Rattray Old Gowrie

Fine, dark Virginia, Kentucky and a hint of perique are ripen in the press for up to 3 months, then cut and rubbed by hand.


Brand Rattray
Series British Collection
Blended By Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Manufactured By  
Blend Type Virginia Based
Contents Kentucky, Perique, Virginia
Cut Broken Flake
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin, 1 pound bag
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.47 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 297 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 07, 2018 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Old Gowrie sits on top of a pillar in the world of VA+ blends. I love this stuff, and my first experience with it is what made me a confirmed pipe smoker. The glowing reviews are deserved. If I had to pick only one tobacco, this would be it.

I call it and it’s bretheren VA+ blends, as there are other components but they are used in a fashion to support the VA rather than add their own complexity. As a matter of fact, for the first few years I smoked this stuff it didn’t appear to be widely known that the blend contained Perique and DFK, it was something of a debate on the forums with people swearing that Old Gowrie was a straight VA. I was in the latter camp, thinking that it was just the processing and the darker leaf used that gave this blend its spiciness and full body.

Old Gowrie might be the only blend I smoke that with every bowl I think...”man this stuff is good!” It evolves slowly as you smoke, as time goes on becoming spicey and peppery, tingly in the nostrils...but with a solid foundation of sweet VAs that are really in their own camp flavor wise. The Nic is right, just a little past medium in my experience. Very satisfying and a good morning smoke if you need a little blast to get you going.

I find the smoke to be complex enough to constantly discover something new but not so complex that it becomes a bit of a mess...I can smoke Old Gowrie and enjoy the blend as a whole, and also slow down and let myself pick apart some nuances if I’m feeling so inclined. While complexity is definitely a positive attribute, I find that in certain situations it can be a distraction to my smoking experience...sometimes I feel as though I’ve wasted a bowlful as I can’t fully concentrate or give the blend the attention it deserves. Old Gowrie is something of a middle ground for me, I can smoke it while I’m driving as an all day smoke, or sit with a bowlful on the porch and sip slowly, enjoying the woody and spicey nuances to their fullest.

It’s an absolute must try.

I have a jar with about 10 years of age on it, and this stuff ages wonderfully. I also just acquired a tin from 2013 that I’m going to hold on to until my 10 year jar is gone.

Pipe Used: Everything
Age When Smoked: 0-10 years
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Slightly moist out of the tin, but it's not enough to cause much of a problem. The Virginias provide a lot of tangy, ripe dark fruit, earth, wood, bread, some tart and tangy citrus, grass/hay, floralness, and slight acidity, along with a couple of pinches of sugar and spice. They are the lead components. The Kentucky adds some nuttiness, wood, earth, floralness, light spice, a hint of cocoa, and a little punch in a support role. The earthy, woody perique is a condiment, adding a light spice, raisin, and fig quality to the mix. The strength and taste levels just reach the medium mark. The nic-hit is a hair short of the medium threshold. Won't bite or get harsh, and has few small rough notes. Mildly complex, it burns clean and cool at a moderate rate with a very consistent sweet, spicy, lightly floral flavor. Easily burns to ash. Doesn't require many relights, and only leaves a slight bit of moisture at the finish. Has a short lived, pleasant after taste. The room note is a notch stronger. Can be an all day smoke.

107 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 03, 2008 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
I read many of the glowing reviews about Old Gowrie and wondered if this tobacco was as good as most everyone thought. I received my order in the mail and immediately had to dodge questions from the wife (you think I ordered porn or something;).

So far in my piping experience I have leaned heavily to the English mixtures: Renaissance, British Woods, EMP, and Blackpoint. The tin aroma was heavenly. The sweet smell from OG was a welcome change. Some people describe it as grassy, but I noticed a more fruity character. It was more savory sweet and fruity instead of dessert-like--imagine a savory dish made with figs and raisins with a touch of some aromatic herbs like tarragon and lavender. The smoke was the same. Savory-sweet, smooth, and fragrant. I find one bowl not quite enough! It fits into any time of the day or night. Also it is quite good no matter the weather. I find that heavier mixtures like BW and Blackpoint hit their flavor/aroma peak in cooler temps, but OG stays constant no matter if it is summer or winter.

