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Chef Daniel Richard 

On Monday, September 26, 2016 Daniel Richard passed away.  He was 60 years old and lived in Bethpage Tennessee.

To snufftakers, he will always be known as Chef Daniel, and his loss will be felt for years to come.  First and foremost, Chef Daniel was a gentleman.  He always comported himself with class and generosity, and though many of us never got to meet him in person, many of us hoped to one day do so.  With his passing, we will never get this chance and we are poorer for it.   


Whether he was posting about his latest creation, sharing some obscure tobacco lore, or musing about his beloved guard-kitty, Chloe...he always managed to share, or educate, or bring a smile to your face. 

Chef Daniel was also an artist.  He created snuffs the likes of which have never been seen, and will never be seen again.  His creations were in a category all their own.  The patience, time, and knowledge he brought to snuffmaking produced artisan snuffs that surpassed all other snuffs in quality and enjoyment.  Do not mistake this for hyperbole.  I mean this quite literally.

I asked him once how he made Pure Virginia Snuff, which was one of my favorites (and it turns out one of Chef Daniel's favorites as well).  He described the process:

It's a time consuming pain in the ass.  In other words, a labor of love.  It takes a year to make it, starting with a light steaming of the whole leaf, toasting, breaking up, aging in oak barrels and repeating this process 26 times.  It's the only way I could figure out how to coax out all those nuances out of nothing more than flue cured leaf and sea salt.  The finished snuff ages in the same barrels for a month before the final sieving and release. 

Essentially, steam, toast, age....repeat every two weeks.  After each toasting I break up the leaf a little more each time so towards the end it's about the size of dime...starting from whole leaf that averages about 24" x 16".

 

Over a year to make a single batch of Pure Virginia Toast, and he had to tend to the process every two weeks.  And this was only one of many snuff varieties he was busy creating.

 

I don't believe I've ever met someone that tried some of Chef Daniel's snuff, that didn't list one of his products within their top 5 favorite snuffs...and often right at the top of the list.



Old MIll Artisan Snuff

Chef Daniel was a gentleman and he had a clear vision for Old Mill Artisan Snuff.  For him, it was about the joy of making snuff, taking snuff, and sharing his snuff with other snufftakers.  He valued the friendships he made and comraderie he felt, and whenever he had to choose between people and money, he chose people.  He turned down multilple offers from snuff distributors and on-line snuff stores to carry his snuff.  He wanted to have personal contact with everyone who bought and used his creations.  He did not make snuff for the money.  He made snuff because he loved it.  The following is what Chef Daniel had on the contact page of his website:  

 

As I'm sure you've noticed, there is no ordering information on this site.  That's not an accident.  As a craftsman I have no interest in turning this into a mere financial transaction where dollars are exchanged for goods, conducted over a nameless, faceless machine.  I don't take credit cards.  I don't use middle men or distributors.  I do everything myself, by hand; from creating the tobacco bills, processing the leaf and scenting cocktails, curing, milling, sieving and overfilling each individual package as it is ordered.

Your patience is appreciated while the snuff making process takes its stroll through the painstaking steps needed to created exquisite snuff.  It takes time, a lot of time, and is often hindered by factors well outside human influence.  There will be times when orders cannot be fulfilled as quickly as we would like, so your forbearance is most welcome.

My interests lie in developing a personal relationship with every single person interested in my craft. Anything short of that personal relationship is a waste of time.  This is not a business, it is an exercise in passion, a personal indulgence and a labor of love.

 

As a further exploration of how Chef Daniel viewed his own snuffmaking artistry, the following is from the front page of his website.  Sometimes people write things on their website to appear to be something they are not.  I think every snufftaker that was ever in contact with Chef Daniel will attest that he truly lived what he wrote here:

Culinary Artistry  -  Hand Crafted Snuff

Combining decades of culinary experience with a passion for quality and creativity I am now focusing my energy on the joys of nasal snuff.  I make each snuff by hand from the finest leaf available, scented and flavored with my own infusions, cocktails and potions made with fresh ingredients, top shelf spirits and hard to find spices and flavorings.  There are no chemicals, preservatives or artificial ingredients used in any of these unique creations.

The two essentials are time and patience.  The scenting and flavoring recipes take up to a year to reach their peak, and after application to the leaf the maturing process can take up to two years.  I use toasted oak barrels, Spanish cedar crates and a variety of woods such as cherry, alder, birch, walnut, apple, pecan and maple to apply pressure and scent to several of the leaf blends.  I also use Himalayan Pink Salt slabs to subtly season many of the more exotic snuff tobaccos.  I indulge in each of these snuffs on a regular basis, and  you can rest assured that if the snuff doesn't meet the highest standards, it will never be released.

