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A unique and robust blend of Virginia, Dark-Fired, Black Cavendish, Perique and a hint of latakia. Rich, smooth flavor that produces volumes of thick, creamy smoke.

BrandHearth & Home
Blended ByRuss Ouelette
Manufactured ByScandanavian Tobacco Company
Blend TypeVirginia Based
ContentsBlack Cavendish, Kentucky, Latakia, Perique, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging1.5 oz Tin
CountryUS
ProductionCurrently available
Product Image
Strength
Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable

Favorite Of 2 Users

3.6
8 reviews
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DK Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DK (810)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Sand-to-walnut with bits of black, this ribbon has an old-timey, musty tin aroma that reminds me of some of the C&D blends, particularly Haunted Bookshop. This aroma is much lighter than HB, but still present. Mostly Virginia and burley aroma with a hint of latakia in the background, which matches the color.

I'm surprised to be the first one to comment on this blend, as it's been around for a year (although I can't recall when in 2013 the West coast show was). Russ is certainly one of the most innovative blenders around and it seems to me that smokers rightly jump quickly on any new offering, so I'm surprised no one has jumped on this one yet. One thing Russ can do that few blenders seem to be able to (or want to try, apparently) is to orchestrate a large number of component tobaccos to create a symphonic whole, rather than a bunch of cacophony. Every constituent tobacco plays it's part here. The Virginia and Kentucky are up front and play off each other with an earthy robustness that reminds me of the best OTC blends, but with higher quality tobaccos. The latakia is definitely there, both in flavor and a light smoky feel, while the perique is way to the rear but provides a slight nose tickle and some overall balance. The black Cavendish lends it's usual sweetness but in a natural, non-goopy aromatic manner. This smokes very dry, and is very forward tasting but not overtly strong. The "volumes of thick, creamy smoke" comment on the tin is very accurate. This blend would be great for puffers, as it doesn't lose its cool easily. And it's very smooth while being robust of taste.

While this isn't a favorite of mine - indeed, not even my favorite H&H - this blend shows enough promise that I'd like to experiment with it more. It has a great taste and is easy to smoke - fairly nicotine heavy but not too much - and it shows the skill and talent of what an excellent blender can do. Recommended to anyone who enjoys VaBurs with a few twists!

Pipe Used: Meerschaum

Age When Smoked: New

13 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2040)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The Virginia is the star and is a little earthy and grassy with a natural sweetness. The dark fired Kentucky plays well with it ina support role, adding some toasty nuttiness with no real spice, but that latter note is supplied lightly by the raisiny perique, which is a minor player. The Cyprian Latakia plays backup with a little smoky, woody sweetness. The black cavendish is a mild supporter that provides a bare brown sugar tone, though this blend is mostly a dry smoke. Has a mild to medium nic-hit, a step shy of being in the middle. No chance of bite. The components work well together and produces a cool, smooth smoke that burns at a moderate pace with no harsh or dull spots, little moisture in the bowl, and needs an average number of relights. Has a pleasant after taste. Made for the smoker who likes to puff, puff, puff, it's a good all day smoke that wears well during your smoking day without burning hot.

9 people found this review helpful.

SteelCowboy Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
SteelCowboy (683)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The tin scent of El Nino offers up a bit of a sour note that I often associate with some of the Dunhill blends and to me is very inviting. In the pipe, after some needed dry time, I found this blend to really shine. For me, it’s mainly a Virginia/Burley forward blend, but the Cavendish offers a lightly sweet undercurrent. The Latakia plays a minor, but important role. The Perique adds some pepper and adds a small degree of spiciness. El Nino is fairly complex blend that is nutty, earthy, smoky, slightly sweet and spicy all at once. It has already been pointed out, but this blend does seem to produce a large volume of smoke, but I try to resist the (strong) temptation as I get more from it by forcing myself to slow down a bit. On the strength meter, it is medium, but could be a little stronger if pushed. Also, the more it’s pushed, the greater the spice. Since I mainly smoke aged blends when I can, I tend to look for that quality when smoking a new blend and I expect this would cellar very well. El Nino is a very worthy addition to the Marquee Series line!

5 people found this review helpful.

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

This one was a big hit at the Las Vegas Show and I smoked quite a bit of it over a two day period and really enjoyed it. I socked away a few tins for aging and future enjoyment. Lots of different flavors as the variety of leaf provided a long and winding trail of tongue pleasing smoke as one smoked down the bowl. The Kentucky, by the way, really added some power that I enjoyed.

Pipestud

4 people found this review helpful.

TallPuffO'Burley Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TallPuffO'Burley (464)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I received a sample of this in the past Chicago Show in May from Russ himself. I liked this blend, but didn't love it. I found it to be a unique tasting blend which is always a good thing when you smoke many different blends as I do. It allows it to stand out.

