Hearth & Home Fusilier's Ration

Russ Ouellette's interpretation of the classic Bengal Slices contains Cyprian latakia, Oriental leaf, bright Virginias and a hint of unflavored black cavendish. Lightly scented and hot pressed.


Brand Hearth & Home
Series Marquee Series
Blended By Russ Ouelette
Manufactured By Sutliff Tobacco Company
Blend Type English
Contents Black Cavendish, Latakia, Oriental/Turkish, Virginia
Flavoring Other / Misc
Cut Krumble Kake
Packaging 1.76 ounce tin weight
Country Unknown
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

3.21 / 4





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Displaying 11 - 20 of 52 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 21, 2012 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!
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 01, 2016 Medium None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I just finished up a huge sample of this given me by Russ at the last Chicago show. I liked it. I know that this is a blend inspired by Bengal slices. As to the recent (and apparently short lived) incarnation of Bengal Slices, I enjoyed this blend a little more.

As to the old Bengal slices, I have only tried it once, ironically enough, at the same show where I got this sample. The latakia in that tin had definitely lost some of its spunk over the years and, while I can say that I enjoyed FR more than that, I don't feel it is comparing apples to apples.

regardless, this blend does stand out on its own. It is heavy in latakia and offers a contemplative smoke with shifting flavors as you work your way through the bowl. It is a little edgier than the typical creamy lat smoke, which makes it nice on occasion. I smoked this at a golf outing last Friday and actually got compliments on its aroma.

I don't think this could be an all day blend, at least not to me, and it certainly would not be one I would recommend to a beginner. But to the seasoned lat smoker it could be a real treat. This one just misses four stars to me as there are too many other full latakia blends that I would reach for before this one.

I have reviewed two lat blends today giving both three stars seems to be unfair as the first one I would put at 2.5 and this at 3.5. In any case, give it a try. If you like latakia, I am sure you will not feel as though you have wasted any money.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 11, 2015 Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
Opened up the tin, and wondered what I had gotten myself into. I have other crumble cakes, but this one arrives in a squat 1 and a half ounce tin with the cakes strangely stacked. Broke it apart poorly, but the scent is mesmerizing for sure. Latakia just calls out to you from within. Following a little work to pack it (I am a neophyte of a few months to the pipe world) I put it to the lighter. FANTASTIC- right out of the gate. Smooth and sweet with that smoky goodness I love so much. I have read quite a bit about the Bengal Slices, but I dont expect I will ever get a taste- so I am ecstatic that this option is out there. Gonna head on over and get a few more tins in stock right now, because I dont want to lose the chance to keep this one in the rotation. So pleased with this.
Pipe Used: Tinsky Author
PurchasedFrom: P&C
Age When Smoked: Probably too fresh from the tin
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 23, 2018 Medium Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I gave these "Rations" a whirl as it had been advertised as an alternative to my beloved and often out-of-stock Bengal Slices. So how do they stack up against one of the best smokes on the market?

Upon opening the tin, the similarities were obvious. A nice smelling granola bar was staring back at me with a familiar nose tingling Oriental spice and deep English musk (though both were less intense the ol' Bengal). Breaking apart the cake was like playing Asteroids with your fingers, grinding big chunks into multiple smaller pieces.

In all honesty Fusilier's Rations tasted much the same. It takes you deep into its tangy flavor and really ignites your buds, numbing your mouth a bit once finished (It had a weird gasoline-y aftertaste).

Tip: Make sure to pack the bowl loosely, or you will have a dense wad that won't pull air through, also be very gentle if you knock-out any ash during the smoke as the lit contents will also spill out.

