21 June 2011

General Nordic Mint & Classic Blend (Discontinued) - Reviews. 21 June 2011.

These products have been discontinued and are no longer for sale.

A few days ago I began writing and updating my article on the new General Snus products: General Nordic Mint and General Classic Blend. Swedish Match is set for an all out snus invasion in America and the new tagline "Not All Snus is Created Equal" has balls. The Swedish Match marketing machine in the past hasn't done much to captivate the US market, but with the growth of Camel "SNUS" and in certain places Marlboro "snus" and Skoal "SNUS", this phrase could grab some attention. And it couldn't be more true. As I've said in the past in numerous articles such as my comparison of Swedish Snus vs American "snus" and one about the Camel "SNUS" advertisements we saw in the past - American "snus" is NOT REAL Snus. Real Snus has always come from Sweden. Fact. That being said, I'm really excited to be writing this review. For many of us bloggers/website writers, we started with Camel "SNUS" then went online and read other articles to find the real stuff and many of us began writing ourselves to help educate people. One thing RJ Reynolds did right with Camel "SNUS" is market the hell out of it and make the word snus, though often times mispronounced as "snuhs", a common word. (It's actually pronounced snus, like moose or goose). On average 9 out of 10 tobacco consumers are aware of the word "snus". I consider the release of the new General products to be the next phase in snus in America. For some of you - this may be the first article you ever read about snus in your quest for knowledge about this new tobacco product you just found at a 7-11, and to you I say, "Welcome to a brand new world."

I wanted to compare the cans for two crowds - current Swedish Snus users and current American "snus" users. I compared the cans with a Camel "SNUS" can (older design) and a can of the former Nick & Johnny snus Swedish Match had on the market a few years ago. You can see the new General tin is actually a tad smaller than the Camel tin and kinda close in size to the N&J tin but a little slimmer. I've been getting emails with mixed opinions from people about these tins. It's interesting to note that current Swedish Snus users (not all, but some) consider it a departure from tradition. American "snus" users find it in line with what they know and more approachable. Like it or not, Americans associate snus with the tins that Camel comes in. Camel is the market leader, so people are going to go with what they know. It's probably why the "round can snus" hasn't taken off here - because people associate it with dip, or moist snuff. As we know, snus is much different from moist snuff or dip in that it's pasteurized instead of fermented and not proven to cause any sort of oral cancer (Swedish Snus, not American "snus" - we still don't know how that stuff is made.)

One thing being brought over from the traditional Swedish Snus can is the "catch lid". For those of you new to snus - this has been in almost ever snus can made and sold in Sweden so that when you aren't near a trash can you can discard your used portions. The American "snus"makers have yet to pick up on/implement this, but it's a great thing. I'm quite glad to see this in the new tins sold in America.

For current Camel/Marlboro/Skoal/American "snus" users and current Swedish Snus users, here's a little size comparison. The new General products are about the same size as the smaller Camel "SNUS" portions but packed with more tobacco. A little smaller than regular Swedish Snus portions. They kinda remind me of the slim portions but have more tobacco and aren't as long. They're right in the middle. One thing Swedish Match made sure of is that the complaints of dry tobacco in American "snus" isn't something that will be heard of in their new product for the US market. The tobacco is rich, moist, and of the quality we've come to expect from REAL Swedish Snus.

Now, on to the reviews. As is common in the US snus market, mint snus. Like it, love it, or hate it - Americans like mint so it's common sense that a mint snus be released to the American market. This mint snus has an American taste but with Swedish quality. It's almost like all the complaints Swedish Snus users made about Camel "SNUS" were fixed for this particular snus to be released to Americans. The smell is sweet and minty, but not like "holy shit sweet" like Camel "SNUS" is. The portions are moist and comfortable, not too big - but just right in the lip. The taste is also quite good. A sweet mint taste that I think will appeal quite well to American folks - but not as sweet as the American products. It's the way a mint snus should taste and it's quite good. I've found I can keep this snus in for up to an hour or more, which is a complaint I always had about Camel "SNUS", the taste can turn gross after about 45 minutes. So, thumbs up on this one.

Classic Blend is an interesting one. I was curious to see how Swedish Match would release their "alternative to mint" flavor. One thing that turned me off about snus in the beginning was the smell of traditional/"classic" snus, so I was anxious to see what this stuff would smell like. To my surprise there isn't the smell that is common of Swedish Snus present with this one. I immediately detected the carmel aroma when I opened the can, it was very present along with a little citrus aroma. The taste is very interesting. It's a standard tobacco taste with a little hint of citrus in the background along with a rich carmel taste (this is interesting, because I read it in the description and thought it might be BS but nope! It's there) and a little almost herbal quality in the background. It all blends together to create a taste that is both classic Swedish tweaked to an American taste palate. Not like the Marlboro Rich/classic style flavors that are dumped in with a gallon of sugar, this is really good stuff. Finally Americans will be able to access real snus made for the American market with a great taste.

The nicotine hit in both of these is moderate - definitely stronger than the American "snus" products. That's one of the things I always complained about with American "snus" - especially with RJR and their "stop smoking with snus" ad campaigns, as American "snus" doesn't have enough nicotine to help people quit smoking it's just a bunch of BS. However Swedish Snus has been proven to help people quit smoking.

So in the end, what do I think? I think Swedish Match is going in the right direction. As snus is now a commonly used word these new products could (if pushed hard enough) catch on in America. Americans have been exposed to REAL Snus through the blogs/websites of those of us who write about it and even a story on 60 Minutes that talked about REAL Snus and the American "snus" as well. I think as smoking bans increase and smokeless sales go up along with people trying to quit smoking with harm reduced alternatives like snus, sales of snus can only increase and the addition of a quality Swedish Snus to the American market is a great, great day for those of us who have been advocating snus for so long now. For Americans to be able to access real snus is fabulous.

If you're new to snus, welcome to a brand new world. This may be a stepping stone, some of you may want to try out some of the stuff sold in Sweden - so check out the webstores and try some others if you like, you can have Swedish Snus shipped directly to your door from Sweden.

6 comments:

  1. Chad- So is there any date estimate as to when this is coming out to the American market? I know they tend to push new products out pretty fast. (One day skoal snus was available at only one gas station, the next day it was everywhere).

    Is there a limit to is availability, i.e., only tobacco stores or is it going to be right up next to the camel junk? ALSO, is it served cold??

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    1. I picked some up at Sunoco today! They got a little fridge for them and everything =]. I'm in Pittsburgh PA.

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  2. Steve -

    No time frame for the expansion as of right now. I believe it's going to be everywhere after the initial test phase because I have no doubt it will do well. It'll come in the chillers so it will be sold cold as well.

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  3. Great article Chad! Keep up the good work;)

    (Debaroo-Snuson)

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  4. I just found general snus at my local shell gas station.The best part is its only 99 cents can !

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