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A blend of Cyprian latakia, excellent yellow Virginias from the U.S. and Bulgaria, Izmir, Basma and the “Queen of Tobaccos”: Yenidje. Then we add some perique to give it more depth and smoothness.

Notes: The Latin term Magnum Opus loosely translates to “masterpiece”.

BrandHearth & Home
Blended ByRuss Ouellette
Manufactured ByScandinavian Tobacco Company
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsLatakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Packaging1.75 ounce tin
ProductionCurrently available
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None Detected
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 15 Users

51 reviews
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2158)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Magnum Opus has a fair amount of smoky, woody, lightly sweet Cyprian Latakia. The Virginia is a little grassy with some citrus, and mainly acts as a base for the other components to shine. The Orientals are slightly buttery sweet and sour and as well as being woody with some sour dryness as a light supporting player. The perique adds mild spice, raisin and fig notes in the background. The blend is fairly complex, but in a subtle way. I had to moisten the tobacco when received - which I recommend - and once done, I notice a slight soda-like taste from the Yenidje I didn't quite get when I tried smoking it dry. There's not much sweetness present; it has a dry and smokey quality. I would not use it to break in a pipe, but would ream the cake well on a broken in one and after a couple of bowls, you'll start noticing the various flavors better. The flavor does change as you smoke down to the bottom. I also recommend you smoke it slowly and use a wide bowl to catch the nuances. Burns at a moderate pace with no dull or weak spots, and leaves very little moisture in the bowl. Needs few relights. Won't bite. Has a pleasant after taste. Not quite an all day smoke, but one that bears repeating during your day. Three and a half stars.

31 people found this review helpful.

King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (114)
Strong Mild Full Very Pleasant

This is another of the modern english blends that I had not gotten around to smoking until recently. I obtained a good sample from Russ Oulette at the 2013 NASPC show and, for no particular reason, had saved it for last. Wow! When I lit my first bowl of this magnificent blend I exclaimed out loud - "Now, that's what I'm talkin' about!" - even though there was no one present to here me. Magnum Opus is the finest and the highest type of english blend made for the english pipe smoker. It is on a plane with the best english blends from the past, as well as from the present.

When you light this tobacco, you dwell in the land of: old original Balkan Sobranie 759, old original Balkan Sobranie Mixture, Dunhill Standard Mixture Full, John Cotton 1&2, John Cotton 2, the oldest and most original Dunhill 965, the oldest and most original Dunhill Durbar, the oldest Bengal Slices (the one with the wax-paper inner wrapper and not the gold foil wrapper), old Smokers Haven 20th Anniversary Mixture, John Sinclair Rubicon and Constantinople (even though I can't remember who made it). There is only one modern english blend that even comes close to Magnum Opus - Fred Hanna's Wilderness. Get the picture?

All positive qualities and no negatives - it is a shame that I can only give this mixture four stars. I highly recommend this blend to english smokers and invite all pipe smokers to at least sample this mixture to gain a modicum of understanding as to what life used to be like in the twentieth century english pipe smoking world - and what we have lost.

Thanks Russ for the trip down memory lane.

24 people found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Not your typical English and that's a good thing. Otherwise it wouldn't stand out in that crowded field as well as it does. My taste buds inform me that there are two main things going on here. First, there is a base created by the melding of the Virginias and Perique that has a wonderful sweet spiciness to it. This is not a weak base, but a very solid one. Second, the Latakia and the very fine Orientals are nicely balanced and meld together to provide the most dominant flavor. It's kind of like a smoky cheese. Put them both together and you get one helluva great English. Just a wonderful smoke. Medium in body. Medium to full in flavor. Tasty, tasty blend.

Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman, MM Freehand

Age When Smoked: fresh bulk

Purchased From:

15 people found this review helpful.

DoctorThoss Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DoctorThoss (146)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I've been smoking a pipe since 1990, and I was fortunate enough to discover latakia almost immediately. I've seen a lot English/Balkan mixtures come and go, but I have never seen such a profusion of top quality blends as have appeared on the market in the past few years: McClellands Wilderness, Legends and Three Oaks Syrian; GL Pease Maltese Falcon, Chelsea Morning, and Quiet Nights; Hearth and Home's Larry Blend, and Boswell's Northwoods, to name just a few ....

And now there's Magnum Opus. If ever a blend deserves its name, this is it.

This stuff leaves the rest of Russ Oulette's offerings in the dust, IMO, and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the absolute best that Pease has produced. The virginia base is sweet and flavorful, the latakia is in just the right proportion, and the orientals .... well, let's just say that the orientals don't so much "sing" as put on a full-scale Broadway production. This stuff is as complex as Wilderness, but with more high notes that give it a livelier character. The perique adds just a hint of stewed fruit but primarily serves to enhance the body and strength. This has far more body than any of McClelland's mixtures, and is a little less full than GLP's Odyssey or Westminster. The nicotine level seems to be a solid medium.

