Hearth & Home AJ's VaPer

A Virginia/perique consisting of red Virginias combined with a generous portion of perique and some Green River black Cavendish.

Where to Buy



Brand Hearth & Home
Series Signature Series
Blended By Russ Ouellette, Andrew AJ Smith
Manufactured By Sutliff Tobacco Company
Blend Type Virginia/Perique
Contents Black Cavendish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 2 ounce tin, bulk
Country United States
Production Currently available


Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.24 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 46 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 03, 2023 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
Appearance: the half-pound tin I purchased was released in 2013. Over the ten years of aging sealed, the various tobaccos have become pretty much the same color, resembling dark roast coffee with occasional flecks of a slightly lighter shade. However, if you look closely, you will notice a certain amount of almost black cavendish. The blend, which is already very light-weight, has even more airy consistency if it is dried a bit, what I recommend. The cut of the tobacco is a short, neat ribbon.

Flavor: upon opening the tin, it reminded me of McClelland tobaccos that left the market with a slight smell of "ketchup". The manufacturer claims that this characteristic odor gives the process of additional fermentation of tobacco, but I dislike it a bit, although it has become a kind of a business card of quality red virginia. Therefore, the tobacco was poured into a glass jar, where it lay for about a month, periodically ventilated by me. After three weeks, the odor was almost completely gone, and I decided to take a whiff of the tobacco bouquet. Undoubtedly, over the years, the notes of perique and cavendish - prunes, figs, some fermented fruit, and subtle notes of cocoa and caramel - have come to the forefront. In ten years, there is almost no trace of the typical fruity and woody, with a slight earthiness, notes of red Virginia in the flavor. After lying in the air, the sour notes in the bouquet become wine-like, and distant hints of woody notes appear. The overall bouquet is very even.

Taste: extremely mild, medium-bodied, deceptively light, and very complex to parse into individual notes. Perique and cavendish go hand in hand on the palate, creating a base of spice with prunes and dark raisins. Barely noticeable woody notes of Virginia knit the tongue a bit, the perique on the retrohale makes itself seriously felt but doesn't overwhelm the nostrils. A light to moderate sweetness is present. The tobacco has no harsh notes, no bite, tolerant to overheating - it only loses taste. The blend smokes surprisingly calm, smooth and cool, burning into fine gray ash without lumps and leaving a little moisture in the bowl. The strength of tobacco is slightly above average - you can catch the nicotine hit already in a large pipe. The aftertaste is practically absent.

The light smoke has a spicy flavor with a hint of prunes. It is recognizable in the room, even after a couple hours, but is not something unpleasant.

What's the bottom line? If you want to taste a good vaper in exceptional quality, let it be aged for at least five years. As the case of this blend has shown - ten is even better. Even the fact that Cavendish was added to the blend played in its favor. On the whole, Hearth & Home is clearly continuing the McClelland tradition, sourcing similar raw materials and processing them in the image of the bygone grands. So if you get a chance to try this tobacco - it's worth it.
Pipe Used: Peterson 69, 106
PurchasedFrom: Garage sale 😉
Age When Smoked: 2013
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 14, 2013 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant
The red Virginias provides some tangy dark fruit, earth, wood, bread, mild sugar, a little tart and tangy citrus, light vegetation, and a couple of blades of grass. They are the lead components, but not by much. The earthy, woody, plumy, raisiny perique offers a moderate spiciness as a supporting player, though some of that sweetness is underplayed by the sugary black cavendish. The strength is in the center of mild to medium. The nic-hit is a step behind that. The taste level is a notch past that center. Won't bite or get harsh, and barely has a rough note. Burns cool and clean at a reasonable pace with a very consistent sweet and spicy, rather smooth flavor. Requires few relights, and leaves little dampness in the bowl. An all day smoke with a pleasant after taste and room note.

29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 24, 2006 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
Having a hand in the creation of this blend, I am obviously partial in judging the qualities of this smoke. I therefore will not over sing it's praises, but just present my impressions and let you be the judge.