I like OG so much that I wonder about how I would enjoy "the older brother" Marlin Flake? I don't really like nicotine content any higher than OG.

Old Gowrie is a wonderful, comfortable, and satisfying smoke. Highly recommended! It is a mainstay in my cabinet.

***UPDATE*** OG was my first foray into straight VA's and I loved it. After having several other straight VA's tobaccos since then, I have come to appreciate OG even more!!!
67 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 07, 2003 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant
This one has entered my top-5 list of all-time favorites. What an exemplary weed! Why I had not gotten around to smoking Old Gowrie before just recently eludes me. Better late than never.

I received a 50g tin not long ago and was anxious to give this classic a try. The moisture content upon opening was quite high. It does not dry out rapidly and sat opened for 48 hours before drying enough for my personal enjoyment.

The tin says this is a "Rubbed Out" Virginia. My definition and Rattray's must vary widely because the mottled chunks were very flake like in appearance and I chose to hand rub the weed further before loading and lighting.

Once packed and lit, it was obvious why so many give OG rave reviews. The taste was cool, clean and invigorating. No tangy smell or taste at all, just smooth and vibrant Virginia. The room note was spectacular too!

If you want a distinctly rich, yet mellow Virginia taste with no bite, Old Gowrie is a great choice for an all day smoke. If I may compare OG to other Rattray's Virginia offerings; it is not at all tangy or bitey like Marlin Flake, not quite as strong as Hal O The Wynd, and not as one dimensional as Brown Clunee. A delightful and a stand alone Virginia -- I must get a dozen or so tins of this stuff for my cellar!
49 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 15, 2002 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I find this to be one the best Virginia tobaccos, even in its new version (never tried the Danish experiment, but managed to try the original Perth blend). It is a "simple" tobacco in the sense it does not try to be anything else...but good smoking tobacco.

Unlike other virginias (most notably Dunhill's Light Flake or G. Smith & Son's Old London 100% Virginia), it does not have a strong tangy-sweet or spicy aroma. There is a subdued oatish flavour that gradually changes into something more complex, though it never reaches the ecehlons of, say, Marlin Flake or even Brown Clunee (another favourite).

It is easy to pack in almost any type of pipe and I find it easy to light. It burns slowly and after the initial "harshness" of many virginias, it becomes very smooth. At first it may seem unobtrusive, so that you my be writing or reading whilst somking it. However, it eventually grows on you, to the extent that without even noticing, you suddenly find yourself completely taken in by the smoking experience and leaving aside whatever you were doing.

It produces a dull grey ash and it leaves the pipe bowl clean, and fresh. If smoked too quickly, it may get your tongue, but not too bad. It does have a relaxing effect. Perhaps it is not suitable for all day smoking, but I find it a perfect companion for the evening, and more so for that particular moment when the kids and the wife have gone to bed, and you are left alone, with the dog at your feet.

Highly recommended!
44 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 05, 2013 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
You can't get Ratray in Canada so I've been unable to confirm this blender's high reputation for myself, so on a recent trip to NYC I acquired a tin of OG.

I tried it in various pipes, but it only really came alive for me in a large bowl, in my case an Italian pot. It seems to need a lot of room to breathe to release its flavors.

The hint of perique really is just a hint, a deftly applied pinch that for once functions as a condiment should, one that simultaneously enhances the delicately sweet virgnia while gently smoothing its edges with a whisper of coolness and spice, but not enough for it to be considered a real vaper.

As others have mentioned you can puff it hard without biting, which is a nice feature, but you'll miss the magic of this blend that way. Slowing the rhythm down will reveal an incredible and subtle nuance, like bringing one of those "magic eye" 3D pictures into focus when you look at it just right. I even found myself naturally exhaling the smoke through my nostrils, which I don't usually do with virginias. Also, the moisture level out of the tin is ok, but I prefer to let it dry out a little.