There is a wonderful synergy here that I rarely encounter. To top it all off, the burning characteristics are literally flawless. This burns with almost the same ease of a drugstore burley and doesn't have a bite in it, even when smoked hot or in back-to-back sessions. This is a meditative smoke ... I think you could smoke it all day, but I prefer to save it for the evening when I can concentrate on it.

Overall impression? I love latakia mixtures, especially the more complex ones that tend to be labeled "Balkans" (although that term seems to be going out of vogue). I have smoked a LOT of them, and I can say without reservation that I would put this in the top 5 mixtures of its type that I've ever had the pleasure to smoke. I plan on cellaring as much of this as I can afford, and hope that someday it's available in larger tins.

15 people found this review helpful.

Theodore Moore Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Theodore Moore (14)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Magnum Opus is Russ O's second best blend. It may have been his "Magnum Opus" at the time of this creation, but that was before he won the Sabronie throw-down later with Black House. Even "early Russ" must come in second to "vintage Russ!" When Magnum Opus hit the circuit most of the solid reviewers where wowed, and rightly so. It seems that Russ Ouellette is leading the charge in recognizing that "Balkans" are not just a synonymous misnomer of nomenclature for "English." Balkans should differ from standard English blends in that they are to be defined by their Oriental and Turkish base. In M.O. Russ raised the bar and re-established this differentiation. Still, Black House doesn't go so far as to border on the extreme as Russ does here in Magnum Opus. (Maybe its the Perique, which adds that "edge.") The only down side to M.O. is that it drys the mouth out for a whole day, unlike anything else I've smoked. Just the same, M.O. is in a class by itself, and hence, 3.5 to 4 stars. If you like exotic Turkish/Orientals to be in the lead, you will praise M.O. If you like a more balanced, smoother, "tweaked Balkan," with richer room note, go with Black House. (See my review on Black House.)

12 people found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (145)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

There has been a push recently, led by Greg Pease and a few others to drop the "English" and "Balkan" designations in favor of the general term "Latakia Mixture". I find this a sane alternative to the former, which has led to innumerable acrimonious threads debating the merits of each term. That said, if this is the direction that future Latakia Mixtures are moving, then we are very lucky, for there is so little of this that falls into traditional categories.

First, it's almost a full circle, here. To have old time, and now defunct, favorites like Balkan Sobranie embrace a leaf like Yenidje, to see it fall away as a component, and now find its way back into blends like Magnum Opus--we are a fortunate bunch. It is spicy! I mean, my God, if you are unlucky enough to miss the boat on this one and want to mimic a similar experience, pinch several nose hairs and pull, all at once. As you await an imminent convulsion, take that deep breath before the purge and then congratulate yourself. That is the onslaught to the senses you can expect from the Orientals in Magnum Opus.

Now, aside from this strange sensation, Magnum Opus is similar to Westminster, in strength and body, but is really something of a brash cousin. The flavors, so unfamiliar, will tease one endlessly, and I have found myself smoking bowl after bowl attempting to nail down the essence of this unfamiliar leaf. Upon first light the smoke initially remains fairly consistent, doesn't seem to change or build much in the bowl. The Latakia will assert itself early on, and then quickly move to the background as something amazing happens.

The Orientals, a slight spicy note which begins to fight with the smokiness for dominance more than halfway through, will build and build, and it never relents. Your nasal passage will tickle up, similar to eating a mildly hot dish, yet the strength remains subdued. That spiciness will grow increasingly pungent two thirds of the way in and really seems to put everything else at a distance, to the extent that other components wash away into the background, so much that I ultimately begin to ignore the Latakia.

Magnum Opus is dry, in the sense that I don't taste much sugar--the Virginias are muted in favor of the Orientals and Latakia, and you have all high notes here, there is never a deep caramelization that develops as a product of a high Red Virginia count. To me, a blend like Odyssey presents a sweeter smoke with heavier Latakia flavor, yet this is very different, unique, and as a consequence more interesting.

There is a fragrant element to the smoke that almost drives me to inhale the contents through the nose, further enveloping the senses. What is truly remarkable is the effect this has had on my smoking habits. I no longer seem to crave nicotine, instead preferring the rush of novel sensations that Opus delivers.

Ultimately, Magnum Opus successfully bridges together the more recent traditions in micro blending with the nostalgia of favored old time blends-- it's a curious beast. So I have to ask, where the hell is Russ finding this leaf, and how will other blenders respond?

10 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

My first encounter with Magnum Opus, part of the new tinned Marquee Series was at the 2010 West Coast Pipe Show. Just based on a couple of bowls I knew Russ had another winner. Now, after a couple of tins more, I can't speak highly enough of this blend. There is a lot of different tobacco's in MO so it's no surprise that this is a complex, smokey English blend with a nice underlying sweetness. The tin arrives at the perfect moisture level and packs easily. The wide range of flavors play off nicely with each other, but the Basma is what makes it for me. Flavors build somewhat as the bowl progesses but for me it never reaches beyond medium strength. I think that those that enjoy Fred Hanna's new blends from McClelland, will find a lot of enjoyment in this as well. Highly Recommended!