This is an unadutered blend with pure tobacco flavor. The dry tang of red virginias weave in and out with the spicy fruit of perique and the mild brown sugar/cocoa of the unflavored Green River Cavendish. This is not an aromatic; it's a virginia/perique (VaPer) in the strongest sense. In a wide bowled pot or apple, the treble notes seem more pronounced and the red virginias sing, whereas in a narrow bowled billiard or dublin, the deeper bass notes of fruit and earth seem to dominate. This blend was made for aging, and a few months or more in a mason jar makes me wonder why I smoke anything else.

As with any dry VaPer, do not overpuff and get the tobacco roasting. That technique can produce a bit of a flat ashy taste. Sip, don't chug, and the ever changing flavors and natural sweetness will produce an exciting smoke. This blend dominates my smoking time. As a comparision, my other favorite blends include Haddo's Delight, Bayou Morning, Bayou Morning Flake, Three Friars, Cumberland, Stratford, Virginia Spice, Louisiana Red, Best Brown Flake, and Full Virginia Flake. Enjoy.

25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2009 Medium None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
I'm really beginning to respect Russ' talents as a blender. I've smoked several of his blends over the last month and I'm very impressed. Where another well-known (and highly hyped) blender's offerings leave me decidedly cold, the Ouellette blends are using a similar recipe and staking a claim to ownership of the Vaper market, in my humble opinion. That's talent. Who the heck IS this guy???

This one is a heavily spicy rendition of Vaper and hits the mark squarely dead center. A tasty concoction that is nearly the equal of any Vaper out there - and that is saying a lot! This is the second of Russ' blends to make my regular rotation (Classic Burley Kake being the other) and if you love Vaper's, you MUST try this. Ages wonderfully.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 08, 2014 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Since first being introduced to this blend through a pipes&cigars sampler years ago I have been through pounds of this stuff. Opening a fresh bag of bulk or popping the top on a sealed mason jar has become one of my greatest pleasure. The aroma is slightly sweet and a bit tangy with undertones of peppery fruitiness--hard to describe but pleasant just the same.

Aj's VaPer packs right whether loading pinches or by just dragging the bowl through the pouch. I prefer this a bit drier than it comes in the bag so I'll air it for a few minutes before loading, giving me a while longer to enjoy the aroma. However, the moisture level is certainly fine as it comes in the bulk bag. The tinned version tends to be too moist for me and requires more of a drying time. I much prefer the bulk version.

This is my preferred morning smoke although I do enjoy it all day. The spicy, tangy sweetness present at the first light is quite satisfying. The tobacco lights and burns easily and smokes cooly all the way to the bottom of the bowl. As the bowl progresses the blend becomes richer and mellower, perhaps (as has been suggested in other reviews) due to a stoving effect. Although I enjoy this in all types of pipes I find it is most rewarding in narrower, deeper bowls than in something more open like a pot or saucer.

The characteristics of this blend are different from other VaPers I have smoked. It has far more perique (and nicotine) than Luxury Navy Flake. The virginias are far sweeter than those in McClelland's 2015. The smoke is much smoother than C & D's Bayou Morning. The unsweetened cavendish planes off the rough edges present in H & H's Louisiana Red (another of my favorites).

Whenever I order Aj's VaPer in bulk I immediately transfer it to mason jars and seal them. I always try to save a few jars for aging (sometimes unsuccessfully--I tend to get into them far too soon). From a three year old jar this stuff is really amazing. I just wish I could keep my hands off of it. Maybe I just need to order more at a time.

Sounds like a good idea!

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Various briars and cobs
PurchasedFrom: pipes&cigars.com
Age When Smoked: from bulk; some jarred for three years
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 28, 2014 Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
I tend to gravitate more toward European made VaPers and one of the things I look for in a VaPer is that wonderful sweetness that comes with age. Russ Ouellette takes that up a notch by adding a small amount of Cavendish to his AJ’s Vaper. AJ’s in the pouch smell like there are some McClelland Virginias in the blend, not always my favorite Virginias (no offense intended to McClelland fans), but the addition of a handsome amount of Perique along with the Cavendish adding a bass note to AJ’s along with some additional sweetness make for an interesting blend. I like smoking AJ's in a deep bowl as everything really sings when AJ's has a chance to develop over a longer smoke. When AJ’s is well aged, it becomes one of the sweetest VaPer variations I can remember smoking in a long time. If you like VaPers made with a twist, this should be on the must try list.
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 16, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Russ says this one is selling fast. It is a really heady VaPer compared to the darker VaPer blends like Escudo. Lots more Perique, too. It really blasts the nostrils at the match and is quite unrelenting all the way down the bowl. The Cavendish is a depth builder and a nice addition. Not much sweetness in the blend which is not surprising with so much Cavendish involved (unflavored). The Virginia leaf must be from top-shelf crops(s) because it provided flavor to the overall presentation.

