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Named after the famed Million-Dollar Staircase in Albany, NY's State Capitol building, it is a truly unique combination of mild, nutty Burley, sweet Virginia and Perique, and finished off with Deer Tongue (a vanilla-like herb). The result is a non-aromatic blend (no added flavorings) that has an almost French toast-like aroma, and a lightly sweet, smooth smoke that you can enjoy all day.

Notes: According to a recent (07/21/2014) informational request, Deer Tongue has been removed from the blend.

BrandHearth & Home
Blended ByRuss Ouellette
Manufactured ByPipes & Cigars
Blend TypeAmerican
ContentsBurley, Perique, Virginia
Packaging1.5oz Tin, 8oz Tin, Bulk
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy
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26 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2151)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

I smoked this before the deer tongue was removed. The deer tongue adds some vanilla and a little acrid floralness. The Virginia is citrus sweet and grassy as it forms the base of the blend. The burley has a little nuttiness and molasses as a support player. The perique sports some plum and minor spice notes in the background. The nic-hit is mild. Won't bite. Smoked dry or moist, fast or slow, it does okay at first, but has an unavoidable cigarette taste in the bottom quarter of the bowl with harsh notes at the finish. Needs few relights, and leaves little moisture in the bowl. An all day smoke.

4 people found this review helpful.

Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1825)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

A nice combination of tobaccos that provides more of a Burley/Perique presentation than an ordinary VaPer blend. Some call this Americanized due to the Burley which sure does make its presence known. The Perique is also a player in this one. A little punch in the bowl as it is smoked and I liked that, too.


2 people found this review helpful.

raftergtex Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
raftergtex (1)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This blend has, over the last six months, become my go to everyday blend that always satisfies. It usually comes to me from H&H at the right moisture level, is easy to pack and light, and causes no problems. My pallete is not the most sensitive here, no doubt, but to me it tastes like an excellent vaper with a little something extra that I like a lot, presumably the deertongue. Anniversary Kake is probably my favorite H&H blend, but this one is a close second, and AK takes a lot of care in rubbing out and drying. When I don't have the time, which is usually, this is the one I reach for. Good job, Russ, and thank you.

2 people found this review helpful.

AKSmoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AKSmoke (18)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This review is for me - to remember not to try this again. If you're curious about deertongue, order a small sample, smoke it in a cob, and decide for yourself. As for me, I just couldn't enjoy it. The flavor is just weird, and the smoke is harsh and irritating.

That being said, most everything else I've tried from Russ Oulette is top shelf. You can't fault him for providing a unique "niche" blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

Indian Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Indian (13)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

I received a small sample of this from Russ O. Upon opening the pouch I recognized a very sweet smell. Probably the VA's and the deertongue. I was very excited as I expected a sweet smoke for a change in pace.

TOP OF BOWL: A very good char light. It smells GREAT. Even makes me hungry a bit. The first thing I noticed is a very mild sweet taste but it came along with a harshness.

MIDDLE BOWL: The taste is getting more to the tobacco although I haven't recognized any Perique yet. The harshness is still there. It is becoming more complex as I notice the VA's flavor coming through but the deertongue along with the burley seems to add some depth to it.

BOTTOM OF BOWL: The Perique is coming through but instead of the normal peppery or spicy taste it has along with it some very odd flavor (Deertongue). I did not like this mix and the harshness is still there. It does burn fairly clean though.

SUMMARY: It is a good smoke. It would be very good if it wasn't so harsh. Although if you sip slow this will help. The taste is sweet without losing the tobacco flavor and it burns very nice with an excellent room note. But it is still hot and harsh so I can only give it 2 out of 4.

1 person found this review helpful.

Elric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Elric (34)
Mild Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Tolerable

I recently ordered a Home & Hearth sampler and this was one of the blends I chose. Unfortunately, I picked this blend for my initial foray. I found Capitol Stairs to showcase the worst aspect of each of its constitutient components; Burley's acrid, cigarette-like notes, Virginia's bite, and Perique's sour sharpness; a tri-defecta, as it were. The poor Deertongue didn't stand a chance. I rather doubt I'll even be able to finish this sample.

1 person found this review helpful.

