Monday, 16 August 2010 22:53

Close, but no Snus - Camel SNUS Robust Review

Written by Mick Hellwig
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Author Mick HellwigAs my Grandpa used to say “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”. (Who plays horseshoes anymore?)

Being in a big city that RJR seems to like to abuse with new products, Camel SNUS Robust and Winterchill hit the shelves here last week. I despise wintergreen with a passion that makes my dislike of licorice look weak, so I avoided the Winterchill, and after tasting the Robust I definitely won’t be trying Winterchill.

The new cans are pretty nifty looking (who says “nifty” anymore?) not counting the horrid new government required health warnings that take up the bottom third of the front and back of the can. The SNUS pouches are actually quite large. I compared them to a portion of Lab Series 01 and the Camel is about 10% larger, just a tad longer and wider. I would estimate there is a bit over 1 gram of tobacco per pouch. They are very dry, not dusty, but much drier than even a white portion.

One thing that jumped out at me was the “best before” date. 09June2011. A year!??? Only a couple of Swedish snus claim longevity of flavor that far out. Granted the Camel tins are pretty sturdy and close very tightly, but a YEAR!!!????

The pouch material is thicker than we lovers of Swedish snus are used to and rougher on the gums. I split open one of the pouches, I can’t call them portions for some reason. The tobacco inside was finely Only in Amerika would this be called Snus...ground, with evidence of stems. That is not unusual as most snus/dip shows the same. What did bother me was the visual similarity to the dust at the bottom of a bag of mulch. I can’t begin to say for sure what this means in terms of tobacco quality, I will say it doesn’t look like reconstituted tobacco from the factory floor.

I know you are all wondering about the taste. After intentionally NOT smelling the product I stuck one in my upper lip. My first thought was “DRY” and huge. Slightly uncomfortable, but I think that is more because it is a different size and shape than my mouth is trained to expect. I noticed a sweetness right away but had to wait a bit for it to fully develop. I couldn’t place it at first, and then it hit me. Molasses. Silly moles. This is very similar to the Mellow flavor, less pronounced, but the same sickening sweetness. If you like Mellow you will like Robust. The opposite is also true. I fall into the second category.

Our esteemed Grand Poobah of Snus, Larry Waters, has an excellent article with many technical details about the two new Camel SNUS offerings. So I will only post my thoughts or impressions. I’m told the nicotine content is supposed to be @10 mg per gram. That may be true but actual received nicotine is much lower. I’d guess 4-5 mg. After 4 pouches back to back, (I am a chain snuser after all) I had to double barrel some Claq Qui to shake off the cravings. If Camel SNUS has enough nicotine to make you happy, just buy Swedish mini portion snus and you will be content.

At $2.89 plus sales tax here in Columbus, for 15 pouches, this is not a good buy. I can get General Onyx, delivered by UPS at the same price, per portion. Onyx, the ultimate in true snus evolution versus Camel Robust….Onyx will win every time.

Note to those who are charged with making Camel SNUS for the US market; If you want to make dip in pouches, do that but PLEASE stop calling it snus. If this was marketed as dip it would be a decent product.

Real snus users do not want the overly sweetened, over flavored, bits of tobacco that make up 90 percent of the dip market. If we did we wouldn’t spend the extra money to buy snus from Sweden. I understand you are after cigarette smokers and obviously the focus groups said they wanted a super sweet treat to suck on when they can’t smoke. I use Swedish snus because it has the flavor and nicotine content that allowed me to stop smoking.

With the current regulatory climate here in Amerika, cigarettes are a dying form of tobacco use. With cigarette smoker’s numbers dropping from @65% to @25% of the population in the last 40 years and more smokers quitting every day, the market is literally going up in smoke. If you don’t do something to distinguish your products from the 100 or so other oral tobacco products on the shelf you will lose that market also.

I know my pleas fall on deaf ears, just as with your “study” that a lot of us are currently participating in. I doubt whether you want honest criticism of these products, but I have a place to spout my honest opinion and will continue to do so. Whether RJR reads this site or not, and whether they care about my ramblings, I will be honest with my readers and myself.

Will I buy another can of Camel SNUS? Yes. IF they come out with a new flavor, in the continuing hope that one day RJR will get it right.

Will I buy another can of Camel Robust, Winterchill, Mellow or Frost SNUS?  NO!  If I’m that desperate for nicotine I will buy a can of dip and call it good.

P.S. No, Mr./Ms. Government overseer, RJR did not pay me for this article nor did they send me a can of SNUS for evaluation. I bought this off the shelf at my local gas station.

Enjoying some General Onyx REAL Snus as I write this,

MICK HELLWIG

Grand Master of Snus and Snuff
WHAT I THINK at SnusCENTRAL.org

Read 18666 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 16:49

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