NOTE: This product was a limited edition release and is no longer for sale.
The day is upon us and Nordströmmen Brandy Alexander has returned! I've been covering the heck out of this since this idea came to fruition of bringing it back, but last week it came to pass, when it went back into production at the new V2 Tobacco factory. More on their new factory, here. In case you missed the little backstory, here's a recap. Brandy Alexander is awesome, and in the 3 years I've been reviewing snus I've never met anything that tastes anywhere near as exceptional. V2 are master craftsmen when it comes to flavor, and this is their best work. I've been pushing them to bring it back ever since it was taken off their 2009 Limited Los line when I ran into a problem. I opened my last can. So V2 issued a challenge, if V2 Facebook Page is to 500 likes by 31 Dec 2011, they would bring it back for a limited run in 2012. Even better news - if sales permit and it does well it could stay around as a full time release. So needless to say, I want you all to buy some. Not because it's awesome, but because I'm selfish and want to be able to get it whenever I want. That being said, onto the review. I recently received the first roll off the production line which began production on 23 January 2012, so this is some of the freshest snus I've ever had.
In case you aren't aware, let's talk a little about the flavor of this snus. Brandy is basically distilled wine, which has most of the water removed. This alters the taste and makes the alcohol content slightly higher. Brandy is from the Dutch word meaning "burnt wine". Brandy Alexander is made from a mixture of Creme de Cacao and Cognac - which is a variety of Brandy. For a Brandy to be a Cognac it must meet strict standards, and be made from certain grapes. Most Cognacs are aged longer than required, much in the same way whiskey and wine age when in a barrel. Creme de Cacao is a type of chocolate liqueur. If you've never had Brandy, it is a very rich flavor with a strong aroma and a sweet taste. If you want to learn how to make a Brandy Alexander, this video is a great guide. But it's really not that hard.
Before I get into the snus flavor, lots of people have been wondering, myself included, how the quality of snus would differ from the old V2 to the V2 of the new millennium in their new state of the art factory. I've always been a fan of the V2 grind - it's very easy to work with. I find the grind of this loose, which is the first new loose product rolled out of the new factory, to be vastly superior to the original. It packs better, is easier to work with, and handbakes like a champ. I love my Icetool, don't get me wrong, but as much of this stuff as I plan on using - handbaking makes it much more simple. The grind of 2012's edition is great, and I can definitely notice the quality of this snus has improved given the new standards and production methods of the new V2 factory. Kudos, guys, kudos.
How does the 2012 Brandy compare to the 2009? As expected, it doesn't taste the exact same. That's not a bad thing! I think it's a definite improvement on the original. The flavors are more pronounced, and the mix is better. When you open a can of Brandy Alexander a smokey chocolate aroma comes through with brandy in the background. It's simply divine. The snus is very soft and stays together quite well with little to no slide. It has a great moisture content with minimal drip. The nicotine content is 8mg, so it's a normal strength snus. The taste is second to none. I find that the chocolate notes of the cacao are much more pronounced in this year's edition than in the past - where I picked up more brandy than chocolate. In this one, the chocolate is more present than the brandy, but not overpowering. The taste of brandy is very present. All this is blended with a mellow tobacco taste and a slight hint of smoke. It's great, it really is. If you didn't try this snus in the past, don't miss out. If you did - this year's edition is even better. Don't miss out.
A big thank you to V2 for making this happen, it really shows how a company listens to their customers when they'll bring back something because the fans demanded it. I'd like to see it do well and stay around - so get out there and buy it!