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US Snuff - where to buy them

AbraxasAbraxas Posts: 5,448
edited March 2008 in General
Can any of the UK members advise me of the best online store to get the US brands? Any good/bad experiences ordering or shipping? Cheers guys


  • macalpemacalpe Posts: 130
    I don't know any online store that sells to EU. Cheers!
  • What is this fascination with US snuffs? Unless I am missing something, they aren't true snuffs but more of a dipping tobacco used by southern rednecks. Are there US snuffs that are the equivalent of English snuffs?
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    "What is this fascination with US snuffs? Unless I am missing something, they aren't true snuffs but more of a dipping tobacco used by southern rednecks. Are there US snuffs that are the equivalent of English snuffs?"

    That's how they've been traditionally used in the US. I've only met one person, an elderly church friend of my mother many years ago, that dipped this snuff (never met anybody who snuffed it). She used W.E. Garrett sweet. Also, she was from the south.

    The plain ones are similar to the high dry toasts. Perhaps not as refined as the English high dry toasts but I find that they possess their own charm and potency.
  • YazYaz Posts: 67
    A lady at my tobacco store dips WEG S&M, when I explained to her it was nasal snuff, she didn't believe me untill I started bringing in other containers of snuff from poschl marked nasal snuff.

    She thought I was crazy... lol
  • AbraxasAbraxas Posts: 5,448
    edited March 2008
    'What is this fascination with US snuffs? Unless I am missing something, they aren't true snuffs but more of a dipping tobacco used by southern rednecks'

    None, I'd just like to try some is all

    Macalpe - I said UK members to find experiences about shipping to the UK

    Well, thanks
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    "im in the south and the only people ive ever seen buying dry snuff are older ladies. ive inquired a few how they use it and they always say they put it in their lip like dipping."

    Out of curiosity, are they black or white? I remember reading a comment somewhere online that claimed this dipping habit seemed to be limited to elderly, white southern women but, I seem to recall reading on this board, someone mentioned a black (male) soldier they knew that used the snuff in this way.

    I've lived in two states that had sizable transplanted southeastern populations - Arizona and Washington. In both of these states I've encountered the dry US snuffs over the years. In my current town, in Washington state, the US snuffs seem to be disappearing from the shelves, perhaps with the aging populations that once used them? I recall seeing, 15 years ago, WE Garrett scotch and sweet, Tube Rose and Dental Snuff on the shelves. Now all I see is WE Garrett scotch at one local grocrery and Walmart.

    Looking at the old logo image for Society snuff - an elegant Victorian or early 20th Century lady in profile - it's pretty clear that these snuffs (at least some of them) were marketed at women.
  • AbraxasAbraxas Posts: 5,448
    More than likely, for the longest time it was socially unacceptable for women to smoke or use tobacco. In the UK you can always get Wilsons SP in small Asian stores, apparently Indian women dip it - but not in public. I think a lot of older women snuff takers out there snuff or dip in secrecy. I imagine your female snuff dippers were the same
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    "I think a lot of older women snuff takers out there snuff or dip in secrecy. I imagine your female snuff dippers were the same"

    I seem to recall a mention of nasal snuff and a woman in a Mark Twain story. I suspect that snuff taking (through the nose) may have been a socially acceptable form of taking tobacco for women at one time in the US at least (though I suspect dipping it may have been dubious). I remember an aunt telling me how shocked she was, as a young girl, to spy one of her female teachers smoking! This probably would have been back in the Thirties or earlier.
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    edited March 2008
    The American Snuffs were originally designed as a traditional nasal snuff. But during depression times it made a good cheap substitute for lip tobacco because it didn't have any flavoring/scents that would taste bad in the mouth. Its just good ol' tobacco, any one of them can be put in the nose or the mouth because of just being good quality tobacco. There was a time when the US was one of the major suppliers of snuff across the world along the time when Spain was one of the other major suppliers. Back in the day, the 2 most popular snuffs in the world were the Spanish snuff and the US Scotch snuff. But in all aspects it is a nasal snuff first and a lip tobacco second.

