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Lakeland Brickle is a combination of Virginias (mostly red), along with dark, tangy burleys (which add depth, spice, and strength) and infuse them with traditional Lakeland-style flavors such as rose and a tonquin-type (among others), but with a light hand to avoid the “soapiness” that some people dislike. We then heat treat it and put it under pressure to further develop the flavor and body, and finish by vacuum sealing it in 8 ounce bags. The mildly sweet but robust flavor is intriguing and seems to get better with each successive bowl.

Notes: The original Lakeland Brickle has been a big hit for us, but we received a number of "I liked it, but..." emails and phone calls. What people were requesting was a version that would be stronger than the original with a more robust scent. And a number of people wanted smaller packaging. We listened to you, so we're announcing Lakeland Brickle Fortissimo; a fuller-bodied blend with dark air-cured, dark fire-cured and perique with a richer flavor including juniper, lavender, and clove, and packed in 4 ounce. bricks.

BrandHearth & Home
Blended ByRuss Ouellette
Blend TypeVirginia Based
ContentsBurley, Kentucky, Perique, Virginia
FlavoringFloral Essences, Nuts / Beans, Other / Misc
CutKrumble Kake
ProductionNo longer in production
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Favorite Of 2 Users

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zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (146)
Medium Strong Medium to Full Tolerable

First, about the name. It makes no sense. This stuff was made in Albany NY, not the Lakeland district in England. And brickle...what the hell is a brickle? Yes, it's a brick, that looks similar to peanut brittle. I know what you're getting at, but brittle is a perfectly fine and descriptive word. And fortissimo...suggesting a rich and heavy hand in strength. This isn't Italy! I know, it's not fair to criticize these things and I only do so in a joking manner, which certainly doesn't reflect on the product. And in that regard, this is the finest robust American flavored smoke I've tried.

I remember smoking Hookah in my younger days and a flavor selection I made once had this same type of essence, instead labeled Jasmine. It gave off a delicious, refreshing floral note so novel and intense that it left a distinct impression in my mind. Even years later I can still recall the taste, and the entire experience couldn't have lasted more than a half hour. I know it was a composite of many essences, but the similarities are there, the technique, however similar. To me, it's odd that the hookah industry is so good at infusing flavor into tobacco, whilst we Americans rely on goopy casings and inferior leaf. But I think Russ has changed that. He's opened a door to a different kind of smoke, one that also showcases a rare attribute in an aromatic--strength, as this brittle is a solid medium in body, enough to pacify the nicotine hound in search of a decent fix, so hesitant to flirt with aromatics. And the flavoring here is remarkable in its ability to stay through the entire bowl, never burning off. This really is an American aromatic achievement that we can finally stick to those stuffy British and their soap sauces.

I admit, I was excited about this purchase. I recall reading about the original, watching an interview in which Russ discussed the development of his flavoring technique, and seeing the blend on the shop site for the first time. I was taken aback, however, of the 8oz size, which was simply too much for me, having about thirty open aromatic tins of poor choice selection left about, each with an ounce or so more that will never finish. They sit in a box, hidden from my view, which I guess you can call my half assed attempt at a cellar. But this variation is a little different, a product of experience, the flavor modified, stronger and available in 4 ounces. The packaging itself is also a thrill, crammed tightly in a vacuum seal and hard as a rock, in its brittle form.

When you open the package, the contents are caked together, slightly sticky, the smell of fragrant flowers wafting through the air. I cut it up using actual scissors into small, squarish pieces and threw it in an old 2 oz container, in which it fit perfectly, so dense in its constitution. I can't wait to make my way through this sample, and I know further exploration will yield an even greater variety of flavors. Russ, if you're reading this, thank you for taking the time to experiment with radically different ideas and the determination to see them through. Don't stop, I demand more and different flavor sensations! How about a citrus variety?

Albany NY is the new Lakeland district, and it's American.

6 people found this review helpful.

Kilmarnock Piper Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Kilmarnock Piper (233)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

I tried the original Lakeland Brickle first, but this is indeed better. The flavorings are more harmoniously "married" to the tobacco, and are a better balance of flavors in general; more spicy than the very flowery original. Juniper, lavender, and clove: very nice! As in the original, the flavors are really more of a scent than a topping. It's not that you don't taste them, but this is no goopy aromatic. The blend is not strong, as "fortissimo" would suggest, but the touch of Perique and fire-cured raise the strength level a bit from the original. The introduction of these condiment tobaccos really help to raise the interest level, and they are not overdone, but in perfect amounts. I am finishing up a small sample of only 4-5 bowls, but this will be going on my list for future purchase. I only wish I had bought a half pound of this one rather than the first incarnation, though that one isn't bad in its own right. As to a description of the unique presentation of this blend, see my review and others of the original Lakeland Brickle; this looks about the same, but with some darker leaf mixed in.

