17 January 2011

Skoal "Snus" 2011 Review. 17 January 2011.

Disclaimer: Granted, I do write about American "SNUS" and "snus" from time to time, but the focus of my blog/website is introducing people to REAL Swedish Snus. When it comes to snus, REAL Snus comes from Sweden. There's a difference, and the difference is big. Please read this article to learn the difference for yourself.

Well the day is finally upon us. After doing a preview recently for the new Skoal "Snus" and Marlboro "Snus" products I'm finally getting to the review part of the Skoal version. In my recent review of Marlboro "Snus" I wasn't too kind. In fact, a comment on YouTube (in this video review) told me I was being too harsh. Well, I don't think I was. I personally hold snus to such a high standard after enjoying Swedish Snus the past two years that I consider these bastardized attempts on REAL Snus to be an insult. That being said, I always going into a review with an open mind - and Skoal "Snus" could be different. The Skoal brand is very respected in the smokeless tobacco world for having a high quality tobacco and I was hoping this would spill foward into their new "snus". Not to give too much away, but I found Skoal "Snus" to be a step in the right direction. Granted there are a lot of hangups and I still don't know how it's made nor is Altria disclosing such information to us, I still try to remain hopeful that someday someone in America is going to do it right and release a quality snus.

Doing a quick size comparison you can tell that the American "Snus" products are growing rapidly, and not just in availability, but in size. From left to right, a Skoal Bandits (non-snus) portion. A General White Portion, a Marlboro "Snus" portion, a Camel "SNUS" portion and last - a Skoal "Snus" portion. The Skoal "Snus" is obviously the largest portion in this lineup, and to date the largest snus portion I've ever encountered. In a world of "bigger is better", this portion is obviously made for that group of people. However, "bigger is better" isn't always true - and in this case the portion is too big. One thing I've always loved about snus is the discretion it provides. In the case of Skoal "Snus", there is no discretion. This stuff is huge and uncomfortable. Yeah, the portion is soft, but the size just puts it a bit too over the top.

Comparing the moisture contents of various other tobacco products left to right. Click the image/link for a larger version of the picture. From Left, General White Portion, Camel "SNUS" Robust, Marlboro "Snus" Original (2011), Skoal "Snus" Smooth Mint, and Skoal Bandits (Wintergreen). The Swedish Snus General White Portion is very moist and ground very well - it's a traditional snus. The Camel "SNUS" sits at around 30% moisture content and is very dry - looks almost like cigarette tobacco. The Marlboro "Snus" Original is also very dry, I want to say between 20%-25% or thereabouts in the moisture department, but also very dry - looking much like cigarette tobacco again. The Skoal "Snus" is more interesting. It's much more moist - definitely the most moist American "Snus" product I've seen to date, maybe around 40%-45% moisture content by my estimation. The tobacco is also more finely ground. The Bandits (not a snus) looks like traditional dip tobacco, very moist and pinchable, probably in the 50% moisture content range or so. Don't let this confuse you. The Skoal "Snus" tobacco itself looks much like other American "Snus" tobacco, it's just more moist. The Bandits tobacco looks much like American dip tobacco. That being said, Skoal "Snus" is much more moist than any American offering to date.

Someone recently asked me for a size comparison between the Skoal "Snus" and another pouched Skoal product, Bandits. I went ahead and did this and you can tell there's a big difference. The Skoal "Snus" is abnormally large, the Bandits are much smaller. The Skoal "Snus" is a white type portion, whereas the Bandits have a more soaked portion. The portion material on the "Snus" is very soft, whereas the Bandit portion material feels almost waxy.

When you open the can of Skoal "Snus" (Smooth Mint) the immediate, very sweet smell of mint comes through. It's more of a mellow mint, perhaps a subdued spearmint or a mint oil additive, but it's not sharp like with the Skoal "Snus" Mint, which is more of a Peppermint aroma. The portions are abnormally huge but very soft, great mouthfeel, just not comfortable because of the sheer size of the portions. I give the nicotine hit a thumbs up, for once an American "Snus" that isn't weak, this actually does give a little kick. When you put it in your lips you get an immediate burn and tingle sensation. The flavor comes through pretty quick, very sweet, mellow mint flavor. The portions juice up quite a bit and give me an increased urge to spit. I could keep a portion in for about 30 minutes before it got too sweet to bear and I had to discard it. The aftertaste is a killer though - really sweet and artificial taste that sticks around for quite sometime.