This, I feel, is a pretty complex blend with shifting flavors over the many different ingredients. At times there is nutty earthy sweetness from the burley and Kentucky, other times there is smokiness from the lat. It seems the perique is always there with its spiciness, but does seem to change intensity throughout.

I wish I had a bigger sample of this. I smoked half of it in Chicago which was not the best place to enjoy a contemplative complex blend as I was constantly smoking, drinking and talking. The remaining bowls I had when I returned varied from fantastic to alright. Many people in Chicago were raving over this blend, so I am leaving putting this at three stars and will be buying more. I will later update if necessary.

2 people found this review helpful.

TwelveAMnTX Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
TwelveAMnTX (28)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

El Niño is another tobacco in the Kentucky Dark Fired Step Ladder Sampler. I am really glad that I bought the sampler, I probably would not have tried this tobacco otherwise. I haven't tried many blends with Latakia to compare the strength to, but I know that I like the taste of it in this tobacco.

Upon opening the tin you get a distinct smell of Latakia combined with earthy dark fired kentucky notes as well. The tobacco is at the perfect moisture level to load up your pipe & enjoy the flavor. There is a lot of smokey flavor in the initial light, but not as overwhelming as other tobaccos I've tried. It's a smooth intriguing blend that works on so many levels. I can get hints of the perique on retrohale/snork as well as some sweet tones from the virginia. I don't really get much of the black cavendish taste, but I believe it's there & helps to balance the taste adding some smoothness to it. I love the amount of smoke this tobacco produces for even the smallest of puffs. I have yet to get it too hot, it's so easy to smoke & leaves very little in the bowl except ash.

The room note is definitely not for everyone, some will like it, others will head the other way. I've really enjoyed this tobacco a lot more than I thought I would. If you like a good creamy tasting smokey tobacco, I think you'll really enjoy El Niño, give it a try.

Pipe Used: assorted MM cobs & hardwoods

Age When Smoked: fresh to a month old

Purchased From: pipesandcigars.com

1 person found this review helpful.

JustinCarcerated Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JustinCarcerated (99)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Overwhelming

Recd this on accident, had put Black House on wishlist but better half can't read wishlists so...

This is my first Hearth&Homes thin tin, done in the Dunhill style. Shaggy ribbon cut with some flake, ribbon hodge-podge, just dry enough to burn from first light through to the bowl.

To my palate, this was akin to a University Flake married to a burley-forward english, hybrid, rounded nicely with Perique. I found it absolutely delightful - shifting from a cool sweetish beginning to a definitely spicy ending, bowl after bowl.

Although I couldn't easily discern latakia, between that and the Cavendish they 'glued' the blend together for me. To be a favorite in my list I have to be drawn back to the tin again and again....I blew through this tin it was that refreshingly good.

The only negative could be it's room note, which seems a peculiar cross of woodsy campfire where a Dutch oven would contain boiling animal bladders. .. not adequately cleaned - but hey, I smoke outdoors so even I can get upwind when necessary.

I now have put the entire Marquee series on my wishlist!!! Kudos to Russ Ouellette and Pipes & Cigars.

Pipe Used: Meers and briars

Age When Smoked: 18 months

Purchased From: Pipes&Cigars

1 person found this review helpful.

J.R. Patton Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
J.R. Patton (85)
★★★★
Medium to Strong Extremely Mild Very Full Tolerable to Strong

The entire Marquee series is superb, El Niño did not disappoint. Definitely one of the most uniquely blended baccys in my collection. The first time I smoked it I spent the time lost in contemplation, trying to understand just what it was I was smoking. But the more I smoked it, the more understanding dawned on me, and the more I came to love the delicious complexity of the blend. Quality is great, flavor profile is like no other out there!

I can't even begin to classify the tin note. I will mention the obvious in-your-face musty scent, becoming of both well-fermented perique and black cavendish. There's also a pleasing, peaty sort of sour note. As I mentioned, it would be difficult to categorize the flavor profile of the smoke, but there are loads of it with tons of flavor to chew on. The black Cavendish is quite discernible, oddly, and it plays very well with the Kentucky. VA is not so noticeable, but the perique weaves in and out continuously, while the latakia stays perfectly in the background lending only a whisper of woodsy smoke flavor to the whole. Man, this is good stuff! Nothing to comment on room note...there is such a symphony of flavor going on, I'm sure my sense of smell is inundated.

Masterfully done...you must try it to fully comprehend what you could expect out of the blend. Give it a little dry time, don't pack that Kentucky too tight, and smoke gently. It can bite, but if you take your time to savor and understand the blend it'll never become an issue. My new favorite VaBurPerCaLat.

Purchased From: Pipesandcigars.com

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