Hearth & Home Black House

The winning blend from the Chicagoland Pipe Show 2011. Virginia, Kentucky, Turkish, and some black cavendish.


Brand Hearth & Home
Series Marquee Series
Blended By Russ Ouellette
Manufactured By Scandanavian Tobacco Company
Blend Type Balkan
Contents Black Cavendish, Kentucky, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Perique, Virginia
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 1.5 ounce tin, bulk
Country United States
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.55 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 114 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 05, 2013 Medium Extremely Mild Medium Pleasant
ive bought this now in both bulk and tin. it is excellent in my 20+ year old molina briar, which i use only for this blend. i dont smoke this in regular rotation, but only on sunday, after church.
1 person found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 24, 2012 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Despite similarity and intent, I can tell the difference between this and Balkan Sobranie 759. This has a little more sweetness than in the blend it tries to emulate, and lacks the "unflavored soda note" from the woody, earthy, floral, sour, dry yenidje, though that component is a condiment in this mix. The smokey, woody, earthy, musty sweet Cyprian Latakia (the original had Syrian) takes the lead without cutting down what the other tobaccos do. The light brown sugar sweetness comes from the black cavendish, which is a minor ingredient. The Virginia is lightly, tartly citrus sweet with some grass as a background player. The Orientals have some dryness, wood, herbalness, floralness, earth, vegetation, and mild spice, sweet and sourness, and those aspects are also a little evident in the dark fired Kentucky, which appears in a small amount. The spice, raisins, figs and plum from the perique is minimal. Won't bite or get harsh. Has few rough edges. The strength and taste levels are medium. The nic-hit is just past the center of mild to medium. Well balanced with a little more complexity than BS 759, it burns cool and clean at a reasonable rate with a very consistent sweet and savory, campfire, deep flavor that translates to the pleasantly, short lived after taste and room note. Requires an average number of relights, and leaves very little dampness in the bowl. Can be an all day smoke.

75 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 28, 2013 Very Strong Strong Very Full Very Pleasant
Just for perspective, it might be good for the reader to go back to my review of Black House's competitor, Blue Mountain. There I voiced a couple of complaints about Blue Mountain. None will be voiced here about this blend.

I had a lot of trouble obtaining Black House: it was consistently sold out on pipesandcigars' web site, nonexsistent in local shops and never appeared on the after market on e-bay. Fortunately, Hearth and Home made a noticable appearance at the 2013 NASPC show handing out samples of their blends. There I had the pleasure of meeting Russ Oulette - or, should I say, the guy who claimed he might be Russ Oulette but wasn't sure he wanted to admit it. I told him of my difficulty finding this blend and he gave me a more than ample amount to sample.

Unlike Blue Mountain, Black House didn't initially hit me as a 759 replacement - mainly because it seemed to lack the fragrant aroma of both Blue Mountain and older 759. This is a complex blend, as can be seen from the ingredients description and the blend's physical appearance. It had a wonderful english aroma that made me want to dive in right away. And dive in I did. Smokey, english "nosey" and complexly rich; this blend went straight to my pipe smoker's G spot immediately. It is a little spicey initially, but this disappears at about the one quarter bowl mark and smoothes-out to a wonderful smoke.

Now comes the interesting part. Blue Mountain has the abundant old 759 fragrance but lacks the underlying english qualities that 759 is known for. On the other hand, Black House has the underlying english qualities in spades but comes up a little short on fragrance. Can you guess what comes next? That's right: I mixed them 50-50 and oui-la-la (or should I say oulette-la-la) - the magic combo of delight! Try this for youself; whether you have or have not smoked the older 759, this is what a 30 year old tin of Balkan Sobranie 759 smokes and tastes like. It is just like traveling back in time for the pipe enthusiast smoker. It is that real and that good!

Black House - thanks Russ - four stars.
56 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 01, 2011 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Very Pleasant
Russ Ouellette has already proven himself to be one of the world's master blenders, so I was not surprised at the overall quality and perfect melding of the different tobaccos Black House presents. It is Rattray's Black Mallory with a little backbone according to my tastes.

BH is sweet rather than leathery, and the Kentucky raised the strength meter to a higher level. The cut was perfect for loading and the blend burned well without many re-lights. I allowed my first bowl's contents to dry for several hours before smoking. The second bowl was consumed straight from the tin while still moist and I didn't really detect any change in flavor presentation.

It has been so long since I've smoked a bowl of the original BS 759 that there is no way I can offer a comparison. Basing my review of BH for being what it is rather than what it is supposed to emulate, this is one very fine tobacco in its own right and I am glad I purchased multiple tins of the original release. It should age quite nicely.

Congratulations Russ. Job well done!
50 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 06, 2011 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I love this tobacco and find it stronger than some of the other reviewers are giving credit to it. I love tobacco's with a good kick of Lady N and Black House has it. Black House was created in the likeness of 759, but comparing it to a ghost is unreasonable. The reviews of this blend IMHO should be based on the quality of the blend rather than whether or not it stands up to 759. This is a smooth, full flavored English blend that is broader than many English blends as the flavor profile includes the addition of dark fired and Yenidje. I prefer Black House a bit drier than it arrives in the tin and while it is outstanding now, a few months in the tin will serve it well. This may be the best English blend to come out of Russ Ouelette's fine line up of tobacco's. Very Highly Recommended!