Daniel Richard
Certified Executive Chef



Chef Daniel had a talent for making snuffs that were both unique and amazingly pleasurable to take.  Just the variety of flavors/scents he created is amazing enough, but then you read what he put into each of them to bring them into being, and you quickly realize the level of his artistry.  We've used internet archives in order to compile a complete list of all the snuffs offered by Old Mill Artisan Snuff:

Acadia:  Old Belt Flue Cured Orange, Red & Gold Virginias and Fire Cured Orinoco are layered with St. James Perique & Tennessee White Burley, milled to a medium coarse grind with medium moisture.

Alpine:  Pure Red Virginia aged in a toasted Colorado Blue Spruce crate with fresh Peppermint and a solid dose of organic menthol crystals, very lightly sweetened with Blue Agave Nectar and Black Currant eau de vie then milled to a medium grind with a touch of moisture for a refreshing summertime snuff.

Antebellum:  Georgia is considered the heart of the Antebellum South and is also the primary producer of peanuts, peaches and pecans in the world.  In tribute to this wealth of flavor, Antebellum snuff is composed of a variety of toasted flue and air cured leaf topped with a cocktail of pecans caramelized in hand churned Amish butter and Brazilian Muscovado sugar along ripe, fresh peaches, white corn whisky, a few cinnamon sticks and a handful of vanilla beans. After thorough aging the leaf is toasted again and milled to a medium grind with minimal moisture.

Arabesque:    Also known as Turkish Toast.  A selection of hard to find Turkish leaf; Izmir, Prilep and Yenidje combined with Canadian Flue Cured, Piedmont Red Virginia, East Carolina Bright and Highland Rim White Burley, fully toasted and dosed with a combination of crystal clear fig and date eau de vie, toasted cardamom pods, black walnuts, Meyer lemon peel, cinnamon sticks, honey, mint, spices and fresh pomegranate seeds.  Aged under pressure in stainless steel canisters until the leaf fully absorbs the scenting cocktail, the tobaccos are milled to a medium grind then lightly stoved with toasted pine nuts caramelized with Muscovado sugar, hand churned Amish butter and a bit of vanilla to create the signature Old Mill moisture level.

Bananas Foster:  Created in 1951 by Paul Blangé at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana this classic dessert is the inspiration for this equally classic snuff.  Ripe bananas are caramelized in hand churned Amish butter from Kentucky and Brazilian Muscovado sugar then infused into black rum with molasses, vanilla beans, toasted allspice berries, a few strips of blood orange zest and cinnamon sticks.  After thorough maceration this liqueur is strained and used to dress toasted golden Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee dark air cured burley.  The scented leaf is aged in oak, air dried with a pinch of sea salt then milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for all day or a perfect after dinner snuff.

Black Ice:  Dark Fire Cured Tennessee Burley, Dark Air Cured Virginia, Cyprian Latakia, St. James Perique and Black Cavendish, against a background of Eucalyptus Oil, Lemon Zest, Fresh Mint, a mere hint of Menthol and Tennessee White Corn Whisky, milled to a medium grind with moderate moisture for a tobacco forward medicated snuff.

Black Velvet:  An uncommonly smooth blend of Black Cavendish, Stoved Virginias and Cyprian Latakia elegantly scented with black coffee, orange & lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon and brandy aged in toasted oak barrels then milled to a medium grind with medium moisture.

Buttered Rum Toddy:  Reminiscent of the classic cold weather tipple, Hot Buttered Rum, this snuff is built on a base of Dark Air Cured Green River Burley and Honduran Ligero with Piedmont Red Virginia providing some lighter character and natural sweetness.  It is liberally doused with Black spiced rum, dark Muscovado sugar, molasses, a generous helping of hand churned butter, cloves, cinnamon, sea salt, allspice, lemon and a hint of nutmeg, pressed between charred oak grilling planks before being milled to a medium grind.

