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.

Pipe Tobacco: Aging Gracefully


Many pipe smokers have discovered the advantages of aging tobaccos, knowing that certain blends benefit greatly by being stored for an extended period of time. It’s a little more complicated than just tossing some tins in the cellar and waiting a couple years to pop them open, so I’m going to help you learn how […]

The Process

With a great new area to work in and all the resources I need, it’s time for me to switch gears and get back to my Laboratory of Doom ® and begin to develop some new tobaccos. While I’m working on some of these items, I figured that it might be interesting to take you […]

Pipes and Cigars

Despite the title, this isn’t about our website. This is about my thoughts on the differences between pipe and cigar smoking. Some are obvious, others are less so. All of them are just my opinion, but that’s what I have to work with, so here I go. The first thing I ever smoked was a […]

I Got an Upgrade

When I was a kid (around the time of the invention of water), we were only allowed to use the eight color box of crayons because some families couldn’t afford the bigger selections and the school didn’t want people to be able to buy an advantage for their children and also wanted to spare the […]

It’s the Big One!

The title doesn’t refer to Fred Sanford having another heart attack, rather, it’s about the Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show; my favorite place to be the first weekend of May. This year was special for a number of reasons. First, we had a number of first-time attendees with us from the offices, who were […]

Not Just Talking Tobacco Today

When Scott Bendett opened the Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe in the Colonie Center mall in Albany, NY, he could have scarcely imagined where things would go from there. After a few years of selling cigars and pipes to the locals, Scott felt that it was time to reach out to a larger audience, by going […]

A Grain of Truth

DSH Dublin

Briar is an amazing material, and is ideally suited to making tobacco pipes. It’s a hard wood that polishes beautifully, it’s heat-resistant and it has a relatively neutral flavor. But one of the main reasons for its popularity as a pipe making wood is the intriguing grain that it has. The way it grows accounts […]

The Disrespected Tobacco Chamber

As pipe smokers and/or collectors, we pay a lot of attention to grain for smooth pipes or ring grain for sandblasts or the type and execution of rustication. We all have certain preferences for stain colors and finishes. Some people have distinct likes and dislikes for stem types, colors and materials. And we’re not even […]

Tobacco Legislation and The “Social Creep”

Russ Ouellette, Hearth & Home Master Blender

We’ve all heard the truism “Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile”. It’s usually in reference to children regarding self-discipline, but I’m coming to realize that it has a lot to do with government, especially legislators. Let me explain. I remember a time, not all that long ago, when smoking pipes, cigarettes, and […]

Blends, People, and Moods

Russ Ouellette, Hearth & Home Master Blender

I was recently thinking about the hobby of smoking pipes, all the different kinds of blends we make and sell, and also about all the pipe smokers I know, and it got me to wondering if there’s a common thread tying certain types of tobaccos to particular personality types. To take it a step further, […]