Tom Eltang tobaccos : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

Tom Eltang tobaccos

Eltang marks his 40th anniversary of pipemaking with a new line of tobaccos

by Chuck Stanion

photos by Lars Kiel

Tom Eltang is hardwired to develop new ideas. He can’t help himself. If he’s showing you a new pipe design he’s just finished, he’s simultaneously telling you about the next idea this one has generated. He can’t show you a new finish he’s perfected without speculating about other finishes that will be possible now that this one is ready. It’s as though he lives in the future and only visits the present because it’s necessary to initiate preliminary steps in upcoming projects. His energy level is measurable only on the Richter scale; he gets so excited about his world of ideas that he seems more teenager-on-prom-night than adult-at-work.

Tom Eltang

Tom Eltang

That’s why it’s difficult to believe he’s been making pipes for 40 years. If not for the huge anniversary party he recently hosted in Copenhagen, Denmark, few would have thought the 40-year mark was anywhere close.
Two anniversaries were actually celebrated at the party: Eltang’s 40th year of pipemaking and Per Billhäll’s15th year in business with Scandinavian Pipes (scandpipes.com), a website specializing in high-grade artisan pipes. Billhäll is the president and co-founder of the Pipe Club of Sweden.
Around 150 people attended and enjoyed the camaraderie, food, beverages and tobacco well into the night. “Per came down from Sweden,” says Eltang. “Gotoh came from Japan. There were Russian pipemakers and dealers; there was one from the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, one from Greece, a lot of Italians, a lot of Germans, all the Swedish and Danish pipemakers, friends and business relations from Pipe Dan and Stanwell—it was a big crowd. They started coming at noon, and I put the last ones in the taxi at 3:30 a.m. We cleaned up the next day and went on vacation.”
For a block around Eltang’s shop, you couldn’t spill a beer without soaking a world-class pipemaker. Everyone loves Tom Eltang, and they all showed up to help with the celebrations.
Of particular significance at the party was the official launch of four new tobacco blends under the Eltang brand, made by Cornell & Diehl. These tobaccos are something that Eltang has been working toward for more than a decade.
“The idea for the tobaccos started 13 years ago,” says Eltang. “Greg Pease talked to me about it at that time, and we talked to Mac Baren and Orlik and asked if they were interested in doing something with us. They were very interested and wanted to know how many tons should be delivered. So we gave that up. Then later I started thinking of developing my own tobaccos. I tried one more time with Mac Baren and talked with two German factories. It made no sense for them to manufacture the relatively small amounts I wanted. Less than a ton is nothing they want to handle.”

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Category: Feature Article, Tobacco Articles, Winter 2015

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