Hearth & Home Magnum Opus

(3.69)
Blend consists of Cyprian Latakia, yellow Virginias from the U.S. and Bulgaria, Izmir, Basma and Yenidje. Finally, some Perique is added for depth and smoothness.
Notes: The Latin term Magnum Opus loosely translates to “masterpiece”. https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipe-tobacco/HearthandHome/Magnum-Opus-1.75oz/product_id/277592

Details

Brand Hearth & Home
Series Marquee Series
Blended By Russ Ouellette
Manufactured By Scandinavian Tobacco Company
Blend Type English
Contents Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Flavoring
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 1.75 ounce tin
Country United States
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium to Full
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.69 / 4
50

15

3

0

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 68 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 22, 2024 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
So, this is what early-mid 20th century premium Balkan mixtures are reputed to have tasted like back in the day. Okay! This being veteran master blender Russ Oulette's "Masterpiece", I will take his word for it.

And... first impression? Too strong for me to smoke often at this stage of my tobacco-palate development, but, I like it! ...a lot!

A complex flavor combination not quite like anything I've tasted so far that calls itself a Balkan.

Had to spread it on a cookie sheet and spritz it a couple times with distilled water to get it from brittle as bran flakes to soft and springy. But other than that, it's amazing. In my experience, (admittedly limited at time of first writing), this is a stand-out in the crowded field of English/Balkan blends. Definitely NOT your typical "modern" Balkan mixture.

Highly recommended.
PurchasedFrom: www.SmokingPipes.com
Age When Smoked: AUG 2023 batch opened APR 2024
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 17, 2013 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable
Magnum Opus has a fair amount of smoky, woody, earthy, leathery, lightly sweet Cyprian Latakia. The Virginia is a little grassy with some tart and tangy citrus, and mainly acts as a base for the other components to shine. The Orientals are slightly buttery sweet and sour, earthy, mildly spicy, herbal, floral, and woody with some sour dryness as a light supporting player. The perique adds mild spice, raisin, plum 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 smoky 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 aspects of the blend 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. The strength and medium levels are medium. The nic-hit is a couple of steps past the center of mild to medium. Won't bite. Burns cool and clean at a moderate pace with no dull or weak spots, and leaves very little dampness in the bowl. Requires few relights. Has a lightly lingering, pleasant after taste, and slightly stronger room note. Not quite an all day smoke, but one that bears repeating during your day. Three and a half stars.

-JimInks
60 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 05, 2013 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.
52 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 06, 2014 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
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
Age When Smoked: fresh bulk
32 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 25, 2011 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.
29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2013 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.)
25 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 03, 2017 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!
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 16, 2011 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!
19 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 04, 2011 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?
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 20, 2012 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.
11 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 09, 2017 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
PurchasedFrom: 4noggins
Age When Smoked: One month
9 people found this review helpful.
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