By Kevin Godbee
The Orlik Tobacco Company in Assens Denmark is one of the largest pipe tobacco factories in the world. Even if you are not a pipe smoker, it is an impressive place to visit, and if you are a pipe smoker, it is truly amazing. I had the opportune pleasure to tour the factory with my friend, the owner of SmokingPipes.com, Sykes Wilford. In our video tour below, you can hear Sykes in some of the conversation, but you don’t get to see him as he volunteered to be the cameraman. Aside from the immensely impressive operation and huge campus, one of my favorite parts of this video is the discussion. You have three guys that love tobacco, talking about tobacco. If you’re a tobacco fan, (and what are you doing on this site if you are not?), then I think you’ll enjoy the dialogue too. You may learn some interesting things, not only about tobacco, but about the tobacco business as well.
Before you watch the video, you may appreciate some background on Orlik. You may have heard of Orlik Golden Sliced, which is a quite popular brand of pipe tobacco with Orlik’s name on it. What you might not know is that the Orlik factory produces over 400 different tobaccos under many famous and popular brand names. Some of the brands include; Escudo Navy De Luxe, Dunhill, CAO Flavours, Peter Stokkebye, W. Ø. Larsen, Balkan Sasieni, Davidoff, Skandinavik, Stanwell, and Erinmore amongst many others.
|Lots of Tobacco Tins Waiting to be Filled with Tobacco||Tobacco from Kenya||Tobacco from Malawi|
Orlik is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group. STG is a huge tobacco conglomerate with its’ roots going back more than 200 years. In 1990, STG was converted into a group of companies and its activities were divided up into independent subsidiaries. The Group’s pipe tobacco activities were transferred to the newly-founded Orlik Tobacco Company. In 2005, OTC took over British American Tobacco’s contract production of pipe tobacco in Northern Ireland, including brands such as Erinmore and Dunhill, making it the leading pipe tobacco manufacturer worldwide. In 2007, OTC acquired the pipe tobacco brands Erinmore and Clan from British American Tobacco. (Earlier this year, Scandinavian Tobacco Group acquired Lane Limited, Inc. based in Georgia, USA, which has a leading position in the US market for pipe tobacco and produces brands such as Captain Black, Kite and Bugler.)
|Broken Perique Barrel Showing Charred Insides||Notice How Small Oriental Tobacco Leaves Are||A Pinch of This, A Pallet of That|
This video factory tour of Orlik would not have been possible without the gracious hospitality of Orlik’s Factory Manager, Mr. Troels Juul Mikkelsen. We send him our immeasurable gratefulness, not only for his time, tobacco samples and wonderful lunch, but also for becoming a valuable contact for other stories. Troels helped us break the news of Dunhill’s return to the U.S. market last year. He helped clear up the mystery of the Orlik Golden Sliced blend contents, and has supplied other valuable information at different times.
Thanks Troels and on with the tour!
(Part I is all about the tobacco. In the upcoming Part II you will see the production.)
See the Orlik Tobacco Company Video Tour (Part II) Here
Kevin Godbee is the Operating Manager of Right Click Media, LLC, which is the the owner & publisher of PipesMagazine.com. Kevin started smoking pipes and cigars in 1998 and started the online magazine & community site, Cigar-Review.com in 2005. The site was acquired in 2008 and no longer exists. PipesMagazine.com was launched in 2009.
In the beginning of his career, Kevin worked in the hobby and specialty toy business for 16 years in sales, marketing, advertising and product development for three different manufacturers, and with his own company.
Over the last 10 years working in the online business, he has become an expert in Internet Marketing and SEO. Kevin is also a Certified Salesforce Tobacconist (CST) through Tobacconist University. In his spare time he sings, plays guitar, cooks, and takes long walks on the beach. (Seriously, you should see how tan he is right now.)
Nice one kevin cant wait to see prt 2
Great video Kevin, Thanks. Two points.
1. It was interesting that Troels pronounced latakia two ways. la ta kia and la tac ia.
2. It is the low sugar content in rich matured Virginia that gave me the heavy N kick.
I can’t wait for part 2.
