This is a real departure for me. I don’t even like to do snus reviews, and a book review is something I haven’t written since high school, many, many years ago. As many of you know I have a recent fascination with the anti-tobacco events in the United Kingdom. One of the first blogs I found was Velvet Glove, Iron Fist. Among the many places that blog led me to, was an Amazon page where I could purchase Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: the history of anti-smoking. Written by Christopher Snowdon, the book is somewhat different than I expected. It is not a defense of smoking. It is much more a connecting of the dots from the earliest failed attempts to eradicate smoking shortly after a couple of sailors on Columbus’s journeys brought tobacco to Spain, to the modern incarnation of today’s rabid anti tobacco activists.
Being a fan of Phantom Blue portions and loose, I had for some unexplainable reason avoided Phantom Blue White portions. I finally threw 3 cans of White in my latest SnusCentral.com order. I then promptly avoided using them for 3 more weeks. Turns out I may be psychic.
I was not expecting what I found when I opened them. After a day of loudly complaining to my family about the lack of quality control at V2, my adoring wife suggested I do something more than gripe. I then did something I rarely do. I took her advice.
I sent an email to Patrick Vogel of V2. Marc Vogel answered and it led to a flurry of e-mails over the space of 2 days. Patrick is primarily responsible for the business and marketing side of V2. His partner and brother Marc is primarily responsible for the actual making of the snus.
Dear Tobacco Sirs and/or Madam(s),If you are considering making a product called “snus”… Don’t! Please do not follow the path of RJ Reynolds, Phillip Morris USA and the rest. Do not market a product called snus altered to fit American tastes and intentionally very low in free nicotine. Many hundreds of thousands of Americans like snus as it has been made for over 200 years. If we wanted sweetened, flue cured, oral tobacco we already have a wonderful thing called dip, snuff, or more accurately American smokeless tobacco. Snus should not be sickly sweet. Snus should be either a tad salty or a lot salty depending on other flavorings. If you want to make American style smokeless tobacco, then do that and call it what it is. What I have seen from you on the American market so far is not real snus, regardless of the name on the can/tin/stupid plastic envelope. If you plan to make “snus” at least buy as much advice, training and equipment from people in Sweden who have been making pasteurized real snus since 1822. Denmark is a good role model too. Then follow through and don’t screw it up in practice as is the case today.
This time last year I lost my job; Feb 20th to be exact. Within days the boredom and my OCD kicked in and I disposed of almost all my empty snus cans. I only kept a few “special” cans. PM1847, Camel SNUS, metal Lucky Strike…stuff I thought may be collectible some day. A couple months ago I realized I had saved almost every snus can I have used since that day. Not having thought up a good use for them I figured they would make an interesting article topic.
My other passions in life, beyond nicotine, my lovely wife and kids, are firearms and the politics involved. I am a certified gun nut. I vote mainly based on where a candidate is on the Second Amendment. I have been involved in the political battle for gun rights since I was a child. My father was great at math but bad with words, so he would have me spell words that he was actually writing in a letter to his Congress critters. For those of you old enough to remember that would have been Howard Metzenbaum.
I am well acquainted with politicians ignoring us and how that particular fight has gone over the years. I will not go meekly. I have seen these same tactics before and know how they are being beaten. Unfortunately I also know how they are being used against us. There are many parallels between the War on Tobacco and the War on Guns.
Not long ago someone commented that I didn't like Swedish Match products. I was shocked. Firstly because I love a bunch of Swedish Match tobacco products: Snus and Nasal Snuff both. Secondly because I thought he knew me better than that. A quick count of my Stash o' Snus gives me 18 cans of SM snus and 11 cans of V2, with a 2 each of Gotlands and F&L. (I did not count Mrs Mick's collection of minis.) I also did not realize I was that low on snus...time to give SnusCentral some money.
Swedish Match makes 3 of my top 5 snus brands, Tre Ankare, Ettan and Nick & Johnny Black. They make really cool stuff like the Carbon Fiber snus can and available in the very near future the Bullet-Proof can. They also make the real subject of this article:
I am not a huge fan of the holiday season. The shopping, the expectations, the bad food,the family members that I tolerate once a year just to keep Grams happy. I have never really been into Christmas, except when my kids were little. The look of joy on my eldest's face when she unwrapped a toy vacuum cleaner at the tender age of 2 was priceless. She played with that thing more than the, shall not be named, expensive, giggling puppet she got that same year. I don't put up lights on my house.I don't wear goofy sweatshirts with festive motif's. I have been known to wear a used bow on Christmas day, but only under protest.