Mr. Dottle Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Dottle (162)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I found Capitol Stairs to be a medium to full-bodied blend that can be ?burley sweet? at times and yet present cigar-like qualities at other times. While the addition of the deer-tongue may be an attempt to temper this blend, I had a difficult time discerning its presence when smoking it but the deer tongue flakes are quite apparent in the pouch. It was extremely dry upon arrival; a little moisture improves its smoking qualities. The first 2/3 of the bowl, although largely monochromatic, had a good, base, burley flavor but harshness can creep in towards the last 1/3 of the bowl if you are not careful. To mitigate the harshness and to appreciate this blend fully, smoke it slowly like you would smoke VA and VAPER blends. Although the components and proportions may vary slightly, I found Capitol Stairs similar to C& D?s Big ?n? Burley and Gray Ghost but not quite as strong as either of these C&D blends. Strangely, while CS is not one of my favorite blends, it is one of those four or five blends I crave from time-to-time.

A cigarette is to be smoked. A cigar is to be enjoyed. A pipe is to be savored.

I rate this tobacco 8.3 out of 10.

1 person found this review helpful.

SopwithCamel Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SopwithCamel (255)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant

This is a wonderful ,old fashioned ,uncased aromatic blend. I find it works best in a small pipe, sipped very slowly. It is nutty, spicey and sweet. Sip it very slowly to get all of the nuances. This does smell remarkably like French toast. For me a top quality change of pace.

1 person found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1627)
Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant

Hearth & Home - Capitol Stairs.

It looks to be more of a mixture than just a ribbon. The blend includes all different sizes of ribbons, and also a few twigs. Nothing to get in a stew over, there's only one or two that need discarding.

I adore the flavour! At the start of a bowl the Perique is easily the leading taste. It gives quite a sharp spiciness, which is almost overbearing until the Burley joins in. When this arrives the smoke becomes more wholesome, with a bready/nuttiness. I don't get much in the form of grassiness/fruitiness from the Virginia, it seems the quietest of the group; the formidable Perique and flavoursome Burley don't leave much room for others! On the low side of things it can bite my tongue a bit; nothing that a gentle sip doesn't prevent!

I get a medium amount of nicotine, and enjoy the room-note.

Despite the touch of bite I'm highly recommending Capitol Stairs.

Four stars

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: One month

Purchased From:

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Ozark bulldog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Ozark bulldog (3)
Mild to Medium Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This Hearth & Home offering leaves alot to be desired. On first light I got a very sharp presence of Va and Perique. Then the Deertongue kicked in. Vanilla has no place in this blend! This blend started out bad and did not improve. I cannot recommend this tobacco to anyone.

Pipe Used: Cobs and various briars

Age When Smoked: 62

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

babysinister Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
babysinister (51)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Tolerable

I found this to be a pleasant and fairly comfortable VaBurPer to smoke when I don't want to fuss and bother too much with the pipe. Nothing to write home about, but a relaxing, occasional go to blend reminiscent of the niche and function of some OtCs of old. Smooth and uncomplicated. Nothing to fall heads over heels about, but nothing to repel me either.

Updated note: My review is about the version of this blend without any deertongue.

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From: Gifted

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Haroldt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Haroldt (25)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

I find this to be a very mild smoke that stays rather consistent from beginning to end. There may be a little spiciness towards the end but nothing horrendous or over powering. I can see this making its way into the lineup; perhaps as a back-up player, the DH (designated hitter.) I plan to buy a small amount to jar up; it may even improve with a little age. That is not to say it was not good straight from the mailbox. Indeed – very nice. If you enjoy a mild English smoke (even though they call this American) this is one to consider. As with most non aromatics, this is one that da little women enjoyed its’ aroma.

Pipe Used: briar and corn cobs

Age When Smoked: fresh from the mailbox

Purchased From: Pipe and Cigar

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bertran Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bertran (6)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant

This is a pleasant, cool, all day smoke. The deertongue adds a nice vanilla flavor, and the blend of bright virginia, burley, and just a dash of perique is easy on the mouth and the nose. The only issue I find with this blend is that it burns quite quickly, however it does so cleanly, burning all the way to ash with no dottle.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

rramstad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rramstad (115)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Every blend I've had with deertongue has had an unusually acrid note to the smoke, which usually also seems very light and without much body. This blend has the exact same problem. It's relatively inoffensive to the nose, but the smoke being light and acrid isn't terribly pleasant to the eyes. I haven't found a deertongue blend I like (this is my third) and suspect that this is the root of the problem with this blend for me. H&H tend to make great blends, and many of them are well represented in my cellar.

