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Our own Master Blender Russ Ouellette is at it again! This time he's blended up a concoction that represents his own interpretation of the classic Bengal Slices blend that many of us have fond memories of. This blend starts with dark, smoky Cyprian Latakia, and also contains some of the most amazing Oriental leaf, a variety of Virginias from around the world and a touch of unflavored black Cavendish. Then it is lightly scented it with an old fashioned top dressing and hot pressed to marry the flavors and mature the blend.

BrandHearth & Home
Blended ByRuss Ouelette
Manufactured ByPipes & Cigars
Blend TypeEnglish
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
FlavoringOther / Misc
CutKrumble Kake
Packaging1.5oz Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy PipesAndCigars
Product Image
Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
Mild, Mild to Medium
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 1 Users

3.3
12 reviews
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fr_tom Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
fr_tom (136)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I have never had Bengal Slices, so there is no basis for comparison. This review is Fusilier's Ration on its own merits.

This is just a great blend. Mine came sightly dry and was easy to rub out by hand. The tin note is sweet and latakia.

The smoking experience is very flavorful. The oriental presence makes itself known, and there is a tickle when exhaling through the nose. There is a mild sweet topping I can't identify that enhances the natural dark Virginia taste. The latakia provides a smoky foundation that is always there but does not dominate. I claim the black cavendish is there to manage strength and is not evident to me as I smoke it.

The flavor profile was a little edgy for me. It has been a great smoke but has not had the creamy thick mouth feel that some latakia blends do. It was not finicky and burned well.

If the description sounds like something you would like, get some now. I think I will have another bowl myself.

2 people found this review helpful.

puro66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
puro66 (73)
★★★☆
Medium Medium Medium to Full Pleasant

I'm a little surprised by how few reviews have been done when considering the enthusiasm which accompanied the release of this tobacco and the fact that it sure seems to be sold out alot. I believe I bought mine in early to mid 2012 and did something I rarely do which is to buy three tins with no idea if I would like it. My tins were 2oz. and now I see it noted here on TR and pipesandcigars,com as being a 1 1/2oz. tin, so has it's manufacturer been switched to Sutliff?

Anyway I did like it. A couple of chunky cake bars with a wonderful latakia and oriental aroma merged with a sweet scent wafted from the can and begged to be smoked. Once broken up the pipe was filled and the journey began. It would be a good latakia smoke even without the oldworld flavoring. As it stands it is a fine smoke with a twist that some may say is like the old Bengal and some say not, I shall stay out of that skirmish because I smoked only a couple of tins of the 1980's version and well...I don't care. If you want an occassional diversion from your usual latakias you might give it a try. Russ has certainly proved his desire to create a wide variety of tobaccos to suit just about everyone's needs. Keep it up!

Pipe Used: various

Age When Smoked: varied

1 person found this review helpful.

Theodore Moore Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Theodore Moore (10)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Fusilier's Ration is a piece of work! Here is a blend that separates the master blender from the amateur, the artist from the painter. I was instantly intreagued when I first heard of this blend as it was inspired by, and sought to emulate the original Celebrated Bengal Slices, of which I had smoked many a tin back in the eighties. The result is simply amazing and unlike anything else I've found available at this present date. Upon lighting up, it was indeed fondly familiar to the olfactory memory of my mind.

This is a most pleasant and tasty smoke with a tantalizing seductiveness imparted by way of some floral topping. At the first answer of my nose, I could almost think cherry blossoms, but oh no, this is English, right? Yes it is! Gone however is the heavy room note of the original which, while floral, could gag a camel in a latakia smokehouse. (Which was what set Bengal Slices apart back in the day.)

This is a crumble cake of course, and not sliced like the original; and if you want to complain about having to break it up, don't buy it because that's what you do with crumble cake. To me this only adds dimension to the experience... a time to anticipate the coming pleasure.

However, the smoking experience aside, what surprised me most was that the morning-after smell was almost non-existent. No, I was not surprised, I was shocked. And better yet, the nicotine was light and it had no bite, even after three back-to-back pipefuls. If you like exotic oriental, Balkan blends, I think you will be delightfully pleased with this one. I am definitely buying more before the word gets out!

1 person found this review helpful.

zulujerk Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
zulujerk (134)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I began my experiences with this blend by witnessing a picture on a forum of the prototype. It looked to be a lightly pressed, oily beast, and it made my mouth water just looking at it.

But Fusilier's ration has a soft side, and that is certainly the topping, which to me, is Vanilla. I don't smoke many cased blends, but became enamored with the idea of a cased English having had a few too many failures with the likes of Sam Gawith's Perfection.

It is a little light on the nicotine, but the balance is maintained without making the blend overly harsh with the inclusion of Kentucky. I love the leaf myself, but this is a soft smoke, and I appreciate the thought that went into it.

Pease and Russ definitely have different blending styles, and I thank them dearly for the time and effort they put into their craft. How would a Pease offering along the same lines compare? I think he ought to try this out!

Similar Blends: Perfection, Plum Pudding.