10 people found this review helpful.

haredawg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
haredawg (47)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This one I picked up to fill out an order from the store. I happened to order during the very week they were moving to Pennsylvania, so through a series of understandable mishaps and the confusion of moving it took me a couple of weeks to get this. I just mean there was anticipation and anxiety built up. Oddly enough I didn't read any of these reviews, just the description on the site and the one or two reviews on the site (ever notice those tend to be a bit biased?) I didn't read the conflicting reviews below about the best pipe to use; I didn't read the ones calling it complex or the ones calling it boring. I would have been a bit shocked at the one suggesting moistening it. The tobacco does come dry, I think maybe if I cellar some I might throw a little humi-pillow in the jar, but it comes at the perfect dryness to my tastes for an English blend. I could go through all the smoky leathery latakia, and light strips of different Orientals, the charring, the blossoming of flavors, slow reflective sipping, or how very difficult it is to get to burn hot. The deeper I would go into any of that the more classical and traditional an English blend this is. I won't name drop about all the older blends this tastes like, but tastes just like them. When I think of an English blend this is the presentation, the flavor, the pouch scents and burn I think of. Ok, a zip lock baggy may not be how I think of an English presentation, but you know what I mean, the look and scent. I can't really imagine why this wouldn't get four stars and any other English would. Someone compared it to artisan's blend, a blend I've been smoking fairly regularly. Psychologically I think of Artisans blend as a bit more elegant and refined, but honestly I think it's the tin and the name. I suppose I have the same block with other similar blends, Solani and Dunhill flakes so neat in the tin and the white wrapper with gold crest makes the va/per or just VA flakes seem so elegant. I don't know. Whether I ever get more of this or not (and I don't see any reason not to) this is what an English blend is, the quintessence of an English blend, even down to the moisture level.

8 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (839)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I typically don't require two tins in order to have some thoughts about a blend, but this one was an exception. I'm not sure I'm very close to figuring it out even now. This seems to be about 60/40 of light tobaccos vs dark and the tin aroma is extremely intoxicating. Very oriental forward with the latakia riding shotgun. The blend came dry and the ribbon cut makes for easy loading.

This blend was seriously complex but wasn't brazen about it. The flavor was smoky and dry as opposed to sweet. I can't say I tasted the perique but I'm betting it's a big part of the overall profile. It definitely reminded me of blends from yesteryear but I couldn't determine which ones - John Cotton's #1 and 2, perhaps? But it's been too long since I smoked that one. At any rate, this was a very good blend but I'm not as taken with it as the other reviewers. There was a strong hint of bitterness underneath this offering, and I couldn't get that to go away. I'm also suspicious of blends that work only in briar pipes, and this bitterness was more apparent when smoked in my preferred meerschaum pipes. Briars tended to mute this effect somewhat. While this won't unseat blends in my rotation such as Charing Cross, Exotique or Bishop's Move, this is one I'm going to buy more of to experiment. There were several instances of my wishing there were more latakia, which is something I don't often do. I may try adding some myself.

All this said, there is something about this blend that smacks of blending genius. Like GLP's Abingdon, I may not smoke a lot of it down the road, but do add a 4th star if you're one who loves complexity and true art in tobacco blending.

7 people found this review helpful.

Uban Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Uban (53)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Just cracked a tin about 1 yr old. All I can say so far is that this is magnificent. I do not find it one-dimensional, as the orientals keep poking around the latakia with an almost impish hinting at sweetness followed by pleasant sourness. Smoke volume is full & rich, moisture perfect. Cut is lovely. The aroma surely reminds me of the great blends of old, but, as another reviewer noted, my memories of BS & 759, Durbar & Standard Full, Cotton's, State Express, etc are quite foggy by now. This is their equal in modern guise. The Golden Age is NOW.

Pipe Used: Dunny Gp 5, big meer

Age When Smoked: 1 year

Purchased From: P & C

Similar Blends: Old Good Stuff.

5 people found this review helpful.

Knightsmoker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Knightsmoker (137)
Mild to Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an absolutely beautiful smoke! Lat. is there but not overwhelming everything else. Perique adds spice, the Turkish brings that characteristic herbal sourness but in a good way that is more in the background then anything. The VA's are present but I have to say that they are not quite as sweet as I would like. This however, is the only small negative. I think this will be an outstanding blend to age. The VA's will get sweeter and they blend is already very balanced. No tongue bite at all, even when pushed. I will not wait to see how it ages it is very good now, hopefully blow your mind great in 5 years. I will be cellaring several pounds of this.

Update. This jar is from 3/14 so just 8 months on it and the VA's have started to sweeten. The blend is perfect to smoke at this point. Also the various tobaccos are coming together. Now, I just need to find it in bulk again and I will add more to the cellar.

Age When Smoked: 2.5 months

Purchased From:

5 people found this review helpful.

quantumboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
quantumboy (130)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

This stuff is fantastic! It's aptly named as I don't see how Russ could possibly do any better. It's complex, but not in the way I normally use that word. At any given time I only experience a couple different flavors and can pick out the various types of leaf, but the complexity comes in the changling character of this awesome blend.