Butternut 2015:  Pure Brazilian Muscovado sugar and Clover Honey slowly caramelized to a deep mahogany brown, mixed with 12 year old Speyside malt whisky, Tahitian Vanilla Beans, toasted White “Butternut” Walnuts and Sicilian Sea Salt aged for six months and added to Air Cured Tennessee Burley.  After the leaf is thoroughly sauced it is packed under pressure between toasted white walnut planks and aged an additional six months. Gently kiln toasted and milled to a medium grind to create a sweet, salty snuff confection.  As is always the case, this vintage is similar, but not identical, to the 2014 version; a bit darker, more of a butterscotch scent with the white walnuts playing second fiddle.  The butter was toasted to a light brown, as the French call it beurre noisette, or hazelnut butter; this enhanced the caramelization of the raw sugar and dropped the honey into runner up status.  Still suitable for all day and makes for a lovely dessert snuff.  Please note the name change.  This is still a toasted snuff, but doesn't follow the traditional definition of a "toast" snuff as defined by such classics as Fribourg and Treyer High Dry Toast.  So, Butternut it is.

Calypso:  A tropical fruit bomb of dried pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, guava and key lime zest infused into dark rum, applied to Dominican Ligero, Red Virginia and Tennessee Burley aged in airtight glass canisters.  After a thorough fermentation the flavored and scented tobaccos are air dried and milled to a medium grind with minimal moisture.

Commonwealth: Two of the Commonwealths of The United States are Virginia and Kentucky.  They are both considered by aficionados to be the epicenters of two tobaccos known worldwide; Burley and Flue Cured Virginia.  It is little known that the entirety of Kentucky was once a county in Virginia. 

Commonwealth Snuff is created to honor these two fine contributions to tobacco pleasure. 

In addition to fine Burley tobacco, Kentucky is the home of world class corn whisky:  Bourbon.  The first component of this fine snuff is a combination of Green River Dark Fired and Dark Air Cured Burley, macerated in copious amounts of 8 year old Bourbon, pressed between charred hickory planks and aged to a deep mahogany before being packed into toasted oak barrels for a nice long nap.

The second component is a combination of Red, Orange and Golden flue cured Virginia leaf steamed then toasted in hand churned Amish butter to a light caramel color, packed into toasted oak barrels and set down for six months.

For the final blend, the Kentucky contribution is milled to a medium-coarse grind with medium moisture; the Virginia element is toasted again and milled to a fine, dry grind.  These two snuffs are compounded into a unique snuff delivering the joys of a natural toast and the deeper notes of a semi-moist coarse snuff.

Conundrum:    Flue Cured Red Virginia and Air Cured White Burley milled to a medium grind with a solid core of citrus zest, fresh herbs & fresh peppermint plus a refreshing high note of eucalyptus creating an easy going, light snuff.

Conundrum Clove:  Flue Cured Red Virginia and Air Cured White Burley milled to a medium grind with a sturdy, muscular delivery of nose numbing clove and Bermuda Añejo Rum.

Cuba Libre:  Volado filler leaf from the Dominican Republic and Red Virginia leaf scented with Brugal Anejo Rum, Cola Concentrate Syrup, Amish Butter and Lime Zest, aged in toasted Spanish cedar then air dried and milled to a medium grind with medium moisture. 

Cupid's Crest 2016  (Limited Edition):  ?A Valentine’s Day treat, this 100% toasted Red Virginia snuff is scented with Swiss Black Cocoa and Fresh Strawberries macerated in California Brandy along with a few Tahitian vanilla beans lightly sweetened with just a hint of Muscovado sugar and a large dose of eau de vie made from Pinot Noir and flavored with cherries and raspberries before being milled to a medium grind with a light topping of organic cocoa butter to create the perfect balance of scent and tobacco that is gentle in the nose and long lasting.  There are some mystery ingredients included to add subtle, nuanced layers and enhance the fruit and cocoa.  This is not a chocolate bomb.  It is a very complex matrix of scent and flavor that puts the tobacco bill center stage with the cocoa and other additions woven into the score in subtle waves of red fruit, cocoa and coffee with hints of hazelnuts and a mere whiff of vanilla.  It truly defies olfactory analysis.

Dreamcatcher:  Inspired by Native American herbalist lore this is an intoxicating nightcap of Dark Air Cured and Flue Cured Red Virginia, St. James Parish Perique & Turkish Izmir steamed to a deep black and matured between cedar planks.  Scented with the relaxing herbs Valerian Root, Passion Flower, Skullcap, Chamomile and Lemon Balm, Eucalyptus and Lemon, milled to a fine grind with medium moisture.

Ecrous Brûlée:  Literal translation is Burned Nuts, but changing the name would dishonor my Cajun heritage and open up the floodgates of pyrotechnic-anatomical jokes.  Somewhere between a praline and a brittle, this long forgotten confection is a variety of nuts; pecans, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts finely chopped and caramelized with raw sugar, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and an obscene amount of hand churned Amish butter.  This sweet, thick and aromatic concoction is then combined with Spanish brandy and allowed to infuse for several months before application to toasted Tennessee Burley, Red Virginia, a pinch of St. James Perique and Maryland leaf, aged in oak barrels, air dried and toasted again before milling to a medium grind with medium moisture.