UPDATE: Having let the tins rest four months, the tobacco has really married and is even more outstanding than when I reviewed my first two tins. If you are a fan of English blends, this is a "must try."
34 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 09, 2013 Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I bought a 2 oz. tin for sampling, because that was all that was available at the time. It arrived today, along with 8 oz. of Larry's Blend. I loaded a newly purchased Jobey Dansk freestyle pipe, which I bought off eBay. The pipe took a ton of cleaning. After using a dozen pipe cleaners with little progress, I decided to bring out the big guns - a salt and alcohol cleaning, followed by three Everclear alcohol retort cleanings. Mission accomplished!

I started out with a bowl of the Larry's Blend, which I found pleasant, and which didn't burn my mouth or tongue in the least. I cleaned the pipe and loosely packed a bowl of Black House. For what its worth, packing the pipe was a piece of cake.

From the first puff, I knew that I was onto something special. The tobacco displayed a mild flavorful smoke, with all the different tobaccos blending perfectly on the palette. After two charring lights, it was off to the races. I smoked the bowl all the way to the bottom of the pipe, stirring the dregs to light the last vestiges of tobacco. I was truly disappointed when there was no more baccy left. This blend provides plentiful smoke, and it doesn't really matter whether it is sipped or puffed - it burns cool, and doesn't bite.

Black House caused me to do something which I haven't done previously, which was to clean the pipe yet again, and pack a third bowl. A fresh pot of coffee later, and I went online and ordered 8 oz. of bulk Black House. Yep, I liked it that much! I have never smoked two successive bowls of anything before, not even Esoterica Penzance.

Black House is a nuanced, flavorful blend, mild, with zero mouth irration. I find myself wanting to inhale this blend! I found no noticeable nicotene hit, no stomach gurgles, no nasal burn, and no need to run to the bathroom. LOL. I even found the aftertaste agreeable. There was a necessity for several relights, since I smoked this fresh right out of the tin, and the tobacco was slightly moist.

I think Larry's Blend will be a great all day smoke, as will Black House. This is one of the best blends that I have tried so far. I am very impressed with the flavor and friendliness of this blend. Russ Ouellette has blended a masterpiece - well done!

Negatives? After smoking several bowls now, the only negative that I can report is that this tobacco burns very quickly. In fact, it is the fast burning baccy that I have smoked to date. I have tried to counter this by packing my bowls tighter, but the enjoyment is over far too soon.
22 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 30, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
I'll make this short as there are already many fine reviews here. This is a fine blend on its own, but there was something lacking in it. I couldn't pin it down, but there was just something a little too harsh towards mid point to end. The flavor was there but it was just a little too harsh and bitter. I also like McClelland's Blue Mountain but found it a little weak with a mottling of the flavors leaving me less than totally satisfied. I had an epiphany and decided to go out on a limb and play blender. Equal amounts of Blue Mountain and Black House and I came up with "Black and Blue". I lucked out. Absolutely sublime from first light to heel of the bowl. So good in fact that I simply felt compelled to pass my findings along. I've smoked for 30 years and mostly English and Balkan blends......... so this isn't simply some sophomoric phantasm. I also rarely review as usually there is enough apocryphal information (and to an ad naseum degree) that I don't feel my hyperbole will bring anything to the party. Just wanted to let anyone that's so inclined know.....you wont be sorry!!!

Update....apparently, there's nothing new under the sun. A friend of mine brought to my attention that user "kingweed" had the epiphany long before I had, to combine the two blends together. My apologies for taking credit here before reading all the review. On that note, I'll end with the sentiment that he is absolutely correct!
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 26, 2013 Medium Extremely Mild Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I am a great lover of natural, English and balkan style tobaccos, having smoked most all of the late, legendary tobaccos of this genre including Balkan Sobranie 759 & White, the original Celebrated Bengal Slices and my personal favorite, Macedonian, put out by Neimeyer of Denmark back in the 70's & 80's, which for me will always be the lost, lamented Holy Grail of pipe tobaccos.

Having said this, it is a great joy to report that Russ Ouellette deserves a medal of honor for Black House. I must admit that I couldn't quite understand or appreciate the name, 'Black House' until I read Kylepoet's review in which he used the phrase "A ghost on the edge of a dream." This perfectly describes this blend. Black House is haunted. It is haunted by the spirit of "Balkan Past." I have not tasted anything until now that satisfies the tasty memory of these long lost tobacco blends. Indeed, the phrase "A ghost on the edge of a dream" should be the bi-line on the tin.

