful.
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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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
mo
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

ORIGINAL REVIEW 4-21-2014

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.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 06, 2016 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Summary: A balanced Virginia blend that tempers the sweet and acidic tendencies of the leaf and complements it with condimental Perique and Kentucky.

There are at least two types of Virginia blend smokers. Like beer drinkers, where one heads to the Budweiser and the other contemplates Grolsch, they are divided by their attitude toward sweetness. Most want a golden bright Virginia that is unfailingly sweet and light in flavor, while others want more of a pressed or stoved style medium taste. "Hal O' the Wynd" provides a gentle but strong Virginia balanced by small amounts of Kentucky and Perique, giving it a campfire-cooked and wine-like flavor. The Virginias join in with an intense sweetness in the background but the hay, grass and grain notes up front for the signature of the blend. This is good enough to smoke only on special occasions, but $8/50g can be smoked daily without ever becoming mundane.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 11, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I like the Virginia blends that Kohlhase and Kopp produce quite a bit. Solani Silver Flake, Virginia Flake 633, & Reiner Long Golden are all favorites of mine. And while I don’t feel as strongly about Hal O' The Wynd as the aforementioned blends, this is no doubt a fine tobacco, and it's definitely a stand out amongst the current Rattray label Virginia blends.

If I could pick one unique attribute of Hal O’ the Wynd, it’s that each time I smoke this, the first portion of the bowl is mysteriously mild. It’s so mild that it seems as though all the flavors that are actually there, are just cancelling each other out. However, the flavor strength does arrive in short time, mostly in the form of a tanginess that's balanced by a subtle sweet finish. If the pungent tin note isn't enough to convince someone that there's more than a dash of perique in this, the sharp sting of retro-haling the smoke surely will.

The Virginia's are more citrus and raisin-like than they are grassy. There’s a good amount of Virginia flavor but it’s quite a bit lighter than I expected. The Kentucky adds depth and body, but it also gives the blend a bit of a murky taste. The perique is quite peppery and adds a slight plum flavor to the finish. The role of the perique is a bit more than condimental, so rather than amplifying the sweetness of the Virginia’s, it has a tendency to somewhat overpower them. The overall result is one that’s more complex. Instead of tasting sweet and spicy, the flavor is a combination of sweet Virginia tobacco with rich earthy overtones and a somewhat dry piquant/tart finish.

Hal O' the Wynd isn't what I would categorize as a full or heavy smoke but I still find that it makes a better cooler weather tobacco, as the flavor is very much on the darker side of the spectrum. The overall strength, both tobacco flavor and nicotine are a firm medium.

I often wonder if this was Greg Pease's inspiration for Cumberland. Comparing the two, I'd say Hal O' the Wynd is sweeter and not as robust, but they are quite similar.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 18, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I really love all three of Rattray's Virginia blends, Old Gowrie, Marlin Flake and Hal O' the Wind. But if pushed into a corner I would have to say HOTW is my current favorite. While not overly wet, HOTW does need a bit of time to dry out. The Kentucky adds the extra body that I like, yet it doesn't dominate the blend. It does offer a bit more punch. I usually rub out my flakes and broken flakes, but with HOTW I smoke it as is with just a little rubbed out at the top of the bowl to get things going and kick back for a long smoke. If I had to point out any negative with HOTW it is that it doesn't really become more complex as the bowl progresses. But with this particular blend, it's a very minor issue for me. When it comes to VaPer or VaPer style blends, I tend to judge them by how well they age and HOTW keeps that punch I like while still becoming wonderfully sweet with age. K&K has done a nice job with all three blends and they all have a place in the cellar but there is a little extra space for HOTW. Great stuff!
10 people found this review helpful.
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