Although some Virginia sweetness comes through at times, it's not a particularly sweet blend. In wine terms it's more dry, but absolutely overflowing with flavor. As the bowl progresses, it just gets better, richer, more complex, and more enjoyable as it wanders from Virginia to Latakia to Orientals and back again. It works in every pipe I've tried to far, but I love it in my big Laird with a two inch deep bowl, just because it stretches out the experience as long as possible.

5 people found this review helpful.

ElMog Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
ElMog (30)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Strong

I LOVE BlackHouse, so i thought id give Magnum Opus a try. As such, my review is skewed, since its mostly a comparison. MO seems to me to be a less full-bodied, spicier, less incensy, higher in Nicotine, dryer alternative to BlackHouse. It is a bit more subtle. It doesnt have this huge incense/maple taste that i find and love in BH. It is very dry, very spicy, but its taste is closer to a ''classic'' english than BH. The perique, to me, is noticeable in the taste, not as an individual component, but rather in the fact that the base notes of this blend are very VaPer-ish. The figs, pepper, spice and fuller mouth feel are there lurking in the background. For some reason, even though the cut and moisture level seem the same as my tin of BH, and even though i tend to smoke both in the same pipe, MO is a hassle. It is hard to keep lit, for unknown reasons. It can get harsh and bitter if pushed, as opposed to BH which can be abused with no real consequences. And after a bowl of MO, your mouth will be parched for sure. Overall, not as great as BlackHouse in my opinion, but still a great blend.

Pipe Used: Peterson Kinsale

4 people found this review helpful.

tabaco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tabaco (111)
Medium None Detected Very Full Tolerable

A very complex Oriental forward blend, creamy, herbal, sometimes bitter, tangy, nice pepper, Latakia is there but not in your face same with the Perique, expertly blended by Russ, thank you.

I most certainly prefer Russ' touch and balance when compared to Greg's blends.

Perfect tin moisture and great combusting characteristics although the cut and blend do move down the bowl rather quick, which is fine since I can use some of my massive bowls to enjoy it. The nice part is despite being complex it does not fatigue the palate and mellow enough to enjoy consecutively or interspersed. Although if you're a pipe-packer who enjoys a few bowls per week or per month this one satiates just as well.

It does harken to JF Germain 1820 which is golden in my books and Opus is easy to acquire in N. America, an excellent value for the price.

4 people found this review helpful.

Geronimo Von Klaus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Geronimo Von Klaus (76)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

What can you say that has not already been said? I just hope they never change the formula and that all of the components continue to be available.

Its very oriental forward, but where Black House shouts, this plays a violin in exquisite fashion.

Highly refined, subtle, with enough bang to make you notice, but so much class that you appreciate it throughout.

Big opening, Latakia of epic quality springs out, then the orientals start to warm up and mingle with the Lat in very nice ways to form an initial bond. That keeps going and you think this is a nice Lat/Oriental like Yenijde Highlander and are ok with that. The show isn't over though, those continue to warm and play, and then out from the back comes the VA which has been growing in the furnace, and is sneaks out near the middle of the bowl and the sugary sweetness brings this into the stratosphere.

It goes on and on until right near the end its just everything in full force, like the end of the Ode To Joy. A finale that you just think is smoking heaven.

Its classier and more refined than Black House. Doesn't get dirty or bitter near the end, no residue in the stem, at the end you are satisfied with a pipe you barely need to clean........and memories to savor!!


4 people found this review helpful.

Pryhosm Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pryhosm (112)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is the first time I had the urge to be untrue to my fellow pipers. I had the great idea to write an awful review so I could hoard this tobacco. Yes it is that good. For a complex and very flavorful tobacco the tin note is not that strong. I get some smoke Latakia and believe it or not rasins and figs from the perique. A little sweetness and sourness but a mild smell from the tin/jar Not the taste, this truly is a masterpiece. This tobacco presents itself with so many flavors it deserves your full attention but it does not require it. I have done office work and prayed the Rosary while smoking this blend (something I love to do when I smoke a pipe, for you Catholics out there it is like burning your own incense and it helps lift your prayers to heaven. I may petition the Vatican to replace Frankincense with Magnum Opus during the Mass). Latakia and the Orientals are the star players in this blend. Woody, smoky and sweet. The dry balsa wood like flavor and the malty flavor that is present throughout the smoke is extremely pleasant. The perique while in the tin note is just a support condiment that seems to boost the flavors of the Latakia and the Yenidje. I get the "fizz" feeling with this blend that I absolutely love. It also presents a creosote like flavor towards the last 3rd of the experience. This is a world class tobacco. The only thing that I do not like about it is the tin art. Had I not known that this was a Russ Oulette blend I would have passed it on gaudiness of the label alone. However if the words " beauty is only skin deep" ever had meaning it would be now. One of the best smokes out there.

Pipe Used: briar's & Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: <1year

Purchased From: smoking pipes

3 people found this review helpful.