1 person found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (513)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Fusilier's Ration is an ambitious new blend from Russ Ouellette and Pipes and Cigars that pays homage to the original English version of Bengal Slices. My tin arrived with a mixture of cakes (bars actually) and shake. The tin aroma lends itself to the natural toppings and a very deep, rich tobacco flavor. As one other reviewer pointed out, I too find it difficult to compare to Bengal Slices as my remaining two tins didn't age well either. It does make me wonder how well FR will age?

The tobacco itself requires a fair amount of attention in the preparation phase. The cakes break apart with ease, but I find it really needs to be well dried prior to smoking, and it is important to not pack it as tightly as you may do with your other blends. Even when prepared as described, I cannot remember smoking a blend that burns as slowly as Fusilier's. Even though FR falls into the English realm (aromatic English for some), I find that in addition to careful preparation, a slow cadence is key in the same way one would smoke a straight Virginia. If not careful the blend will burn hot. I did rub out every bowl so the experience could be different with leaving the cakes intact. In keeping with English tobacco laws, the toppings are natural but I cannot place my finger on what they are, but I would guess it to be more than one. There is a nice, but not overpowering, sweetness to Fusiliers. If patient, FR delivers a rich, complex flavor profile. I did decide to knock it down a star due to the amount of care needed to get the most out of the blend and FR's ability to burn a little hot. I think that Fusilier's Ration is really well done and will likely have a dedicated following of which I will be a member. Russ Ouellette is really doing some exciting things at P&C!

1 person found this review helpful.

King Weed Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
King Weed (31)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild Very Full Pleasant

Fusilier's Ration is an interesting blend and one I wanted to try from the time I heard about it. I received a goodly sample from Russ Oulette at the 2013 NASPC show. Now, I have read and been told that this blend is a re-creation of Bengal Slices. Well, I've smoked it and, although enjoyed it, I can't quite grok that it is Bengal Slices. Here's why.

The sample I received and the tin I received it from were in ready-to-use loose form. This is contrary to both the H&H description and to my clear memory of Bengal Slices. I have fond memories of popping open those little black rectangular tins to reveal the neatly positioned perfectly sliced krumble kake-style morsels. Also, the H&H tobacco I was given was dry - not dehydrated but not at all oily and wax-like, as were the BS slices. And, I remember rubbing-out the slices and always having to wash my fingers afterwards. Although I couldn't identify the bulk aroma of FR as Bengal Slices, a smoking buddy of mine who has been smoking as long as I have and has smoked many tins of BS, did identify it as the aroma of the old product straight away.

OK - let's smoke this blend. I filled a magnum-sized, John Eells-designed, Ardor-fabricated half bent billiard and had at it. The mild casing really didn't enter into the smoke that much but the solidly english undercurrents were wonderful. My smoking buddy and I puffed away happily and, in what seemed like too short an amount of time, I was in the bottom third of the bowl - a really big bowl. I had read that this blend smokes rather quickly and that seemed to be the case. Who cares - it was wonderful!

The only negative I experienced with this blend was a noticeable spiceyness on the tongue that persisted down to about the midpoint of the bowl. Then it smoothed-out. I next mixed-down a portion of the remainder with Dunhill Early Morning Pipe (my current mix-down blend) and - bam! What a wonderful and perfect smoke. All-in-all I'm happy with this blend and would/will buy more. However, the mix-down equals three stars - but I still recommend it to all english smokers.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

gladi8tor96 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
gladi8tor96 (49)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

I don't know what the topping is on this stuff, but it adds a dimension to the English Blends, that at least for me, after some time, can get a bit repetitive. I found this blend to be a wonderful treat and deviation from my traditional rounds. This may sound strange, but it falls into line with another recent blend I have come to love....Froggy in the Cellar. I find both of these blends similar, which I cannot say that about any other blends in this category. I love them both and they will be in my regular rotation. Great job again Russ!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Cochon74 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Cochon74 (21)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong Mild to Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

This is an incredibly interesting English blend! The latakia is there in spades... from start to finish, there is no doubt that you're smoking a full-on English mixture. In terms of blending, this is a well-done, lat-forward mix with excellent contributions from the Orientals and the Virginia leaf. The aromatic element is what sets this blend apart. As someone who doesn't smoke aromatics (although I found Haddo's Delight to be, well, delightful), I have to say that the topping is so deftly applied that it is completely harmonious with the natural qualities of the tobacco. Chemically speaking, I'm not sure how the flavoring is added (what kind of solution/essence it is compositionally)... but there's nothing chemical, "fake" or otherwise displeasing about the slightly floral, perfumey and altogether refreshing aroma. I can't pick out the exact recipe of traditional components, but I do know that it provides a stunning and welcome counterpoint to the rich, dark and pungent flavors of what would be an extremely well-done, but altogether familiar, blend.

Logistically, I'll agree that it burns very slowly and doesn't seem to like to be pushed too hard... but then again, I generally like to relax when I light up and don't ever smoke in a hurry. My tin was made up of several large, irregular chunks of cake as well as a couple of pinches of looser bits. It rubbed out very easily and packed well... It took to the match very well too.

I always smoke outside, so guaging the room note is difficult. I will say that it smells very pleasing to me in the fresh air weather hanging around on a still evening, or drifting of with the breeze.

