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Beginners Guide to Snus

Discussion in 'Smokeless tobacco' started by Stubby, Mar 25, 2010.

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  1. Stubby

    Stubby Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2009
    Madison, WI USA
    Beginners Guide to Snus

    With all the new snus users showing up down here I thought it would be a good thing to set up a general guide to help new users along. The first part below was originally written by Kitabz but I have done some editing to try and clarify a few areas. Hope this helps you make a smooth entry into the wonderful world of snus.

    "Portioned snus is tricky to explain because there are several subtypes and further categorizations within those. This is further complicated by multiple uses of the word “portion”. The word “portion” is used to describe all portions in general, also one of the sizes, also one of the strengths and also one of the styles/finishes so this can be somewhat confusing to start with.

    Sizes
    The easiest way to describe the choices available is to first divide portions into three main categories according to size:

    1. Mini – these contain around 0.5g of snus – the second most popular size
    2. Portion – these contain around 1g of snus – the most popular size
    3. Maxi – these contain around 1.7g of snus – this third most popular size. Maxi’s are quickly being dropped from production as originally the only way to get more nicotine then 8mg per portion was to make it larger. That changed with the introduction of strong and extra strong 1g portions. As of this writing the Granit brand is the only Maxi still on the market.

    Nicotine Strengths
    Nicotine strength can be added to the above as follows and describes the nicotine content per gram except for purified portions. Because purified portions have no water content at all, they weigh considerably less then regular snus which is about 50% water; their nicotine content is described in absolute terms (per portion) rather than per gram.

    1. Purified only – 3mg and 6mg per portion
    2. Portion or unstated – around 8mg per gram
    This strength is available in all sizes and is the default; if it is not stated, this is what it will be
    3. Strong – around 11-13mg per gram (also know by the Swedish “Stark” or “Sterk”)
    This strength is only available in mini and portion sizes (not maxi)
    4. Extra strong – around 14-18mg per gram (also known by the Swedish/Norwegian “Ekstra Stark/Sterk”)
    This strength is only available in portion size (neither mini nor maxi)

    The thing to bear in mind with the strengths is that, aside from the purified portions which are a special case, the descriptions above are relative to the portion size in terms of overall nicotine delivered. A regular portion will have 8mg of nicotine (because it weights one gram) but a strong mini will also have around the same or slightly less because it weighs half as much but has nearly twice the strength of tobacco. Similarly a strong one gram portion will deliver around the same nicotine as a maxi portion because the higher strength nicotine in the strong one gram portion is equalized by the maxi’s larger size.

    Finish or Style
    For some of the above there are further subdivisions to describe the finish or style:

    1. Purified – these contain purified tobacco plus cellulose filler and are completely dry. This style releases the nicotine relatively quickly but also lasts for the least amount of time. Because they are made from purified nicotine, there is no tobacco flavor at all. Any flavors that this style of portion may have are added during manufacture (and there is one brand which is completely flavorless by design).
    This type only comes in the mini size, indeed it is thinner than a mini but around the same width and length.
    2. Original Portion – these have been lightly sprayed with tobacco liquid. The causes the nicotine to be released more quickly but has the side effect that they can be a little "drippy". Although spitting is not technically required with snus, some portion snus in this category can cause quite a bit of saliva to be produced.
    This type comes in all sizes and strengths.
    3. White Portion– these have not been sprayed with tobacco liquid and are mostly dry to the touch however they are still around 50% water (inside the pouch), similar to previous item, it is just that the teabag material has not been additionally sprayed. This type comes in both the mini and the regular size. White portions have a less noticeable taste to start with and take longer to "kick in" than regular portions. However, the flavor and nicotine tend to last longer.

    In the beginning there was only one type, the Portion. The minis and maxis were added later, the different strengths were also added later and then the non-sprayed (whites) and purified portions were added later so all of the additional choices have new names whereas the original portion became known as.... the Original Portion. And this covers size, strength and style.

