06 October 2015
Österlensnus 2015: Tobak & Tjära Reviews (Limited Edition). 5 October 2015.
last year’s review of the 2014 batch, here’s a little background. Österlensnus is made by Eskil Thomsen. He grows tobacco on his farm to make his own snus. The name comes from a region of Sweden he lives called Österlen, which is in the south part of Sweden.
Eskil is part of a growing community of craft snus makers including our friend Conny Andersson of Craft Snus/AG Snus. The Swedish Snus scene is much like where the beer scene was 15 years ago, with small companies popping up and making small batches of exclusive snus products, much like when micro breweries began growing in popularity.
This is a craft snus/small batch snus in all aspects. This snus is made in small batches right there on the farm. The snus goes into the can in the same place where the tobacco was born.
Österlensnus is truly a labor of love and it shows in the product quality, aroma and flavor. From start to finish this is truly a craft snus, and the work that goes into it is very apparent in the quality of the snus itself.
I reviewed Österlensnus Tobak back in 2014 and fell in love with the simple flavor. The can design is very simple - Österlensnus comes in a simple black can with a label on top. No fancy design, just a simple label. Being a craft snus, this product doesn't need a fancy label or gimmick because what is most important about it is what's inside the can, not what's on the outside. When it comes to the grind of this snus, you can use a tool or you can handbook, it's really up to you. However, I suggest handbaking. I found the snus stays together better when I handbake it and can compress it more tightly. When you open a can, the aroma of tobacco comes out to greet you. It's a rich, earthy, natural tobacco smell. The prilla feels great in the lip and stays together very well. The lowered moisture amount didn't detract from the flavor or comfort of the snus at all. The flavor of this snus is very tobacco-centric. Alida tobacco naturally has a great flavor, and this snus builds on that. No flavors are added to add to or take away from that flavor. The natural, earthy flavorful tobacco is front and center, a slight hint of smokiness and just a little salt in the background to accentuate the flavor. It's a very simple flavor, but the beauty of Österlensnus Tobak is in that simplicity. Just natural, earthy, rich tobacco taste with no gimmicks.
I was very excited to try this one. Outside of the workers on the farm, nobody else has tried this flavor. If all goes according to plan, it may be released around Christmas time. The can design, as with Tobak, is very simple. It comes in a simple black can with a label on top. Nothing fancy, no gimmicks - and that works with this snus. This is a craft product, and it's not what's on the outside that matters, but what's on the inside. As I mentioned above, Eskil uses Birchwood to add a tar-type flavor to this one. It reminds me a lot of pipe tobacco. The aroma that comes through is a earthy tobacco smell with a smokiness to it that reminds me of mesquite and a little tar. If you've ever used birchwood to smoke meats, it reminds me a lot of that. The added birch tar works really well with the tobacco flavor. If you had General Smoky Oak in the past, the flavor is very reminiscent of that one. There is a rich, earthy tobacco flavor with a little smokiness, a little tar, a little hickory/mesquite type flavor, and a little salt that helps accentuate all those flavors. This is an absolutely delicious snus and the birch tar added to the flavor works really well with the senses, not just the taste but also the aroma. It reminds me a lot of being outdoors and barbecuing. This is definitely a snus I would enjoy if I was by a campfire or cooking out.
I can't say enough good things about Österlensnus. Both of these products are great. Tobak is a back to the basics type of snus that really focuses on the tobacco flavor. Tjära has that great tobacco taste of the Alida tobacco, but also has an extra presence of tar and smokiness that works really well with the flavor. If you're somewhere where you can get Österlensnus, I definitely suggest trying it out!