General Tobacco Cuts & Roda Lacket Tobacco Cuts
Swedish Match Smokefree Tobacco Cuts. These are infamous in snus circles. Very few people, outside of certain test markets in Germany, Slovania, and the Czech Republic have had the pleasure of trying them. I had one can of each smuggled out of Germany by a SnusCIA agent in a diplomatic pouch. How I got said agent to cooperate is a long story in itself, but let's keep it short and just say it involved bribery, calling in some old favors and general sneakiness, with some underhanded blackmail to boot.
Swedish Match Tobacco Cuts are marketed with the General and Roda Lacket brand names. The flavors are not exactly identical to their snus cousins but close enough to carry those respected names proudly. Basically they are tightly rolled tobacco leaves cut into pieces about 3/4 of an inch long and 1/4 inch thick, with some variation. Many of you may be familiar with a similar product called Oliver Twist, so imagine 3-4 of those combined, but otherwise quite similar. There are 16 pieces per can and the can is the same size as a normal mini portion can, used snus top and all. Tobacco Cuts have all the advantages of lös snus and portions, with none of the weaknesses.
For me, lös is a much purer flavor and as a throwback to my dipping and chewing days. Tobacco is supposed to be naked, not wrapped up in a tea bag. On the other hand , portion snus has never degenerated into a "mudslide" plus I can move them around easily to extract more flavor or switch sides to give my lip a rest. Tobacco Cuts allow me to move the tobacco at will and play with them if needed, but will not disperse themselves in my mouth unexpectedly.
I have spent most of two months working my way through these two cans. I paced myself knowing I would not be able get more easily: at least not until I can come up with more blackmail photos. I wanted to see what kind of longevity they had in the refrigerator. I did use the General Tobacco cuts for a whole day at work just to test if there was enough nicotine to get me through. I can't stick with one snus more than 8-10 hours so I didn't expect Tobacco Cuts to go for 24 hours. SM says they have 15mg/gram of nicotine, but being rolled not all the nicotine is "free" or bio-available. Nicotine levels in these seem a tad higher than regular portions, but not to the level of Nick & Johnny Black.
I got through the day with no withdrawal, and more importantly no overdose either. After 2 months of cold storage they are just as fresh and flavorful as they were day one. One more note on the flavors. As I said before the flavors are close to their namesakes, but I won't go much further than that knowing that everyone's tastes are a bit different. If you like the peppery/citrus flavor of General or the slightly fruity flavor of Roda Lacket you will like the respective Tobacco Cuts flavor. There does seem to be more tobacco flavor but considering they are just rolled tobacco leaves that is understandable.
To quote Joakim Blom of Swedish Match;" The tobacco cut product is a very small scale test product that is produced in extremely small volumes. If this product is evaluated to have a market potential we might be able to make it available online but at the moment unfortunately we can't make that happen. The tobacco in Tobacco Cuts are purchased according to the same standards as the tobacco that we use for our snus. Though the TSNA level is around 3,4 PPM while our snus have levels between 0,5 and 1 PPM."
I'm not one to worry over-much about TNSA levels, within reason. 4 PPM is still quite low. The GothiaTek scale tops out at 5 PPM as acceptable for snus and tobacco cuts are not snus. The latest tests I have seen show most American dip in the 10-50+ PPM range, with exceptions running into 3 digits, so Tobacco Cuts still rate as a Reduced Harm Product. Personally I feel that as long as I'm not burning it, it has to be better for you than cigarettes.
I really want Tobacco Cuts to be brought to the larger snus market. They are a great product and there is a small but vocal demand for them. That may be partly because of "Forbidden Fruit Syndrome" but I feel there is some real desire for a product like Oliver Twist or Piccanell done to Swedish Match's standards and in a size that makes it worthwhile. I can keep a Tobacco Cut in for over 2 hours and still get flavor and nicotine, with no bitterness. Sure I need to squeeze or chew on it a bit sometimes, but that's part of the fun.
On a whim I decide to experiment with a couple of the General Tobacco Cuts. As you all know by now I enjoy nasal snuff. I am currently playing around with making my own out of various tobacco products. To answer before you ask, YES! I did dry and grind two pieces. ( Don't tell Mrs. Mick: I used her favorite Mortar and Pestle.) To answer the next question, it was horrible. My nose did not like something about this. The poor thing sneezed for about 5 minutes and then ran for half an hour. I must have used 15 or 20 tissues trying to get my sinus cleared out. I promised a friend to try it using the Roda Lacket, but I just haven't worked up the courage yet.
Unfortunately I only have about 3 pieces of each left. Until I dig up some more dirt on our intrepid SnusCIA agent or Swedish Match brings them to a larger market. OR if Markus and Joakim decide to send me any extra rolls of the stuff they can't send to former Iron Curtain countries. [Editor's Note: U.S. Government Mandatory Disclosure Rules now force me to insert that Mick is making a blatant and transparent plea for Swedish Match to send him complementary rolls of General and RL Tobacco Cuts. There's nothing wrong with that, but we have to make sure you pick up on it. He wouldn't do it if he didn't really like the product, obviously, so his plea had no influence on his review. Now back to the article...]
For those of you who skipped to the end this whole article can be summed up by three words, Swedish Match Tobacco Cuts ROCK! Tobacco Cuts could never replace snus for me. I can see them being part of my tobacco rotation. They would definitely make my "Top 15 " list, which translates to I'd buy more of them than I would Knox or Kronan.
Happy (and safe) New Years to everyone, May 2010 bring us all love, snus and be even better than 2009.
WHAT I THINK at SnusCENTRAL.org