    Color
    Finally, there is color which describes the color of the teabag material. Originally there was just one type of material which, before spraying with tobacco liquid was white in color. The sprayed portions naturally become a light brown color after treatment. The portions that are not sprayed remain white in color hence the name “white”. The ones that are sprayed are of course just called “original portion” and not “browns”.

    So far, so good.

    But, to further complicate matters, some manufacturers decided to release teabag material in a black color so there is now the paradoxical situation where a so-called “white” portion is actually black in color. This would be straightforward if it could be said that all “blacks” are actually “whites” but sadly this is not the case. There is at least one portion (sprayed) which comes in a black color (LD Black by Gallagher, sadly no longer available in the US) so it is best to think of colors as a distinct (and largely irrelevant) category to the finish/style one detailed above. It is said that the black material is softer than the original white material so it’s best to mention why there is a distinction at all (other than aesthetics or marketing).
     
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  2. Stubby

    Stubby Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2009
    Madison, WI USA
    The first thing many people taste with the more traditional snus when starting is salt. It seems to be the dominant flavor. No need to worry. After a few weeks at most it will fad into the background and you’ll hardly notice it. A few people seem to be a bit more sensitive to salt, but there are some lower salt snus that may work. At this point I couldn’t tell you what they are as I don’t even taste the salt anymore but others on the forum very well could. And there is certainly the flavored snus which have little to no salt flavor. It’s a good idea if you are having trouble adjusting to the traditional snus is to keep some liquid of your choice handy (water works fine). Just take a few sips when you feel the flavor or salt is getting to be a bit much and it does wonders for keeping things from getting out of hand.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that your taste will change a lot when you start. It tends to go all over the place in the beginning. A snus you like one day will taste off the next day. Snus you liked two weeks ago you can’t stand today, and what you didn’t like you now find is okay. It can be very confusing. That's just the way it is with snus. It can take a while for your snus taste to settle down. Some say up to a year or more to completely settle, but the longer you snus the more stable it gets. It’s more like cigars or pipe tobacco and nothing like cigarettes. As you get more experience the more subtleties you can taste. You can depend on your preferences to change over time. If you’re not a wine drinker don’t expect to be able to taste a lot of difference in fine wines. It takes time to be able to separate out the different flavors. I often hear beginners say that all traditional snus taste the same. They don’t, but it can take some time pick up on the differences. A good rule of thumb is never throw out a snus you think you don’t like. Put it in the fridge and try it again in a few days. You may find it’s not as bad as you first thought. A few days, or even weeks later, try it again. You could very well start to like it.

    Another point of interest is that snus users tend to use a number of different flavors throughout the day. Unlike cigarettes of even american style smokeless users, who tend to use just one brand for years, It’s not uncommon for experienced snus users to go through 3 or 4 different flavors of snus in a day.

    The above are a few good starting points to keep in mind. Now on to the flavors.

    To keep in simple I split the flavors into three categories. Two would be considered traditional, and then the more heavily flavored category. There are some gray area snus that fall into more then one category, generally a straight tobacco with a mild flavor in the background, but overall this is a good way to get a handle on the many choices.

    The two traditional flavors are bergamot and tobacco.

    Bergamot is a citrus flavor found in many Swedish snus. The most well known is General but there are lots of others. Just wander through the online shops and you’ll find many choices. It’s the one that many beginners have problems with. If the bergamot doesn’t do it for you right away, don’t give up on it. Many outside Sweden have developed a taste for it. Take it slow and easy and let yourself get used to it.

    Tobacco flavored snus is the next category. Some of the standbys are Ettan, Grovsnus, Prima Flint, Roda Lacket, Lab 01 and 02, among others. These tend to be easier to take then the bergamot for many. This is where I spend most of my snus time. It the kind of snus I can do all day without burning out on. A must try category for all snusers.

    The last category is the flavored snus. This would include all the mints, frost, wintergreen, licorice, different fruit flavors etc. Many beginners get heavily into the flavored snus when they first start, but as they get more experience drift towards the traditional type flavors. When all else fails LD Black (sadly no longer available in the US) or General wintergreen or mint is a sure thing. I do mostly traditional snus but I do enjoy an occasional flavored.