This has been a tough year at the Hellwig household. Medical issues, job problems, car problems, teenagers... all conspire to make me forget what "The Holidays" are all about. Leaving aside any religious connotations, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are about our loved ones. Up until about a week ago there were going to be no presents under the tree for anyone in my family. The last week of November my car died, to the extent of needing a new engine. It was cheaper to junk it and buy a beater to get us through, well the beater needed more repairs than I thought. There goes the Christmas fund, snus and snuff fund and a few other meaningless funds. Back to Bah! Humbug!
As I read my husband’s latest article I figured I should put in my own two cents about my recent trip and the Fellinni White Mini Portions.
Hi, I’m Mrs .Mick. Now that Mick is a big time famous columnist he spends most of his time on our computer, reading, researching, writing, and playing Civi Balls. Trying to wrestle the computer away is not an easy task to do, so I had to get sneaky. After he went to bed I searched around the computer desk and found his password list hidden in an empty can of Ettan lös in the back of a drawer. So I thought it would be a great idea to add a guest article to his column. See how long it takes him to notice. No telling him: that would be cheating.
Editor's Note: This is how it all began. Catherine DeMarsh-Hellwig a.k.a. Mrs. Mick and a simple hacking/column stealing article. SnusCENTRAL is not pressing charges; to the contrary! Mrs. Mick, as you will read, is a fantastic author and brings a point of view previously missing from SnusCENTRAL Columns and from Snus Media in general.
In fact, SnusCENTRAL has a number of women who are very talented writers as you can tell from The Forum. This led to the creation of a new collaborative column: Smoking in the Ladies Room! We've moved this complete article to Smoking in the Ladies Room!.
I have tried hard to limit my ADD in these articles, but I just can't hold back anymore. I have a bunch of thoughts going on all at once and none of them add up to a whole article alone, so enjoy the ride along with me.
First up Offroad Limited Edition 2009. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the early testers of these. We were sent 9 flavors. 4 of them made the final cut. Chocolate Raspberry was not part of the testing. I have been impatiently annoying Patrick from V2 for information about when these would be released for months. I think he finally got tired of me bugging him and released them, just to shut me up. After receiving a envelope direct from V2, containing one can each of the new flavors and a few other snus that Patrick tossed in and spending a couple weeks with them all, I can pass judgement on the final product.
Nasal snuff is a finely ground tobacco powder. Meant to be inhaled via the nostrils, but not into the sinus or lungs. It just sits in your nostrils and nicotine is absorbed through the mucous membranes in your nose.
Snuff was first used, that we know of, by the Mayans. Brought to Europe by Columbus, and used at first by royalty, then slowly filtered down to the masses. Snuff was at one time as popular as pipe smoking. Kings, Queens, miners, farmers and U.S. Presidents have all used snuff. There are still, unused, snuff boxes in the U.S. Senate Chambers. Roderick, the owner of Toque Snuff has done a great deal of work putting together a history of snuff. Instead of me trying to paraphrase it, please go read it for yourself.
I tested Camel Orbs several months ago. Awful, unless you like a touch of nicotine with your foul tasting breath mints. This week I was given samples of Camel Strips (your wallet) and Camel Sticks ( it to ya). Both of these cost $3.89 + tax each in my neck of the woods. Both are worth less. I tested these in front of witnesses at work. As guys, watching another guy say " Hold my beer and watch this..." is the height of great entertainment. So I was the crash test dummy this week. Last month I got a bunch of them to try Camel Orbs, so it was my turn.
With the struggles our governmental and personal economies are currently facing, people are looking for the best value for their dollar, or other currency for my outside the US readers. I’d like to take a few minutes to consider our favorite vice, tobacco. It really doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, no one can deny that the US economy is in shambles. Will it recover? Probably. It always has in the past. How long the recovery takes and what life will be like during it can be debated until the cows come home, or longer. I have heard stories from the Great Depression era of people (generally from mining towns) that would buy leaf chewing tobacco, chew it, set it up on a window sill to dry, and then shred it for smoking in their pipes. I have been trying to find a written source of this story but so far no luck. I hope none of us get that low in our finances, but with taxes and slumping incomes…who knows? Snus and snuff for me fit my idea of good economics. I have been asked a bunch of times if I’m saving money by switching from smoking to Swedish snus.
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