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.

How Do You Cut?

There are so many ways to cut a cigar, and each one has its advantages. Let’s take a look at the different types of cutters and what they do best. Guillotines- This category includes single guillotines (uncommon today), double guillotines and “butterfly” style cutters. The biggest advantage to these types of cutter is that they […]

It’s a Matter of Taste

We frequently get calls from our customers inquiring as to whether a particular blend has been changed because, to that person, it doesn’t taste right anymore. This may have happened to you, so let’s look at that phenomenon. First of all, sometimes blends do change. The manufacturer may not be able to get the same […]

The Perfect Pipe

If I were to describe the perfect pipe, it would be light as a feather, have a super-comfortable stem, would stay lit for 5 minutes without puffing on it, would always smoke cool and dry, would be visually stunning and would cost about $15. Of course, this animal doesn’t exist. And frankly, the perfect pipe […]

About Vulcanite Stems

Very few things in life are perfect. Bacon is wonderful, but if you go just a little past the ideal level of crisp, you wind up with burnt bacon. Life is full of these “close, but not perfect” things. Some things that fall into this category are vulcanite (ebonite, hard rubber) stems. They offer a […]

Cigar Review- Man O’ War Puro Authentico

I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to cigar size/shape preference. I’m a corona/Lonsdale guy. A 42 to 44 ring gauge just suits me, and a length between 5 and 6.5 inches allows for a long enough smoke without becoming tiresome. I’m also in the minority when it comes to strength and flavor profile. I […]

Time Flies

In another month, I’ll mark ten years since I first came to PipesandCigars.com. It doesn’t seem remotely possible, but it is. Scott hired me, in part, because his staff was heavily cigar-oriented and he wanted someone with more of a pipe background. Along with routine store duties, I was also asked to be the liaison […]

For the Beginner – Part 2, Choosing a Tobacco

One of the biggest questions a new pipe smoker has to deal with is what kind of tobacco to choose. The variety of pipe tobaccos is amazing. Virtually any type of flavor is out there, but the taste isn’t the only thing you should consider. I’ll outline the major categories for you, and I’ll rate […]

For the Beginner- Part 1, Packing, Lighting and Smoking

I’m willing to bet that there are more ex-pipe smokers than pipe smokers. The main reason that so many people try smoking a pipe and give it up is because they get the wrong kind of pipe and/or tobacco, and they don’t know how to pack, light and smoke to get the most enjoyment and […]

Some Thoughts About Cigars

One of the problems with having a busy mind is the ongoing flood of random thoughts. I wish that I had the discipline to write them all down, but I would probably wind up with carpal tunnel syndrome if I did. I’ve had a number of thoughts lately about cigars, so I’m just going to […]

About Aromatics

Aromatic pipe tobaccos comprise one of the most contentious topics among pipe smokers. Among enthusiasts, they’re almost universally derided for a variety of reasons. But this is still, far and away, the largest-selling segment of pipe tobaccos, especially if you include the OTC semi-aromatics in the group. When you look at the all-day pipe smoker, […]