I would consider Fusilier's Rations a great 5 year aged sharp cheddar, with a taste far superior to the run-of-the-mill sharp cheddar, but I gotta say Bengal Slices are still a hint better at 10 years!
PurchasedFrom: pipesandcigars.com
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 21, 2017 Medium Very Mild Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I will say that I love the cake, plug and Krumble Kake presentation it adds something to the experience...they can be a pain to load and smoke but I love the way the look in the jar. Fusilier's ration is no exception: beautiful dark crumble cake with streaks of Virginia's and orientals among the jet black Latakia and Cavendish. The tin note is a light vanilla/licorice and Latakia. A real strong pleasant smell. Russ did an amazing job with this considering he did it from taste and olfactory memory (he did up his game when handed better blending notes with STC's Bengal Slices). This tobacco is definitely for Latakia lovers.

Packing this is considerably easier than the Bengal Slices version, the cake crumbles nicely and loads with a light tamp and burns pretty consistently with few re-lights. The 2 tins I had were on the wet side, which I expected with a cake but didn't need more than 10 minutes drying once broken up.

The flavor of this tobacco is addictive. I had saved my review until I tried the Bengal Slices which are terribly hard to come by. I am not sure that was a good move as now I feel the need to compare these to each other. In general I do not like to read the reviews that seem hell bent on proving the "good old days" were better than today and all of the tributes and revivals pale in comparison to the golden age of piping. I personally think that is BS. It seems that we have some real nice options these days and blenders have brought us new blends of super high quality and provide variety and availability like no other time in history. The only loss is Syrian Latakia for the new age blenders and that is the folly of war, not some lost trade craft. Tangent aside, This is a solid smoke, Lot's of Latakia, mild/med nicotine. The Orientals are supporting players but memorable ones. I love the interplay of the Latakia and the orientals in this blend the sweet Latakia, Virginia's, Cavendish and the topping provide a fantastic sweet intermezzo like quality to the experienc. The smoky nature of the Latakia takes center stage and is the centerpiece of the flavor. The Cavendish provides a round sweet mouth feel and a brown sugar like flavor that supports the Latakia and Virginia's beautifully. The topping in this one is much lighter/weaker than in Bengal Slices (there I go) which I would normally think was a good thing but I really like the flavoring in the Bengal Slices, is just boosts everything a bit more...at least I think that is what it is. The Orientals in FR support the sweet flavors with a woody, vegetal flavor. I think it is the Orientals but maybe the Virginia's that add a creamy quality to the smoke as well. All around great. Very nice blend...my only complaint is that you can fit more in the tin and momma hates a half full tin.
Pipe Used: briar's & Meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: smoking pipes
Age When Smoked: 1 year
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 02, 2012 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!
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 25, 2017 Mild Mild Medium to Full Tolerable
Hearth & Home - Fusilier's Ration.

Ten Russians vs War Horse Bar. Crumble cake slices at perfect moisture, tin note of leather with dulce de leche in the background. Smyrna, latakia, virginia...ie leathery - smoky, slightly sweet...also amaretto, anise, maybe some clove...subtle but noticeable.  I don't get vanilla per se but see how some do.  Some spiciness of taste and mouthfeel especially on the first half of the bowl. Will burn hot if pushed, no bite.  Mild nicotine hit.  Stinky (but still an improvement over most lat blends) room note that fortunately seems short-lived.  These flavorings are some (but not all) used in War Horse Bar.  While I liked them in that one, they kind of kill it for me here.  Obviously a high quality and well thought out blend but leaves me feeling conflicted. Perhaps an acquired taste.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 27, 2016 Medium to Strong Very Mild Medium to Full Strong
A very nice Krumble Kake, heavy in the Turkish/Oriental flavour, but with enough Latakia and Virginia to balance things out. As in Black House some unsweetened Black Cavendish is used, but mainly to smooth things out. It has quite a pungent smell in the tin that translates into a very intriguing flavour when smoked.

Esasy to break apart and to fill in the pipe, it has just the right moisture level to make it fragrant and easy to smoke. It burns beautifully but at times in tends to be a bit sour and abrassive, yet woodsy and tangy.

In my view a very nice outdoor smoke.
Pipe Used: Peretti
PurchasedFrom: Joshua Ward.
Age When Smoked: N/A
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 05, 2013 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.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 18, 2012 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!
4 people found this review helpful.
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