    steverino1958 you asked, "Are there US snuffs that are the equivalent of English snuffs"? I ask are there any English snuffs equivalent to US snuffs? If you like plain snuffs, there are none better. They have a higher grade tobacco with great potency, more than any english snuff I have tried. They are considered an "advanced snuff" by many because they are such a robust snuff. The English HDT's are later copies of American Scotch snuffs because they were so loved across the world and the English snuff companies wanted a share of that love.
  • AbraxasAbraxas Posts: 5,448
    edited March 2008
    Irish High Toast was an accidental development, not a reaction to anything going on across the water. In the 1760's the Dublin snuff maker Lundy Foot left an unskilled operative to oversee the snuff drying. The story goes that this individual left it too long and it 'toasted'. Lundy Foot initially thought of selling it off cheap but when he and others sampled it he found the distinctive burnt flavout to be palatable - hence HDT was born and within a few years was copied by other makers - its unlikely they even knew what an American snuff was.

    I don't know about American snuff being the most popular in the world (leaving aside most of the tobacco was grown there) as I have no information one way or the other but I would say this: things that are globaly impactive leave a trace - think about empires and the like. There is no trace of American snuff - in the sense that the occasional place still sells or uses it - in the UK or Europe (that I know of, but happy to be corrected)

    My information for HDT part of this comes from 'Snuff and Snuff Boxes' by Hugh Macausland' published in 1951, the second part is a hunch!
  • RoderickRoderick Posts: 1,887
    While travelling in West-Africa a few years ago, I received an interesting history lesson. I can’t vouch for how true it is, however it does sound vaguely possible. When the British slave traders arrived in West-Africa snuff was in its heyday and was introduced by the slave traders to their employees (trustee slaves, Arab traders and the like) interestingly the Africans chose to chew the end of a stick and dip it in the snuff rather than sniff it. One theory is that the slaves not having any money to buy snuff stole it from their owners and rather than risk sneezing from sniffing, they dipped. English nasal snuff is still very popular in West-Africa and is still dipped.
    Can anyone verify any of this?
    In the interest of science I tried chewing the end of a stick of hickory and dipping it in plain snuff. I expected it to be horrendous, but it wasn’t that bad and I guess if it was your want could easily be used in this way, however I’m not an advocate.
  • LambchopLambchop Posts: 23
    For a little better dating of the high toasting process, I can at least place it before 1762. In an invoice to Robert Cary & Co., George Washington places an order for "1 Neat paper Snuff Box - lined with tortoise Shell 4 Bottles Westerns best Snuff not high Toasted." This invoice was dated "15th Novr 1762." So, by this time, Washington knew enough about high toasted snuff to know that he didn't want any sent with that order.

    This is a rough sketch of Virginia trading practice at the time, but basically men in Virginia would have agents in England and Scotland who would extend credit to them. The men in Virginia paid down the credit in tobacco, and used the credit to purchase English goods, as Virginia did not have much manufacturing at the time, and what we did have was lower quality. So this invoice was a list of goods Washington wanted his agent to send him.

    Unfortunately, I don't have the book in which this letter can be found, as it is a copy my professor made. Perhaps I'll ask him later.
  • macalpemacalpe Posts: 130
    Following this isteresting comment we must to remember very important things :
    - TOBACCO comes originally from America
    - First European settlers in America were Spaniards. ( I say settlers ...not visitors....hahaha)
    - First taking tobacco manner was snuff.

    And now a very important story extracted from " The Mill House of Sharrow Mills" :

    "Probably the most widely taken snuff in the world is the blend known as "SP". This blend obtained its name through a naval battle off the shore of a Spanish port, Vigo, in 1702. The French fleet was protecting a rich Spanish convoy of galleons which had sailed from the West Indies when a combined English and Dutch fleet under Admiral Sir George Rooke attacked. One ship, the Torbay, under the command of Vice-Admiral Hobson was becalmed and trapped in a most compromising position. A contemporary chronicler writes, "All this while Admiral Hobson was in extreme danger; for being clapt on board by a French Fireship, whereby his rigging was presently set on fire, he expected every moment to be burnt; but it very fortunately fell out that the French ship, which indeed was a Merchantman laden with snuff, and fitted up in haste for a Fireship, being blown up, the snuff, in some measure extinguished the fire, and preserved the English Man of War from being consumed."

