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A healthy amount of premium latakia is combined with buttery Turkish, sweet Virginias, tangy perique and a touch of Nicaraguan Cigar Leafs for a "kick".

BrandHearth & Home
Blended ByRuss Ouellette
Manufactured ByPipes & Cigars
Blend TypeCigar Leaf Based
ContentsCigar Leaf, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Packaging1.5 ounce tin, Bulk
ProductionCurrently available
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Medium to Strong
None Detected
Medium, Full
Room Note
17 reviews
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SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Along with a recent order to, I added a purchase of an ounce of Strikeforce. I really enjoy Russ Ouellette’s Stogie blend and seeing that Strikeforce has some added cigar leaf, I was immediately interested. Many of Russ’ blends arrive very dry which is something that I like about his blends. But there is such thing as being too dry. Sadly, this review is only based on about 4 bowls as the rest of the pouch arrived as dust. This is an issue that occurs sometimes with the outstanding “Larry’s Blend” too. There are visible larger pieces of the cigar leaf that remain intact. Strikeforce is a big, bold, meaty blend that produces a lot of cool smoke. It is the type of blend that I think of after a big steak dinner. The problem for me with Strikeforce is that it lacks balance. In fairness to the blend, it could be just because of the “bottom of the bag “ounce that I received. The intact pieces of cigar leaf would appear from time to time and literally take over the blend. I not only like cigars, but I love them, but not in the way it is being used here. The other issue with Strikeforce that I have only applies to the fact that I prefer to cellar blends when possible and, IMO, blends that are this dry, won’t see any real benefit from aging. I can’t emphasize enough that one ounce doesn’t always make for a fair commentary, and when this blend hit the strike zone, it was quite good. But if this is representative of the way this blend normally arrives, it wouldn’t make a second appearance in my mailbox.

UPDATE: Shortly after this review, I opened a tin of Strikeforce, and the momentary flashes of greatness I had with the bulk version, turned into one long extend pipe full of pleasure. This was balanced, it didn't have the large pieces of cigar leaf that were a problem in my bulk purchase and rather than the cigar leaf taking over, it served to add a wonderful creamy texture to the blend. In my tinned version, all of the tobaccos came together wonderfully and this deserves a worthy upgrade to four stars!

Age When Smoked: New

Purchased From:

4 people found this review helpful.

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

The cigar leaf is very apparent in Strikeforce. It made for a taste that was rather strong and maybe just a tad harsh. I've tried just about every cigar blend I could get my hands on over the years and this one is as advertised.


2 people found this review helpful.

strongirish Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
strongirish (249)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

This is an unusual take on an English blend and I am liking it a lot. It is a mix of Va,Perique,Turkish,and Latakia with a little cigar leaf. The cigar leaf is a condiment and never dominates the blend but does add a creaminess and fullness to the blend but the blend remains very tame and enjoyable. The Latakia is the dominant player here and remains so throughout the bowl. But not an in your face Latakia, but a very mild and rich tasting Latakia. The Va does give it a very nice sweetness and the perique is a seasoning, there but not a main player at all. This blend works and I enjoy it very much. The only weakness to the blend, is once again it tastes a little green and should be aged. It also comes dry in the pouch and ready to smoke. In the pouch, it is a mix of light brown running up to a very dark brown with the almost black Lat mottled throughout. It smell absolutely, mouth watering, great in the pouch. It is a smoky, sweet, spicy aroma that just made me want to smoke it right then and there. It is dry enough to smoke right away and it packs very well into the pipe. It lights on two lights, and stays lit well. It burns down to a dark grey ash with just a little dottle left in the bottom. It remains consistent in flavor all the way down the bowl and never sours or goes ashy tasting. The room note is typical of latakia blends, an aroma I love but is not a wife pleaser. I like this blend and I do recommend it. I think it will improve with age and am going to cellar some. but good enough to smoke now. Would make a great all day blend.

1 person found this review helpful.

Plex Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Plex (39)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

From the web page description, "A healthy amount of premium Latakia is combined with buttery Turkish, Sweet Virginias, tangy Perique and a touch of Nicaraguan cigar leaf for 'kick'."

Not overpowering in the cigar or perique flavors, but nicely blended such that all components are working together to give a good smoking experience. A good match for Larry's Blend and my other favorite Anniversary Kake.