A wonderful tour, I feel like I know a lot more about tobacco, more appreciation. I think I’ll go smoke a bowl of Orlik Golden Slices – thanks for the video, Kevin, really enjoyed!
That wa great Cant wait to see part two.
Another great insight into the industry.
Thanks for all the comments and compliments guys.
@loneredtree – “It was interesting that Troels pronounced latakia two ways. la ta kia and la tac ia.”
All of the pipe smokers I’ve encountered pronounce it la ta kia, and most online sources agree. However, I did find one online source that says the British-English pronunciation is la tac ia and the American-English pronunciation is la ta kia.
Regarding sugar and nicotine content, I want to clarify something Troels said. Generally speaking, Virginia tobacco has higher sugar and lower nicotine than Burley. Troels meant that all things being equal, if you had a Burley and a Virginia with the same amount of nicotine, the Burley would still seem stronger because it has little to no sugars, which allow the nicotine to be fully delivered. The sugars in the Virginia hold back the nicotine.
Excellent !! Excellent!! Excellent!!
Too bad there is no “smell-o-vision” yet…I can just imagine the aromas at that facility. Great work !!
Wonderful article and video! Informative and very interesting due in large part to the quality of the production. It seems to me that you’re forging new ground here as I haven’t encountered a comparable level of information from any other media source.
PM.com is starting to build quite a valuable archive: the Mac Baren Tour series; Ryan’s Perique operation; the Cornell & Diehl tour; the numerous interviews of retailers, blenders, and pipecrafters; and many other features that I can’t recall at the moment. Pretty soon we readers are going to need some sort of indexing system to keep this impressive collection at our fingertips.
Great job, Kevin & Sykes! I hope everyone online realizes that we need to faithfully support PM.com’s advertisers in order to keep these edifying productions coming.
@juozapas – “Too bad there is no “smell-o-vision” yet…I can just imagine the aromas at that facility.”
It smelled amazing, even in the parking lot.
Great Video Kevin! I always learn new info – I never knew oriental leaf was smaller! Your the man! Can’t wait to see what you post next – No pressure! lol!
1-I hope tou took the opportunity to try to convince Orlik’s to market more of their blends in the U.S.
2-Do they need any help sweeping the floors?
Great video. Amazing to see the various tobaccos and grades laid out like that. Looking forward to part II.
Definitively by kind of cardboard boxes and such intriguing barrels for this monkey! As dubinthedam would say, “lovely stuff”! Keep up the great work Kevin, you do us proud. Time to rub up some golden sliced for your next video treat! Really lovely stuff Kev!! Expo
Great video Kevin, can’t wait for part 2. Thanks again for sharing!
Superb, I can watch this, over and over again, can’t wait till part II, Capstan and golden sliced are two of my favorite blends. Well done and thanks for taking the time to make the film.
@dubinthedam – “thanks for taking the time to make the film.”
Thanks for taking the time to watch it. 🙂
I loved the Chuck Woolery reference!!! Great Video…One observation I had…It seemed like most of the tobacco you or Sykes picked up was dry, was that the case? as I thought they would be moist when packaged? They spill more tobacco then 100 people can smoke!!! Can’t wait for part 2!!!
@sjpipesmoker – “I loved the Chuck Woolery reference!!! Great Video…One observation I had…It seemed like most of the tobacco you or Sykes picked up was dry, was that the case? as I thought they would be moist when packaged?”
Thanks for noticing the Chuck Woolery reference in the credits. I have a very hard time remaining serious for too long. Even though I have a fun job, I try to make it as fun as possible by throwing in some small doses of silliness to help me stay sane in a crazy world.
The tobacco in the bales that we were looking at was dry as it is waiting to be used in whatever recipes they will be blending up that day. It gets re-moistened before they work with it. Re-moistening the tobacco is referred to as bring the tobacco to order, except you don’t use a gavel. You use sugar water, typically.
You will see that in Part II next week.
This is a fantastic video.
Can´t wait for the second part.
When will it be out?
Thanks Fabricio. Tuesday or Wednesday.
Very enjoyable. Thanks for making and posting.
I always enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of companies that make products that I like. It feels more personal when you get to “meet” (at least by video) some of the good folks who work there.
Very informative. Can’t wait for part 2.
Very nice, thank you.