Daybreak by Hearth and Home – Russ Oullette

Blender’s description:

After receiving some calls and emails from members of the New York Pipe Club lamenting the loss of Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe, we wanted to develop a blend with similar characteristics to EMP. After a number of “tweaks”, we sent a sample to the club, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We’re now making it available to the general public. Try this traditional English mixture of sweet Virginias, fragrant Orientals and rich, smoky Latakia.

While Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe was the very first tobacco I purchased and smoked back in 1994, and I have fond memories of it, it has been too long since I smoked it (over a year) to comment on how similar in taste Daybreak is, but like the description says, it has characteristics like those of Early Morning Pipe.

By its own right, Daybreak is a fantastic blend. I’m not an expert at the art of blending, but I believe it is a fair guess that making a lighter bodied English like Daybreak “work” is more of a challenge than dumping generous quantities of Latakia atop some Virginia and Oriental leaf and thinking up a name for a new blend for Latakia lovers. Not that Latakia bombs can’t be done well too, of course.

Hearth and Home’s Daybreak balances a mild sweetness and gentle tang from the Virginias with a range of intermingling flavors from the Oriental and Latakia. Oullette has kept each of these flavors from dominating or drowning out the others leaving a pleasantly complex smoke. This may be a fantastic “early morning” smoke, but I’m sure English lovers will appreciate it throughout the day for its easy burning characteristics. No doubt this will also age very well.

If you are mourning the loss of “Early Morning Pipe” do give this one a try and let me know how well it matches up in your opinion.

LJ Heart Burley by Russ Ouellette – Hearth and Home

Blender’s description:

A light, naturally sweet blend created for renowned pipemaker, Lannes Johnson, who selected this mixture to send as a sample to his pipe customers. Two diff- erent types of nutty Burley are laced with an unusual cube cut Virginia and a Burley-based natural toasted Black Cavendish for a splash of non-flavored sweetness. Now available to the general public for the very first time. If you’re looking for an all-day blend that isn’t wet or overly sugary, give this one a try.

Expect this tobacco to arrive well on the dry side. I recommend leaving it as is before smoking. The overall taste is slightly sweet with a healthy tang. Maybe its my imagination but I’d swear I taste a little Perique, but the blend description doesn’t mention it.

The base of burley is easy on the tongue but deserves a careful smoking cadence to keep off any bitterness. This is a clean medium bodied that won’t win any rewards for complexity and likely never sought any. The blend was created for an all-day pipe smoker, and an all-day blend it is if you share LJ’s preference for a straightforward tangy smoke.

Classic Burley Kake by Russ Ouellette – Video

Blender’s description:

Classic Burley Kake is a new blend that pays homage to old-time Burley flakes and cakes. Using Tennessee and Kentucky Burleys, ranging from lighter white to darker mahogany, and a bit of matured red Virginia, this sliced cake tobacco is a traditional American-style blend.

We start with four different types of Burley, the aforementioned Tennessee and Kentucky, plus two different premium white Burleys. Then we add a red Virginia for a maple-like sweetness. Then we use all-natural flavors- cocoa, rum and anise and steam the tobaccos with the flavorings and firmly press and slice it. The aroma is mellow and pleasant, and the taste is lightly sweet with a large volume of smoke.

Hearken back to a simpler time when the sight of a pipe in someone’s mouth while walking down the street was common, and the scent of pipe tobacco was everywhere. Give Classic Burley Kake a try and go back in time.

The new Classic Burley Kake is a similar type of tobacco to Edgeworth Sliced. We’re not attempting to to copy Edgeworth, but rather provide smokers with a blend that is similar to yet still unique.

I try to maintain a certain objectivity when I review tobaccos – it shouldn’t be important to you how much I like this or that blend, you probably just want to know what’s in it and whatever other facts I can relay to you.

That said, I’m going to have to make an exception with Hearth and Home’s Classic Burley Kake. I’m very excited about this blend. For starters, it fits exactly what I’ve been looking for in a Burley blend – just a little sweetness, a little flavor, and I wanted all the rough edges knocked off. That is exactly what Russ Oullette has done with Classic Burley Kake.

In the pouch, the smell is cocoa and a little black licorice. The cakes rub out to medium semi-course cut at the ideal moisture level that makes gravity filling a pipe very easy. I fill this blend rather loose.

Hearth and Home Classic Burley Kake

First light kicks off the rum, anise, and cocoa flavors. The first quarter of the bowl they seem to mingle back and forth allowing me to easily make out each separate flavor. By the 1/3 mark, they seem to meld together and do a perfect job of accompanying the clean base tobacco flavor from the burleys.

The mellow natural-tasting sweetness and soft flavors remain throughout the bowl. The tobacco is as well behaved and easy to smoke as any aromatic, but has the mouth-feel, flavor, fullness, and strength of a regular non-aromatic blend.

I’m not one to make a point out of smoking to the bottom on one light, but it seems to almost come natural with this blend. It is full enough I’m not tempted to puff greedily, but easy going without causing fatigue so I can easily maintain a steady and gentle smoking cadence that keeps the ember hot and me in heaven on earth.

This blend will likely appeal to aromatic smokers wishing to explore their boundaries, definitely the Burley lover, and any other pipe smoker looking for a change of pace with a quality blend.

If you have tried this blend too, let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.

Louisiana Red by Russ Oullette

This is a fantastic Virginia and Perique blend from Rull Oullette’s Hearth and Home series.

A great sweet and spicy blend containing two different Red Virginias and a good amount of outstanding St. James Perique. The rich, round sweetness of the Virginias are complimented by the plum and pepper hints of the cool-burning Perique. An overwhelming favorite of our local pipe club members.

I’ve been a fan of Russ Oullette for several years now. He is a skilled blender. This might be his most popular Virginia blend. Like the description says, there is a “good amount” of Perique in Louisiana Red, enough to spice it up, amplify the natural rich sweetness of the Virginia, and for this smoker, cut the tongue bite.

Smoking pipe tobacco, especially anything with Virginia, has a tendency to bite – my body chemistry just makes me susceptible so I have to smoke Virginias with caution and care, but Louisiana Red causes me no problems.

This isn’t an especially complex blend, it performs well from first light to the bottom of the bowl. I have no issues with the burning quality, it remains lit very well and produces volumes of smoke.

The blend is available in bulk at a great price for pipe tobacco of this quality and you can buy it in tins for cellaring.

Rolando’s Own by Hearth and Home –

Smooth, rich, tangy, sweet, and tart. This blend has a full, satisfying flavor from the stoved and reds, with brisk notes from what I consider a fairly generous amount of perique along with the lemon Virginias, but no rough edges. It is cut somewhat broad and course which makes the burn just right for the components.
Blender’s description:

Named for renowned pipemaker Rolando Negoita, this is a Virginia/Perique blend with Rolando’s artistry in mind. A mixture of lemon, red and stoved Virginias is enlivened with a moderate dose of wonderful Perique, for a sweet and flavorful all-day smoke.

The complexity in this Virginia and Perique blend by Russ Oullette allows some observation of how the many different flavors relate. A lot going on in this blend, but don’t feel like you have to devote all your attention to it in a quiet room to grasp full enjoyment. In fact, the big flavors might pull your attention away from whatever you’re doing while smoking Rolando’s Own, and bring you back to this wonderful smoke.

The masterful balance of a large range of bold flavors that each hold their own, superb burning characteristics, lack of bite, easy pack and smoke-ability contribute to make this an excellent VA/Per.