Within the Toast category are High Toasts, which typically include tobacco stalks and leaves and have all the moisture toasted out of them. High Toasts have more nicotine than Toasts, and deliver it very quickly. High Toasts are very similar to our next category, American Scotches. Examples:
American Scotches tend to be finely ground, dry, and they possess varying undertones of smoke and molasses. American Scotches fall into two basic categories: plain and sweet. Plain American Scotches tend to be much smokier, tend to be a litle more harsh, and are sometimes described as having a "BBQ scent." Sweet American Scotches are sweeter and a little easier to snuff than the plain variety. At some point in history, Americans began dipping their dry snuff in their mouth, and this continues to be a big part of how they are used. But, snuff-takers continue to use American Scotches as nasal snuff, though their extremely find grind can make them difficult to use comfortably. It takes a little practice to use them properly, but its worth it for their flavor and strength. It would be hard to tell the difference between some American Scotches and some High Toasts. Examples:
There is a never-ending debate regarding what the initials "SP" signify. Though the most likely origin for the designation "S.P." is this particular theory. This type of snuff goes back to the early days of snuff in Europe. SP snuffs tend to be flavored with Bergamot and/or other citris flavors. Sometimes a hint of floral is included as well. This is a very popular snuff type, and as with other popular things, manufacturers have attempted to include snuffs in the SP category that are not truly traditional SP's. Snuff-takers tend to value their traditions, and a bergamot/citris scent is the key component to any SP snuff. Examples:
These snuffs tend to be perfumed snuffs and feature blends of such scents as geranium, lavender, lillac, rose, violet, and jasmine to name just a few. Some floral snuffs are very subtle and combine the floral scents with other influences. Other floral snuffs are much more direct and intense. These snuffs are more typical of the French influence in snuff-making. Examples:
Gourmand (essentially, "food-related") snuffs are flavored/scented to be like any consumable delicacy, including foods, drinks, desserts. For this reason, this is a very wide and diverse category of snuff. Depending on who is making the list of categories, dessert snuffs, spice snuffs, and even fruit snuffs might fall into the Gourmand category. For this list, I've broken those three categories out on their own, and left the remaining food and drink flavored snuffs in the gourmand category. Examples:
Fruit snuffs are, of course, flavored or scented with fruit. These can include banana, cherry, blueberry, and any other fruit of which youc an think. In some cases, fruit snuffs will have a little menthol or camphor added to give them a pleasent burn in the nose. This is especially true of German fruit snuffs. In reviews of fruit snuffs, snuff-takers will often comment positively if the fruit scent comes naturally, without any hints of being artificial. Examples:
There are a number of snuffs that are flavored/scented with spices or various mint flavors. A few are subtle, while most are very direct, straight-forward, and intense. Some focus on one particular spice or mint, while others mix several spices or even mint with spice. It is incredible how well some spice scents go with the natural scent of various tobaccos. Examples:
Dessert snuffs attempt to capture the flavor/scent of sweet delicious desserts. These kinds of snuff succeed to varying degrees, some of them hinting at the flavor of their name-sake desserts, while others are like having the actual dessert in a snuff tin. As with fruit snuffs, snuff reviews of dessert snuffs focus on how "real" the snuff flavorings are, and anything leaning towards the "artificial" is usually called out. Examples:
Schmalzler Snuffs are traditionally German snuffs made of fermented Brazilian tobacco and flavored with sweet fruits or other sweet ingredients. Many have a date or fig-like scent to them. Traditionally they were moistened with animal fats, but modern Schmalzlers are moistened with oil. These snuffs are very moist, coarsely ground, somewhat fluffy, and rich in flavor. They are reminicent of an old-fashioned Christmas dessert. Schmalzlers tend to be fairly messy to use and, due to their course grind, can be difficult to keep in your nose. But they are worth it. Snuff-takers are especially drawn to Schmalzlers in the Fall and cold weather, and it is possible to use a large amount of Schmalzler snuff in a short amount of time. Examples:
Medicated snuffs use menthol, eucalyptus, and/or camphor in their blends for flavor/scent and to produce a cooling/burning effect in the nose. Some medicated snuffs are simply tobacco blends with the cooling effect added. Other medicated snuffs combine the cooling effect with other flavors added to the tobacco, for instance fruit flavors. Examples:
Complex and Unique
There are many amazing snuffs that are so complex or unique, that they do not fit clearly into one category or another. They may fit loosely into two or more categories, but they are impossible to really pin down. Examples:
Depending on the base tobacco used, how is prepared or fermented, the grind of the tobacco, how it is scented/flavored, and how it is aged, each snuff is a unique product with unique flavors and attributes. Below you'll find a description of some of the differences in snuff that are a result of the manufacturing process.
Base Tobacco and Blends
Tobacco is obviously the main ingredient in snuff, and for this reason the type of tobacco or tobaccos used to make the snuff has a big impact on the final product. Just to give you an idea of the various kinds of tobacco that can be used in making snuff, the following list is some of the varieties that were recently used by just one artisan snuff-maker here in the United States. Old Mill Artisan Snuff is no longer in production, but this illustrates the wide variety available to snuff-makers.
And these varieties of tobacco can be cured or prepared in different ways, bringing out different flavors in that particular variety. Some tobacco varieties are commonly subjected to one particular curing process, because of the resulting flavor. You can find more details about these processes elsewhere, but I wanted to share them here to give some idea of how tobacco is manipulated to create the amazing flavors/scents we find in snuff today.
Method of Scenting or Flavoring
the varieties of tobacco that can be used, or the
various curing processes they undergo, additional
flavors are added to some snuff products to create
even more amazing snuff flavors. Fruit
flavors/scents, spice flavors/scents, dessert
flavors/scents, food flavors/scents in general,
mint flavors/scents, floral scents, and other
exotic scents are added to the tobacco.
Fermenting and Aging
The subject of fermentation is fairly complex. There were many different methods and recipes throughout the history of snuff, and each snuff manufacturer of course had its trade secrets. Some snuff products go though very little or no fermentation. Others go through a whole process of very carefully controlled fermentation in order to add flavor and increase the pungency of the snuff.
length of time of the fermentation can vary from a
very short time to years. Various salt
solutions and moisture are added, and sometimes
alkaline salts. The fermentation darkens the
color of the tobacco, and can sometimes add what
is called a "barnyard" scent to snuff.
Degree of Grinding
It is also possible to categorize snuff by the degree to which it is ground. When snuff-takers talk about snuff or post snuff reviews, they will often refer to fine-grind, medium-grind, or course-grind. They'll even break it down further into fine-medium, or medium-course at times. Traditionally, there are three categories of snuff grind, and typically certain types of snuff are usually ground to the same degree. Knowing the following grind terminlogy is useful, because it sometimes comes up in conversation between snuff-takers.
Source of the Snuff
There are three types of places that snuff is manufactured. Any of the snuff types described above could potentially come from any of the following sources.
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