Black House is tasty in ever changing ways, and to me, taste trumps all other considerations. I appreciate the muted play of the Virginias while not losing their required sweetness. I also appreciate the baked "nuttiness" provided by the addition of the Kentucky (as opposed to Burley,) and thus keeping the nicotine affect at a moderate level. The 'smattering' of Black Cavendish is just that, and doesn't offend the true Balkan integrity like so many do with this addition. Above all, the Latakia is top-notch and in perfect proportion.

Black House is a sipping tobacco, which never bites, and is ideal for those who like to use the gifted olfactory senses as they sip their smoke through the nose. The aroma is awesome, and its lingering room note delightfully haunts the house as well!

And the smoke? Ah yes, the smoke is like nothing I've ever experienced. Really! It creates a foggy-blue cloud that hangs in the air like something oozing out of the regimental tents from Kipling's Gunga Din!

The one and only drawback is, that being a natural tobacco, it burns faster and hence, shortens the pleasure far, far too soon. Because of this, it should be packed tighter and in a pipe with long and narrow bowl.

In short, I never would have dreamed that anyone could have pulled off a Sobranie smackdown with these ingredients, but Russ proves again that being a Master Blender is an art form. With all due respect to Roland Mesnier, in BLACK HOUSE, Russ Ouellette has proven that he is the premiere WHITE HOUSE Pastry Chef of tantalizing tobaccos! BRAVO!

ADDITIONAL NOTE: At the risk of committing the unpardonable, allow me to make one suggestion. Most of us like to play at amateur blender and "tweak" some of our smokes. If you would like to slow down the fast burning rate of Black House and smooth out the slightly rough edges that Orientals inevitably bring, you can add about 30% of McClelland Bulk 5110 to produce a smoother smoke and slower burn rate w/o altering the beautiful room note. It also increases the sweetness and complexity in the taste department... a fifth dimension! This is my favorite go to blend which I've christened, "Mr. President." Sorry Russ!
18 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 06, 2012 Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable
Blackhouse was a nice surprise. The ribbon cut was soft and at a really nice moisture level upon opening the tin. Simple to pack, I filled a blast rhodesion group 4 and after a solid light, the volume of smoke was uncommonly rich, as was the flavor.

The Latakia was mellow and the orientals were available from the time the match touched the bowl. The flavor density was consistent throughout the entire bowl and the smoothness of this blend was unlike any other I have ever tried. Blackhouse truly tasted like a blend that had been aging for years.

While smoking, I varied the pace significantly from very slow and deliberate to rapid and intense. Sincerely, I couldn't convince this tobacco to bite at any pace of smoking. As with most rich tobaccos, the flavors are most pronounced at a snails pace, but even smoked intensely, Blackhouse is pleasant.

I hope this will be a mainstay available for many years and not just a novelty that comes and goes. It is a rich, flavorful smoke for any time of day or all day. Never overpowering while robust in taste. Blackhouse could be the "go to" Balkan blend for just about anyone.

Very Very Highly Recommended.
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 15, 2014 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
Nice English smell in the pouch; burnt cedar of the latakia is up front, but the sunny Virginias and earthy Kentuckys are right there shoulder to shoulder. Comparing the nose to McClelland Blue Mountain, this one smells more like an aged blend to me, which may be part of why it won the legendary 759 contest.

Packed and lit easily, burnt smoothly and cleanly, no relights needed. Quality weed.

Started out with plenty of leather and chocolate, then opened up into chocolate and allspice/clove and a rich, velvety blue smoke. Last third of the bowl was burnt cedar, pine and (not in a bad way) an interesting soapiness (for lack of a better term) and a couple of fleeting notes of creosote (again, not unpleasant).

The nicotine kick surprised me, as most of the English blends I enjoy are pretty mellow. I'm assuming Russ' inclusion of Kentucky is the culprit. If you like English blends but want more Lady N than is typical, this (and/or HH Vintage Syrian, although I like this one better) could be your blend.

King Weed's suggestion below to blend this with Blue Mountain definitely sounds worth a try.

2015.12.27 Would recommend Russ' Magnum Opus over this and most other English blends, but this one certainly won't steer you wrong. As for King Weed's suggestion, I've found a 1:1 blend with Blue Mountain (renamed Balkan Blue) allowed to sit for some time is a real treat. Adds some interesting dimensions to two really good tobaccos. A friend of a friend says he's never smoked anything like it.
Pipe Used: Boswell freehand
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
Age When Smoked: < 6 months
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 28, 2014 Mild None Detected Mild Pleasant
Wow. A tasty Balken-English style blend, reminds me a lot like Becks Ole Limey Bastard. I like the color variation of the Bright yellow VA next to the black cavendish. First I thing I noticed you could puff on it all you want to like that girl in high school that didn't know what she was doing… and you won't get any bite from it. Second thing I quickly noticed it was very light yet favorable and had that great English aroma. It didn't leave a film or taste in my mouth what-so-ever… thats a first and rather great surprise. Burns great, packs great. A triumph in blending.
Pipe Used: Old Basket Pipe from Greece.
PurchasedFrom: PipesandCIgars.com
8 people found this review helpful.
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