About Russ

Russ Ouellette is the blender/creator of the Hearth & Home series of tobaccos for www.pipesandcigars.com 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 russo@pipesandcigars.com or by calling 1-800-494-9144.

Treat Dad with Something Special

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Being a father myself, I know how we think. We tend to be fairly frugal when raising a family, so we often don’t buy something for ourselves that we really like, or we buy a cheaper version so there’s more money left in the budget for more important things. My daughters love to get me […]

The Perfect Pair

I’ve written before about how certain pipes seem to work better than others for certain types of tobaccos. This time I’m going to get a bit more detailed. I’ve wanted to write this for a while, but every time I began, I felt that I couldn’t be as clear as I’d like. Let’s see how this […]

A Tale of Two Shows

As Kevin wrote about yesterday, we flew back home from Chicago late Sunday night after attending the Chicagoland Pipe and Tobacciana Show. You might think by the title of this little tome that I’m going to compare that show to another one, but that’s not where I’m going. In fact, it would be impossible to […]

No Matter Which Way You Slice it

pipe tobacco review Ten to Midnight

We’re getting ready to head out to Chicago for the show, but a customer made an observation earlier today which made me think that this topic would be a good one for Talking Tobacco, so I’m going to address the different cuts used in pipe tobaccos. The main reason there are different cuts is because […]

The Growing Fascination with Dark-Fired Kentucky

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When I introduced BlackHouse in 2011, it included a small amount of dark-fired Kentucky. It was only the second blend that I had made with it, and I always treated it (and still do) as a condimental tobacco. I knew of Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky and Peter Heinrich’s Dark Strong Flake as being fairly stout […]

Mysterious Tobaccos

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Of all the strains of tobaccos, Orientals and Turkish are, to my tastes, the most exotic, and in a way, that makes them more fun to work with. Virginia, for example, will taste different depending upon the growing region, processing, etc., but it’s still fundamentally Virginia. But there are so many different strains of Orientals/Turkish, […]

Humility

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I find humility to be a virtue. I don’t believe that anything is accomplished by brazenly tooting one’s own horn, and I try to live by that. I’ve known plenty of people in my life who aren’t humble in the slightest. Very rarely is this hubris justified, however, and I attribute that to overcompensating for […]

Some Observations on Cigars

I enjoy cigars and have for almost 40 years. But being in the business, and especially since my focus turned to blending pipe tobaccos, I’ve become more analytical about them and have noticed some things that have changed my perspective. With the trend moving toward larger ring gauges, there’s seems to be a common conception […]

The T.A.P.S. Show

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I go to a fair number of pipe shows, and each one has its own personality. This weekend I’ll be going to Raleigh, NC for the T.A.P.S. Expo which is held at the state fairgrounds. I really enjoy this show for a few reasons. The friendly, laid-back atmosphere – The venue isn’t very large, but […]

Like Fingernails on a Blackboard

Actually, someone scraping their nails across a blackboard doesn’t really bother me, but there are plenty of things that do. so I thought that I’d present some to you to see if you agree. One thing that drives me nuts is when I buy a cigar that hasn’t been properly stored. Our entire humidor (which […]