    This battle, for which Hobson received a Knighthood and a pension of £500, was largely responsible for starting the popular fashion of snuff-taking in England. The booty from the captured Spanish galleons included a large quantity of snuff which was subsequently sold in London. Referred to as "Spanish" by the clerks, they soon abbreviated this to "SP", thus originating the name of the most popular blend of all."
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    edited March 2008
    The true story about the irish snuff maker accidentally starting toasted snuffs isn't entirely correct. Toasted or "fire cured" snuffs have been around long before this "accident" happened. That is just a story used as filler for a book. The story is one of the myths of how toasted snuff got to be known as Scotch snuff. The story goes, just how it go the name 'Scotch' isn't clear, but there is a story, possibly true, but not authenticated, that a merchant in Ireland had some snuff in stone jars exposed to the heat of a fire on his premises, and as he could not afford to throw it away he sold it to his patrons without mentioning the fact that it had been scorched by fire. When the fire-scorched snuff was sold out, much to his surprise his patrons began to complain and demand more of that "snuff with the scorched taste" Later the word "scorched", so tradition tells us, was confused with the word "Scotch", with the result that "scorched" snuff became "Scotch" snuff. But this was not the start of of a "toasted" snuff. And is not the only myth of how scotch snuff got its name.

    The other story goes as follows: "The name Scotch Snuff was started by the company Levi Garrett which began in 1782. Now in 1880 the company product was being shipped world wide. There is an old explanation that is being lost to history as to where the term "Scotch Snuff" was made. It goes as follows. The Scotch are sometimes referred to as penny pinchers. And of course you can imagine one dressed in plaid as squeezing a coin between his fingers to get the last value from it. This was to explain how this tobacco was to be used, a pinch between fingers. Now Scotch Snuff was made in a certain way. It is made with the darker leaves and stems which are deeper in flavor. They cure this tobacco with fire and is called "dark fire cured". This gives the tobacco its smokey flavor.

    In the 1720's Garrets snuff started being produced in Delaware, this wasn't the only mill just the most famous. Many Scottish immigrants operated mills. Shortly after these mills were up, the snuff was being brought back to the British Kingdom and started to be sold around the world. It was halted for a while when they were fighting the British during the War of Independence. After the war it was again fully established in 1782. Snuff was a big product in the "New England" and you best believe it was exported for trade and funds. Before this time Spanish snuff was the biggest player in the game. That ended for a short time in 1712 when the Dauphine of France was poisoned after taking a pinch from a box of Spanish snuff presented to her. So having snuff produced in the new British Colonies was a big deal. You have to remember that all the snuff being made here were not known as "American Snuffs" until after we gained our independence. But being produced in America but not yet known as "American Snuff", the snuff from America was known throughout the world because the tobacco grown here in the States had qualities far superior to any tobacco grown elsewhere and this holds true today.

    For a period after the 'American War of Independence', the snuff produced in America was supplied in great numbers to the countries who signed treaties of alliance with the U.S. including France, Spain and the Netherlands. But during this time and prior the snuff being sold overseas was just known as either Spanish snuff or Scotch snuff just for the type of snuff it was.

    By the mid 1800's the largest snuff factories in the world were located in the US. Among one of the products were Garrett snuffs including Levi Garrett Scotch & Rappee snuff. It was the most popular type of strong scotch/toast type snuff in the world. That time in the world this snuff was sold from bulk and you could go buy any amount you wanted. Wether it was 2 pounds or just enough to fill your snuff box. From the middle of the 1800's to the middle of the 1900's Garrett snuffs could be found in just about every corner of the world. It used to be as easily found as Poschl snuff is today. But this has declined as American snuff companies shifted focus to the rising popularity of chewing tobacco & dip. This is when snuff use was on a big decline and they started marketing their "snuff" as "dip". It became popular as dip because of the price for the amount. These companies used to get about 90% of their profit from the snuff sales but now has switched. Their chew and dip now makes the 90%. But this is one big reason why now you won't find American snuffs in the European snuff shops. They have the same misconception as some of you fellow members that it is only a mouth tobacco. But Garrett snuffs can still be found across europe because a few of the members overseas have found it in their tobacco shops. If it wasn't for a few select online shops, most of the european snuffs wouldn't be known here in the US.