Most pleasing is the fact that there is no gumming-up of the pipe or ghosting by the aromatic topping. I've smoked it in several of my lat-dedicated briars and not had any adverse carry-over of dressing. The latakia hangs around, for sure, but not the aromatic element.

So... all in all, a great departure for me without leaving my smokey realm of English blends. Also, I should add that this is my first tobacco blended by Mr. Ouellette... I also got a tin of Ambassador when I got FR. Given the first impression, I'm looking forward to trying more of his handy-work!

If you like English blends and want something just a little different, give this a try! Solid 3 stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Mr. Big Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mr. Big (217)
★★☆☆
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I recently recieved a small sample of this blend and I have to agree with what has been said about how hard it was to rub out. I almost put it through a coffee grinder. That said , the taste is interesting, I mainly get Latakia with a hint of vanilla. I've never been a fan of the vanilla and Latakia combination, just me, I find this taste similar to 4 Noggins " Bald Headed Teacher". As I smoked this ,it also started to get bitter about half way down the bowl ,even at a sip and it also seemed to burn hot.

OK ,so let's recap: Hard to rub out, Vanilla topping, Turns bitter, Burns hot . I'll be generous and give this 2 stars!

Nobody has rated this review yet.

daveyj66 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
daveyj66 (8)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I just smoked my first bowl of Fusiliers Ration. I can see this blend garnering a cult following. This was probably the most interesting new blend I have smoked in years.

The sample I had was shaped into little bars and rubbed out very easily. I was weary of the Lakeland tag Lord Noble spoke of but it only had the faintest aroma every so often. What I tasted was balls to the wall Orientals. Back in my young days I smoked Turkish nails blended with the same type of tobaccos used in pipe blends. I imagined myself hip smoking cigs out of a tin. I got this taste along with the Virginia sweetness. Sometimes a taste can take you back many years, this evening this happened. It burned down to a tiny dottle and my only complaint it was a bit hot owing to the VAs.

Russ Oullette IMHO is on to something with this blend. I have no idea if there is any tinkering being done, but I like it the way I received it. I will be purchasing this when it is available for sale. KUDOS to you Russ!!

This was written by me after a few fellas from pipesmagazine.com received samples not knowing what he was trying to recreate. After I was smoking this blend for a few minutes the tastes and smells took me back years ago to when I smoked Bengal Slices. It was after I smoked it I was told, but as I said I had a good idea.

This blend has that subtle smell and a wonderful taste. Myself and a good friend after both smoking the sample and the tin version where banging are heads trying to figure out the topping. I don't think we will find out as I don't believe Russ is telling.

My only complaint is it's not available in 8oz tins or bulk. I am sure that will be coming in the near future.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (557)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

Russ came on a pipe forum I belong to and posted about this as a tobacco reminiscent of Bengal Slices. I used to love fresh Bengal, so I jumped on it. I can't really compare the two, since it's been so long, and aged tins of the original haven't fared so well for me.

This comes as multiple pressed bars of tobacco (rather than flakes), probably a 5 on a scale of 1-10 for breakability. Once you get it rubbed out, it burns easily. Excellent tin aroma, heavy on the oriental and latakia and a nice underlying sweetness. This sweet taste doesn't take center stage but it's evident in every puff, and elevates this blend beyond the ordinary. I loved the previous reviewer's "smoky fruits and nutty sweets" comment, and he is spot on. This tobacco runs the gamut of flavors and nails each one. Nothing overwhelms, it all just melds together in this wonderful opus of chewy, mouthfilling goodness. Even so, the complexity level doesn't demand the smokers attention, but sits back and rewards the thoughtful puffer. I get sweet coffee notes and some dark chocolate as well as some plums and hazelnut, and even a hint of mulled cider. Didn't notice any overabundance of nicotine. Highly recommended for anyone that enjoys latakia and orientals AND has a bit of a sweet tooth.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

serif365 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
serif365 (19)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium to Full Very Strong

I jumped on the band wagon right off the bat and ordered two tins of Fusilier's Ration with great expectations. The cans came in accompanied by a small sample. I loaded up a clean meerschaum for the full effect and I was a little let down. The smoke was good but not great. I was thinking "there are so many different flavors my taste buds are confused!" This seemed to be an overly-complex smoke.

Well, you should never judge a new blend based on the first smoke. I let the sample sit for a few days and went back to it the second time. Wow! What a difference a few days make. Yes, the blend is complex, but now it isn't overly-so. I think this may be the strongest Latakia blend I've tasted to date but it is a wonderful flavor. There is a sweetness to the smoke that is both pleasant during and afterwards. My palate is not near as refined as some of my fellow pipers but each sip seemed to bring a different flavor to bare. There were smokey fruits and nutty sweets. I almost sensed chocolate and maybe a little mocha but they flitted away with the next puff only to peek in again later.

I could go on an on about this work of art and I'm sure as time passes others will make a much better description. For myself, I highly recommend Fusilier's Ration and I look forward to popping a tin for a full investigation. :)

(By the way, don't leave FR sitting open in your study. The smoked aroma is very permeating!)

Nobody has rated this review yet.