Ted's Pipe Shoppe

2002 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK 74114

Ted's Pipe Shoppe has been blending its own tobaccos since 1959 and has a variety of original English, aromatic and Virginia mixtures. I thought some of their Englishes were particularly worthwhile. Their shop has a good selection of high-grade pipes and a very nice ambiance—a veritable oasis in Tulsa. Their tobaccos are also available by mail-order. Thanks to Beth Kaneley of Ted's for and Glenn Godsey introducing me to these blends.

Embassy Row
I've heard that this one isn't available any longer due to difficulty in obtaining a certain tobacco that is part of the mixture. It's one of the more unusual tobaccos I've smoked and I must say that I haven't gotten bored of it. We're looking at a semi-aromatic English blend here, a little along the lines of Ted's #1, but a bit sweeter and with cigar leaf added. This is a predominately coarse-cut, dark brown mixture, with some lighter and blackish flecks. It is described as a mixture of "rum-cured burley, latakia, Virginias, Turkish broadleafs and high-grade Honduran cigar leaf." In practice, what makes this blend really special is its richness and the flavour contrasts that you experience while smoking it. You can taste the light sweetness of the burley base at the same time that you taste the slightly bitter edge provided by the cigar leaf. The Virginias also add sweetness. Meanwhile, in further contrast, some of the smoky taste of latakia is noticeable and it adds more body to this rich-tasting, medium-bodied smoke. The smoke certainly has a distinct tangy, refreshing quality to it, but is not harsh, nor particularly nicotine-rich. I originally had the impression that there might be some black cavendish thrown in here, but that seems to be my misinterpretation of the combined tastes. As this tobacco works its way into your pipe, it leaves a nice sweet, dark flavour, one that still reminds me of black cavendish—with latakia and cigar leaf of course. I still can't figure out this one's room aroma when smoked. Like its flavour, it definitely has a slightly sweet, almost aromatic quality, but one also smells the cigar-leaf and latakia seasoning, neither of which are aromatic at all. I do find it pleasant though. It smokes nice and dry to a medium grey ash, usually with just a few shreds of charred but unincinerated tobacco mixed in. '96

This is a typically American, moist aromatic blend consisting of approximately 70% light and reddish-brown Cavendish (the brochure says it contains six types) and about 30% black cavendish. The brown tobaccos are a medium-fine ribbon cut, while much of the black tobacco in the mixture is of a wider cut. It is very mild, smooth-smoking, and burns well, yet slowly. There is a good balance here between sweetness and flavour: a bit of light, natural tobacco flavour comes through, but overall the taste is uniform and aromatic, with slight caramel and even slighter nutty overtones. The added aromatic flavours, although dominant, are not excessively heavy, nor cloyingly sweet. Actually, I find them rather difficult to decipher. There is definitely some vanilla in there, and perhaps a bit of liquorice and/or fruit essences (a hint of cherry?). The mild smoke has a nice, thick body and a creamy consistency that makes it quite enjoyable, easy to inhale or blow out the nose. It strikes me as the kind of tobacco that many would like to puff on all-day long. One notable and pleasant difference between this blend and many other moist cavendish blends of the same genre is that this one smokes fairly dry and it doesn't become raunchy or wet toward the bottom of the bowl. Given that this is a high-quality aromatic and of a style that is commercially very popular in North America, I'm not surprised that Ted's claims that this is their best-selling mixture. '97

Ted's Good Burley
Surprise again.... This is not the strong and nutty tasting mixture I somehow expected when I saw the word "burley" in the name. I've quite enjoyed smoking this blend, although I've also tired of it at times. For me, it's best as a morning smoke, as it seems to stimulate and refresh at that hour, but as an evening smoke, it fell flat to me. Smoking it at the right time of day was crucial to my enjoyment of it. This is a lightly aromatic mixture with a faint caramel-like aroma in the pouch. It comes in a fairly wide, coarse cut of predominantly medium-brown leaf, with fragments of darker and blonder leaf. Perhaps some of the tobacco in the mixture is aromatic and some isn't. I think I'm detecting a bit of alcohol flavouring in here, like rum or whiskey, as well as a taste similar to that of the Lane's tobacco that Blatter & Blatter sells simply as Burley. The flavour is mild, smooth, uniform and murky, a bit nutty with just a hint of sweetness. With regards to the tanginess that a burley blend usually contains, this one has very little of it. The tanginess that there is makes itself known mainly toward the bottom of the bowl, where the flavour becomes less dense. This burns cool and produces a fairly thick, medium-bodied smoke with a mild room aroma that seems to draw positive comments. It leaves a crumbly, medium-grey ash in the pipe that sits upon a small dottle. This would be a good blend for a beginner or for someone who enjoys lightly aromatic, but not sweet and sticky, tobaccos. '96

# 1
Here's a unique English blend that's quite rich in latakia, yet with a sweetness that would make it suitable for a new pipe smoker who is looking for a stronger-tasting, yet mild tobacco. It's a medium-cut mix that's about 1/2 medium reddish-brown tobacco and 1/2 darker brown. There isn't even a hint of bitterness in here, just a rich dark flavour that, due to its sweetness, comes off as almost as that of dark chocolate. It's not quite as full-bodied as many latakia blends are, probably due to the blending base, which I think is a rich cavendish tobacco, possibly with a dash of burley—maybe it's that rum-cured burley that was mentioned as an ingredient in Embassy Row..... However, it is this quality that makes it quite irresistible. Medium in strength, it's mild enough that it can be smoked frequently, but rich enough in flavour to taste like a very full latakia blend. It burns well and smokes very smooth and is very pleasant if blown out the nose; even inhaled, it is not harsh. The ingredients in this blend (do I detect some kind of Turkish in here as well?) are extremely well-balanced—no one tobacco dominates over another. Instead, all the flavours come together to create a lively, bite-free smoke. As proof that this is indeed an English blend, and not an aromatic with some latakia tossed in for body, the flavour of the smoke intensifies and becomes even richer and darker-tasting toward the bottom of the bowl without any significant change of taste. This blend falls into that special category of slightly aromatic English mixtures, which includes such blends as Blatter Reserve, Frog Morton, and Edward's Armadillo Mix, although it probably most resembles the Armadillo Mix. It burns clean and dry to a fine, light grey ash and leaves a slightly sweet, English-style room aroma from what I can tell. An excellent and memorable mixture. '96

# 300
This latakia mixture is distinguished by its dry, crumbly, cube-cut texture. It's quite speckly in appearance, being maybe 60% medium-brown and 40% darker, reddish and blackish tobaccos. It contains a fair amount of cube-cut burley, but anyone who enjoys stout English blends stands a good chance of liking this one, whether they like burley tobacco or not. This mixture really takes advantage of the dark, nutty taste of the base burleys and marries it with the fuller flavors of latakia and other Turkish tobaccos. A hint of sweetness, possibly from a dash of black cavendish, produces an excellent balance and avoids the bitterness that comes in some burley-latakia blends. This tastes like a full-bodied English tobacco, but its smoke feels a little lighter in the mouth than its flavor might cause one to expect. The best part is that it smokes as smooth as most any English mixture. In terms of strength, it rates a hearty medium and is a bit fuller than #1. The room aroma it leaves behind is rich, but it is distinctly smoky and musty aspect probably won't elicit compliments from those who aren't latakia fans. '98