Update April 2011 After revisiting this blend, I'm downgrading to one star, and placing the remainder of the sample in the reject bin. Too harsh on the roof of my mouth, and just not at all pleasant.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Captain Pete Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Captain Pete (83)
Mild Extremely Mild Extremely Mild (Flat) Tolerable

This is my first sample of their tobaccos, and I gotta say I am disappointed. I won't even go into depth with this review. The tobacco was dry and harsh; it burned like, and tasted like, cheap cigarettes. There was no 'french toast like' aroma, it simply smelled like cheap burley. I lit slowly, with a match, and sipped carefully. Just an overall terrible experience. If this just happened to be a bad batch, and I have a different experience in the future, then I will come back and edit this. However, after trying a couple other of the samples, and being similarly let down, I doubt that my opinion of any of their blends will rise much higher than this.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LV9 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LV9 (76)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

At first light the perique lets you know is there followed by the virginias, the deertongue is there also, in the second part o the bowl the perique is nearly gone and the burley comes in at full throttle, he deertongue has mellowed and the virginias is putting up a decent fight, the last part of the bowll deertongue still there burley has mellowed out, virginia is gone, perique like it was never there. The only reason that this blend is getting three stars is because is a good change of pace you can smoke this around none smokers and nobody would be offended but I have a feeling that this could leave a trace in your pipes. Then again if you like aromatics this will immediately will make it into your rotation, if you like vapers is a good alternative to when you're not sure which blend to grab, if you are a english/balkan smoker this might no be at all in your alley.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (47)
Mild None Detected Mild Very Pleasant

I haven?t smoked many aromatics in the last few years, the only one I can stand to smoke an entire bowl of has been Karl Erik?s #16, and I only smoke that because I love my wife, mostly, and no one complains. I wanted to try capital stairs because I?ve heard so much about deertongue as a natural flavoring and my main objection to smoking aromatics is the casings, smoking sugar in my fine briars is like throwing American cheese into my revereware and cranking the heat to high. I can?t say I fell in love with capital stairs, but I didn?t hate it, which is saying something. My wife waxed nostalgic, it reminded her summer days laying in the grass, a sweet hay and floral scent with a very mild vanilla. I?ve been smoking Larry?s blend, Reiners Long Golden flake and Solanis aged burly of late and so capital stairs tasted rather dull and a bit like hot air to me, but mainly because I?ve been smoking things with such rich flavor. Compared to other aromatics I?d give this four stars easily, I will smoke more of it, especially when I need to apologize to the wife for something I did or am going to do. For my regular smoking habits and out of respect for the genius of Russ O I?m going to give it a liberal two stars. Not my cup of tea, but not horrible, tolerable which is saying a lot. Too much maybe.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Big Nick Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Big Nick (74)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable

Deertongue ? French toast-like aroma ? What are these people talking about ? I found this blend to be fairly dry and pedestrian. Not offensive, but not really anything. If you want something vanilla like with a French toast-like aroma buy an aromatic, you won't find it here.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

augiegus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
augiegus (48)
Mild to Medium Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Remember the first time you went into a fully stocked tobacco shop? I do vividly. I was 13 or so and the shop was Leaf and Stem Tobacconist in Carbondale, IL. The scent of the tobaccos and the sight of the pipes made me realize this was an adult candy store. Every time I went to Carbondale I visited this shop for I loved the various types of tobacco. Why not just one type? I suppose because everybody has their favorites. I was grateful for this fact for I loved opening ALL the jars and smelling each blend. In a odd way they comforted me which was very strange for no one in my family smoked. The scent of pipe tobacco be it in the pouch or wafting in the room envelopes me and comforts my soul.

Which brings me to Capital Stairs a deertongue enhanced VA, Burley, and dash of Perique blend. This blend looks just like that 45% red virginia, 45% white? burley, 5% perique, 5% big flecks of deertongue. The scent in the pouch is sorta vanillia and yes sorta grassy with a touch of spice. It is a very dry mixture but seemed to moisten with pressing (in my rear pocket 185 to 190 lbs.) over the weekend.

