08 December 2018

Zyn Cool Mint (All White) Extra Strong - Review. 8 December 2018.

To preface this review, this product is not like the dry Zyn products I reviewed in the past; they are much different. Also, aren't available to the US.  But, after reviewing Zyn Citrus a few months back, I've had some requests to review the other Zyn products.  If you're new to Zyn, this is how Swedish Match describes this product: "NICOTINE WITHOUT TOBACCO: ZYN is for those who like to enjoy nicotine but dislike the experience of tobacco. You can use ZYN anytime and anywhere - just put the portion under your lip.”  As the nicotine pouch category is growing, we're seeing more different ways companies will release products that contain nicotine but don't actually contain tobacco.

The flavor description for this product says, "Zyn Cool Mint has an intense peppermint flavorwith a refreshing and chilling aftertaste."  This product comes in a 16.8 gram can with 0.8 gram portions. Doing some math, it looks like a can contains 21 portions. The nicotine content is 14mg/g (1.4%), which breaks down to 11.2mg/portion.

When is Zyn not Zyn? If you're used to the Zyn products sold in the US or those sold as "Zyn Mini Dry" in Sweden, these probably look quite different. They aren't as dry, and they look much like the other all white snus products sold on the market. These don't contain tobacco, however, so they're not going to be like an Epok or a G4. These are going to be closer to Skruf's new Skruf SuperWhite. This Zyn product is a moist product, still tobacco free, and containing nicotine, vegetable fiber and cellulose powder (E-460). While it may look like other white tobacco products, it doesn't actually contain tobacco.

This product, in terms of taste and aroma, reminds me a lot of the General G4 Blue Mint product. They're extremely close in the way it smells, the way it tastes, and the way it feels in the lip. Except this one contains tobacco and that one doesn't. That aroma is a gentle, mild, lightly sweet smell of peppermint. The portions are very soft to the touch and feel very comfortable in the lip! Being a mint product, I do get a nice cooling presence in the lip when I put a portion in. The peppermint flavor is mild, lightly sweet, and very refreshing; it almost reminds me of a mint chewing gum. It's a relatively gentle flavor, and isn't too sharp. The flavor, on average, lasts about an hour. The nicotine strength feels just above the strong level, but not too strong.

If you like mint flavored products and want to quit tobacco but still enjoy nicotine, this would be a good one to try out.  I actually enjoy the taste of this one more than other mint nicotine pouches!

03 December 2018

RITE Cool Mint Chew Bags - Review. 3 December 2018.

I recently did a preview article about Mac Baren getting into the snus and chew bag game, and today I'm going to be reviewing two of the six new products they launched under the new Ministry of Snus A/S company: Rite Original Chew Bags: Large White and Slim White! Do check out their MinistryOfSnus.com website, it's really well done. Of the new RITE line, this is what they had to say: “Having produced fine lifestyle products since 1826, makes us able to guarantee you the RITE quality. Expect a rock-solid experience that packs a real punch. Always and with no exception - Daringly strong. We strive to create simple, flavour packed experiences for you. Without excess and with design in mind."

RITE Cool Mint (Large)

The flavor description for RITE Cool Mint Large says, "Experience the COOL MINT explosion. The fresh feel of COOL MINT is based on the familiar MINT– with an extra burst of cool. Prepare for a kick-start, cool rush and maximum strength." This product comes with a 15g can with 20 portions for 0.75g portions. The nicotine content is 28mg/g (2.8%), or 21mg/portion.

When you open the can, the aroma that greets you is a sharp, biting, lightly sweet smell of peppermint. The portions themselves are soft to the touch, and feel rather comfortable in the lip. When you put a portion in the lip you'll encounter a mild burn, and then a fresh cooling presence, as well. The nicotine also comes on rather quickly. The flavor is a sharp, focused taste of peppermint with a light touch of sweetness. The nicotine kick is very strong. Though it is a white portion, the nicotine delivery is quick and it packs quite a punch. Comparing to other snus products or chew bag products, this feels right above the extra strong level. The flavor lasts a solid amount of time, as well; I find these last up to the hour mark!

RITE Cool Mint (Slim)

The flavor description for RITE Cool Mint Slim says, "Experience the COOL MINT explosion. The fresh feel of COOL MINT is based on the familiar MINT– with an extra burst of cool. Prepare for a kick-start, cool rush and maximum strength." This product comes with a 15g can with 20 portions for 0.75g portions. The nicotine content is 28mg/g (2.8%), or 21mg/portion.