    There are a number of snus that are a traditional type tobacco with a light flavor in the background. Gotlands grey and Roda Lacket would be good examples. If you're having trouble with the traditional snus this can be a good way to ease yourself into it. For the most part they are easy to take and very tasty.

    I haven’t covered the American snus, as in Camel, Marlboro and Skoal. In general they are very sweet (as of this writing). I don’t use them so I’ll leave that to others.

    There is a snus forum which is the equivalent to ECF but for snus users.
    http://www.snuson.com/index.php
    They have a good section for beginner snus users that is highly recommended. Some very helpful and experienced users with lots of good advice.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  3. firechick

    firechick Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 24, 2009
    Upstate New York
  4. asidrave

    asidrave Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 21, 2009
    New Jersey
    Thanks a million Stubby...i vote it for a Sticky.

    we need to expand this section of the forum....and Stubby got us off on a great start :)
     
  5. Dredbull

    Dredbull Ultra Member ECF Veteran

  6. whimzkool

    whimzkool Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 29, 2009
    DFW
    Wow... need to get to readin' Thanks in advance Stubby!
     
  7. Skrymr

    Skrymr Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 5, 2009
    Great post's Stubby. I agree, it should be stickied.
     
  8. redrhino

    redrhino Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Nov 7, 2009
    NY,CA,FL
    Very nice write up.....Thanks
     
  9. Kent C

    Kent C ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 12, 2009
    NW Ohio US
    Stubby,

    You cleared up a lot for me. Thanks. I knew what taste I liked but not what it was exactly, that I was liking, so that I could make a similar purchase in another line. Should save me some money in sampling others. :)
     
  10. TWISTED VICTOR

    TWISTED VICTOR Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Sep 14, 2009
    The edge of Mayhem
    Nice Stubby. These are things you've clued me in on and paved me an easy path. I'm glad you took the time to compile it, cause a good reference guide is what we all needed and will be helpful to anyone working through the snus maze. I wonder if we have "sticky" rights yet. This is the kind of stuff that needs to stay on top :).
     
  11. Madame Psychosis

    Madame Psychosis Super Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 18, 2009
    East Coast Gypsy
    Stubby -- this is great. I'm still learning! I'm sure this will be useful for many.
     
  12. Kent C

    Kent C ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 12, 2009
    NW Ohio US
    Stickiness!!! Woohoo. Thanks to whomever fixed this.
     
  13. Kitabz

    Kitabz Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 11, 2009
    UK
    Geez, I don't know whether to be flattered that you've copied and stickied my original post or insulted that you've changed my British spellings to American ones :confused:
     
  14. Stubby

    Stubby Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2009
    Madison, WI USA
    So that's why my spell checker picked up those weird spellings... it's from the UK... that explains it. :rolleyes:I was going to give credit to the author but at the time I couldn't find the original. It's been floating around for a while.
     
  15. TWISTED VICTOR

    TWISTED VICTOR Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Sep 14, 2009
    The edge of Mayhem
    :w00t:.....had ta laugh....guess spellcheck is Americanized too. I gotta get exo one of those. Kit, you're on the list, too :).
     
  16. exogenesis

    exogenesis Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 1, 2009
    UK
    Damn good info however it's spelt, think Kitabz should be credited in the original post though.

    TV, I already struggle with the zees & the missing U's cos most spellchecking is MS Office,
    even on 'English UK' it gives the OK to 'color' and 'colour', on 'English US' it complains about 'colour'.
    Strangely some English UK words are now officially spelt with a zee rather than an ess like they used to be.
     
  17. Stubby

    Stubby Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2009
    Madison, WI USA
    I lost my editing privileges when It went sticky. Wouldn't mind getting those back to clean it up a bit and add a few things. And of course give credit where credit is due.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. TWISTED VICTOR

    TWISTED VICTOR Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Sep 14, 2009
    The edge of Mayhem

    :D........(!)
     
  19. VaporMadness

    VaporMadness Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    CA, USA
    Nice intro to snus. I just saw the 60 minutes segment on this stuff and was curious.
     
  20. Stubby

    Stubby Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2009
    Madison, WI USA
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