This one is a little different than Skoal "Snus" Smooth Mint. When I cracked open a can of Skoal "Snus" (Mint) I quickly smelled the aroma of peppermint. Very sharp and extremely sweet aroma. The portions are very large but very soft, the mouthfeel is spot-on, but just too uncomfortable because they're so huge. The nicotine kick to these is pretty pleasant, it's actually noticable, unlike most other American "Snus" products I've tried. The flavor that comes through is a really sweet Peppermint type flavor, accompanied by a burn and tingle in the lip, much like I experienced with Smooth Mint. The portions juice up a lot and made me want to spit, despite the can saying "Spitting Optional", it almost seemed like I didn't have a choice. I kept each portion in for about 30 minutes until it turned way too sweet and I had to quickly discard it before I got sick. The aftertaste really strong in this one as well, very sweet and artificial, almost like I licked 1,000 stamps. It stays in my lip for quite a while and is a bit much.

Skoal "Snus" isn't a total failure like Marlboro Snus 2011. I'm going to say there's some good and some bad. This product is a step in the right direction, it's vastly improved on any American "Snus" product I've had to date, but not enough for me to consider it a real snus, or something I'd use more than once a month, if that. The good part, as mentioned before, is that the tobacco itself is very moist. I'm going to put it up in the 40%-45% range by my estimation. That is definitely a step forward, as most American "Snus" products are abnormally dry. It was also interesting to see that it's 100% American Tobacco.

The bad? I think this "snus" is a tobacco product made for dippers. The portions are so large it's uncomfortable to upper lip them which makes it seem that lower lipping is the best option. Despite the fact that the can says "Spitting Optional", it's almost a requirement. The portions juice up so much that it seems like spitting must be done. As I say about all American "Snus" products, this one is no different. It's way too sweet. Granted, it is a mint "snus", so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt - if they release a pure tobacco flavored "snus" and it's not overbearingly sweet, I'll eat my words - but for now, I think this one is catering to a demographic they assume likes oversweetened tobacco. And nothing wrong with that - if that's what they think their target audience is, but for me - I don't dig it. It's way too overbearingly sweet. At the end of the day I think Skoal "Snus" is a step forward for American "Snus", but it still isn't up to par with Real Swedish Snus.

18 comments:

  1. They only have 15 pouches per can?


    Paul

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  2. I THINK ALOT OF PEOPLE LIKE IT DUDE

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  3. As an American Kodiak and Redman Wintergreen dipper I have to say that these actually hit their target mark very well. I enjoy Swedish snus very much but find it easier and ultimately more pleasurable using and dipping American tobacco. Habits are hard to change and I think many American dippers probably feel the same way. They are a different animal entirely from an accustomed too, full time snusser. If this was any smaller I (and probley many other American dippers) would find these a waste of time and money having to use three of them to come close to the size of a normal dip. To me they still are a little small but I will learn to live with it. The flavoring is different and tastes strong and fresh while using but does leave an after taste of having licked a dozen or so stamps. The strength is slightly (just slightly) weaker then regular dip and takes longer before you start to feel it. No quick rush of nicotine like I get from Redman or regular even Skoal Mint. I have to write that I am impressed with Skoal and would have sworn off their product entirely if they screwed this up. They didn't. I give the new Skoal Snus (both mint and Smooth Mint) a 7 out of 10. It is going to take some getting used to and mild adjustment switching from regular dip, but ultimately snus is safer and healthier. It doesn't tear your gums or stain your teeth up like regular dip, and best of all you dont have to walk around spitting which even I have admit is just goddamn gross.

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  4. halo6319 - A lot of people like Chinese food, too. That doesn't make it good. ;)

    Sanity's Horse - You are their intended mark, it seems. That being said - the thing I would worry about when it comes to Skoal "Snus" (from your perspective), is how safe is it? As with Marlboro "Snus" - we don't know how it's made. They won't release TSNA info or production methods. Keeping a secret like that, and something so important, can be an issue. Swedish Snus manufacturers tell no lies, keep no secrets. They tell all when it comes to their product because we know how safe it is and we know how it's made. When it comes to American products, we simply don't know anything about them. The veil of secrecy surrounding the methods involved in these new "snus" products on the American market truly concerns me.

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  5. I agree whole heartedly it is rather creepy not knowing something that is and should be pretty straight forward. Honestly though how many of the hundreds of thousands of American people (possibly millions) will ever concern themselves with TSNA's and cleaning detergents added to something they keep in their mouth hours a day? Swedish Snus is a superior product hands down physically and intellectually. I bought two cans of General and it really is so different then the dip I have been using for years that I dont know if I will ever be able to make the conversion.
    A side note at the tobacconist today I also bought two tins of Poschl Nasal Snuff. It is incredible!!! Using the snus and this smooth mind sharpening snuff hopefully I can break away from regular dip for good. Snuff is defintely something worth checking out.