This one is the same as the large version but with a few small differences. The aroma is sharp, mildly sweet smell of peppermint! The portions are slimmer, and have a great fit in the lip along with a soft portion material. There is also a mild burn when you put a portion in the lip, and a mild cooling presence as well! The flavor is very much the same; a sharp, focused, lightly sweet taste of peppermint. The nicotine is quite strong, but doesn't kick as hard as the large. Make no mistake, however, this stuff is strong, and it feels right above the extra strong level. The flavor also lasts a solid amount of time, on par with the one hour mark for the large version.

I was very impressed with these products. For first offerings from a brand new snus/chew company, these were of a very high quality and packed a great taste. If you want to try something new, check out their website and you can order some from there! If you are unable to buy these, don't fret! They plan to launch them as snus versions soon for the Sweden and Norway markets.

02 December 2018

Lyft Nicotine Pouches: Melon - Review. 2 December 2018.

The nicotine pouch category has been growing more and more for the past few years, and now it appears as though BAT/Winnington (makers of Epok) are getting into this category with their new Lyft product! Lyft is a nicotine pouch product that is made from eucalyptus and pine fiber. Lyft does not contain tobacco, but does contain nicotine. Lyft comes in all the same flavors as Epok, so if you're wanting to switch from Epok (which contains tobacco) to Lyft (which doesn't contain tobacco), you will be easily able to find your favorite flavor.

I'm kicking off these reviews with Lyft Melon, because Epok Melon is my favorite flavor in the Epok series.  The flavor description says, "LYFT Melon Slim All White Portion has a sweet and tropical taste of melon that is delivered in crisp white portions without tobacco."  This product comes in a 16.8 gram can with 24 portions for 0.7 gram portions. The nicotine content is 8.5mg/g (0.85%) for 5.95mg/portion.  Note, this is the same as Epok Melon in terms of contents and nicotine level.

I won't go too in depth on the differences between Epok and Lyft, but if you want to know more, I wrote an article about it, and I also did a video about it.  But here's a photo just so you can see it real quick.  You'll notice the cans look similar except the name, the portions look similar, and even the material inside the pouch looks similar.  The way the pouches feel in the lip, the way the nicotine releases, and even the flavors are all very similar as well.  So if you like Epok, you'll probably also really like Lyft.

As a big fan of Epok Melon, I will say this - this product seems almost identical to Epok Melon, even though Lyft Melon doesn't contain tobacco. I was really impressed with that. The aroma is a mild, fresh, lightly sweet melon smell that reminds me of cantaloupe. The portions are slim, soft, and feel very comfortable in the lip. The flavor is very much like the aroma; there is a natural, fresh taste of cantaloupe. It's not overly sweet, but does have a little touch of sweetness to it. The nicotine strength feels to be about the regular level. The flavor, on average, lasts about 45 to 55 minutes.

I enjoy tobacco and don't plan on ever switching to nicotine pouches, but I will say this - these are some of the best nicotine pouches I've tried yet.  I think BAT/Winnington did a great job with these!

Paz Snus & Nicopods By Dholakia - Preview. 2 December 2018.

Dholakia Tobacco, a snuff-making company in India, is branching out and will now be producing in two new categories: nicotine pouches (or "nicopods") and snus! I've enjoyed their snuff products for many years now, particularly their Swiss Chocolate snuff. So far, I know of 5 new nicopod products they will be launching as well as two new snus products. Years ago, there were a few Indian snus products that I tried and enjoyed: Haini Khaini Saffran in 2011, Chaini Khaini Spice in 2010, and Chaini Khaini Mango in 2010. These products were from Harsh International, a company under MAHAK Group. I enjoyed the mango most of all.

I'm not sure who will sell these products, where they'll be available to, or when they will be on sale - but I do look forward to trying them.  With that being said, let's meet their new products!

PAZ Nicopods

Dholakia describes PAZ Nicopods as having a smooth nicotine delivery with a good taste. They also mention that these are the first all white products to ever come from India. These come in 5 flavors: Melon, Lime, Mint, Ice Cool, and Aniseed.

PAZ Snus: Original Portion

They describe their original portion snus as "lip smacking", and being blended with the finest quality tobacco grown in India.  They say it is a strong snus, and has the finest quality bergamot with hints of herbs, smoke, and (of course) delicious tasting tobacco.  They say it is smooth under the lip with a long lasting taste.

PAZ Snus: White Portion

They describe their white portion snus as "lip smacking", and being blended with the finest quality tobacco grown in India.  They say it is a strong snus, and has the finest quality bergamot with hints of herbs, smoke, and (of course) delicious tasting tobacco.  They say it is smooth under the lip with a long lasting taste.