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

I have had the good fortune to smoke many of the H&H tobaccos, and very few were not acceptable to my palate. Magnum Opus was among the top tier blends as it remains to this day one of my favorite stronger English blends. I don't remember the year that blender Russ O. brought this one to the West Coast Pipe Show for sampling, but that is where I fell in love with this blend. The Virginia is hearty and Rich, the Orientals cool and very spicy, the Latakia was smoky and not delivered with a heavy hand and the Perique was also presented with a delicate yet noticeable touch. Smooth rich English style flavor came through with every puff. Just delightful stuff!

3 people found this review helpful.

Mike Castello Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mike Castello (5)
Medium None Detected Full Tolerable

This blend has been reviewed enough so another review really isn't needed, but I like Magnum Opus so much I want to add my opinion to those already given. Magnum Opus is one of my go to blends. I never tire of it. It never feels old to me. I enjoy each bowl just as much now as I did when I first began smoking Magnum Opus. In every aspect it is outstanding.

Pipe Used: Castello, Kaywoodie

Age When Smoked: two years

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

Similar Blends: White Knight, Davidoff Royalty.

3 people found this review helpful.

Skibbereen Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skibbereen (19)
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Very Pleasant

I only have 6 words to say!! Russ O. I could kiss ya!!! This blend is just outstandingly wonderful. A true masterpiece! I have been meaning to order this blend and I kept forgetting. This time I remembered ...and I will never forget again. I won't waste a lot of time on folks know what it's all about. This blend is smooth on the palate...mild on the throat...but delivers a nice peppery kick thru the old nostrils. Kind of like a good shot of horseradish...only a little more peppery. I don't think I am ever going to worry wether or not I ever get a tin of Balkan Sobranie again. Between this blend...White Knight and H.H. Balkan Sobranie Match....I won't need to. Again I say...get it...try be the judge. But I do not think you will be disappointed if you lean towards English/Balkan type blends. Bon Appetite!!!

Pipe Used: Peterson 106S 1979

Age When Smoked: New tin

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: Sobranie of London - The Balkan Sobranie, Hearth & Home - Balkan Sobranie Match, Hearth & Home - WhiteKnight (Marquee).

3 people found this review helpful.

M42 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
M42 (11)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Very Pleasant

Excellent. From the wonderful tin aroma to the fantastic room aroma this blend leaves this is another superb creation by Hearth and Home of Pipes and Cigars dot com. Most oriental/latakia tobaccos seem to me to be very one dimensional varying only by the strength of the latakia applied. But Magnus Opus is a complex blend with a variety of oriental leaf that offers a complexity of flavors that change as you smoke the bowl down.

I generally tire of these types of tobaccos and switch blends often, but this one will stay in my rotation and be smoked on a regular basis.

3 people found this review helpful.

bteddy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
bteddy (23)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

Just received my tin and after two bowls I'm not sure if I can put a finger on the most outstanding ingredient in this blend. Emphasis seems to change with every draw. At first light, Latakia jumps up and gets those taste buds moving, then magically it fades to something else, you can still taste the strength, but it is now rounder? Simply fantastic! Not sure if I taste an easy going English, or a tasty Balkan, or a spicy Virginia playing in the background. Just when you think it reminds you of some past favorite, it lulls you into another area. Face it, It just works. This is my second tobacco from Russ O. and I couldn't be more impressed. A definite master at his craft. G.L.Pease was my benchmark for these types of tobaccos of late, but no longer. A solid winner.

3 people found this review helpful.

Grumpynuts Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Grumpynuts (9)
Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Yum. 'nuf said. I'll get much more of thisl Nice smooth, balanced flavor. Remains very cool, regardless of how stressed I'm puffing it. I'd highly recommend this for someone wanting to get into non-aromatics and towards an English blend. I don't mean to over-simplify the taste. I think it's all around delicious!

Pipe Used: Ben Wade "Heather"

Age When Smoked: Me or the tobacco? I'm definitely old enough.

Purchased From: Pipes and Tobacco

Similar Blends: Dunhill Nightcap.

2 people found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (106)
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Yet another homerun from the H&H Marquee line, another resounding 4 star blend for me. The same superb quality and flavorful latakia and orientals as White Knight and Black House. In fact, it's very close to BH in presentation, only the cavendish/Kentucky duet has been swapped for a Virginia/perique duet. Being a vaper and Kentucky man myself, this makes it a little tricky to pick between BH and MO. Honestly, I usually smoke one right after the other...they're both utterly satisfying! Never harsh, no burn issues, tobaccos are balanced and married beautifully. Good amount of oriental top notes and that pleasant sweet nasal pinch from the perique. Tasting is believing...if you haven't tried Russ O's blends, get you some of this ASAP. Hell, go on and grab the whole Marquee lineup while you're there. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

Purchased From:

2 people found this review helpful.

Lit a Kia Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Lit a Kia (69)
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

This one reminds me of McClelland Samovar with more spice/edge and nicotine. Beautifully smoky aroma in the tin that translates well into the smoke. Anyone who enjoys a campfire should appreciate the room note. I actually like this one a little better than Russ' White Knight. This one's in the regular rotation with Samovar, Viprati, Syrian Star, and Rich Virginia Ribbon.

