Ted’s Made By Hand



So the question is, of course, who is TED? This is a mystery the makers of Ted’s Made by Hand choose to leave unsolved. For the moment Ted appears to be a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a bunch of advertising rhetoric, but hey, ya gotta sell cigars somehow. I’ll say this much for Ted’s right off the bat: the distributor was kind enough to offer up a hundred sticks to Club Stogie members to try for free, and that’s about as classy as it gets.

A little research shows that Emprise Cigars, the distributor of Ted’s, is also the outfit behind Maker’s Mark and Courvoisier flavored cigars. Following the thread, it turns out that behind Emprise is English Emprise, a company that specializes in building brands and “riding the coattails of brand loyalty.” Among other licensees in the Emprise stable are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee. (And if you didn’t think the leader of the free world could be a brand, check out the George W. Bush store. The Spalding Group is another Emprise company.) And who is the man behind English Emprise, the Spalding Group, and Emprise Cigars? An entrepreneur named Ted Jackson. Gotcha, Ted.

Ted’s website is sharp, if a bit flashy, and offers up this information about the blend: a Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Dominican binder, and filler from Brazil, Nicaragua and a little more DR. (What Ted’s website does not say, but Cigar Insider does, is that Ted’s cigars are made by Victor Sinclair.) They are rolled in the DR, after which they are packed in “seamless, foil debossed wood boxes.” I’m no design expert, but it looks like Ted has the packaging down pat.

But wait… there’s more! The test package that arrived in my mail box was a marketing marvel: a thin cardboard sleeve holding a box that opens like a book. On the verso a nice photo of some good old boys in a corn field having a laugh and smoking Ted’s handmade cigars. The picture spills over onto the recto side where recessed in the page is another cardboard box containing one of Ted’s finest 6 x 50 Connecticut Shade toros. Snazzy!

On to the cigar, with a caveat: my impressions are based on sampling one cigar only. Bearing that in mind…

Ted’s toro comes equipped with a standard ring in the usual place, plus a large paper sleeve of questionable value that is difficult to remove without damaging the wrapper leaf. The wrapper itself appears smooth and dry with moderate veining but is slightly marred by a pea-sized greenish discoloration near the band.

The prelight scent is grassy. I used a straight cut and took a prelight pull: easy, a little too easy maybe. The prelight flavor is typical light tobacco with a little alfalfa.

It lights without much effort and maintains an even burn for the next hour, leaving a light gray to white ash that flakes a bit and crumbles in the ashtray. As a personal preference I like a tighter draw, but the cigar never burns hot or suffers from burn problems, so the loose draw can’t really be called a construction defect.

Ted’s Made By Hand is a mild cigar with a pleasant floral aroma. The base flavor is nutty with a light woody element that gets increasingly vegetal as the smoke progresses. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity here and the only transition I noticed was at the band, where the flavor starts to muddy and gradually bitters out. The highlight of this cigar is the aroma — a really nice, lightly spiced floral scent. Despite the discoloration, this turns out to be a sweet wrapper.

About the worst I can say about Ted’s is that it’s a little on the boring side. It needs a companion like the Sunday morning paper or some other light diversion. For me it’s more of an accent smoke than a centerpiece. It just didn’t hold my attention all that well.

Fans of lighter bodied cigars in Connecticut Shade will probably dig Ted’s Made By Hand. Otherwise I think they would probably make good breakfast smokes. Retail prices are a little steep, but it looks like discounts can be found, knocking the box price down to around 90 USD for a box of 20. A reasonable price for an aromatic morning cigar.


6 thoughts on “Ted’s Made By Hand

  1. I’ve seen these cigars in my local humidor, but have not had the courage yet to try a cigar named Ted. 🙂 Maybe I’ll have to pick up a couple. I’ve been looking for a good mild smoke to have with my coffee.

  2. Ted’s Handmade
    Size: 6X50
    Binder: DR
    Filler: Brazil, Nic, DR

    So its another beautiful day in NEPA and anticipating the return of winter I thought that it would be a great day for a ride. Was going to enjoy a Perdomo or another everyday stick but as I do every Saturday at 12:30 I checked the mail and there it was……my Ted’s Handmade sample in a nice shiny black box. First thought was to age it a bit but upon opening the package it looked really fine as is….as you will see it was a good decision.

    The tobacco didn’t have a particular oily shine to it but the wrapper was nice and smooth without nics and the foot was solid. I used my bullet and drilled a nice hole almost dead center perfect and the draw was excellent. Upon cold tasting it was very favorful and mellow.

    I lit the stick with wooden matches and started my truck up for my little jaunt. I have a route that takes exactly 1 hour and figured that it would be a great way to taste this treat from Ted. The smoke was a very nice white shade and the ash held very tight. The first third of the cigar yielded flavors of coffee and cream with a hint of earth and a real sweetness about it. This lovely stick burned nice and even and not hot at all.

    About 30 mins into the drive I stop at my friends diner and have coffee and lunch and allow the cigar to burn out. I always re-light a cigar the first time I try them to see if the taste changes at all. Upon re-lighting there was a little more spice but still that nice sweet flavor and it burned that way through the entire second the third thirds of the cigar.

    Overall this was an enjoyable smoke that I can see being an everyday cigar if the price point was right. I would rate this a solid 9/10 and will pick up a box when I re-fill in February.

    Long ashes…..and thank you Ted it was a very enjoyable experience. You have created a cigar that could help celebrate any occasion……including everyday.

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