Magnum Opus is one of the first introductions to a new range within the Hearth & Home line called the Marquee Series. The new assortment is described on the tin as; "The Hearth & Home Marquee Series represents our finest craftsmanship, and made in limited, hand-blended batches from the finest tobaccos available."
Upon opening the tin, you are greeted with a variety of colors ranging from bright yellow to jet black. There are light and dark brown pieces of tobacco as well. According to blender Russ Ouellette, "The yellow is Virginia from the US and Bulgaria, the light and dark browns are Yenidje, Basma and Izmir. Latakia content is around 40% and the Perique is about 8% of the blend." The cut appears to contain both ribbon-cut and coarse-cut tobaccos. The yellow and lighter brown tobaccos are more beefy, while the darker brown and black tobaccos are the Angel Hair accompanying the beef. The tobacco is loosely packed. The moisture level of the freshly opened tin of Magnum Opus seems perfect for smoking right away. No moisture is felt at all when touching the tobacco, and it remains pliable and doesn’t crumble. It has a clean feel with no stickiness.
The initial nose impression has the Latakia acting like an attention-starved child, jumping up and down, waving his arms … "notice me! notice me!" There is also some subtle rotund sweetness, creaminess and caramel that seems to be hiding, but you can find it if you look for it. After fluffing up the tobacco a bit, a sweet spice aroma can be detected, like the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and vanilla ingredients of pumpkin pie … with the Latakia being the burnt piece of pie crust.
Filling the bowl with Magnum Opus reveals even more of the variances of cuts that the different tobaccos have. There are some very long stringy pieces and buxom morsels as well. The tobacco is voluminous and springy, so the 3-step method of filling the bowl actually turned into the 5-step method. The pre-light draw is mostly smoky with a little sweetness.
On the initial light the Latakia dominates, although at this point, I wouldn’t classify this as a strong Latakia blend. There is a lot more going on here. I tamped the tobacco down, let it go out and rest for a minute. The initial finish is that of burnt toast … in a good way. Now it’s time to really smoke Magnum Opus and see what blender Russ Ouellette has in store for us.
The first few puffs are dominated by smokiness, but then the fourth and fifth pulls start to reveal sweet spices, and as you progress further, a few minutes later a little tanginess joins the party. Magnum Opus is a subtle multi-dimensional blend. On my first re-light a huge side-stream cloud of smoke caught my nose and added to the nice medium-bodied flavor that was developing. Magnum Opus is the type of tobacco blend that I recommend occasionally exhaling through your nose, while keeping your mouth shut. You will experience even more of the tasty flavor soiree going on here. Towards the end, it even had a little nutty mouth aftertaste at one point. The finish is nutty single malt scotch.
Magnum Opus is a solid medium-bodied blend that I could smoke any time of day or night. I think I could enjoy it before or after any meal, while working, or with after-dinner drinks. There are certainly some subtleties with all the different tobaccos combining to create some intricate delicate harmonies, but there is a strong bottom note that holds it all together. This is what makes Magnum Opus easy to enjoy anytime. The full round flavor will pull you through while involved with something where you might not be paying much attention to the smoke, and the understated chiming in of the Virginia, Perique, and Orientals keep the smoke quite interesting when you are just relaxing and enjoying this symphony of high quality pipe tobaccos.
Magnum Opus is a solid everyday, all day blend that you should always have on hand. When you don’t know what you are in the mood for, smoke Magnum Opus.
Brand: Hearth & Home
Blender: Russ Ouellette
Tin Description: A Balkan-style blend with rare Orientals, reminiscent of blends from the past.
Country of Origin: USA
Curing Group: Flue Cured
Contents: Virginia, Latakia, Perique, Oriental
Cut: Ribbon & Coarse
Packaging: 2oz tin