Equinox:   Spring 2015.  Bright yellow flue cured from Canada lightly dressed with plum eau de vie infused with dried Japanese cherry blossoms, a few sprigs of fresh mint and Meyer lemon zest, air dried then milled into a faintly floral, semi-dry snuff of medium grind with unique notes of freshly mowed hay from the excellent leaf. 

Equinox 2016:  A significant departure from the 2015 vintage, this year's offering is based on Irish Malt Whisky scented with dried heather blossoms, toasted hazelnuts, dark roast coffee beans, a few Tahitian vanilla pods, a handful of toasted cinnamon sticks, a bit of bright citrus zest, dark roasted cocoa nibs and heather honey caramelized in hand churned Amish butter.  This cocktail is used to dress a rich blend of stoved red Virginia, dark air cured Burley and a bit of toasted Turkish Prilep.  The dressed tobacco bill is lightly packed into toasted oak barrels until the leaf and dressing are fully integrated, air dried and milled to a medium grind with Old Mill's signature moisture for easy snuffing and long lasting scent.

Evangeline:  Acadia dampened with Rye Whisky, Absinthe, Jamaican Sarsaparilla root, Sassafras leaves, Wild Cherry Bark, Honey and Meyer Lemon Bitters, fine grind medium moisture.

Fire and Ice: Dark Fired Kentucky, Light Air Cured Virginia, Black Cavendish and Sun Cured Maryland tobaccos steamed with Cognac to a deep onyx, dressed with organic menthol crystals, a hint of peppermint and caramelized dried fruits. Smoky, bracing and refreshing, reminiscent of a bonfire in a blizzard. Not a mainstream snuff, and not for everyone, but perfect for those times where smoke and ice provide refreshment and comfort on long, frigid winter nights.

Greyhound:  Flue Cured “Lemon” Virginia, Turkish Izmir and Toasted Tennessee Burley with an infusion of Dry Gin, Himalayan Pink Salt, Muscovado Sugar and Pink Grapefruit Zest; milled to a medium grind with medium moisture.

Ivory Toast:  100% White Burley from Tennessee’s Highland Rim, hand churned Amish butter from Kentucky and Sicilian sea salt, all gently toasted, milled to a medium fine grind and aged in toasted oak. The burley delivers a satisfying dose of Vitamin N while the butter helps the snuff behave.  Perfect all day.  Please note that this snuff is in no way similar to the Indian White snuffs.  White Burley isn't really white, it's more of a light reddish-brown, and Ivory Toast is pure tobacco goodness, enhanced by extraordinary handmade butter and the best sea salt I could get my hands on.  It's not even close to the challenge that the Indian Whites present; it is much softer on the nose, has none of the off odors and is a wee bit lighter in nicotine punch.  It's no lightweight, but it won't knock you on your butt.

Javelin:  100% Red Virginia dressed with Kentucky Bourbon, Black Swiss Cocoa, Vanilla Beans, a few strips of Meyer lemon zest and a huge pile of fresh Spearmint.  The mint is picked fresh from my herb patch, crushed with sea salt and raw sugar and packed into a jar for several days to extract the aromas and flavor.  The remaining ingredients are added and allowed to age for six months before being applied to the leaf, which is then aged under pressure between slabs of toasted oak before being air dried and milled to a medium grind for a naturally and faintly sweet all day snuff perfect for summer snuffing with a moderate nicotine delivery.  The cocoa is pure and  as such will lend a hint of bitterness to balance the overall sweetness of the snuff. Back drip may be an issue for those sensitive to such things, but is by no means overwhelming or a detraction.

Kind of Blue:  The mood, not the color, honoring Miles Davis Sextet’s masterpiece album recorded in spring of 1959.  This is a moody fruit and floral snuff suitable for evenings with cool jazz on the music machine and a glass of your favorite adult beverage.  Composed of Toasted Burley, Red Virginia and Maryland leaf, enhanced with blueberries and dried lavender blossoms from Provence infused into 100 proof Russian vodka along with a few strips of Meyer lemon zest, a vanilla bean and some fresh spearmint, allowed to age in toasted oak barrels before being milled to a medium moisture, medium grind snuff.