It packs well lights quick and burns thouroughly. The scent is to me wonderful and was even complimented at the laundry by a gentleman who stood down wind of me to enjoy the scent which is much like the pouch. I can not get enough of the scent. I do not know if old blends used this deertongue but for some reason it is so very comforting to me like church on sunday or your favorite meal. The taste of the tobacco is mild to me but tasty and sweet and I keep wanting more. I taste the virginia and the burley but seem to miss the perique over the sweetness of the deertongue which for me is fine. This is a blend I smoke without a need to over analyze which may seem futile to others but I just like smoking bowl after bowl of this and simply enjoying it.

Would I reccomend this blend? That hinges on one simple question. Do you like deertongue? If you tried C&D Trinidad, or Crooner and did not like them well maybe do not bother. It seems like this has more of a deertongue presence then the previous two blends. If you have never tried a deertongue blend this would be a good place to start and if you do not like it end promptly. It is nice that offers this blend and in 1 oz pouches. I love deertongue and because of reasonable price, availability and quick shipment from this is my new everyday tobacco. A special thanks to Russ Ouellette for making me very comfortable indeed.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

kilted1 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
kilted1 (43)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant

Recently, tobaccos have been getting lots of ?press? on the ASP Forum and Newsgroup. Mostly people have been talking about Russ Ouellette's efforts. A friend sent me a sampling of several of the blends I'm most curious about and Capital Stairs was among them.

Deertongue is said to be a ?natural alternative? to the casing agent many use for vanilla. This is my first experience with it.

Appearance: A nice selection of Red Virginia, Burley and Perique with a smattering of deertongue. It is varied in cut yet mostly medium ribbon cut.

Aroma: This mixture has a deep sweet aroma very enticing. Immediately one smells a deep hay-like quality, not of hay in neat bales stacked in the barn; rather of freshly mown hay, slowly drying in the summer sun. Deep, sharp and earthy. Carmel tones and nuts are evident, as deertongue with a scent similar to vanilla but there is something about it which reminds me of White Sage being burned as well.

This tobacco is nearly perfect in moisture and I employed the ?once like a baby, once like a lady, finally like a gentleman? method of layered packing.

For this review I've chosen an Armellini Freehand dedicated to Virginia mixtures.

Lighting is very easy, and with a friendly ?lighting tamp? I was well on my way each time. As expected, the initial flavor very Burley, with a thick silky mouth feel, a nice nut-like goodness. Hay-like tones and smells and flavors of Autumn are abundant with deepening flavors of nuts and butter interplaying in a fascinating way. A very slight vanilla taste is also noted. Combustion is very self maintaining as promised, this very nearly smokes itself every time. There is more to deertongue than just vanilla as I expected, there is a sage-like quality as well, very appealing.

Mid Bowl: Approaching mid-bowl, the fullness tends to build the toothsome mixtures of Red Virginia and Burley develop in strength slowly along predictable lines. The Perique begins to develop more of the deep fruity sweetness adding to the Red Virginia. The slight vanilla continues steadily though, being dominated by stronger flavors. The nuttiness becomes more pronounced and the grassy hay like qualities build as well. The room note is fantastic and though billed as smelling like ?french toast? what I smell is just a very nice natural tobacco aroma, slightly sweet with vanilla tones.

Home Stretch: As end of the bowl approaches, complexity abounds. This blend smokes remarkably cool and evenly, not requiring the more "refined technique" of other Virginia mixtures. The final third has matured nicely with all the flavors working in deepening harmony. One can enjoy this blend without the rigors of concentration, however, there is plenty of subtleties to concentrate on if one so desires. I really didn't know what to expect of deertongue, people either seem to love it or hate it. Put me down in the ?love it? column. It adds another dimension to tobacco mixtures without the artificial tastes found in so many vanilla mixtures. The Perique, while becoming more pronounced, never really takes over the show as some others claim. I find this to be a fascinating and well balanced blend of fine quality.

