Back in 2005, Swedish Match began releasing a VERY Limited Edition snus in the fourth quarter called Kardus Superior Blend. From beginning to end, Kardus was designed to be showcase product for Swedish Match; showing serious snus lovers (and the rest of the snus industry) just how magnificent a snus can be if you know how to make it. Swedish Match pulled out all the stops which is why Kardus is a very limited edition: it would be impossible to make Kardus in large quantities at a price anyone could afford. For 2009, only 500 cans of the Kardus Superior Blend were produced!
For instance, common to all Kardus releases, the tobacco is hand-cut, not machine grinded. Andreas Riksén of Swedish Match is probably the greatest snus grinder in the last 80 years, but even his finest grinds cannot compare to the hand-cut Kardus. The Kardus Superior Blends cut is called long cut, resulting in a consistency more similar to pipe tobacco than loose snus. This difference requires some extra care in making your prilla. Me, I've oiled up my 5mm IceTool. If that doesn't work, one thing I learned from that ridiculous "snus expose'" Kalla Fakta threw up on TV4 was from the interview with the dock worker. Apparently, its OK just to reach in the can, grab a big pinch, and shove it under your upper lip. I don't have the patience to handbake normal lös snus, let alone anything more complex.
Conny Andersson, the snus and cigar genius at Swedish Match, plans well in advance the character he wants in each vintage of Kardus Superior Blend. For the 2009 Kardus Superior Blend, he decided to flavor Kardus with rum. His choice fell on a dark rum from Guatemala, which was aged for 23 years in American oak barrels. This rum is considered by many as the finest rum in the world. Combined with the very special tobacco blend he is using this year, I have been salivating since June when Conny described it to me.
Each can of Kardus 2009 contains 100 grams of lös (loose) snus and comes in an elegant but understated wooden presentation box. As you can imagine, Kardus Superior Blend is not an inexpensive snus. If you extremely new to Swedish Snus, especially loose snus, I'm not even sure I would recommend you purchasing it. You may not be fully able yet to appreciate it plus if you don't buy it, there will be more for everyone else! I know, selfish on my part. Sorry, but I stand by the statement.
I began using portion and white portion Swedish Snus in mid 2007. I hadn't even experimented with loose snus when Kardus 2007 was released. I didn't buy Kardus that year because I knew I didn't have the taste frame of reference to truly appreciate it. One of my favorite wines in the world is the Penfolds Grange Hermitage. I bought a case of the 1985 twenty-odd years ago....if you can still find it today, it sells for about $300 a bottle now. I stored it away and did not drink it; instead learning to taste the nuances of the more reasonably priced Penfolds wines and and other $60 and under French and California wines (Penfolds is from Australia).
When I finally felt ready and the wine had aged sufficiently, I opened my first bottle and took my first sip. It almost knocked me out of my chair, it was so amazing! If I had opened a bottle when I was first learning about wine, I would still have enjoyed it but would not have been able to appreciate how unique and wonderful it truly was. You don't start out a connoisseur of anything: it takes time and practice. I did not feel my palette was worthy of Kardus in 2007.
I'm nowhere even near the league Conny Andersson is in, but my mailbox will contain Kardus Superior Blend Vintage 2009 this year. And like the 1985 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, I totally expect to be knocked out of my chair. This is the Official Kardus 2009 Story from Swedish Match.
Waiting for the mail like a child staring at the fireplace on Christmas Eve,
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org