Wilke No. 72 by Pipeworks and Wilke

Blender’s description:

Composed of Burleys, two cuts of Virginia, Latakia and Perique. For those who enjoy true natural tobacco flavor, one of my most popular lighter English blends.

Here is an example of a blend that truly uses Latakia as a condiment. This rounds out and touches up the earthy burleys and leaves the pepper from the Perique to deal with the tang and sweetness from the Virginia.

No. 72 has lots of high notes and a clean dry finish. The proportion of Perique here is pushing the envelope but doesn’t quite step out of bounds. Those who like Virginia/Perique blends and burley should not be off put by the amount of Latakia here and enjoy this approach to what I’d call a classic American blend.

This will work great in warm weather or as a spicy all day smoke. Try this one in a variety of pipes as the bowl size and pipe engineering makes all the difference.

Wilke No. 193 by Pipeworks and Wilke

Blender’s description:

It is a light English blend of Virginias, Burleys, Latakia and Perique and is topped off with a bit of Wilke’s unique fermented black cavendish. Truly a social English.

This is a very agreeable blend in all ways. While 193 does lean to the lighter side, I find the flavor and body entirely satisfying and I can enjoy this any time of the day. The foundation of Burley, Virginia, and Latakia is not obscured by the smidgen of Perique or the fermented black cavendish.

This amount of Perique is perfect for adding a tidy amount of zing to an English type blend of this sort. The fermented black cavendish is either not overly sweet to begin with or applied sparingly enough to twist in an additional layer of flavor without getting in the way of a clean finish.

Like all the Pipeworks and Wilke blends, this arrived plenty moist and required some drying to reach a moisture level that appeals to me. Once there it loads and burns beautifully with no bite. I expect this easy-going blend will appeal to most pipe smokers unless they have no tolerance for Latakia or Perique in any amount.

Bestmake by Pipeworks and Wilke Video Review

This is one of those old timey blends you can smoke all day.

Blender’s description:

One of the oldest Wilke recipes. Virginia and Burleys are mixed with a non-aromatic Black Cavendish tobacco and topped with a generous amount of superior Latakia creating a traditional medium strength English blend. A rich mellow blend in the true British tradition.

This blend has a medium amount of Latakia. I wouldn’t want any more in this blend because I might miss the tangy sweetness from the Virginia or that faint toastiness from the unflavored black cavendish. The burley is applied just enough to round it out with some body.

This blend is well behaved and well balanced.

Bestmake by Pipeworks and Wilke

If you’ve ever wondered, as I have, what it was like being a pipe smoker back the day, Bestmake might be the time machine to take you back.

Tin description:

One of the oldest Wilke recipes. Virginia and Burleys are mixed with a non-aromatic Black Cavendish tobacco and topped with a generous amount of superior Latakia creating a traditional medium strength English blend. A rich mellow blend in the true British tradition

When I smoke a blend like this, I don’t think of it as being British, I think of it as being a retro or American blend. Maybe its the burlies, maybe I’m all wrong. In any case, this is a grand tobacco blend.

There is something special about what burley and just the right amount of Latakia do together. Here they make a round, smooth, slightly rich presentation. The Virginia and Cavendish fill the blend out, adding sweetness, just a smidgin of tang, and some body.  All in all its a well balanced medium blend I could smoke all day.

Pipeworks and Wilke No. 72

My taste for Perique ebbs and flows with the seasons. Fortunately, my taste for the stuff had returned when I approached No. 72. This pipe tobacco blend has a generous amount.

The tin description:

Composed of Burleys, two cuts of Virginia, Latakia and Perique. For those who enjoy true natural tobacco flavor, one of my most popular lighter English blends.

It is difficult for a blender to make this much Perique work so well. Perique is one of those things that too much is just too much. Less is usually more. With Pipeworks and Wilke No. 72 plenty is just right.

Here is another American style blend (Burley, Virginia, plus condiments) from Pipeworks and Wilke that has some complexity going for it in that the flavor changes throughout the bowl.

This starts out pretty brassy and light with the pepper of the Perique almost overwhelming. Before long the Burley and Virginia broaden and fill out and the bowl ends very rich and satisfying.

The proportion of Latakia is what accounts for “lighter English blend” in the tin description. It is there as a condiment and makes the other components sing. This is a brilliant application of Latakia. I’m especially fond of any blend where a little Latakia can do so much – this seems at times to be a lost art with so many blends out there that just throw the stuff at you.

Don’t mistake “lighter” for deficient in taste or strength. There is a pleasant nicotine kick and fans of quality burley will appreciate the sturdy character of No. 72.

Gotham Court by Pipeworks and Wilke

This is a blend that makes me glad I don’t limit myself to one type of pipe tobacco blend or another.

Tin description:

A spicy aroma along with a subtle Oriental flavor. Orientals (other than Latakia) and a rich Virginia base along with two Cavendish tobaccos make up this special blend. Lightly aromatic!

I try a lot of pipe tobaccos and usually a new blend is a variation on a theme – another English, another Virginia/Perique, another aromatic, etc. Once in a while something entirely different comes along – this time its Gotham Court.

When I’m lighting this up my mind is telling me “its an aromatic – see, it says right there in the description,” but my palate is saying “but wait a minute, it doesn’t have that sweet, doughy, mouth feel.”

A lot of the sweetness, what little there is compared to most full-on aromatics, seems to be from the Virginias rather than the topping. The Orientals bring up the rear, sort of harmonizing with the added flavoring, and the cavendish carries the middle.

I’m hesitant to name the topping flavor. Some have called it cloves and nutmeg. I’m not sure that’s all there is to it. Hard to say because like all good aromatics, it is hard to tell where the topping flavor stops and the tobacco starts.

Gotham Court also undergoes some changes throughout the bowl. The Virginias get deeper and earthier, but the Orientals and the spice hold their own throughout the bowl.

This is a truly interesting blend and worth a try by any pipe smoker no matter what your usual preference.

Video coming soon.