Lambic:   From the tradition of fruit flavored beers brewed in the Pajottenland region of Belgium comes this lightly hopped snuff combining the bittersweet characteristics and floral aromas of toasted Hallertau hops with a variety of fresh and dried fruits, berries and spices infused into pure grain alcohol along with amber malt syrup.  After thorough maceration the cocktail is applied to a tobacco bill of red Virginia, Highland Rim Dark Air Cured Burley, Turkish Izmir and Yenidje and Maryland leaf.  Aged in glass, air dried and milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for a beer lovers’ snuff with sweet, natural undertones of fruit, hops highlights and a deep note of malted barley.

Limoncello:  High octane Grappa infused with a serious quantity of fresh lemon zest, a pinch of fresh mint and a splash of orange blossom honey, allowed to steep for several months and pressed to extract every bit of flavor and aroma.  Applied to bright yellow Flue Cured “Lemon” Virginia and allowed to age in airtight glass canisters before being air dried and milled to a medium-fine grind with a bit of moisture to create a lemon bomb snuff guaranteed to capture and keep your attention.

Marlin Spike:    Dark Air Cured Virginia, St. James Perique and Flue Cured Bright Leaf are generously moistened with artisan rye whisky then gently aged under pressure between thick slabs of Himalayan Pink Salt in hot, humid conditions until they turn a deep black color. Medium milled, lightly misted with Artisan Rye Whisky then cask conditioned in a small virgin oak barrel creating a salty, densely scented snuff with notes of caramel, toffee, bittersweet chocolate, all brought forth from the natural tobaccos and whisky; no additional ingredients. 

Melba's Toast:  The classic dessert Peach Melba was invented by Chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in London, circa 1892, to honor the Australian soprano Nellie Melba. It is simplicity defined; fresh peaches poached in brandy, vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberry puree. Melba’s Toast was also created by Escoffier for Dame Melba.  Toasted Red and Gold Virginia, Brandy that has been infused with Raspberries, Vanilla and Peaches, the tobacco is toasted again and milled to a medium fine grind.

Mint Julep:  Every May there is a thoroughbred horse race just up the road in Louisville, Kentucky held at a track known as Churchill Downs.  The race goes by many names; Run for the Roses comes to mind, but The Kentucky Derby is the official name for this prestigious race, the first of three races that form The Triple Crown.  There are many traditions surrounding the race but none more notable than the official cocktail:  The Mint Julep.  Fine Kentucky bourbon, fresh mint, a bit of sugar fill a silver cup packed with crushed ice, garnished with a sprig of mint and a pair of narrow sipping straws.  This snuff is created to honor the derby which will be held this year on May 2 and consists of toasted White Burley and Red Virginia dressed with the same ingredients as the cocktail, without the ice, garnish and straws.

Mojito:    Bright, brassy notes from Brugal Silver Rum infused with Key Lime Zest, Peppermint, Spearmint and Agave Syrup, Dominican Volado filler leaf and Dark Air Cured Highland Rim Burley,  lightly toasted then milled to a medium coarse grind, with additional hints of tropical fruits to add some playfulness and reinforce the aromas and flavors.

Moulin Rouge:    Fresh ripe black cherries are macerated in California brandy along with a handful of currants & raspberries, a few cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, Mahlab kernels and cocoa nibs and then applied to 100% Flue Cured Red Virginia, pressure aged between toasted cherry wood grilling planks, lightly toasted, milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for a naturally sweet snuff suitable for all day or as a dessert & a great snuff for Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras. Mahlab is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, the St Lucie cherry, the cherry stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is soft and chewy on extraction. Its flavor is similar to a combination of almond and cherry. It has been used for centuries in Middle Eastern cuisines.

Nocturne:    A rich, dark, moody, somber, smoky and somewhat serious snuff with a scent dominated by coffee beans, enhanced with Barbados black rum infused with molasses, lightly caramelized oven-dried fruits, vanilla pods and cocoa nibs.   The infusion is applied to stoved Virginia, dark fired Kentucky, toasted white burley, Latakia and oriental tobaccos then allowed to age and ferment in toasted oak whisky barrels until they reach an onyx black color.  Milled to a medium grind with moderate moisture this is a powerhouse snuff suitable for late evenings by the fire with a glass of Islay or Lowland malt whisky.  Somewhat stimulating like a good cup of coffee, yet relaxing in the depth of scent and flavor, this is a snuff for deep seat, thought provoking contemplation with friends or in quiet solitude.

Noisette:  Roasted Hazelnuts, Cacao Nibs, Tahitian Vanilla Beans and Caramelized Muscovado Sugar infused into Tennessee White Corn Whisky applied with abandon to Flue Cured Red and Golden Virginia; milled to a medium grind with moderate moisture.

