Rattray Red Rapparee

Exhilarating and elusive, quaint and seductive. Prepared from choice red Virginias and heavily flavored with Orientals, giving it a red tinge. It burns in the pipe with the spontaneity of a fine cigar. New description: A charming, perfectly balanced dark mixture of Virginia tobaccos, Orientals, black cavendish and a luxurious quantity of latakia. The ash is pale grey and similar to that of a good cigar. A wonderful, spicy mixture.


Brand Rattray
Series British Collection
Blended By Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG
Manufactured By Kohlhase & Kopp
Blend Type Scottish
Contents Black Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Cut Mixture
Packaging 50 grams tin, 100 grams tin
Country Germany
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.39 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 10 of 207 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Based on strong endorsements from this web site, I purchased this as one of several "oriental" blends. I searched for the merits of a Virginia-Turkish blend: an English without latakia. I opened the tin and instantly detected the earthy smell of latakia in a ribbon-cut blend. The tobacco was a bit moist out of the tin; however, it was dry enough to stuff and light immediately. To my unpleasant surprise, I noted the unwanted light latakia which, nevertheless, failing to add any real flavor to a particularly flat blend. Still, Red Rapparee exhibited good burning characteristics and never bit my tongue despite my quick, abusive, smoking in search of flavor. I put the tin away and attributed the good reviews to that Latin expression concerning arguments about preferences.

Months passed and I found myself with a dozen-odd half empty tobaccos tins. Thrift demanded that I finish at least some of the half-full tins to justify my next internet order. And so I picked the Red Rapparee tin -- it had the most tobacco left -- and selected a pipe. I filled a large-bowled pipe to combat the expected flatness, a silver-spigot billiard, and sat down at my computer.

The months-old Red Rapparee produced some of the best smokes I have enjoyed. I don't know how the transformation from flat to great worked: more oxygen, a larger bowl (others have noted the tobaccos' sensitivity to pipes), or a bizarre change in my preferences. What I do know is that Red Rapparee is a wonderful light-medium Balkan. I found a somewhat sweet and tangy Virginia base countered by smooth orientals; the latakia was a light condiment which augmented the whole smoke with a leathery richness. Red Rapparee is perfectly blended. Every time I smoked this I was completely absorbed by the flavor and nicotine. This has more nicotine than many similar blends.

If a blender charges a lot for blend I expect a lot. I'm quite stingy with stars. I strongly recommend this to any reader: I hope someone might enjoy this as much as I.
65 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2014 Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable
The fermented red Virginia has little tart and tangy dark fruit, sugary sweetness, and offers the bready, earthy, woody qualities one expects. It's the lead component, but not by a lot. The Orientals offer some spice, dry sourness, wood, floralness, earth, smoke and strength without strong arming the other tobaccos in a secondary position. The Cyprian Latakia provides smoke, earth, and light woodsy sweet notes as it plays a little below the Orientals. The sugary black cavendish is a middling player, and is unsweetened so there's no vanilla taste here. It's mostly a condiment. There's a little sugary topping as well. The nic-hit is just past the center of mild to medium. The strength and taste levels are medium. No chance of bite or harshness. Well balanced with enough contrast to make it an interesting, repeatable smoke. Burns clean and cool with a very consistent flavor from top to bottom. Leaves very little dampness at the finish. Requires an average number of relights. Has a lightly lingering, pleasant after taste, and much stronger room note.

63 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 08, 2008 Medium to Strong Medium Extra Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I have been happily lurking at the edges of this website for well over a year now and through it I have discovered several blends which I otherwise would not have tried. Foremost amongst these is Red Rapparee.

I write this, my first, review as a long term (25+ years) pipe smoker, usually savouring blends with at least some latikia in them. I regularly try new blends and when a parcel of Red Rapparee arrived the other morning I selected a suitable pipe (an old GBD Rhodesian which I regularly smoke latikia-heavy blends in), gave it a good clean and opened the tin. The nose was nothing out of the ordinary (a bit like Dunhill 965), so I loaded and lit up, and sat down to work on a book chapter I was writing(being an academic by trade), expecting nothing out of the ordinary. I was wrong.

