The European Union Sucks. No, not the people who live there. Some of my favorite people and products come from the EU. I’m complaining about the controlling group that has decided to enforce a stupid law that bans sales of Swedish snus to EU member states; Sweden excepted. Protecting the tax base on cigarettes is more important than protecting the health of an estimated 100 million EU smokers to the elite in Brussels. Many of these EU cigarette smokers would now be EU ex-smokers had the Tobacco Products Directive been written differently in 1992. Several EU states are losing billions in tax revenues already due to cigarette smuggling. Goodness only knows what is contained in these Chinese, Russian, who knows where, manufactured cigarettes. At the very least we know what is in Swedish snus. We know the ingredients, we know the additives, we know the quality of the tobacco, i.e. not floor sweepings pressed together to make a sheet and then shredded into ribbons resembling tobacco. (On a side note, my long suffering wife cannot stand the smell of low end machine made cigars for exactly this reason. The glue used to hold together the binding makes her throat tighten and gives her difficulty breathing. A quality hand rolled cigar does not give her the same symptoms, even though she sometimes complains that it smells awful.)
First off I have to apologize for the long absence from this column. Being an internationally famous author and magazine publishing magnet has been consuming more of my time than I originally intended. The fan mail responses, fancy dinners with important people in the world of smokeless tobacco, hobnobbing with the beautiful people and trying to keep the mail room clerks out of the Executive Washroom is beginning to feel like a part time job. I may have to hire an assistant to keep my Icetools and pipes loaded, just to save time.
As one of the seemingly few fans of Tre Ankare snus when I read the early reports of Click snus as having a similar herbal flavor I was immediately intrigued. Unfortunately in my circle of acquaintances, none of them with access to Click used Tre Ankare, or had used it recently enough to offer a comparison. Fortunately, Snus Lord Larry Waters kindly supplied me with two cans of each to do my own research.
This is not an easy article to write. So much has been written already about Kardus 2010, how am I to fill a few column inches without repeating what other writers and reviewers have said? I suppose I could cheat and just copy and paste some flowery sounding stuff from the official Swedish Match press release, or steal a few of Larry’s excellent paragraphs, cleverly reworded so it doesn’t look like a direct theft. None of that would be fair to you who come here to read my unique take on things. Let us get the basics out of the way first. Kardus Superior Blend 2010 is a fantastic example of the snus makers art. The added flavors compliment the tobacco in a balanced manner. Neither overpower the other, so you can taste both. The hand cut tobacco is a visual wonder. Anyone can cut tobacco, but to get a consistent cut takes skill; just as most of us can’t cut vegetables as cleanly , quickly and precisely as the chefs on TV. Kardus 2010 may very well be the best snus I have ever used. Not my favorite, since it’s a limited edition and the cost takes it out of the all day use category. Not many of us use the best of anything daily. If I had a Lamborghini I sure wouldn’t drive it to work every day, but I would drive it and enjoy the drive on nice weekends.
As I walked in to my usual gas station the other morning, I saw a sign on the door that made me stop and say “WHAT!!!???”; then “WHEN???!!!!” After recovering my normally cool and calm demeanor, which in this case included using a hand to actually get my mouth to close and wipe the drool from my chin, I went boldly forward and started asking questions. What was this mysterious sign? It was a General Snus Sold Here banner!
First off I’d like to apologize to my faithful readers for such a long absence from these pages. Launching The Snuff Taker's Ephemeris magazine and working full time has kept my life a bit overwhelming. I’m slowing down now so I can get back to my writings here. I titled this “Snus Warriors” as snus is merely the Swedish word for snuff, and the word snuff covers most forms of non-smoked tobacco. I don’t much like the term smokeless, being a compound word formed of “smoke’” and “less”. That is not the point of non smoked tobacco. We don’t use it to smoke less, we use it to smoke none. Sure some of us still smoke a pipe or cigar occasionally, when 90% of our intake doesn’t involve lighting tobacco I say that other 10% doesn’t count.
