The Neverending Quest

logoI haven’t been writing quite as much for for the last couple of weeks, and the reason is because I’ve been scouring the world to find new and interesting tobaccos for my upcoming blends. Okay, that’s a lie. I don’t have to travel that much because I’m lucky enough to have people who let me know when there’s something new, interesting or different for me to use, so I can stay in the comfort of my cell…I mean, my office, to work on new blends.

The truth of the matter is that over the last half-month, we’ve decided to take a look at a number of new products, closeouts, and items that we should be carrying that we haven’t, and we’ve received them and have to get them up on our website. Some of the new items include the great-smoking Icarus and Neptune pipes, made right here in the US, the Tom Eltang line of tobaccos from Cornell & Diehl, along with their limited-run Halloween blend, Mixture Monster. We bought a closeout on a number of pipe racks and other accessories which have made their way to the site. Probably the biggest change is in premium cigars, though.

We have access to so many great cigars from around the world, but we realized that there are a lot that haven’t been on our website. That’s changing rapidly. I’ve added at least a couple of dozen lines so far, and I’m only about 10% of the way through the project. If you thought we carried a lot of products before, wait until we get done. I’ve said in the past, “If we don’t carry it, you don’t need it”, and that will be even more true very soon. And just to let you know, we’re not just adding a bunch of pricey boutique cigars. There are a number of sticks that are a real bargain. Just to give you an example, we now have a brand called Amati that’s made by a major manufacturer, but I can’t tell you who under penalty of an eye-poke. These are 100% long-filler Dominican-made cigars with a US grown Connecticut Shade wrapper that’s smooth and creamy with great construction. They come in boxes of twenty at as little as $1 apiece!

I’ve burned through a lot of cigars lately, since I need to try them to write the copy for the site. I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. There are so many good, new (to us) cigars that I can’t believe that we haven’t carried them before. A few of them were cigars that we used to carry that I thought had been discontinued, or I didn’t know where to get them, so now they’re coming back.

The problem with all this is that for each one, a new page has to be created, photographs have to be taken, and copy has to be written. We’re a pretty busy company, and we don’t have an unlimited amount of staff, so it’s all hands on deck to get this done while still making sure that your orders get out the door in a timely fashion. While all this gets done, I’m still working on about twenty new blends that will be coming out in the next six months, and that involves getting the mixtures finalized, sending direction to the factory to get it made faithfully to the original, creating the labels (thank God for our Design department) and placing the initial orders.

While this is going on, we have to place orders for the holiday shopping season, get it all in and put away, and plan our next catalog along with all the specials and deals leading up to Hanukkah and Christmas. Eric is developing a nervous twitch, Kevin has band-aids all over his hands from cleaning estate pipes, Cole is spending countless hours creating email offers and the warehouse staff is hustling to fill boxes and find places to put the newly-arriving inventory.

It probably seems very serene to you as you browse our website, but it’s a real beehive of activity here, with people practically tripping over each other to get everything accomplished. Our IT department (the people who handle all the computer stuff) has been doing a redesign for our pipe pages which puts the image of each pipe next to the description. We’re running a test right now, and you may, or may not, be able to see the change right now. If all goes well, everyone will get to see the new design shortly.

The days go by quickly, maybe a bit too quickly, as we hustle to get everything done, but that’s part of the reason I’m so inordinately proud of being a part of We have a great bunch of very dedicated people here who want nothing more than to make your experience a good one. We may have a hiccup here and there, but for the most part we’re on top of things, and there’s a lot more to come soon.

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.