The complexity of Red Rapparee snuck up on me and, though absorbed in my work, it became apparent that the flavour was changing perceptably over time, going through at least three 'evolutions' from the top to bottom of the bowl. I stopped writing and just smoked... The flavour was ultimately very complex, 'oak smoked' and satisfying. I certainly tasted the pleasing salty/sour overtones which another reviewer noted. Straight from the tin it burned fully to ash. I can really not ask for anything more. My only fear is that it will 1) distract me from my work, and 2) make me sideline indefinitely my (still loved) tins of 965 and Squadron Leader!
46 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 04, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
This is an excellent mixture. The tin note is a sweet fermented fruit scent with a delicate smokiness underneath. Overall it's a touch too moist from the tin and without some dry time it smokes a bit steamy. The cut is reminiscent of blends like Margate, with long stringy-thin ribbons that could almost be considered shag.

As far as flavor goes, Red Rapparee is chock full of subtle spicy flavors and has a slightly bitter warm bread-like quality to it. The smoke is exceptionally cool and smooth, and it's lighter in body than I expected.

Like any good English the flavor of Red Rapparee builds nicely as the bowl progresses, and a sweet mustiness appears around the mid-bowl point. This is accompanied by a more assertive spiciness that's quite delectable. The Latakia is done to perfection and lends buoyancy to an array of light VA and oriental tobacco flavors that are primarily sweet and warm in tone.

I really like this blend and it works on a lot of levels. It's mild enough to smoke any time, yet despite being lighter in body it still has enough flavor and complexity to make it a great option for when I am craving something that has a bit more going on.

I should also mention that Red Rapparee makes for a superb morning blend. Frankly this is everything I was hoping Early Morning Pipe would be. Every so often I smoke a blend that has a truly remarkable end bowl flavor, RR is one of them. It's easy to see why this mixture is such a classic.
34 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2001 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Let me start out by saying that this was one of my favorite blends for many years. The others were Rattray's Black Mallory, John Cotton's #1 Mild, and Sobranie's Virginia Flake. I was devastated when Rattray was taken over by a Danish company who proceeded to change all the blends to Danish style. Recently, I had heard that the new owners had restored the English style, and had to try it again. They seem to have hit a Home Run.

Appearance: Generally short, slightly fine cut ribbon with about 40% red/brown leaf, 40% dark and 20% lighter leaf. I could not determine if all of the dark leaf is Latakia, or if some of it is Dark Cavendish. The blend was just a bit moister than I prefer, but was smokeable right from the can.

Aroma: The aroma is that of a fairly full English/Oriental blend, rich and smokey but not particularly spicy. The blend seems to be well matured, so that individual components do not jump up and shout out their presence. In other words, they all play well with others. I remember RR having a slightly more piquant aroma (almost like a touch of vinegar), but this could be owing to the German method of steaming their tobacco to take off the rough edges. The aroma reminded me somewhat of Black Mallory (can't complain about that).

Packing: This is a fairly fine cut, so it packed easily in any size pipe that I tried. I tend to use the "drop a pinch and tap the side" method for non-flake blends, and it works very well with this one.

Lighting: The blend lit easily, taking a char readily and starting to smoke before tamping. A quick tamp and relight and the pipe was ready to enjoy.

Initial flavor: The flavor was right up front, full bodied and dense tasting. Nothing too subtle about it, the rich sweetness of red Virginia balanced the smokiness of the Latakia, and the spicy Oriental stayed slightly in the background. Slow puffing gave me nice layers of flavor, one or another of the ingredients always popping up to remind me of its presence.

Mid-bowl: The flavor stayed consistent through the second third of the smoke, continuing to yield a variety of delightful impressions. There was absolutely no gurgle, or trace of steam to contend with, and it remained cool to the tongue.

Finish: There was a slight intensification of the flavor and strength at the bottom of the bowl, but it never became harsh or wet. It burned to the bottom with only a few relights at the end, leaving a fine, darkish gray ash which clung to the sides of the bowl.