5 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2231)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

The grassy, citrus, earthy, dark fruit sweet Virginias are the base for the other components to play off even though it apparently is present to a higher degree. The dark fired Kentucky is smoky, woody and very spicy in an important support role, occasionally dominating the Virginias. You notice it in every puff. The perique is a minor player that offers some raisins, figs, and pepper. The nutty, molasses sweet burley is also present in a small amount though you won’t always be aware of it. The toppings are very floral, and include juniper, lavender, and the lightly more obvious clove. They somewhat sublimate the attributes of the tobaccos, though the varietals will let you know they are there. The nic-hit is just shy of medium. A medium bodied, well blended mixture that is processed in brick form, but is easily broken apart to manipulate as you please. Burns cool, clean, with some smoothness amidst a slight rough edge at a moderate pace requiring few relights, it leaves a smidgeon of dampness in the bottom of the bowl as it easily burns to ash. The toppings weaken just a mite in the last third of the experience, but not enough to wreck its basic consistency of flavors. No chance of bite. Not quite an all day smoke, but one that you’ll come back to during the day if you like products in this genre.


4 people found this review helpful.

fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (342)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

This is no longer in production, and that is a pity. I struggled with the rating as I did with the non-fortisimo version, because my 4's are something I think everyone owes it to him/herself to try. It is a little unfair to do that to something that is NLA, but I am going to do it anyway. I was really impressed with this smoke. Should you get the opportunity, you need to try this.

The Virginias are a mix of red and yellow. The red provides a tart, heavier fruit, and the yellow gives it a bright citrus edge. The burley is earthy and mellow with no bitterness. That burley is a light touch, and it works with the Kentucky.The Lakeland essence is done very well for my palate, and it seems to be slightly subdued compared to the regular.

There is a slight spice from the Kentucky, and the perique may contribute to the spice, although I detect it as a plum perhaps. It is a very pleasant collection of flavors and it is a "Lakeland" with more. I pick up some clove. It just works, and the tingle on your tongue after a bowl is very pleasant. I was startled by how much I liked this.

Pipe Used: pots

Age When Smoked: three years

2 people found this review helpful.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (854)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant

Another generous sample provided by a pipe forum friend! A bit darker in color than the "regular" Brickle and a bit stronger in bag aroma. Otherwise they resembled each other pretty closely.

Flavor-wise, this one was also richer. The flavoring lasted throughout the bowl but never became tiresome, although unlike the G&H lakeland blends, I could only do one bowl of this at a time before I had to switch to something else. This also DGT'd very nicely overnight. On first blush, this seemed to be an upgrade of the original Brickle. And yet, something pulled me back to the original. In this one, I preferred the flavoring but this doesn't have that gentle bathing of the flavor over the tastebuds. The original sort of melted on the tongue and the flavoring seemed more a part of the leaf than an additive. With this one, it was clearer that regular tobacco leaf was used and the flavoring added afterwards... which sounds silly, because that's the case with both! But with the original, it just seemed to me like the flavoring and the leaf were more "one". Hard to describe.

At any rate, I enjoyed them both immensely. There is room in my rotation for both, and I strongly suggest that anyone interested in one or the other should experience the two of them.

2 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (685)
Medium Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I love Lakeland style blends and when Russ Ouellette decided to attempt one on this side of the pond several years ago (Lakeland Brickle) I was intrigued. So moving on to Fortissimo was a natural transition. As described in the blending notes, this blend is stronger in both nicotine and added flavorings and I find both to be true. As was true with Lakeland Brickle, Fortissimo isn’t as “soapy” as many of the Gawith Hoggarth blends. The dark fired adds some body and strength and the Virginias, I am guessing, were sourced from C&D as they taste of them. The Virginia adds some dull sweetness. The Lakeland perfume/floral flavor is there in all its glory, but there is something missing for me. I enjoy this and Lakeland Brickle, and when Gawith Hoggarth was tough to come by in the US, it made an excellent substitute. I have smoked this new and am now reviewing it based on a jar from around four years ago and I am not sure if this is produced any longer. There is a good nic hit from the dark fired, but, like with LB, it lacks the body of the Gawith Hoggarth blends. I am an amateur, but my view from the couch is that the underlying tobacco isn’t as high of quality that GH uses. With that said, this is a good blend, but given the choice of this verses something made by GH, I would reach for the GH blends most often.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Medium Medium to Strong Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

