With Pipe and Pen  Blog » Anniversary Kake

Interview With Master Blender Russ Ouellette - Part 1

    February 10th, 2010

 

By Bob Tate

russ-ouellette-01Russ Ouellette (Blendtobac) is the Retail Sales Manager and Master blender for Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe (HPCS), also known as Pipesandcigars.com, in Albany, New York. Russ has been involved in the tobacco industry for over 30 years. He is regarded as one of the best blenders in the country and has created over 100 different pipe tobacco blends over the years, many of which are still being sold today. Russ is probably best known for the Hearth & Home Series of pipe tobacco blends that he has created for HPCS (pipesandcigars.com). I had the opportunity to talk with Russ at length about pipe tobacco and a few other things. Here is Part 1 of our interview with Russ Ouellette:

PipesMagazine (PM): Russ, you have been involved in the tobacco business on and off for over 30 years, what else have you done besides blending pipe tobacco?

Russ Ouellette: I’ve traveled a winding path. Besides that, I spent a number of years in the automotive business, I’ve done sign painting, I supervised 15 bowling pro shops and trained ball drillers, and was in the computer sales area for awhile. Also piano and organ sales, so I’ve done quite a few different things.

PM: That’s a pretty extensive background.

Russ: Yeah, it’s rather eclectic.

PM: How long have you been actually blending pipe tobacco blends?

Russ: Well, I’ve done it for about 30 years. I started doing it when I first worked, during college and after graduation, at a chain store. Then when I left the business, I still did it because I had old customers and friends who used to like some of the things that I made and they would ask me to make them for them. So I continued to do it right on through, but the heavy lifting has been in the last 5 years.

PM: What got you started in blending? Was it just your love for the tobacco leaf?
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Hearth & Home Anniversary Kake - Pipe Tobacco Reviews

    May 18th, 2009

 

By Bob Tate

Hearth & Home Pipe Tobacco Tin

Anniversary Kake is an attractive looking mixture that ranges from very light brown pieces all the way to very dark brown pieces of tobacco. The moisture content when it arrived felt a little on the moist side, but it was definitely smoke-able upon receiving it. I do suggest a little drying time though to help out with an easier burn with fewer re-lights. Read the rest of this entry »