Olde English Toast 2015  (The Balkan):  Dark Air Cured East Carolina, Cyprian Latakia, Fire Cured Green Valley Burley, Flue Cured Red Virginia, Izmir, Yenidje, Greek Basma and Black Cavendish tobaccos gently toasted to a deep brown then cask conditioned in toasted Spanish cedar with a few Tahitian Vanilla Beans.  After three months of aging they are joined by fresh Brown Cavendish, milled to a medium grind to produce a dark, rich, smoky and easy going toasted snuff with no additional scents.  Slightly different than the 2014 vintage, the Turkish leaf taking on a slightly more dominant role, while retaining the original’s deep, smoky and slightly sweet richness creating a unique variation on the toast snuff theme.

Perfecto:  Another 100% filler leaf cigar snuff composed of all four primings:  Big, bold, dark Tapado Ligero from Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley, Rich and slightly sweet Viso Mata Fina from the Bahia region of Brazil, Seco from Batouri, Cameroon with a light, natural tobacco scent from sun curing, often used as wrapper leaf, and finally, Volado leaf from the 2005 crop of Criollo“98” Cubano leaf grown in the Cibao Valley, Dominican Republic.  The individual primings are treated separately with Fundador Spanish brandy and Sicilian sea salt.  Fundador is a unique example of the art of distilling wine into brandy; it is made with Airen and Palomino grapes in the Andalusia region, distilled using copper pot stills and aged 7 years in sherry casks.  Sipped neat it has an earthy, nutty and decidedly fruity aroma and flavor; the perfect spirit for fine cigar tobaccos.  The process is time consuming but essential for developing each leaf to its optimum potential.  The leaf is toasted lightly before being dressed with brandy and salt, pressed in untreated Spanish cedar crates until the scents are fully integrated, toasted again to a deeper caramel color, milled to a medium grind, sifted through 75 micron stainless steel screens and toasted a final time before the individual snuffs are compounded into the final blend, aged in cedar and finally packed in cedar lined amber glass jars.

Pumpernickel Toast:  Light Fired Virginia, Matured Red Virginia and Dominican Cibao Valley Seco dressed with an infusion of Artisan Rye Whisky, Caraway and Dill seeds toasted in hand churned Amish butter, Blackstrap Molasses, Honey, Espresso and Dutch Black Cocoa.  After aging in oak barrels the tobaccos are slowly cooked in a low oven then kiln toasted and milled to a medium-fine, dry grind creating a deep, savory scent that reminds one of a leisurely stroll by an artisan bakery on a misty cool morning, freshly brewed coffee and buttery toasted black bread.

Puro Dominicana:     Gone, but not forgotten. The good news is that Perfecto is shaping up to be a very nice offspring. The tobacco bill has expanded somewhat, having found some interesting leaf: Dominican and Nicaraguan Ligero, Colombian and Cameroon Seco, Brazilian and Honduran Viso and Dominican Volado will form the foundation, other leaf added as they become available and if they fit the profile. This will be made in a very large batch.

Pure Virginia Toast 2015:  A combination of Flue Cured Piedmont Red, Eastern Carolina Gold, Canadian, Middle Belt Orange and Lemon Virginias steamed then gently toasted to bring out the natural sweetness, milled to a fine grind for easy use, aged for one year in Virgin Oak Barrels allowing all of the delicious layers of flavors and scents of pure,  aged Virginia leaf to harmonize into the ultimate Toast.  Due to the inevitable variations in crop years, the 2015 vintage is slightly darker than the 2014 batch but maintains the sweet, grassy and hay like aromas that only perfect flue curing, long aging and gentle toasting can create.  A wonderful expression of flue cured tobacco.  This is not a high toast, an Irish Toast or similar to an American Scotch snuff.  Slightly coarser grind, a hint of moisture and much easier to use.  A perfect introduction to toasted leaf snuff for those looking in that direction.

Rat Bastard:   Toasted Dominican volado, a hint of Kentucky Dark Fire Cured burley, St. James Perique, Turkish Prilep and a generous portion of Red Virginia scented with a complex blend of coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla and orange peel. After thorough aging the tobaccos are milled to a medium-fine grind with a hint of moisture, creating a snuff with a unique, deep scent of rich tobaccos highlighted with citrus notes and a long finish focusing on the baritones from the coffee and cocoa.  This delicious treat has been compared to the wonderful Milanese sweet bread, Panettone, usually served during the Christmas holidays.  It is an unusual variation on sourdough, loaded with dried citrus peel and raisins, it bears no relation whatsoever to those petrified loaves that some call “fruitcake”.