29 November 2018

General Kardus (Winter 2018) - Preview. 29 November 2018.

Swedish Match has released General Kardus Winter 2018, another release in the Gastronomy Series and partnership with Karl Ljung and glass manufacturer Orrefors. And, just in time for the holidays! General Kardus Winter 2018 weighs in at 999 SEK or $110 USD, so I just consider this an early Christmas present to myself. This year, only 800 of these have been made, so it is a very, very limited edition. While the Kardus series is nothing new, the General Kardus series has been around since 2015. First came General Kardus Selection 2015, which was a tobacco centric snus with dried fruit/citrus hints. Next came General Kardus Fäviken 2016, which was a collaboration with Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson from the Fäviken Magasinet Restaurant and Hotel located which is located in Northern Sweden. This one had a tobacco centric flavor with hints of lingonberry. Next came General Kardus 2017 (Hernö Gin) which was, of course, gin flavored. Next, we saw the creation of the Gastronomy Series with the release of General Kardus Spring 2018 (Gastronomy Series). This was a collaboration with restauranteur Karl Ljung, and it had a tobacco centric but herb-heavy flavor profile.

Now enters General Kardus (Winter 2018). This product, once again, comes with 150 grams of snus and a nicotine content of 1.2%. The flavor description of this year's release says, "This snus is inspired by General's characteristic flavors with clear elements of bergamot and herbaceous tones. General Kardus Winter 2018 has a dark tobacco character that is recognized by General's main flavor bergamot, but also has shades of rosemary, conifers and flowers."

This year's release is also 100% lamina, meaning only the finest parts of the tobacco are used. The tobacco is single cut, and is cut into strips of 0.72mm which gives a completely different experience and feeling under the lip compared to regular los snus. The tobaccos this year have a more nuanced and wider flavor spectrum compared to last year. This year, tobaccos from Argentina, South Africa, and India were used. From Argentina, a sun dried tobacco with spicy and fruity aromas was used, which is grown at high altitudes in Los Altos de la Cocha Valle in the northern part of the country. From South Africa, air dried tobacco from Cape Province was used which has a dried fruit quality. From India, the sun dried Kurnool Natu from Andhra Pradhes was used. It comes from the southern part of the country and has shared of sweet, dried fruit.

General Kardus Winter 2018 was produced in partnership with Swedish Match Master Blender Lars Öberg and Karl Ljung.  This was the team that also created the previous General Kardus release.  Karl Ljung said "I always strive to create the best taste experience. To achieve this, skillful crafts and qualitative raw materials are required. For this endeavor, Master Blender Lars Öberg and I worked together to create General Kardus Winter 2018."  Skilled crafts and quality raw materials was the motto for this year's release.  This Kardus was the most costly and well crafted snus that Swedish Match has produced.  The greatest care and attention was paid to tobacco quality, flavoring, and manufacturing process.

For this year's release, Swedish Match has worked with a manufacturer that truly symbolizes the Swedish glass industry, Orrefors. Orrefors is the largest glass manufacturer in the entire Nordic region and is the creator of the glass vessel in which General Kardus Winter 2018 will be housed in. The glass vessel is blown by skilled craftsmen at the glass mill in Kosta. Each glass is hand signed. Since the glasses are hand made, each vessel is truly unique and one of a kind!

This release is on sale now at the Swedish Match webstore.  Only 800 of these were made, so I'm not sure if US consumers will be able to buy this or not.  If you want it, make sure and purchase soon before it is sold out!

27 November 2018

RITE Mint Chew Bags - Review. 27 November 2018.

I recently did a preview article about Mac Baren getting into the snus and chew bag game, and today I'm going to be reviewing two of the six new products they launched under the new Ministry of Snus A/S company: Rite Original Chew Bags: Large White and Slim White! Do check out their MinistryOfSnus.com website, it's really well done. Of the new RITE line, this is what they had to say: “Having produced fine lifestyle products since 1826, makes us able to guarantee you the RITE quality. Expect a rock-solid experience that packs a real punch. Always and with no exception - Daringly strong. We strive to create simple, flavour packed experiences for you. Without excess and with design in mind."

RITE Mint (Large)

The flavor description for RITE Mint Large says, " Let our MINT take you on a journey of perfect, fresh flavour – based on a careful mix of spearmint and mint. MINT gives you an intense, refreshing and effective experience. And its characteristic spunk enhances your sense of maximum strength. This variety contains LARGE white portions."  This product comes with a 15g can with 20 portions for 0.75g portions. The nicotine content is 28mg/g (2.8%), or 21mg/portion.