Similar Blends: McClelland Samovar, Hearth & Home Marquee White Knight, Gawith Squadron Leader, Sillem's London Mixture, MacBaren HH Vintage Syrian.

2 people found this review helpful.

CFAF Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CFAF (9)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This tobacco has grown on me. Good, but note overwhelming presence of latakia, and the orientals add some nice spice. Much more comfortable with this Russ blend than Black House. (I've been on a bit of a jag trying his blends.) I ordered two tins of this as I do when trying blends. I've gotten through the first, will look forward to smoking the second, and likely order several in the future for storage.

Pipe Used: Various pipes

Age When Smoked: About four months old

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

2 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (320)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

updated 2016-01-27 I've had a tin of this and GLP's Charing Cross down in the cellar for about three years and just tried them back to back. I believe these are similar Balkans , but I do like Charing Cross better. CC is smoother and I like the broken flake cut better. I believe it is the Perique in the MO that detracts from its smoothness. Moved Mag O down to 3 stars

I'm halfway into my first tin and Wow, great stuff. The taste just jumps from one tobacco ingredient to the next. First a little LataKia, then the Orientals, like maybe Dunhills EMP, no like Margate, no wait it's back to Latakia, maybe Midnight Ride ,no here comes some sweetness from the Virginias, I'm so confused, delightful . Burns very slow, without a lot of smoke. I keep thinking it's going out but now I realize that's the slow burn , no heat ,no bite, maybe a very little spice from the Perique. I've reached for this as a first pipe and a last pipe of the day any, it all worked. I will buy more, hope it will come in bulk as it's a little pricey for H&H, but you don't pay for water weight .

Pipe Used: maple

Age When Smoked: new /3 years

Similar Blends: Charring cross.

2 people found this review helpful.

CherchezLaghost Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CherchezLaghost (52)
Mild to Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

One of the roundest and most succesful of a genre known by many names: crossover english, americanized english (ha!), English plus, kitchen sink blend, etc. Not my favorite type of blend, maybe because they often miss the mark for me, with a few notable exceptions. Magnum opus is firmly in that category, along with Potlatch, And So to Bed, Artisan blend, and Bengal Slices. The exceptions are testaments to the skill of the blender. However, when not so skillfully done, blends such as this can easily become muddled, heavy, confused, and unharmonius. There is none of that here. Magnum Opus presents a unified flavor profile that is well integrated. It is Latakia driven, with much barbecue-ey sweetness and tang. The oriental component is blissful, the trademark yenidje soda flavor evident, which i love. I dont remember being as impressed with this previously as i am now, so perhaps a year or so aging has brought something out in it. Equally possible is that my tastes have changed or my memory isnt what it could be. What i know for sure is that this is a 4 star blend, very reminiscent of Bengal Slices flavoring, but much better, softer, and with the added benefit of those beautiful orientals, and a whisper of the plummy sort of perique. My tin is quite dry now, and smokes beautifully. Sipped slowly in a cob it is magical when i draw some outside air into each breath. If pushed it becomes bitter. All the more reason to take it slowly and enjoy. This is what Frog Morton seeks to be, but doesnt achieve. A sweet, round, fragrant and rich latakia mixture.

Pipe Used: Cobs, meerschaums, briar

Age When Smoked: New to 1 year

Purchased From:, smokers haven

Similar Blends: Bengal slices.

1 person found this review helpful.

JustinCarcerated Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustinCarcerated (99)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong

This was a very good solid English/Balkan derivative the Mr O fashioned up as a reminder of a retired classic. A totally dark mixture, even ribbon, somewhat figgy and oriental in scent upon tin opening- I do appreciate their shift to older tin style.

So the only problem I had with this blend relates perhaps to how it was packaged vs how I fill my pipes. I've enjoyed my way through 75% of McCelland's Grand Orientals so I have a better understanding (as well as appreciation ) of that grouping of important leaf component, but early on it was all oriental, all the tin long.

For the better part of nearly half this tin the balance that was stated in reviews from those I would consider to be venerable experts wasn't what I tasted-bowl to bowl. Instead there was far to strong a concentration of Basma, Izmir to the point of having an almost menthol -like comparison, in draw more than flavor.

It wasn't till I set it aside and mixed and stirred the remaining contentsof the tin down that the blend settled down and ...behaved, rather nicely I might add. From that point orientals were muted, perique rose and the Virginias elevated-less of a Balkan and more English in its presentation. I will admit this Toby changed in flavor even then from bowl light to ash. That doesn't often happen in what I'm smoking.

So I have no idea-even after now 96 tins of separate tobaccos later, if I'm supposed to draw my bowls worth of tobacco from the top of the tin or mix the entire contents up upon opening to ensure its all evenly distributed. ..?

Pipe Used: Meers and briars

Age When Smoked: 18 months

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

StevieB Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
StevieB (1644)
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Hearth & Home - Magnum Opus.

My tin looked different to the current one pictured here, mine's the wider and shallower variety: think Dunhill De Luxe Navy Rolls or D'hill Nightcap style. Underneath the lid the ribbons are concealed with a piece of clear Perspex. The appearance is half and half black to brown, and they're slightly coarse. The moisture from the blend seems good, enabling it to be smoked fresh.

