OK on to the meat of this column. About 2 weeks ago I received an email from our friends over at MaKe WeBo AB asking for my address so they could send me a gift. I’m good with that. Anytime any snus manufacturer, distributor or snus shop wants to send me stuff, I’m all for it.
In 3 years of being active in the snus world the only freebie I’ve gotten was to be part of the V2 Offroad Limited Edition portion tests. In the interest of full disclosure I did lobby hard to get one of the Bullet-Proof cans, but failed. (From the reviews it sounds like I didn’t miss much.)
I honestly didn’t think much about this gift that was coming to me. I figured at best it was some swag or a few free cans of a new snus coming out. After that I promptly forgot about it until I got home last Monday. As I threw my can of Ettan in the fridge I noticed some new additions to my daily use stash. Still wrapped in their plastic bag packaging, I thought cool! My gift arrived.
I closed the fridge and my long suffering wife said she put them there after the UPS man dropped them off. Great! I said. She then informed me there was a box. Well, duh, it was shipped in a box. No there was a box in the fridge. At this point my heart leaped into my throat and my inner geek flipped out.
In an instant leap of logic, I knew what it was. Sure enough sitting there in it’s seemingly spotlighted glory was a beautiful wooden box wrapped with a piece of twine in a sealed bag. At this point my inner geek is doing a happy jig, sucking his thumb and trying to not be noticed by my family, who are starting to wonder if what little sanity I had left was leaving.
To me the snus in the box was secondary. I’m a history buff so the box and the small piece of porcelain in the lid of the box was much more interesting. Think for a minute about the origins of that blue and white piece of china, from China.
In 1745 a Swedish owned ship loaded up with all kinds of goodies from China. Porcelain, tea, silk, spices all bound for Sweden. After a treacherous journey they made it to within site of home, when the harbor pilot managed to run into a reef and sink the ship. Some of the cargo was saved; a lot of it sank with the ship. In 1905 a diving expedition brought up some more pieces from the wreck before deciding there was nothing of real value left. The piece of porcelain in each Kardus 2010 box are from that 1905 expedition.
The box itself is made of Oak, the same type of wood as the sunken ship was made of. The twine is of smoked hemp, (no, not that kind of smoked hemp) as the ropes on board the fated ship were. The first thing I smelled when opening the plastic was the wood, followed by the scent of the rope. It reminded me a little of my Grandfathers tool shed, it was his “get away from the womenfolk place” and I remember spending a lot of time as a child there. On the bottom of the box is burned “Kardus 2010”, which is a nice touch.
Ok enough of that let me put my inner geek back in his cage and get to the snus.
I really don’t know what Arrack tastes like. I do know it is an alcoholic drink made from sugarcane, fermented fruit and grains. I really stink at picking up all the subtle flavors in anything, snus included. There is a slight sweetness, with a very nice tobacco base and a bit of fruitiness. The tobacco is from Java, known to produce great coffee and tobacco. (I just thought that it seems great tobacco and coffees both come from the same places. Which I suppose is fitting since the finished products go so well together. )
Kardus 2010 looks like a very rough cut, but it’s not hard on my gums at all. In fact after the first few minutes and a bit of saliva working its way to the pris it feels almost silky smooth. I can’t make my 3ml Icetool work at all with Kardus 2010, but that’s fine with me. Kardus is a special snus made mostly by hand, blended and guided to perfection by a skill few posses, it just feels right to grab and place a pinch by hand.
As Larry asked in his article, is this the best Kardus yet? Let me answer it this way. It’s the best Kardus I’ve had. I started snus in the summer of ’08. I was still in my testing every snus mode that winter and passed on a $70 can of snus, when there were still so many $3 cans to try. Last year my budget didn’t allow me to buy Kardus, but my good friend Rob Hubbard sent me about ½ of his can. It was good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the flavor. So Yes, Kardus Superior Blend Vintage 2010 is my pick of “best ever”.
Kardus 2010 also has the distinction of being the only snus that I didn’t want to remove from my lip. After 2 hours the nicotine was gone, there was still a bit of flavor, and I just plain didn’t want to part with it. That is an odd feeling for me.
The bottom line is yes, Kardus Superior Blend Vintage 2010 is expensive, most great things are, and yes, it sucks to be in America and have to pay another $30 for shipping, but if you have the extra money, you really owe it to yourself to try this magnificent example of the snus maker’s art.
Honestly, the Oak box alone would sell for ½ or more of the purchase price, one of only 500 made, add in a piece of history in the form of a broken piece of 350 year old china that survived 250 years under water, another 100 + years above water. Long after Kardus 2010 is gone, the box and the memories it represents will still be going strong.
I’m already starting to budget for Kardus 2011. I don’t know how they will top this years, but I’m already anxious to find out.
Noted Snus Master
WHAT I THINK at SnusCENTRAL.org