Tried in the following pipes: Because of nostalgia and reputation, I passed on the cobs and went right for a Castello Sea Rock KKK #31. This was a perfect choice for the blend, but this pipe burns everything well. Next pipe was a large GBD Prehistoric Billiard which has not been fully broken in. After letting the tobacco air out for about 30 minutes before loading the pipe, I got the same results. Ditto for a large Becker & Musico Apple. So far, I haven't tried it it any group 3 or 4 pipes, the blend seems to want a larger bowl.

Summary: This is a wonderful tobacco, but not necessarily the Red Rapparee of old. It appears to be just a bit richer than the original, but not overwhelming. It is not a blend for "all day" constant puffing, but I would recommend it for quiet moments at any time of day, weekend mornings with a good cup of your favorite coffee or tea, taking a walk, listening to good music, etc! In other words, I plain LOVED it.
31 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 19, 2009 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant
Not much to add to the other reviews. I consider this to be one of the very few "genius blends" and deserves a place atop the pinnacle with the likes of Escudo and Dunhill 965 - not that this tastes like those two.

The only real thing to add is the cellaring aspect. I now buy this in bulk but I've also cellared a couple of tins that have been simmering for several years. It ages like the masterpiece it is. A few years on this blend takes it to the ambrosial level where if you were only a latakia/oriental smoker, you'd need look no further.

The House of Rattray created the perfect oriental blend and KK&C continue that fine tradition. Four stars is not nearly enough.
27 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 25, 2013 Medium Mild to Medium Very Full Strong
Rattray's Red Rapparee does indeed contain Latakia. This is the blurb that accompanies the tin on the little round booklet: "A charming, perfectly balanced dark mixture of Virginia tobaccos, Orientals, Black Cavendish and a luxurious quantity of Latakia. The ash is pale grey and similar to that of a good cigar. A wonderful spicy mixture". Note: RRR does NOT contain cigar leaf, but DOES contain a "luxurious quantity of Latakia". Hope this clarifies things for all those preceding reviewers who detect cigar leaf, or who detect Latakia but are surprised it is not listed by Tobacco Reviews above in the blend composition. Typo I presume. I have gone through the better part of a 100g tin now, and, being a certified Latakiophile, I think I've found my Holy Grail. I consume a pound a month of Star of the East and Westminster. Also quite a bit of London Mixture. And I clench pipe and sip slowly for a flavorful cool smoulder. RRR does not disappoint. The addition of Scottish Cavendish to RRR reminds me a bit of Dunhill's 965, but here the flavors are much more pronounced than in 965. I can see a slight lineage to Black Mallory, but RRR has a greater Oriental component to it. Shades of chocolate covered salty pretzel indeed, as previously stated. Add to that a dollop of saddle leather and beef jerkey and at a slow cadence this blend really sings. No diminution as the bowl progresses either. The blend holds its flavor profile strongly all the way to its ashy end at bowl's bottom. A word of caution, this blend is very pipe sensitive. I've found the best results in narrow billiard and chimneys, about group 3 to 4 in size. Wide pots do this blend a disservice. The slower the smoking cadence the stronger the flavor profile here. A very fine blend. Can't wait to see how it ages. A four star recommendation.
23 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 27, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant
Rattray - Red Rapparee.

The initial aroma I find great, it's quite a raw tobacco smell with a slight citrus hint in there too. The blend is really impressive in the moistness, I just know it will give a pleasing burn!

Igniting is really simple because of the moistness and once lit the burn is very consistent, needing hardly any re-lights whilst leaving a pale cigar like ash. The temperature of the smoke I find great, I would describe it as medium in that department. Flavour now: awesome! I would, by no means describe this as a Lat-bomb, more of a "well rounded" mixture that allows all of its constituents to shine. The Latakia isn't unnoticeable, it seems to me to be just the right amount of smokiness. The Black Cavendish's sweetness is again spot on, not too sugary or gloopy, in fact just the right amount of it! The Oriental sourness comes through at a great volume , not tongue twisting but a good quantity of scintillation. The Virginia is pleasantly noticeable all along, a decent and steady orthodox hay note, but again, not at all pre-eminent. The Vitamin N is unequivocally great: satisfying and not disappointing nor stomach churning . The room-note is again lovely: not too much, not too thick and a good detection of all the tobaccos. The only negative is this one does tend to bite me a little so I find gently sipping this one to be an expedient tactic, but of course we all vary for that so the bite is merely a subjective point!