The aroma of this stuff is really pleasant and enjoyable. It's a sweet mix of sharp peppermint and smooth spearmint. The portions themselves are soft to the touch, and feel rather comfortable in the lip. When you put a portion in the lip you'll encounter a mild burn, and then a fresh cooling presence, as well. The nicotine also comes on rather quickly. The flavor is a lightly sweet, fresh mint flavor. The mint flavor is a mix of peppermint and spearmint, both equally present, wrapped up with a light touch of sweetness. The nicotine kick is very strong. Though it is a white portion, the nicotine delivery is quick and it packs quite a punch. Comparing to other snus products or chew bag products, this feels right above the extra strong level. The flavor lasts a solid amount of time, as well; I find these last up to the hour mark!

RITE Mint (Slim)

The flavor description for RITE Mint Slim says, " Let our MINT take you on a journey of perfect, fresh flavour – based on a careful mix of spearmint and mint. MINT gives you an intense, refreshing and effective experience. And its characteristic spunk enhances your sense of maximum strength. This variety contains LARGE white portions."  This product comes with a 13.2g can with 24 portions for 0.55g portions. The nicotine content is 28mg/g (2.8%), or 15.4mg/portion.

This one is the same as the large version but with a few small differences. The aroma is a sweet mix of peppermint and spearmint, and is quite pleasant! The portions are slimmer, and have a great fit in the lip along with a soft portion material.  There is also a mild burn when you put a portion in the lip, and a mild cooling presence as well!  The flavor is very much the same; a gentle, sweet mixing of peppermint and spearmint. The nicotine is quite strong, but doesn't kick as hard as the large. Make no mistake, however, this stuff is strong, and it feels right above the extra strong level. The flavor also lasts a solid amount of time, on par with the one hour mark for the large version.

I was very impressed with these products. For first offerings from a brand new snus/chew company, these were of a very high quality and packed a great taste. If you want to try something new, check out their website and you can order some from there! If you are unable to buy these, don't fret! They plan to launch them as snus versions soon for the Sweden and Norway markets.

Epok vs Lyft - What Are The Differences? 27 November 2018.

When Epok launched back in 2014, I wasn't sure if it was going to be a fad or not. It turns out, a lot of people enjoyed white tobacco and the Epok line has become more and more popular since the first Epok products broke onto the scene back in 2014. The market has continued to grow and evolve over the years, and now we are seeing a completely different category - products that look like snus, but contain no tobacco. These "nicotine pouches", as they've come to be called, contain some form of plant fiber and nicotine extracted from tobacco, but no tobacco inside the actual pouch. Now we have a new product from BAT/Winnington called Lyft. It looks a lot like Epok, but it doesn't actually contain any tobacco. In this article, we're going to look at the new Lyft line and compare it to the existing Epok line and see what the differences are. I do want to clarify this, as some have falsely reported that Lyft is replacing the Epok line. I have spoken to BAT and was told directly that Lyft is not replacing Epok - both Epok and Lyft will continue to be produced.

Design and Contents

Looking at the cans, there isn't much of a difference other than the name.  The main difference I notice is that the Epok product contains a warning label along the side, like most snus products do.  The Lyft product, however, does not have a warning label on the side.  Both products contain 24 portions at 0.7 grams each in a 16.8 gram can.  The nicotine content of Epok and Lyft regular strength is 8.5mg/g (0.85%), and the nicotine content of Epok and Lyft Strong is 14mg/g (1.4%).  So the can design is similar, but the portion weight, count, and nicotine strength is the same on Epok and Lyft, both the strong and regular strength variants.

Product, Appearance and Flavor

Looking at the products themselves, they also don't look that different.  The pouches are of a similar color, size, and feel.  The material inside the pouch, while different, looks similar.  Epok, to the left, contains white tobacco - which is a tobacco that has gone through a type of cleansing.  Lyft, to the right, does not contain tobacco, rather, it contains a material made of a mix of eucalyptus and pine fiber.  The tobacco inside Epok and the plant fiber inside Lyft are pretty similar looking - both moist, ground, looking a lot like each other.  The flavor of these products is also very similar, which was quite surprising for me.  I've compared various Epok products to their Lyft counterparts and haven't noticed much of a difference in that area.

So, after comparing these two products, I was surprised by how similar they are.  The cans have different names on them and one has tobacco while one doesn't, but outside of that, they're very similar.  Honestly, if you gave me a Lyft pouch and an Epok pouch and asked me to tell the difference, I'm not sure I could do it 100% of the time.  They're that similar.