Supplemental Notes: Capital Stairs has earned a place in my cellar. I find myself craving it. Rating for those interested in numbers *1/2 stars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

bronxbill Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bronxbill (10)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

I'm a fan of VaPer tobaccos, but I wasn't too sure how the burley would play. I enjoyed this tobacco very much, the burley seems to soften the edges of the Va and perique. I guess I must like deertongue since this was my first experience with it. The tobacco arrived a little dry and I smoked it that way; it was fine. I have since added a little moisture and found no real difference in the taste. I'll definitely order more of this blend.

Follow up: After smoking a few more oz of this blend, I can understand the comments about it having an effect on your throat. It does seem to have some bitterness that lingers in your throat. I don't know if it is the deertongue or some element in the tobacco. I'll have to drop this to a 3 star blend; recommended but with reservations

Nobody has rated this review yet.

PipeGnome Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PipeGnome (3)
Mild Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

This tobacco was really a stumper for me. The first few bowls I really enjoyed (and I usually don't like blends in which burley is a major component). The deertongue provided a very interesting, not-quite-vanilla flavor. After a few days when I revisited it, I found that something in this blend seemed to catch in the back of my throat in a quite unpleasant way. While I still enjoyed the flavor, I can't stand that sticking in my throat. I am assuming it is from the deertongue since I smoke blends with the other components and never have this reaction. BTW, This was one of the few blends that pass the "wife test".

Nobody has rated this review yet.

F. Prefect Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
F. Prefect (24)
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

I won't take a lot of time with this review as it's rare that a blend delivers just about all of what the blender claims. This blend packs easily, burns cool, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste and room note. The natural sweetness and deertongue gives it an almost aromatic quality. This one's a keeper.

F. Prefect

Nobody has rated this review yet.

traveler Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
traveler (40)
Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A coarse cut of mostly light burley and Virginias by the look of it, with no casing. The greenish flecks of deertongue are there but not prominent. There is an interesting pouch aroma of Perique and Deertongue which gave me high expectations. Unfortunately, the smoke was mostly a let-down.

Capitol Stairs can smoke dry and harsh to the point of catching in the back of the throat. I don't sense any sweetness as noted by the blender and I expected more of a vanilla-like room note due to the deertongue, but it was very subdued.

Over a year of occsional bowls of Capitol Stairs, my impression of it has improved a little bit. As a natural, uncased aromatic this blend has a lot of potential but I think the percentage of Perique is too high and the smoke is unncecessarily harsh as a result.

Maybe 2 1/2 stars... but it could have been a contender.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pagercat Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pagercat (40)
Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant

Having read a lot of raving reviews about some of the "Hearth and Home" blends I ordered some for myself. I've seen a lot about "Louisiana Red", "Virginia Spice" and "Old Tartan" but I've not yet heard about "Capitol Stairs" so that was the first one I tried today.

The pouch aroma smells like a freshly-mowed lawn on a Summer evening. Packs easily and stays lit with little effort. There was no bite at all regardless of cadence tempo. Taste is slightly sweet with a light grassy note. The Perique makes itself known but works in tandem with the other leaves and never hogs the spotlight. The deertounge enhances the Burley-driven grassy flavor by rounding it off and cooling it down. The Virginia gives it some high notes but even they remain restrained. Very smooth with subtle changes throughout. Room note was pleasant but not overpowering. Left the pipe clean, dry and me wanting more. A truly sophisticated blend great for an all-day smoke.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DUPE.1512 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DUPE.1512 (196)
Mild to Medium Mild Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Capitol stairs has a wondeful pouch aroma of tobacco and spiced vanilla. Yum!! It packs, lights and burns easily and its coarse cut provides a slow, cool and even burn. It's taste is mildly sweet, nutty and smooth.

Unlike vanilla extract cased blends, this has a wonderful natural aroma and taste coming from Deertounge that pleases the smoker and everyone around them.

The Virginia and Burley play very well together and the light touch used with the perique is perfect. While barely detectible in the flavor, the Perique's mild and soft spiceyness compliments the blend in the way a condenmental should, tying it together, giving it a truly supurb balance of flavors.

The balance affords a true complexity that can be enjoyed in "auto pilot" mode, without demanding your full attention. Its behavior is supurb even when puffed aggresively. No bite, sweet nutty and smooth. Always fullfilling, never boring and perfect as an all day smoke. Highly recommended for those who do not care for aromatics, but want a blend with truly complex and balanced tobacco flavors and a great natural aroma.

Nobody has rated this review yet.