Sarsaparilla:  Stoved red Virginia, toasted St. James Perique and a small amount of dark air cured Burley are dressed with a cocktail of Jamaican sarsaparilla root, dandelion root, wild cherry bark, ginger root, juniper berries, cinnamon sticks, black malt syrup and vanilla beans then conditioned in toasted Colorado Blue Spruce crates.  When fully matured the leaf is air dried and milled to a fine grind with moderate moisture for a snuff reminiscent of root beer, without the sweetness.

Shandygaff:  Maryland and sweet Virginia aged in charred oak barrels with hops, lemon, blood orange, grapefruit & lime zest.  After aging the tobacco is kiln toasted with Turkish Izmir and milled to a medium-fine, lightly moistened, citrus forward snuff with bittersweet notes of the hops weaving in and out as a delicate counterbalance to the fresh fruit zest.

Spotted Dick: “It’s a pudding” responded Sir John Gielgud’s character Beddoes, in Murder on the Orient Express, in his role as Col. Arbuthnot’s Gentleman’s Gentleman when asked about this wonderful British dessert calling for currants and suet served with vanilla custard.  In our case it’s a snuff based on Golden Virginia leaf dressed with lemon, treacle, black currants, hand churned Amish butter instead of suet, black walnuts and vanilla beans infused into dark blackstrap rum, well aged and milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for a semi sweet snuff suitable as dessert or all day and especially suited for the fall and winter holidays.

Solstice:  A winter warmer in snuff form, Solstice is fragrant with the aromas that warm the soul during the deep, dark, short and frigid days when old man winter holds us in his icy grip.  Scents of Christmas cookies, evergreen trees, mulled cider, pumpkin pie and smoky fireplaces snuggled up with a snifter of warm brandy.  Rich, dark stoved red Virginia, Dark Fire Cured Tennessee Burley, spicy Oriental leaf and rich, dark St. James Perique and Cyprian Latakia are enhanced with a complex and very “busy” infusion of Spanish brandy (aged in Sherry casks), vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, salted caramel, butter, dried figs, black treacle, red currants, roasted chestnuts, walnuts & pecans, lemon & orange zest, dried cranberries and caramelized apples. This infusion started out on New Year’s morning 2014, destined to become a libation, but too alluring to be a mere beverage.  The tobaccos are steeped in the infusion and pressed in a toasted cedar crate until they declare themselves ready to proceed, and then air dried, milled to a medium-coarse grind.

Sugarbush:  100% Piedmont Red Virginia steamed and barrel aged with Canadian whisky infused with pure maple sugar, cinnamon sticks, caramelized black walnuts and Tahitian vanilla beans.  After the leaf is fully matured it is toasted with hand churned butter and a pinch of Sicilian sea salt before being milled to a medium fine grind with just a touch of moisture.  A sugarbush is an old term referring to a stand of maple trees designated for harvesting the sap from a variety of maple trees; commonly used in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and throughout Canada back in the day.

Suzette:  Inspired by the classic dessert Crepes Suzette created at Paris restaurant Chez Marie in 1898, consisting of thin pancakes flambéed in orange liqueur, this snuff accurately reflects the original recipe with obvious substitutions.  Deeply toasted Flue Cured Virginia and Dark Air Cured Burley are combined with fresh Red Virginia, dressed with an infusion made from a ridiculous amount of blood orange and navel orange zest, hand churned Amish butter and raw Muscovado sugar from Brazil, all caramelized in a slow oven then steeped in Cognac.  After the leaf is thoroughly drenched with the infusion it is aged in toasted oak barrels.  It is then air dried and topped with three orange liqueurs; Grand Marnier and Combier from France and Solerno blood orange liqueur from Sicily.  I added some of my homemade Grapefruit Bitters and roasted walnut oil to add some dimension and another layer of scent.

Take Five:  Dominican Seco, Nicaraguan Viso, Red Virginia and a bit of White Burley are toasted then dressed with genuine Plymouth Gin, Currants, Grapefruit Zest and a healthy splash of homemade Blood Orange/Meyer Lemon/Key Lime Bitters, then aged in airtight glass before being toasted again, milled to a medium grind with a hint of moisture and spearmint for a refreshing warm weather treat.  The initial impression is sharp and tobacco forward, the citrus and currants bring on a second layer with the mint giving a nice finish.  The cigar filler leaf combined with the juniper are a solid foundation.  Not a snuff for everyone, but a unique offering for those interested in complex and unusual scent combinations.