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  6. Nasal snuff is great, check out MrSnuff, he has great prices. I suggest Toque, very approachable for beginners and a huge selection of types/flavors/(aromas?).

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  7. You didn't post a price on these and I'm wondering how they compare to the Marlboro or Camel offerings. I'm new to snus but have been reading up about it here and on other websites. I'm wanting to get a sample of some Swedish snus, but not sure who has the broadest samples available. Any suggestions to a snubie & former smoker?

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  8. I figured I’d chime in with my 2 cents.

    Very Disappointed with this had; high hopes because of the name “Skoal”.

    The pouches are WAY TO BIG, as well as to sweet and the after taste stay way to long.
    If I wanted to look like a inbreed hick with a buba gump lip, I would jam 1/3 of can Skoal in my lip and
    Proceed to drool on myself.

    I’m a professional working in a professional environment, so going outside for a smoke, or drooling into a soda bottle in my office, neither of these is very becoming.

    The purpose of Snus is to provide a “Satisfying” way to deliver nicotine into your system, without excessive interference. (e.g. the spit, buba lip, no smoke smell, the list goes on).

    Skoal, will work in a pinch if my snus order has not shown up that’s about it.

    This looks like it is targeted at enticing new uses , it will soon be the gateway tobacco!
    1 it’s sweet (what kid would not like that.), 2 no spit (hey I can sneak it in at school, or home wit out anyone knowing.)

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  9. Michael - prices and taxes vary by state, here they were base priced at $3.99 a can. Some states I saw an intro price of $2.05.

    I did these two articles:
    American "Snus" vs Swedish Snus
    http://chadizzy1.blogspot.com/2010/04/swedish-snus-vs-american-snus-just-how.html

    And Marlboro "snus" vs Camel "SNUS"
    http://chadizzy1.blogspot.com/2010/12/marlboro-snus-vs-camel-snus-wait-what.html

    To help clarify some things.

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  10. That being said, shoot me an email - Snubie.com@gmail.com and I'll see if I can't get some sample stuff out your way.

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  11. The new Skoal Snus is awesome. It is a vast improvement over the Camel and Marlboro versions.

    I find the size of the pouch to be perfect. It may not be a good fit for a girls mouth or someone with a small chin. Most men should not have a problem with the size.

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  12. Your blog is really awesome! Finally, someone who writes about snus in detail!

    Thanks! And btw, swedish snus IS the best snus!

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  13. Love the blog. Just found it when I started a search trying to see what is going on with apple flavored Skoal. Owner of our local market said they can't order anymore because it's being discontinued. Well, then I got to reading and got interested in Snus. Your blog is the first time I have heard of Snus but now I really wanna learn more. Being a female in an area that really frowns down on women using I never really explored smoke shops and things like that, never thought any other substitute. I'm still bummed about my apple long cut but willing to explore.

    Again thanks for the info and taking the time to blog..

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  14. I've been trying out the skoal snus for a couple weeks, camel and marlboro snus was too weak for me. Trying to quit dip and the low levels of nicotine just didn't do it for me. I have to say I'm almost convinced that the skoal snus is high in carcinogens, maybe not as high as traditional but so far it's the only american snus that is affecting my gum sensitivity and makes my mouth feel like i've been dipping. I'm gonna suck it up and pay the shipping and tariff costs and try out some swedish.

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  15. cool review, pretty spot on. i get what you mean by too sweet and artificial even though ive never had swedish snus (definitely planning on it though). Btw chinese food is amazing, especially when it's authentic (aka not panda express lol)

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  16. Nice blog article..also lovelove other's perspective. My employer has a "no TOBACCO policy. I get my boost and no one has noticed yet (I'm assuming that means i dont have a girl chin) I'm not much of a tobacconist and happened on Skoal Snus one day and have been relatively pleased. Well, one day when I ran out, I hit up the local gas station on my break and they had run out of the Skoal Snus so I tried the Camel Snus. It sucked. I was equally as happy to go without. So if there is anyone that wants a can of can of Camel Snus with only one portion missing...hit me up

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  17. I use general mint on a everyday basis, but when i run out and need my nic fix, the skoal snus products really hit the spot.. I've tried all the thunder snus flavors as well, and I prefer skoal snus over any of them (except for thunder frosted raw)..
    If you run out of your Swedish snus, the skoal is the next best thing.. And as for the size of the skoal pouches, they are fine, A bit big, but very bearable and concealable..

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