V2 Tobacco first released an Offroad Limited Edition Brandy Alexander Snus back in 2008 with limited success. They tried again in 2009 under the now defunct Nordströmmen Loose Snus Limited Edition, again to limited success.
I had tasted both of these and could see why they never made it as production snuses. Someone else tried the 2009 version and fell in love with the flavor. His name is Chad Jones, aka Snubie, and without him the story would have ended right here.
Chad was new to snus back then but very passionate about it and Brandy Alexanders. He kept hounding V2 for years, finally making a deal that if he could get the number of Likes on their new Facebook page to over 500, they would try again with Brandy Alexander. He did and V2 tried again in 2012 with another limited release of Nordströmmen Brandy Alexander Loose Snus.
V2 was getting better with the flavor but not exciting enough snus users to warrant turning this into a mass production product.
They tried again in 2013, this time as an extremely high nicotine Thunder Ultra Strong Brandy Alexander Portion Snus. (historical note: V2 asked me to create a name for snus which was higher in nicotine than Extra Strong for their products. My response was Ultra Strong which is still used to this day).
Back to 2013, once again Brandy Alexander did not make the cut. Despite this, Chad never lost his love of the flavor or his determination to see it successfully return.
Offroad Snubie Brandy Alexander Portion Snus: the Creation
When Chad told me V2 had agreed to let him completely redesign a Brandy Alexander snus, I tried to temper his expectations a little. I few years earlier, I had designed a coffee flavored snus with V2 for the UNZ Family 1000th Anniversary party. Patrick Vogel sent me a portable snus lab and I sent them back samples of what I and others still consider to be the finest coffee flavored snus ever made.
Despite both our best efforts and numerous prototypes, V2 could never recreate anything close to the rich flavor of my samples. I've always suspected Marc Vogel of sabotaging the project because it was Patrick's idea and I wrote about the massive size of Marc's office at V2 but could never prove he did it. In the end, the UNZ family name was removed and Thunder Extra Strong Coffee Supreme Portion Snus was released. After 6 months or so, it faded away as well it should have.
Chad's project with V2 conversely turned out to be a complete success. He correctly specified a lower moisture content than the 50% of the previous Brandy Alexander products. In the end, it came out to around 38%.
He kept the nicotine at a regular strength 8% to keep the focus on the flavor and avoid any nicotine bitterness. The portion size was specified at 0.9 grams to ensure there was enough snus to deliver the flavor profile he wanted but upped the number of portions per can from Offroad's traditional 20 to 22.
V2 also upped the quality of the tobacco and ingredients for Snubie Brandy Alexander, according to Chad.
Presentation also counts. Chad wanted a white can instead of the traditional Offroad black cans. The labelling and colors were also very important to him. In a collaborative effort, the final can graphics took shape.
Now enough background; let’s review the final product!
Offroad Snubie Brandy Alexander Portion Snus: The Snus Review
I usually use at least half a can of a new snus before I do a review but the case of Snubie Brandy Alexander, I had to finish the entire can before trusting myself to put thoughts to paper. My expectations had been low but the reality was Offroad Snubie Brandy Alexander was an exceptional snus!
Unlike previous V2 versions of Brandy Alexander, the lower moisture resulted in a gradual release of flavor which kept building; not the flood of flavor I had experienced in the past.
The flavor itself was different. Instead of being overpowering it was subtle mix of brandy sweetness with hints of chocolate and raspberry. At times I almost tasted a little cherry as opposed to past versions where the cherry was almost cough syrup like. I can't emphasize the sweetness aspect enough; it is not overpowering, it is not artificial, it is perfectly balanced to the flavor profile.
The flavor lasted too even as it evolved. A portion easily remained flavorful for 1.5 hours.
The thing is, Offroad is a value snus brand; Snubie Brandy Alexander is a premium class snus.
When, not if, V2 decides to make this a production product, they may want to rethink the branding. Premium snus fans already familiar with Offroad may hesitate to try it because of the brand. Conversely, Offroad Snus fans may find the Snubie Snus so tasty it will unreasonably raise their expectations for the rest of the brand.
However, if this is an example of the premium-yet-value-priced quality the Offroad brand will deliver since V2 Tobacco's acquisition by Swedish Match, Snubie Brandy Alexander would make a great flagship for the 2018 Offroad brand.
Chad's insistence on a white can was warranted. Like the snus, the can is elegant yet subtle.
The top graphic is the most note-worthy. If you hold the can to the light and gently tilt it, the square graphic on the top changes between being inset, outset, and flat! Kudos to Michael Anderson for the foil graphic idea.
The can has a full-sized catch lid like the other V2 products now which is welcome. This is a bar-worthy snus can which is the highest praise I can give it. Bar-worthy is a phrase I coined years ago to describe a snus can you would intentionally leave on the bar as a conversation starter or to impress. Lesser cans are best put back in your pocket until needed again.
As for the snus itself, Offroad Snubie Brandy Alexander is officially now a part of my daily snus rotation. That is the highest possible praise my taste-buds can give.
This is one of the very few snuses I would recommend buying a roll of to try instead of just a can. It's an outstanding example of what the collaboration between a snus super-user like Chad and an innovative, forward thinking snus manufacturer like V2/Swedish Match can result in.
How ever you get it, this is a must-try snus.
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org