6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 01, 2012 Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
All in all, this is a pretty good VaPer. Its sweet and sour flavors are satisfying and pleasant for the most part. It's just not one of my favorites. The VaPers in my list of favorites are Bayou Morning, Fillmore, and Escudo. AJ's VaPer just doesn't hit the spot for me like the others do. The tobaccos included in AJ's are top notch, which is why I am giving it three stars. I can appreciate it as a quality tobacco, but won't be ordering it again.

*UPDATE*: After having the better part of four ounces in a mason jar for about six months, I revisited it (Mostly to try to go through some of my tobacco, so I feel better about buying more) and I found that it was much better the second time around. The, well, mason jar note, was very reminiscent of the McKetchup smell, which I actually really like, and I found it to be sweeter and spicier than I remembered. I'm reluctant to raise the review to four stars, however, when I still have no plans for reorder.
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 02, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Hearth & Home - AJ's VaPer (Signature Series).

I've found most of the H&H blends I've had have arrived too dry, not this one though, it's perfect. It's a medium size ribbon, and also medium in colour: a medium brown, with a very small amount of black specks.

The smoke is right up my street: lots of Perique! The Cavendish gives a nice honey-sweetness which really accomplishes the flavour, and rounds it off. After the first half the smoke develops a fruitiness: not like a casing, just like a riper Virginia. I do find myself having to puff with ease otherwise A.J. can bite me a bit. The burn's very reliable and the temperature of the smoke's not particularly warm.

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

An easy rating..... four stars.

Highly recommended.
Pipe Used: Mastro Cascia
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Five months
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 11, 2012 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
Cut: short, narrow ribbon

Color: light to dark browns, reddish brown, black

Pouch aroma: fermented and tangy, slightly musty; no topping noted.

Loading: easy, no prep

Lighting: easy, takes to charring well; some bowls needed only a false light

Burn: slow, even, dry

Ash: medium-fine gray and dry

Dottle: none

Smoke: dense, gray clouds in volume

Palate: happy and clean

Perique-osity scale: 5 (0=undetected, 10=overpowering)

Pipe: performed consistently in group 3-6 pipes of various chamber shapes used.

Performance: most complex and enjoyable sipped at a smolder, but really holds up if one revs the RPM's.

A very pleasant blend of Virginia tobaccos with notable, yet balanced, integrated use of perique.

Naturally sweet, red Virginias provide the backbone of flavor. Occasionally, slight grassy notes come through. Perique adds its stewed fruit and peppery presence for a nice complexity that fades a bit and resurrects to keep things interesting.

The flavor of stoved Virginia develops during the last half of the bowl. There might be some stoved Virginia utilized. Maybe it's the Black Cavendish. Slow, gentle puffing could have served to stove the leaf. However achieved, it adds depth and richness to the smoke. Interestingly, toward the very end of the bowl, I had a fleeting taste of cumin.

AJ's VaPer will only sweeten if sealed and aged, but it is lively and enjoyable right out of the bulk 4 oz. bag purchased.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 18, 2014 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I usually smoke aromatics, but wanted to try a VaPer and this one got good reviews. Smoked a number of bowls over several weeks. The description that springs to mind is Fresh Ground Black Pepper. The taste is strong start to finish with few, if any, relights. No bite at all. Might try some other VaPers at some point, but frankly, this one is so good, I may just stick with it.
Pipe Used: Savinelli 413KS, Savinelli Lolita, Jirsa Poker
Age When Smoked:
3 people found this review helpful.
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