A pleasant full bodied tobacco that burns easily with few relights. I smoke it for it's body and strength. Don't expect the same scent and strength as the true Lakelands though, this one is different. Milder,and a different scent altogether.I find it a little heavy on one of the toppings, which I can't put a finger on, but think it may be the cloves. This is, at best, a couple time a week smoke for me. A little too heavily flavored for more than that. Recommended if you like the genre.

1 person found this review helpful.

serif365 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
serif365 (21)
Mild to Medium Medium Full Very Pleasant

I've had a couple of these vacuum-packed 4oz bricks for a little while now and I decided to take them out of the bags and put them into a new glass cannister my wife gave me today. I took one of the little thin edges left in one of the bags, broke it up and put it into a little Italian churchwarden briar. I enjoyed this smoke immensely. The Perique tickled the back of my palate; the juniper, lavender and clove were present but in no way overpowering. The smoke was creamy, a little potent and the flavor was very nice. There was plenty of smoke, the leaf burned well down to a gray ash in the bottom of the bowl. I highly recommend this blend to all you aromatic lovers as well.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Capt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Capt (177)
Medium Extra Strong Medium Very Strong

This is just not for me. Reminds me of funeral home flower arrangements. I traded this off for a few tins of aged Escudo. I'm not saying others shouldn't try it, but use caution and an old pipe.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Elwin Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Elwin (12)
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I have to admit that I was disappointed at first. I was hoping that a blend that called itself 'Lakeland' might be a little bolder. When I first cracked the seal on the vac-sealed bag, I was hoping to catch a scent of Lakeland floral, but all I got was a nice rich tobacco scent. Smoking that first bowl was again, not what I was expecting. Only the faintest hint of lavender from retro-haling through my nose. My disappointment slowly faded though as I began to realize that while not an American replacement for my favorite British blends, it did have it's own pleasant merits. A rich, even burning Burley with a touch of Virginia sweetness with an occasional appearance of spice from the Perique. This is anything but a boring smoke. This would be a nice, interesting smoke even if it had a completely different name. So while it's not America's answer to the Lakeland 'soap' that so many of us enjoy, it is still a welcome addition to my rotation. I hope that in the future, Russ will give us a full bore, no-holds-barred blend to stand along side of classics like Ennerdale, St. Bruno, and Condor. Until then, this is still a great little blend that's well worth a try.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant

Really a treat, Flavor, kick, Aroma. Its a mystery what catergory to put this in. The vaccum packed brick was cool also. Family loves room note. A solid B+

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (96)
Medium Medium Full Pleasant

Juniper, Clove and Lavender eh? Thank God there's a little room left for tobacco! Actually this little number is quite a treat...being nothing like the Brit stinky pants blends...not sending you choking toward yoir local ER with Vit. N oozing out of yer fingernails...and being both reasonable in cost and obtainable. OH! And the stuff is easy to work with, is managable in the bowl and tastes good. What's not to like? I haven't gotten to the point where I crave it twice a day...thinking it's more of a 'special occasion' blend. Honestly and all kidding aside, this is very good, totally unique and as such is super when you're kinda tired of the rest of your usual suspects.

To me this is a distinctly Western USA blend. California. Beverly Hills. Done up by Jethro after Grannie run out of Glengary while boiling up a nice she grabs the first thing at hand (a bottle of cloves off the rack) and wings it at Jethro...and he takes off out the kitchen door and commences to grabbin' plants and such on the run (Juniper and Lavender) and adds a handfull of each plus a pinch of the Clove to a gunny sack of Kentucky Brown...and the blend was born. It was Ellie May what put the fancy name on it just to impress Grannie...and she did. Once when Russ was visiting the Clampetts he noticed Grannie's stash...and run off with it. Just cain't trust a tobacco man I always say. But then, I always say way too much!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (28472)
Medium Medium Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Russ has added yet another winner to the H&H stable. Plenty of body, flavor and strength. Always smooth and creamy, never harsh. The strength of tobacco's and Robust scents of Juniper, Lavender and Cloves really works for me and this is fast becoming one of my favorites while also making the current Gawith drought no longer a concern for me.

Nobody has rated this review yet.