Tempête:  When a Cajun feels a storm coming, it’s often said “Tempête’s a’ Comin’.” (Sounds like Tom-Pate).  It could be a brief rain shower or a category five hurricane, no matter, it’s just a “tempest”.  Pomegranate Molasses, Blackstrap Rum, Blood Orange Zest, Cinnamon Sticks and Toasted Cloves are packed with Red Virginia, Dark Air Cured Burley and a pinch of St. James Perique and allowed to age for several months before being milled to a medium-fine grind with medium moisture creating what could only be called a 'moody” snuff with sweet undertones balanced with bright citrus, rich rum and mild spices.  A perfect indulgence when storm clouds gather or the sun is shining, all day long or before bed.

Tennessee Toast:  A combination of three Tennessee tobaccos:  Air Cured TN-90 Burley, Cumberland Plateau Air Cured & Highland Rim Burley.  After stripping the mid rib the leaf is drenched in Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky, Honey, Pecan Praline and Lemon Zest, air dried and kiln toasted to a deep brown, milled to a fine grind before being cask conditioned in toasted oak barrels.  A very simple expression of Tennessee’s finest products, this toast snuff is smoky, sweet and satisfying without being cloying.

Toast and Jelly:  Fresh summer fruits including Peaches, Strawberries & Blueberries, a very generous quantity of Tangerine and Blood Orange Zest infused in Italian Grappa; applied to Dark Air Cured Burley, before being toasted then milled to a medium grind for a fruit scented slightly moist snuff, quite different from the usual toasted snuff format.

Winter Solstice 2014:  A winter warmer in snuff form, Solstice is fragrant with the aromas that warm the soul during the deep, dark, short and frigid days when old man winter holds us in his icy grip.  Scents of Christmas cookies, evergreen trees, mulled cider, pumpkin pie and smoky fireplaces snuggled up with a snifter of warm brandy.  Rich, dark stoved red Virginia, Dark Fire Cured Tennessee Burley, spicy Oriental leaf and rich, dark St. James Perique and Cyprian Latakia are enhanced with a complex and very “busy” infusion of Spanish brandy (aged in Sherry casks), vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, salted caramel, butter, dried figs, black treacle, red currants, roasted chestnuts, walnuts & pecans, lemon & orange zest, dried cranberries and caramelized apples. This infusion started out on New Year’s morning 2014, destined to become a libation, but too alluring to be a mere beverage.  The tobaccos are steeped in the infusion and pressed in a toasted cedar crate until they declare themselves ready to proceed, and then air dried, milled to a medium-coarse grind.

Winter Solstice 2015:  Similar to last year's vintage with pronounced Colorado blue spruce notes from the aging crate, some deep coffee notes, butter from Amish country, fresh & dried plum baritones and an even heavier hand with the black treacle.  The citrus angle includes blood orange, Valencia orange and Meyer lemon.  The usual suspects from the warm spice line up are present in abundance; ginger, toasted cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice berries topped off with a pinch of nutmeg.  There are some faint hints of licorice root, sweet birch, dandelion root and wild cherry bark.  The tobacco bill is also a bit different.  I used Light Fired Virginia Orinoco instead of TN Dark Fired.  There is also a high percentage of Maryland leaf, a bit of Honduran Ligero and a generous portion of toasted Turkish Prilep.  I think it would be fun to try both the 2014 and 2015 vintages side by side; both are in stock.  I prefer amber jars with an alder liner for these two.

Yvette:  An unsweetened, delicately floral infusion of Pure Grain Alcohol, London Dry Gin, Italian Dry Vermouth, Dried Violet Petals, Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Currants, Honey, Caramelized Orange Peel and Tahitian Vanilla Beans, allowed to steep until the layers are fully integrated.  Flue Cured Piedmont Bright, Air Cured East Carolina and Turkish Yenidje are given a proper misting of the infusion and allowed to air dry. Repeated misting and drying sessions are applied to develop the scent before being milled to a fine grind for a light, slightly moist, easy to use snuff.

 


We can only hope that Chef Daniel's example of generous and gentlemanly behavior in sharing his snuffmaking artistry with fellow snufftakers has struck a chord, and that one or many will attempt to follow in his esteemed footsteps.  Rest in Peace, Chef Daniels...you will be remembered fondly by your family, your friends, and the snufftakers that enjoyed your art.


If you have suggestions for making this memorial page better or material to include, please feel free to click the button above or to contact me directly at  mark@modernsnuff.com.  And don't forget to visit the Modern Snuff Blog , Facebook Group, and Message Board.

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