This is a truly lovely mild-to-medium virginia, one of the best I've come across. I think this should be a must-try for any virginia lover. I will definitely be checking out more Ratray blends.
36 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 08, 2014 Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Opened the tin. Nothng really jumped out at me. The smell? I liked it. Loaded up a bowl. It was good. No bite, Burnt well. Would smoke a bowl every so often. Didn't think much about it, but enjoyed it well enough. The next time. Hmmm. the tin is empty. Ordered more. Same thing. Again and again. I guess I smoke Old G more than anything else and hadn't even realized it. My favorite? Hmmm, I guess it is.
Pipe Used: 5o old briars
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the tin
28 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
Rattray - Old Gowrie.

The unlit mixture is resplendent: nice robust/long pieces, a perfect moistness and all a medium brown colour. Due to the fabulous condition of the unlit tobacco it attests that I thought lighting up would be easy, it is super to get lit!

Once the bowl is going I find it a rare occasion that it necessitates a re-light, unless it is left to long without a draw. That said, the actual burn is a very even one and very consistent. Now, the smoke itself: lovely, all along I get a fantastic medium temperature which only gives a very slight bite if I pull the hell out of it. Flavour now: if you like a Virginia/Perique blend then this is the tobacco for you! It is actually quite fair in the spread of the two tobaccos, with them both being very noticeable. The Virginia hay note is very full to the taste whilst there is also the great piquancy from the Perique. Vitamin N next: very satisfying. Maybe a little too much for a novice, albeit perfect if N is what is desired! The final good point is the room note: very much as you would expect from the included tobacco's however I find it to be a light weight one, with that in mind it gives a little more freedom as to where you smoke it!!

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Peterson Sandblast Sherlock Homes Baskerville
PurchasedFrom: Smoke King
Age When Smoked: New
26 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 25, 2009 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
OG: like HOTW, several years have passed from my last encounter, and the same way I'm wondering why... OG is another keeper !

As per the K&K site, OG share the same components of HOTW, of course in other proportions. Its strength is one notch (or two) below HOTW, even K&K puts them in the same scale degree... I feel HOTW being fruity, while OG is nutty. As HOTW may be a bit sharp, OG is absolutely mellow.

OG is delivering me the most soft & velvety smoke I've ever experienced, with the very faintest hidden tones of vanilla and nuts; just a whiff of vinegar to the nostrils. A pure heavenly pleasure !

Well, the most reasonable thing I can do is to alternate the two blends !

My highest reccomendations.
26 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 26, 2005 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Excellent Virginia! Fill a bowl, let it dry about 20 minutes or so and light 'em up! Just don't puff hard looking for a big flavor. Sit back, relax with a good book and a beverage, and go slow. Because it is a rubbed out flake it takes a fair amount of time to get through a bowl. Set the pipe down if it gets hot. No penalty for re-lights. It just gets better each time.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 10, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I find Rattray's blend offerings to be a real hit or miss for me with not much in-between Old Gowrie is a hit for me. OG, one of the “big three” Virginia offerings from Rattray's greets then nose with a typical Virginia smell of hay and figs and a little something extra. I tend to like my tobacco dry, so OG requires a little bit of dry time for me, but many will find it ready to smoke right out of the tin. The broken flakes show off Rattray's (aka K&K) use of high quality leaf. I have enjoyed it with the flakes kept largely intact and rubbed out and prefer the latter. With the exception that they both are pipe tobaccos, I find no comparison to Frog on the Town whatsoever as commented on below. Old Gowie smokes slowly and the addition of the Kentucky adds that little bit depth that some VaPers lack. With that said, I find OG to be medium in strength. I tend to be a bit of a puffer, but thankfully, it isn't a problem as OG is a"forgiving" blend. OG ages wonderfully and all of the flavors deepen, and while sweeter with age, the Kentucky tends to balance out the sweetness verses Marlin Flake. This is a very good blend and worth a few spots in the cellar, especially if you find Marlin to be too sweet. Three and a half stars.
19 people found this review helpful.
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