    When you really think about it, the first snuff was American Snuff since snuff was introduced to Europe from America in the 16th century . Indians in both North and South America were using tobacco in all forms including snuff long before the rest of the world new about tobacco. Spanish snuff which was the first snuff in Europe was actually American Snuff. Since the first tobacco plantations were started in the Americas by Spain and the idea of snuff coming from American Indians. Since the early 1600's when John Rolfe started a tobacco plantation in Virginia, tobacco has been one of the biggest exports from America. By the 1620's, 40,000 pounds of tobacco were shipped to England and total of over 119,000 pounds had been produced just from this one plantation. US tobacco continued to be one of the major suppliers of tobacco to the snuff mills overseas.
  • macalpemacalpe Posts: 130
    Really GREAT REVIEW ....I am really well impressed with the comments from Brian once more!!!!!
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    Yeah I have been watching the John Adams series as well. It is disappointing especially since Benjamin Franklin was considered the champion U. S. snuffer. He startled European courts by the care he used in carrying the right colored box for every occasion. But I think this show main focus is on John Adams political actions rather than everyday actions.

    HBO has had some great shows. May all time favorite being Deadwood.
  • macalpemacalpe Posts: 130
    hi, of brothers...:
    " We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.." (snuffers)
  • AbraxasAbraxas Posts: 5,448
    Thats a superb essay on snuff history, fascinating and thanks!
  • bobbob Posts: 6,781
    Curb Your Enthusiasm which probably has the best chance of having snuff in it at some point at least out of the shows mentioned.
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    Yeah I thought I would have seen it on Deadwood being it took place in the Dakota Territories around the 1870's. But the biggest thing consumed was whiskey then opium/dope, chew, pipe & ryo. Along with feeding those killed to the hogs. I've got all the seasons on DVD so maybe I need to watch again and look closer at the crowds in the background. Your attention is drawn so much in the forefront you don't always notice what's going on in the background.
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    Troutsroker, thanks for your little essay on the history of snuff.

    Comparing some F&T HDT to WE Garrett Scotch, I can't say as I really notice the fire-cured component in the F&T. It certainly doesn't stand out the way it does with the American plains that I've tried thus far and the American is far more robust. According to the Sheffield Exchange the F&T is composed of Zimbabwe Flue Cured Stem, Dark Fired Leaf & Sun Cured Leaf. Do you have any idea what types of tobacco the American plains are typically composed of and in what quantities?

    I noticed in another post that you said the American snuffs are what you grew up on. Have you noticed any change in their quality or flavor over the years in the different brands? It always makes me nervous when I see an old establish brand like you mentioned (Square) being taken over by another company. But I suspect that's been true for all of these snuff over the years. I can't say there's anything wrong with the two Swisher brands, Honey Bee and Society, that I've tried so far but I can't say much for Swisher Sweets cigars. That may be a matter of personal taste though.

