In 1585, Lars Unz travelled from his family estate in Gothenburg, Sweden to Oxford, England for the purpose of studying horticulture. He excelled in his studies despite the fact he really never learned English. In 1587, Unz travelled to London for a for a rousing good time with his mates.
Meanwhile, Sir Walter Raleigh was trying to round up settlers for his second try at a colony in Virginia. He was in a bit of a panic as his first colony in Roanoke had been found abandoned and his land grant from Queen Elizabeth was based on establishing a working colony within 3 years. As you may imagine, he had a more difficult time finding prospective settlers the second time around.
Sir Walter had only signed on 114 people and was a little nervous. Short version: Lars Unz and his friends walked into a London dockside bar called the Smoking Camel. He woke up two days later to find himself at sea. On July 22, 1587, after looking in vain for the survivors of the first colony, the ship and Lars Unz arrived at Roanoke Island. Their colony later became known to history as The Lost Colony.
Unz was the only non-Englishman on the ship. Raleigh later had his name expunged from the manifest to prevent a diplomatic incident with The Swedish Empire. The journal was never found and presumed destroyed.
Strangely though, tales of a mysterious UNZ spread throughout Scandinavia until it became a snus-campfire story/legend and was used to scare young cigarette smoking children.
Twenty years ago a young Danish lad by the name of Patrick Vogel stumbled across the journal at a small bookstore in Cambridge during a family holiday while young Vogel was searching for pictures of naked women.
He found the Unz Journal fascinating as did his brother Marc. On a later family trip to Stockholm, they presented the book to a branch office of the Nordic Museum. Instead of being heralded as young hero's, their parents were handed a confidentiality agreement and a large envelope of cash.
The Museum Branch Manager decided it was simply too dangerous for the story of Lars Unz ever be told; thus re-writing the history of Swedish Snus. He quickly ensured the journal was buried among other arcane documents in the Museum's basement. The fact that the descendants of Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf were generous patrons of the Museum may have also influenced his thinking.
We will never know as he died shortly thereafter while attempting to illegally fire-cure tobacco in the basement of his branch office of the Nordic Museum. The branch office burned to the ground taking him and the original Unz Jounal with it.
The journal may have been lost, but not the memory of the Vogel brothers. Seventeen years later, they used the money paid for their parents silence to launch V2 Tobacco, today the largest manufacturer of Scandinavian Snus in Denmark.
In their spare time, they poured over the notes and recipes from the Unz Journal they had copied down before Stockholm and created a most perfect snus they defiantly named Thunder UNZ Extra Stark Snus.
Thunder UNZ ES Snus was created in two varieties: a fruit/berry flavor and a mint flavor. Don't assume that these are just Thunder Berry and Thunder Frosted in a new can. That would be akin to assuming a bottle of Penfold's Bin 387 was the "same thing" as a vintage bottle of Penfold's Grange Hermitage. Or that a White Owl cigar was the "same thing" as a Cuban Montecristo. Thunder UNZ Black and Thunder UNZ Silver are in a lofty place all their own.
Due to their rare ingredients and arduous manufacturing process (which includes portion pouches of pure silk hand-woven by Patrick's wife), cans of Thunder UNZ Black and Silver snus are the rarest in the world.
I've already been contacted by snus black-market brokers attempting to buy my two cans and their presentation box on behalf of incredibly wealthy snus collectors.
Needless to say, even in the safety of the SnusCENTRAL Bunker, the Thunder UNZ collection is locked away in a special refrigerated vault.
Marc Vogel estimates it could be as long as 50 years for the technology necessary to exist which will allow any real volume of Thunder UNZ production.
Patrick Vogel has already opened a research center dedicated to engineering genetically altered silk worms to make the famous Thunder UNZ portion pouches. His wife didn't mind weaving the first very small batch, but she flatly refuses to hand-make 10,000 more.
The Vogel's have done much more than rewrite snus history allowing my ancestor Lars Unz to receive the recognition he is due. Patrick also thinks he discovered how Lars died. The berries he listed in the Thunder UNZ Black recipe called for what he thought were "American Lingonberries". They were in-fact a very poisonous orange berry popular with certain native species of birds as food. Patrick theorizes that in tasting his first batch of Thunder UNZ Black, Lars Unz accidently killed himself. Or was it accidental?
Lars Unz was an excellent horticulturist. How could he possibly make such a huge mistake? Vogel believes he found the answer in a footnote to the recipe which translates to "My friend Ronald Reynolds supplied me the berries which he said he had himself consumed and tasted just like lingonberries."
Ronald Reynolds? Could he be related to R.J. Reynolds and RJ Reynolds Tobacco; the maker of todays Camel SNUS? Could the evil of RJRT stretch as far back as 1587?
Did the feud between the Unz family and the Reynolds truly begin over 400 years ago? Is it encoded in both our genomes? Or did the Vogel brothers just make an error when copying the Unz Journal?
Since no survivors of The Lost Colony at Roanoke were ever discovered, we may never know. There is one nagging thought. Ronald Reynolds or whatever his name, was an Englishman. How would he know what Lingonberries tasted like? And Lars Unz was described by school friends as very gullible.........
Blood Descendant of the Inventor of Snus, Lars Unz (on my mother's side...it's a long story)
With Much Gratitude to V2 Tobacco and reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org
You can READ customer reviews of Thunder UNZ here.