What enlightens this blend, for me, is an extremely lively taste of Perique. This was the first flavour to jump out at me: fruity, tangy, and darn-right tasty, and this stays very present for the whole bowl. I find this to be the most formidable of all the leaves for the first part; the Latakia requires a little time to come through properly; and when it does, it isn't an overly piquant flavour, but quite smooth and flavoursome. The Orientals also add to the tangy top-note from the Perique, and give the blend some serious 'zing'. I get no tongue bite from Opus, and the smoke's fairly cool.

The room-note's alright, and the nicotine's medium.

A bit too much power as a go-to, but a blindingly good smoke for breakfast!

Highly recommended.

Pipe Used: Mr Brog

Age When Smoked: One month

Purchased From: 4noggins

1 person found this review helpful.

Nonpareil Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Nonpareil (16)
Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable to Strong

In general this would be a good medium English blend. However the latakia has a slight but definite musty/mildew quality to it which is unpleasant. I bought two tins of this, but after sampling the first tin I gave the second one away. Perhaps I just got a bad example.

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: 1 year

1 person found this review helpful.

Der Pfeifenraucher Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Der Pfeifenraucher (63)
Medium Medium Full Tolerable

I'll not attempt to add anything new to what's been said here. I'll just say that this is an excellent smoke in all regards, perfect for the pre-bedtime-relax-and-solve-issues smoke. Makes me want to give the rest of the marquee series a go.

Pipe Used: cob, old and crusty

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: pandc

1 person found this review helpful.

beardedbroccoli Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
beardedbroccoli (3)
Strong Strong Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Wonderfully smooth and strong! This blend is quintessential English blend tobacco. Magnum Opus does what many other English blends try and fail to do: provide a full bodied, but smooth and delicious smoke.

Pipe Used: Pear Wood Watson

Purchased From: pipesandcigars

1 person found this review helpful.

Autumn joy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Autumn joy (48)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Magnum opus is a true medium based English. The Latakia is forefront but not overpowering in this blend. The orientals are noted throughout this blend and the Perique is very mild. The tin note is a good leathery note much like many good English blends have. The tobacco is just right for my liking from the tin and did not require any drying out. This blend smoked very smooth and was very enjoyable. I would say this is a medium English I would highly recommend this to people just getting in to English blends.

Pipe Used: Straigh billiard

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Pipes and cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

WillBrown Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
WillBrown (108)
Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

I had really high expectations for this blend—a point which, for me at least, almost always spells disaster. While I don't find Magnum O! a disaster, by any stretch of the imagination, it just didn't measure up to my expectations. The tobacco in my tin was extremely dry, so dry I had to moisten it up a bit. Now, truth be told, I'd rather do that than have to deal with a tobacco that's too wet (and full of PG). I wonder if moistening the baccy changed the taste profile? Regardless, overall, I liked the taste, only just.

As others have observed the taste changes throughout the bowl, which is entertaining, but also a bit vexing, too—I mean, what's the next taste lurking around the corner? In the end, I've found this blend a bit unpredictable. I also found it smoked rough and harsh, not a smooth smoke at all. It's net effect reminded me of Patton's Dark Horse (not the same taste, but same effect). So, while this blend definitely has its moments, it's middle of the road for me. I like Russ' Black House blend much better.

Pipe Used: Jobey Stromboli

Age When Smoked: ?

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

cobacco Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
cobacco (52)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I think if there was ever a perfect blend to make a tobacco potpourri this would be it. Pour some in a bowl, put some inside your pillow case, maybe sprinkle a little on the dog and you're in tobacco heaven. I smoked some in my natural Missouri Meerchaum Freehand and I think it may have my best experience to date. Perhaps Ill try it again to see if it can be duplicated. I plan to stock Magnum O and BlackHouse regularly.

Pipe Used: cob

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: pipes and cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

gladi8tor96 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gladi8tor96 (133)
Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is my first time trying a blend by H&H (Russ O.). I have to say that I am definitely impressed. The smell from the tin is quite interesting. It smells sweet with some smokeiness, with a woody/earthy aroma that seems unique to this blend. Each time I have smoked it, as another reviewer has more eloquently stated, the flavor seems to shift. It's never boring and always enjoyable. It definitely has Latakia in it, but the orientals are very much playing a large role. There is almost a floral hint to this blend, both in the tin and in the smoke, not like the 'lakeland' blends, but more subtle. I think this could be from the Basma and Izmir? Has a little sweetness and burns excellent from start to finish. No relights needed and no tongue bite.

I feel happily perplexed by this blend...I can't put my finger on what it is that I enjoy so much about it. But it's definitely one that I have thoroughly enjoyed time and again. Definitely plan to have a few tins available (In fact after this review I have over 1/2 pound of this blend in a large jar in my tobacco cellar).

This has to be my favorite english tobacco ever or at least in my top 3.

Pipe Used: Multiple

Age When Smoked: New from store - 1-3 years

Purchased From:

Similar Blends: Lane Limited - Crown Achievement, Peter Stokkebye - English Luxury (No.17).