1 person found this review helpful.

AKSmoke Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
AKSmoke (18)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

10/3/08 : I have to upgrade this to four stars. The more I smoke, the more I enjoy Strike Force. Really one of the best.

Another solid choice from Russ Oulette and the great folks at The cigar leaf comes in big fluffy pieces, added to a perfectly balanced English blend. It comes nice and dry, and packing is a no fuss operation. Load it, pack it fairly firm, and smoke up. Burning is cool and easy. To me this is the perfect blend for sitting in an easy chair outside the camper on a cool Alaska afternoon.

One caution is the room note. Keep this one for outside, the smoking lounge, or the duck shack. The day-after cigar smell is really not nice, and the wife will likely not like it.

1 person found this review helpful.

smokinj Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smokinj (19)
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Full Tolerable

Big and Bold weed I was hoping for a bigger nicotine punch.Still a great Mixture.

1 person found this review helpful.

EAL Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
EAL (36)
Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Tin description:

"A healthy amount of premium Latakia is combined with buttery Turkish, Sweet Virginias, tangy Perique and a touch of Nicaraguan cigar leaf for "kick"."

This is a full, rich, balanced blend that doesn't nip, bite, or give you problems with packing or the burn. Totally well-behaved. The oriental component used in this blend (also Larry's Blend and Namaste) is simply mouthwatering.

The cigar leaf is used in a reserved way that doesn't overpower. You almost have to look for it. Same with the Perique. If you like GLP Robusto, James 123, or Bankers, but want something bigger, you love this.

Highly recommended to anyone who wants a full and robust, yet smooth English blend. An easy four stars.

1 person found this review helpful.

rocker311 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
rocker311 (9)
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Strong

I purchased a tin of Russ' new blend at the March NY pipe show. I enjoy English blends and was eager to try this one, as I enjoyed Larry's Blend and other similar English blends with cigar leaf in the Sailorman Jack tradition.

Opening the tin gives you a look at the ribbon-cut Latakias, blended evenly with the Virginias and Turkish, and you note the larger bits of cigar leaf. Moisture content is dead on. Feels like loam on the forest floor - not dried out, and not spongy or over-wet. The aroma from the tin will remind you of 965C or Paul Olsen's My Own Blend - that nice earthy leathery smell. No need to put this in your mason jar to meld and mature - this one's ready to go right out of the tin.

Packed it up easily in my Peterson dress pipe that I keep for heavy English blends. Lit well and easily on the first go and didn't require much in the way of relights. I personally like relighting because it's an excuse to send out big clouds of Latakia. YMMV.

Flavor was full from the start- rich Latakias, not sour or vinegary. The Nicaraguan cigar leaf gives the brassy note you might expect from a dash of Perique without a Perique bite or tang. The flavor was consistent throughout, all the players doing their parts without one jumping up by suprise in the middle. Many English blends tend to begin laying flat around the middle of the bowl, as the tongue says "Yup, Latakia, we get it. Are we done yet?" Not so with Strike Force. The Turkish and Virginias keep the spectrum wide enough to make the blend enjoyable all the way through. Smoked without wetness, and that's saying something - drawing heavy on a Peterson gets you gurgle if you do it too much - but Strike Force smoked cool as a cucumber.

Clean finish with nothing sticking to the sides of the bowl. A couple taps, a fast scrape and the pipe was ready for another go.

If you're after a full, flavorful English blend that doesn't apologize for being English and also shows you that Latakia plays well with others, you really need to pick up a tin of this stuff.

1 person found this review helpful.

Effluvinator Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Effluvinator (51)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

It seems the quality can vary somewhat from reading the prior reviews. I agree with Pipestud that this can be a bit harsh at times, especially compared to some other cigar lead blends. Comparing this to GL Pease Robusto, for example, Strikeforce is more "in your face." This is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps not as finished as the GL Pease offering but I actually have a preference for Strikeforce. It may be too "cigarish" for some and likely not an all day or maybe even daily smoke for most of us, but an interesting change of pace.

Pipe Used: Various briars

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars

Similar Blends: GL Pease Robusto..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (76)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Very nice and rich cigar leaf blend.

Great aroma, you can smell the cigar right off the tin note, its unmistakable in its particular brand of deep richness.

Very full, the accompanying English ingredients are not only there but add a lot of good support.