    I have to disagree with one thing you said above: "the snuff from America was known throughout the world because the tobacco grown here in the States had qualities far superior to any tobacco grown elsewhere and this holds true today." That may be the case with snuff (today or yesterday) but I don't think it's the case with pipe tobacco. I've yet to find an American blend that compares with the stuff offered by Gawith, Hoggarth & Co. or Samuel Gawith. They seem to favor African, Indian and dark fired leaf in their blends which produce a good amount of strength and robustness unlike anything that I've encountered that's available in the US. Perhaps it would be possible to produce something comparable to a Gawith blend from American grown tobacco but it simply isn't done (at least that I'm aware of).
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    No, I haven't noticed any differences between the snuffs over the years. And for the tobacco used, I posted some of the varieties in an older post. Take a look at comment #7 Types of Tobacco
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    I'm assuming that the Havana that's referred to is what is sometimes called "Havana seed tobacco" i.e., tobacco seed from Havana tobacco but grown in the US. Tobacco grown in Cuba is subject to our absurd and decades long trade embargo though other countries around the world enjoy it.
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    edited March 2008
    Yeah its not imported tobacco but rather a Havana variety grown in the US. Now from what I understand, its mainly used in areas that need a quick harvest. It has one of the shortest harvest times. So would be good in areas that have a short growing season. Now even pure Havana grown in Cuba is not necessarily the best but rather "the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest". And thats one of the main reasons so many in the US are always looking for a true cuban cigar.
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    "the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest" True, true. I can only say that I've had it in a latakia pipe blend from Europe. A good smoke as I recall but I can't say that there was anything distinctive about it. Of cigar tobacco, Nicaraguan and Honduran has impressed me the most. Dominican is a bit mild for my taste but the Macanudo certainly has a distinctive and pleasant aroma. Do you know anything of Amish cigars? I remember a post here that seemed to suggest that they're robust and of decent strength.
  • bobbob Posts: 6,781
    very strong they are. That's amish cigars. At least the tobacco I've had from them is often strong enough to be puke inducing in experienced users.
    Personaly on the cuban tobacco it's unique like any other tobacco personaly I like it alot it's not my favorite but close.
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    Bob, is there any particular brand (strong ones) that you would recommend? I might want to give these a try sometime. I see two sites that sell Amish cigars:
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    proboscis, have you tried CAO cigars? They make a couple of my favorites and they have some that are pretty robust.
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    Troutstroker, that name is familiar sounding but I don't think I have tried them. Looking online, it seems that they use a number of different tobaccos including Honduran, Nicaraguan and Brazilian. I'll keep my eye open at a local shop and give one a try if I find any. Thanks.
  • bobbob Posts: 6,781
    No idea proboscis. Sorry I tended to get them directly or from a local tobacco shop (which was an amazing place untill it closed). Wow I think any of them would be as good of a beat as the others. I used to get mine for a quarter each.
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Posts: 1,447
    proboscis, did you check out the website? They have a little video and you can see all the varieties they have.
  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    Mo, those sound pretty good. I had a cigar called Comacho years back that was a Nicaraguan-Honduran blend. I'm pretty sure it was. I just can't seem to help myself I've got to have everything strong. Guess that's why I've got a glass of 151 on the rocks sitting in front of me right now. Actually bought it to clean my pipes but I might as well clean my pipes with it too.
  • sprangalangsprangalang Posts: 524
    I have an Oliva V in my humidor - getting time to smoke it.
    I'm the same way, if I'm going to smoke a cigar, I want it to hit the spot. Some full bodied smokes I like: Camacho Coyolar, Trinidad, Flor Dominicana Double ligero.
    But lately I've been gravitating towards the pipe and snuff.
  • The problem with American nasal snuffs is that they're a little tough to use all day. They're dry as dust and dehydrate the nose something fierce. I suspect that there may be a little heavy-handedness when it comes to pH-management, which I'm given to understand is accomplished via the addition of lime; this might add to the dehydration/burnout problem. That said, a tot of American snuff of any brand, as a mixer, is a sure way to increase the nicotine zap of any snuff. I've tried a 1:3 mix of Rooster:Old Paris and can assure y'all that it's quite the little eye-opener. ;-)

    As far as comparisons with HDT styles, I think anyone who sampled Rooster (or Levi Garrett) and S. Gawith's Irish "D" Original (not the "Light") would be struck by the similarity. F&T's HDT used to have a little of the fired-tobacco flavor in it, but hasn't lately.

    For actual straight nasal use, I can recommend Buttercup and Honey Bee as not-too-extreme, ease-into-it brands. The more hardcore might prefer Rooster, Navy, or Railroad Mills.

    For those of you in Europe who'd like to try some Americans, I'd be glad to help out. I'd order it for you from Mars Cigars, and you may see their inventory list and prices here. My email address is andrew "at" If you'd just like a sample gram or two, I could be persuaded to dip into my own inventory in order to share.