1 person found this review helpful.

zwolanek Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zwolanek (19)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

On your feet and hats off, gentlemen.

Russ Ouellette will be either sainted or arrested for this one.


The reviews which note that it is a complex, constantly-shifting, delightful blend which defies simple description are spot on.

When put in a great pipe, this blend cannot be exceeded and will offer an aesthetic experience impossible to describe with words.

Category: Masterpiece

1 person found this review helpful.

toddsmith7378 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
toddsmith7378 (32)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I can taste that it resembles Blackhouse and Balkan Sasieni, except it has perique which puts it over the top for me as being a little more interesting among the more interesting blends that I like.

The oriental's steal the show with Latakia being a significant player. Some lighter Virginia's, but if you've smoked these Balkan Sobranie style blends this one is may favorite. It just has that perique that adds some kick. It's not too strong though, just enough to embellish what truly is a real tasty extravaganza of a treat.

It did need some moisture which really wasn't hard. I just spritzed some distilled water and mixed it around a bit. That's the only knock is how dry it came. It's so good though I bought several tins to keep around. If I used one word to describe this blend, I'd say satisfying.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

LannarkGent Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
LannarkGent (111)
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Medium Very Strong

The orientals are present, but I would have preferred more Samsun and less Basma, most likely. The latakia compo entry was smooth. The Virginia component was just there for the ride. While this is a good English blend, I believe that Russia has done better.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Stu Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Stu (12)
Medium Extremely Mild Full Very Strong

The biggest problem with this blend is that it lacks harmony. There is way too much Latakia which simply clashes the entire time with the rich Perique. The Orientals don't seem to have a place in the blend, also clashing with the Perique. The Virginias are sugary sweet, and are overwhelmed by the Oriental/Latakia dominance. Once everything starts to meld the flavor is not for me, almost like barbecue charred shrimp. In my opinion the flavors in this blend clash the whole way through. The tobaccos used are of good quality and taste natural, although I'm guessing sugar was added to the Virginias.

Similar Blends: Quiet Nights.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Otis56 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Otis56 (31)
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

One he'll of a good Latakia forward English/oriental mixture. It smokes like a dream. Kudo's to Russ. I would recommend this mixture to anyone who likes. Artisian by Ashton or frog Morton. Peace.

Pipe Used: Ashton billiard

Age When Smoked: 6 months

Purchased From: 4noggins

Similar Blends: Ashton Artisian. Oriental blend..

Nobody has rated this review yet.

smoke'a'bowl Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
smoke'a'bowl (3)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm relatively new to pipe smoking, so much of the complexity of this blend is lost on me. But I really enjoy it. The spiciness and richness is just really nice. I like to enjoy this on my patio after a long day at work. It's just very relaxing and pleasant.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

OSR Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
OSR (78)
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Enough has been said - I feel this tobacco is very, very close in taste to Balkan Sobranie white except for the perique.

Wonderful, wonderful tobacco. I always get a compliment from a fellow pipe smoker when I light this up. Masterful blend.

I also like to blend this with Rattray's 7 Reserve. The 7 Reserve takes out some of the perique and adds orientals. Me Gusta!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (74)
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant

I have been remiss at posting reviews for quite awhile so it's time to catch up.

Magnum Opus is certainly a bold (and dangerous) name but Russ has the skill to back up the marketing.

The tin aroma has a fresh, almost floral (good floral) bouquet begging you to jump in. I find this to be very well balanced with no single tobacco being a brute toward its fellow components. I will say that the perique is to me almost non-existent, but that may be because I also smoke alot of VaPers and therefore am accustomed to it.

There is no nic hit of consequence which pleases me greatly and burns cleanly to the bottom of the bowl with no fuss.

A very enjoyable smoke and worth exploration and keeping some on hand.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

brogreggblues Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
brogreggblues (45)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

After almost finishing a tin of Magnum Opus, here are my thoughts; This blend is very, very good, me there's nothing special about it. Very well blended, no one component dominates. Nothing really stands out, just a nice, mellow, rich English blend with no bite. Recommended, but I won't buy it again, simply because it doesn't "grab" me. I'd rather smoke Artisan's Blend. Three stars.

=UPDATE 11/17/2012 I think I finally figured this blend out. It took patience, slow smoking (I tend to hurry), and the right pipe. None of my briars really brought out the fine points of this blend, but once I loaded Magnum Opus into my well-aged Meer, all was well. I finished half a tin in a couple days. Not enough improvement to warrant a fourth star, but it's knocking at the door.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Budman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Budman (25)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

We are truly blessed to have so many good blenders out there, and Russ is one of them!

I have smoked many blends offered by Russ and have been very pleased by many of his offerings.

If you want to dive into the world of English Blends this would be the deep end of the pool. No overload on any one ingredient, no bitterness and a cool clean smoke. The ribbon cut comes fairly dry and packs and lights well. The leaf is top quality and the blend is consistent.

Magnum Opus has surpassed my expectations and is truly in a class by it self! Bravo!

Nobody has rated this review yet.