Struggling for a way to do this justice, but for quite an unusual reason I smoke this more than anything else even though I enjoy others more. There is something so easy and carefree about it, it doesn't need much care or tamping, and its so gratifying that you feel like you're getting away with not having to work hard for a big result.

Takes to flavor immensely also. I put in a whiskey soaked wood barrel stave and the result was sublime.

Pipe Used: XXL Custom Poker

Nobody has rated this review yet.

cobacco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cobacco (52)
Medium Very Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong

Bought as part of 6 pack of H&H. An exceptional value as all 6 tins cost about $35. Strikeforce is really growing on me. I'm crazy about the tin note and find myself opening the tin just to have a whiff. The moisture level of H&H tins is a touch dry, so I tossed in a pouch moisturizer and this improved the smoking flavor. As far as flavor goes, it's delightful, but the subtle deliciousness fades to too mild unless I tamp attentively - but the effort is well worth it. I can taste the cigar wrapper, and I can taste a hint of chocolate in that as well. This tobacco is very unique and it does crumble and powder in the tin, but this is OK with me... I like to put some larger bits in the bottom of the bowl and then as I fill the bowl, I make it a point to pull finely crumbled mix from the bottom of the tin. I am able to smoke an entire bowl down to a fine gray ash. N level is mediocre, but enough to keep me happy. Strikeforce will make a mess of your pipe and it will ghost it too. I'd recommend a larger pipe with a dark finish... If you're a cob smoker like me, you might want to use an MM Country Gentleman, or maybe an old cob that you don't care too much for. I plan to stock Strikeforce regularly and will dedicate a pair of older cobs to it. Strikeforce goes nicely with Port Wine. Hope this helps.

Pipe Used: Cob

Age When Smoked: fresh opened tin

Purchased From: pipes and cigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puddlepirate Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puddlepirate (11)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

Got a 1 oz sample of this to try. I like cigar blends. I did not like this. Could not find any cigar note at all. What I did notice was latakia/perique. I'm sure some folks may like this blend, but not for me.

Pipe Used: mm great dane

Age When Smoked: unknown/bulk

Purchased From: pipesandcigars

Nobody has rated this review yet.

CrazyWolf Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CrazyWolf (3)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

First things first: WOW! My compliments, Mr. Ouellette. Delicious aroma. Ready to smoke, burns cool & easy. Rich & full. As described, plus a little. Perfect with a cup of strong black dark roast by the woodstove on a raw late winter day. Or any other time for that matter. Stocking up for sure.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

robertcoogan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
robertcoogan (2)
Very Mild Extremely Mild Mild Pleasant

A very mild and almost unoticeable taste. A decently thick smoke, but very bland overall in strength. I saw a good review for this on YouTube, so I was surprised and disappointed in this tobacco. I avoid aromatics and enjoy a full pre tobacco taste - this was so immensely disappointing I consider my money wasted.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

piedpiper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
piedpiper (26)
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

Another great offering by Russ Ouellette. This is the third blend I've ordered from Pipes & Cigars & I've been pleased with all of them. As other reviewers have noted, the Latakia rather dominates this blend. Didn't really detect the cigar leaf or perique in this. I found their Armada blend a little more to my liking & perhaps more of a complex blend. Having said that, sometimes one is in the mood for a strong Latakia dominated tobacco. Probably won't put this in my rotation, but it's definitely good enough to have earned a spot there if I change my mind- ergo it earns a solid 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

krg1000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
krg1000 (180)
Medium Very Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I wasn't too sure about the cigar leaf, but I really enjoyed the addition of it. Everything seemed to come together nicely. The room note was very nice. The wife didn't really seem to be too bothered by it, so it gets the pleasant to tolerable. This did produce a nice amount of smoke and has a nice amount of Vitamin N to it. It smokes down to a nice ash at the end of the bowl with little or no dottle. All in all, I would definitely recommend this blend.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Fumatore Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Fumatore (48)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

I really like cigar leaf blends and found this one to be just a little different. I do enjoy the fact that you can puff away on this blend without fear of tongue bite. And too, one can improve this blend with the addition of just a little of you own favorite cigar leaf. However I am not sold on the idea that one should combine much in the way of Turkish or Orientals with cigar leaf which, for my tastes, limits this blend to 3 stars.

Nobody has rated this review yet.