  • proboscisproboscis Posts: 45
    Andy, could you describe the difference between Levi Garrett and WE Garrett? Of the three I've tried so far, Rooster, Bruton and WEG, the WEG really stands out. The fire cured component is very strong and evident and I really like that. I can really smell the wood that they used to cure it with. How am I apt to like or find the Levi? I'm looking to try it and maybe Honest next. Unfortunately they only seem to be available in the large bottle/tumbler online.

    With regard to the dehydration, I like to keep a bottle of nasal spray with me: either saline or one with a decongestant.
  • Hmmm... well, Levi is more leathery, I guess, more straightforward, more burnt, more woody, more smoky. Our friend Littledog once described the underlying flavor of most American snuffs as "barbecue-flavor potato chips," and I can't do any better than that, though it sounds weird and is a little synesthesic of a description. W.E original, which is to say not the Sweet&Mild, is pretty much the same flavor, but Levi is stronger and maybe a bit cruder.

    I've never seen the Levi available in anything but the big plastic facsimile of the glass jar offered in days of yore. Not to say it can't be had in the smaller 1.15oz tin size, but I've never seen it.

    If you enjoy the W.E.G for the reasons you state, then you'd find the Levi to be even more so. Local tobacco shop carries it in the big-ass bottles for about six bucks, if you want me to pick it up for you. I think it's six ounces or so.

  • tom502tom502 Posts: 2,520
    While dipping tobacco is also called snuff, when we say snuff, we refer to the dry powdered snuff.

    I also gather that dry powdered snuff is used orally in India too.
  • zonesixzonesix Posts: 360
    edited November 2009
    Well, being a longtime tobaccoholic, I have seen a few ladies "dip", but you're right in saying it's not common.

    Saying dip has 3x the nicotine of cigarettes is not necessarily a fair statement, as a lot of nicotine, including free-based nicotine in cigarettes, is not absorbed in the same way and speed/efficiency when dipping as compared to smoking.

    Take snus for example: I will leave a prilla in for 45 minutes, maybe an hour, today I had one in for over two hours, as I was talking with a client and had no "easy out" to get rid of it like a gentleman. So I am sure I had CONSIDERABLY more nicotine than if I had smoked one cigarette. However, it was absorbed over time, rather than in the 4-5 minutes it takes to smoke a cigarette. If I had been chain-smoking for 2 hours, I'd have been green and puking.

    Swedish snus is traditionally ground or rasped (Hence Goteborg's Rape) while American "dip" is cut. (Hence Long or Fine CUT)

    Just wanted to say I hadn't seen this thread before, so a) thanks to the contributors, and thanks also b) for bumping it.
  • JuxtaposerJuxtaposer Posts: 2,903
    Damn... I have never seen this thread before either. This is some good stuff!
  • James_SJames_S Posts: 550
    I'll say this about Scotches...I'm sure jealous of any of you Southern boys that apparently have access to any number of Scotches at the nearest Winn-Dixie or Piggly-Wiggly...up here in Detroit the only US snuffs I found were W.E. Garrett Scotch and Garrett Sweet. I remember many years ago there was a little hole-in-the-wall tobacconist in Detroit's Greektown neighborhood that had Tube Rose and Dental Mild, but that was many moons ago before I started snuffing and I believe that store went under...only other nasal snuffs I've found were a couple flavors of Poschl at Smokey's (our local snobby cigar store chain) for a ridiculous sum, something like $5 for a 5 g. tin! Sheeeesh.
  • XanderXander Posts: 7,382
    @ James S.: try the Polish neighborhoods in Detroit. Detroit was once the home of Goike's Kashubian Snuff. While that snuff is no longer made, some of those folks might have found other snuffs as a substitute.
  • James_SJames_S Posts: 550
    My wife lived in Hamtramck when we were first dating, but I didn't snuff at the time. I'll have to go back and sniff around (ha-ha), but I can tell you the neighborhood is more Albanian and Indian than Polish these days. However, I now live near Wyandotte, which has a large Polish population...might check around there too... Dziękuję (thanks)!
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