Speaking Volumes (Rattray’s Hal O’ The Wynd)


When I first heard about Hal O’ the Wynd it was through user endorsements on Facebook.  Many people recommended that I try it so I was eager to get my hands on some.

When I found it on smokingpipes.com, HERE, I immediately assumed that Rattray must allow their product to speak for itself.  The tin was a plain yellow with some cursive script that plainly listed the name, and little else.  I was intrigued, and placed an order as soon as I was able.

I was honestly not prepared for what was in store!  When the package arrived with my tobacco order, I took one look at the tin and was immediately interested.  The only clue to what was inside was a description under the title that read “a pure Virginian tobacco of a most unusual share of strength”, and the date “since 1903”.

If Charles Rattray has been blending this tobacco, obviously not personally, since 1903 and hasn’t required any sort of “catchy gimmick”, just a plain yellow can, it must be good.

This tobacco is blended for Charles Rattray in Perth Scotland, by Kohlhase, Kopp and company in Denmark.  Though the label says “A pure Virginian tobacco” the Kohlhase, Kopp and Co. website claims it is a blend of fire cured Kentucky, Virginia, and Perique, flake cut, and hand rubbed.

The tin note is not exceptional, being quite typical of a Va-per, fruity, spicy, and slightly fermented.

Also, the tobacco is quite moist and requires 10 or 15 minutes of airing out before it is really smokeable.

The room note, while quite pleasant, it is not something that you would call your in-laws over to smell.

Is this, however, where the tobacco begins to speak for itself, and does it ever speak volumes.  The taste is incredible, sweet and smoky with that spicy Perique under taste.  After about half a bowl, I began to feel it, “most unusual share of strength” indeed.  By the time the bowl was done, I was quite buzzed, and feeling pretty good.

Once aired out, the tobacco burns evenly, and readily, and required no re-lighting, while burning down cleanly with no dottle.  The tobacco also burned very dry, and did not wet my pipe.

Obviously, Charles Rattray does not require any sort of “catchy gimmick” with this tobacco.  110 years in the making has blended a very fine mixture.

I don’t feel I need to go on and on about this tobacco, all I can say is that if you are a Va-per fan, of any degree, pick yourself up a tin, I assure you won’t be disappointed.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

4 thoughts on “Speaking Volumes (Rattray’s Hal O’ The Wynd)

  1. Wow, this sounds like a real keeper. I actually like the tin, it is reminiscent of antique tins. I love such quaint methods of advertisement, it shows that those who make their product are comfortable in their product and don’t need to cover a poor product in a good looking and flashy label.

  2. Pingback: Speaking Volumes (Rattray’s Hal O’ The Wynd) « Smoking Jacket

  3. Reblogged this on The Leather Library and commented:
    This particular blend, by your review, seems to be one that is awesome. I look forward to having a tobacco with such a long history of great production in my collection. As always Erin at The Smoking Jacket blog gives a detailed and honest review. I look forward to his future reviews. Great job buddy 🙂

  4. OH, for a last tin of “the original” Hal o’…by the way, the original, and the subsequent McConnell made Hal was simply two Virginia tobaccos, akin to McClelland/ McCranie’s Red Ribbon, tho’ a little less rich. It was wonderful delight! Perhaps KK’s web site is incorrect, because if KK made it to the original recipe, their description is incorrect. If KK’s web site is correct, it’s not Hal o’ the Wynd, imho. AND, the cut of the tobacco certainly isn’t even close to the same. I understand that the modern version isn’t going to be like the earlier – different leaf, different water, etc…but, to me the KK version is only a name, not a true representation of the wonderful Hal. I like a few of the KK blends – so I’m not just down on them…but oh, my wonderful Hal o’ the Wynd…

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