The origins of what became GN Tobacco are somewhat murky. What was always clear is that the initial Oden's Snus marketing plan hinged on offering the snus with the highest nicotine levels available on the market. Everything else was secondary.
Fast-forwarding to 2016 and GNT's Q3 new product introductions, a trend had solidified into a huge change from 2009......
GN Tobacco (GNT), makers of the popular Oden's and Islay Whisky snus brands, is on a roll. GNT factories are running 24/7 to meet demand while new expanded facilities are under construction.
Under the Odens Snus brand, new flavors and variations are also being released one after the other....
I love Odens Snus. Unfortunately GN Tobacco's other snus attempts have left me at best ambivalent, at worst, disgusted.
I was very hesitant to try Olde Ving. Part of this was because of the name. GNT used to call this snus brand Olde Viking; that is until the company which actually owned the Olde Viking brand name cried foul.
In a way, the brand name change was a good thing. Olde Viking was a particularly bad snus best known for its hockey puck sized cans.
I think they could have put a little more thought into the re-branding.... Olde Ving? Who or what is Ving?
For some odd reason I can't assimilate"Ving". My brain changes the letters and I find it vaguely dirty and possibly completely off putting. I really sort of, kinda wanted to try it, but was to scared to actually spend money buying some.
Odens Extreme Swedish Snus series was the first snus to break the 20mg/gram nicotine content barrier; taking snus users from Extra Strong to Ultra Strong. As of this writing, the Extreme snus series by GN Tobacco (GNT) reigns as the highest nicotine Swedish snus available at 22mg nicotine per gram of snus.
I haven't discussed Odens Extreme except in passing until now for a few reasons. While high nicotine snus is very popular in Norway and the United States, EXTREME seemed more a novelty more than a trend. While the number of Strong and Extra Strong snus offerings has continued to grow across the market, GNT had remained a solo player in the Ultra Strong snus arena.
Gajane AB, the company who created and owns the Odens Snus brand name, made the decision in 2010 to switch production of new products from the current manufacturer to GN Tobacco Sweden, AB. Gajane owns GN Tobacco which is manufactured at the factory formerly belonging to the now-bankrupt and very forgettable snus maker Snus AB.
Oden's Snus entered the market not with a whimper, but with a roar. In 2008, there was an explosion of high nicotine 'Strong' snus from almost all manufacturers in Sweden and Scandinavia. Known today as Sterk, Stark, Strong, Ekstra Sterk, Extra Strong and Xtra Stark, these products were launched not so much for Swedish consumers, but as a result of snus consumer focus groups in Norway. Norwegians liked nicotine and wanted more of it in their snus. So did snusers in Scandinavian counties were snus is banned. So did many American snusers.
During the second half of 2008, snus manufacturers were competing for the bragging rights for having the highest nicotine snus on the market. That crown seemed to change hands every few months. Ah, those were heady times!
As Christmas rolled around, V2 Tobacco was the reigning king of nicotine with 16mg/g nicotine in their hugely popular Thunder Snus brand. Suddenly, in early 2009 and surrounded in mystery, a new brand appeared called Odens Snus. It was distributed by a company called Gajane but no one knew who made the actual snus at the time.
The story of Olde Viking Snus, Gajane, and GN Tobacco is an interesting one. My biggest challenge has not been as much getting information as finding someone at Gajane to confirm or deny the more explosive points. My first article on Olde Viking deliberately withheld certain knowledge because of this. I'm pleased to say Gajane has reached out to me and answered my biggest concerns. As we continue our dialogue, other facts may emerge of note which I will pass along. For right now, the most important facts are known...and much of the information did not come from Gajane/GN Tobacco.
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