I find this one to be the quintessential "all day" smoke: not bland, boring, strong, overpowering, or sickly at all. In fact it's a very steady, satisfying and easy tasting smoke!

Four stars.
Pipe Used: Comoys Elegance
PurchasedFrom: Smoke King
Age When Smoked: New
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 16, 2002 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
I used to smoke the Red Rap all the time as I loved the combination of the components and heavenly smell the burning leaf produced. I do really enjoy many of the McConnell's era Rattray's blends and the wonderful flavor of Red Rapparee stuck like glue when K&K took over production. Great Virginia, nice Orientals, fragrant Latakia and backbone building unflavored Black Cavendish combine to make this a quality tobacco all the way.

17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2014 Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable
Perth-blended Red Rapparee was my first staple pipe tobacco. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth when word came down that Rattray was out-sourcing their US allotments to Robert McConnell. And now I am reviewing this version of RR from Kolhase und Kopp. Who knows for sure if I even really remember the older versions; but if I do then original RR was somewhat stronger, and zestier, with more individual swagger from its varietals, and without “incense” from its Latakia. But That was Then, and This is Now. Here and Now, the tobaccos in a popped tin of K&K RR smell quite melded, along with some overripe dates and apricots, some anise, and maybe a drop or two of spirits (fruit schnapps?) added, for good measure. The Latakia smoke scent is only forward for the first minute or two, then the fermented, earthy, lightly stoved VAs and the loamy, exotic Orientals come to the top, as ever, with the sweet-and-sour Cav hanging back, still holding hands with the Orientals. Lighting up, the new lot remains more of-a-piece than the older stuff, as I recall. The aromas and the flavors still coincide with my idea of a medium English, with “enough” well-tempered Latakia, and well-developed, TOP Orientals rising just over tasty, earthy, and sweet-enough red VAs, which, though hardly limp-wristed, are not so piquant and assertive as before. I can’t say I well remember the original Cav, except it was never the star; nor is it now. Somehow, it seems to add body, though, and I do like the sweet-and-sour effect that works a treat here with the mellow-but-still-spicy and slightly gamy Turkish/Oriental leaf. In fact, each and every tobacco in this blend plays an important part from beginning to end, which, after all, is the idea of a blend in the first place (,non?). One interesting “effect” sported by today’s RR: Though the aromas are well aligned with the tastes as both develop, they are not perfectly aligned, and at any given time there can be a mild, fleeting sort of smell/taste “discord”, like jazz chords, as it were; nothing over the top, in keeping with the new RR’s overall smoother profile and “traditional” aesthetic; but nice, IMO. The ribbons light and burn down fine for me right out of the tin, if they’re packed and tamped authoritatively, as ever. Strength is just over mild, and tastes are medium. I still like the room note a lot; however, my wife never let me smoke it in the house, Then or Now. Aftertaste is the best of the smoke, only sweeter, and it trails off with a sweet, smoky, slightly metallic quality, still sweet & sour, with a slight, bracing bitterness, overall. RR still develops very nicely in a jar over time, as ever (though differently now).

Perhaps it’s not really helpful - or realistic - to try to compare memories of old, bygone blends to today’s versions. Fortunately, despite the changes, RR has survived basically intact. It was and it remains an exemplary English blend, with real, Old School quality, balance, and smoke-ability. Among the changes, there might be just a smidgeon of something non-tobacco in there now; but it "works", IMO, no harm, no foul. Withal, we’ve got to round the fractions here, and what remains of RR is still good enough to net 4 stars from me, and this more because of than despite the ever-growing ranks of “adequate” medium English blends. BTW, RR is one of only a few “mild” pipe tobaccos that satisfy me, albeit I’ve been known to go back for seconds, sooner rather than later.
Pipe Used: various briars; generally larger bowls
PurchasedFrom: Liberty Tobacco
Age When Smoked: fresh from the tin to 8 months in a jar
15 people found this review helpful.
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