Part Rant, Part Announcement

acIt’s been widely reported that earlier this year CVS Pharmacy caved in to the pressure by anti-smoking zealots and announced that they would stop selling all tobacco products by October 2014. The actually were ahead of schedule, having beaten their self-imposed deadline by a few weeks. They mentioned that they believed that tobacco doesn’t fit their portfolio because they’re a health and wellness-oriented business. Even though I make my living from tobacco and the associated items, I don’t personally have a problem with their choice. I can’t imagine my doctor selling liquor, so I get the logic.

The problem is that, in a lot of rural areas, CVS was the only place that some people could go to without taking a long drive to buy pipe tobacco and cigars. I’m going to leave cigarettes out of the issue because people have a lot of choice when it comes to places to purchase coffin nails, but few places carry pipe tobacco or cigars anymore. To exacerbate the issue, CVS had a private-label brand of pipe tobacco that sold incredibly well, which was called Admiral’s Choice, and many people enjoyed these blends exclusively, but now they would disappear. For folks in those remote regions, they’re going to either have to burn up a lot of gas, or they’re going to have to find a mail-order solution to get what they want. That part obviously doesn’t bother me since I work for one of the largest online and catalog retailers of premium tobacco products, but it’s still a damned inconvenience for a lot of people, and I hope that those patrons will find a different place to take their other business to.

If you’ll be so kind as to pardon my French, what really pisses me off about this decision is that CVS still sells soda and candy that’s loaded with sugar, high-sodium snack foods, supplements that contain unproven products that haven’t been fully vetted out for safety and a plethora of items that are tested using animals. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to be socially responsible, you don’t get to pick and choose. Either get rid of anything that’s potentially harmful or let it slide. To do anything else is hypocritical.

So now, all those fans of Admiral’s Choice are SOL, right? Uh-uh. When we heard the news, we saddled up our white horses and loaded our six-shooters to ride to the rescue. We approached the manufacturer of Admiral’s Choice (which has Vanilla, Cherry, Natural and Black & Gold varieties) to inquire as to whether we could bring these blends on board. We’re pleased to announce that within the next week or so, will become the exclusive online and catalog retailer for these super-popular pipe tobaccos, and we’ll be selling them at prices right around what CVS charged. So for all of you who regularly bought these blends, we have one question for you – Who loves ya , baby?

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About Russ

Russ Ouellette is the blender/creator of the Hearth & Home series of tobaccos for in Bethlehem, PA. He has been a pipe smoker and blender for over 30 years, and enjoys feedback from the pipe smoking public. You can reach Russ at or by calling 1-800-494-9144.