Little things matter: this is one of life’s simple truths. Two and a half years ago no one could have convinced me that first little dinky, dry Camel SNUS portion would change my life. A couple cans of Camel SNUS led to a few cans of Triumph snus, which wasn’t bad in the beginning, to a few days of internet searching and reading, from there to 2 orders of snus from a place called Sweden. Much to the dismay of my long-suffering wife, the rest is history. This is History that someday will lead to my being immortalized in the annals of snusdom as one of the pioneers of snus in America.
As my Grandpa used to say “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”. (Who plays horseshoes anymore?)
Being in a big city that RJR seems to like to abuse with new products, Camel SNUS Robust and Winterchill hit the shelves here last week. I despise wintergreen with a passion that makes my dislike of licorice look weak, so I avoided the Winterchill, and after tasting the Robust I definitely won’t be trying Winterchill.
The new cans are pretty nifty looking (who says “nifty” anymore?) not counting the horrid new government required health warnings that take up the bottom third of the front and back of the can. The SNUS pouches are actually quite large. I compared them to a portion of Lab Series 01 and the Camel is about 10% larger, just a tad longer and wider. I would estimate there is a bit over 1 gram of tobacco per pouch. They are very dry, not dusty, but much drier than even a white portion.
What little I know of Zen is based on old books, like “Zen and the art of motorcycle repair” and bits and pieces I’ve picked up over the years. What I do know is it involves being at peace with your surroundings and circumstances. Snus helps me do that. Sitting here in my pitiful excuse for a man cave this morning, a huge pris of Phantom Blue under my lip, a steaming cup o’ Joe and Russian techno coming from the speakers, I am again amazed by the relaxing properties of my favored nicotine delivery systems. Snus and snuff have mostly replaced cigarettes in my life. I still sneak a cig every now and then, but they hold no power over me. They taste bad, smell bad and do not give me a content feeling. A General Extra Sterk first thing with my morning starter pot of coffee gets my blood and juices flowing. After about 10 minutes when the caffeine and nicotine get started, I am in a place of calm. Not something I ever experienced with cigarettes. I never liked Russian Techno music or hot tea before snus either.
I’ve learned a lot about snus in my 2.5 years of reading and using it. Snus is healthier than cigs, cigars and probably snuff. We all know that. The lessons I’ve learned that I feel the need to pass on are the mental aspects of snus. Like the points above about relaxation.
Yes, it does. It will make my snus and snuff more expensive. It will cause me to pay more for shipping, not to mention having to meet the driver of the Big Brown Truck (BBT) to sign for the stuff and prove I’m over 18. (A blind man could see I’m way over 18) The PACT act has and will cost friends of mine their jobs and businesses. The PACT Act has endangered storage space in my freezer. This in turn has endangered my happiness since Mrs.Mick guards her freezer space jealously.As bad as PACT is, in the final analysis it’s probably more bark than bite. I will still be able to get all my favorite snus. So will you.
This article was originally envisioned to be a rant on snus, and tobacco in general users being a politically divided group and how it works against us. That was until the politicians intervened and changed my mind for me. With the passage of the PACT act, we tobacco users are being hurt by higher prices, possibly reduced selection and more hoops to go through to receive our favored nicotine delivery devices.
The main problem with this is people who don’t use tobacco don’t care. They don’t realize this is the opening salvo of adding taxes and increased shipping costs on their online shopping habits. "Oh this only affects smokers and black market cigarette smugglers." Wrong! It affects me! I use snus. I buy it online since it’s really not available to me any other way. I have never purchased cigarettes, RYO tobacco, pipe tobacco or even cigars on line. Honestly, if I had access to huge snus fridges like they do in Sweden I’d probably not buy snus online except maybe, to get a bit more variety. On the other hand if I had a huge snus fridge at my corner market I’d probably not even know snus was available online. Nor would I be as involved with this site. (How many people, over the age of 18 participate in an online dip or cigarette forums?)
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