Thursday, 23 September 2010 12:34

Kardus Superior Blend 2010 snus - the best Kardus snus yet?

Written by Larry Waters
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Rare limited editions designed to showcase the finest ideal version of a product exists in many markets. Impossible to mass-produce or to even be profitable, these products are lovingly made Best in ShowKardus 2010 on-board releases where the only limits are in the mind of the designers. In the world of Swedish snus, we have Kardus Superior Blend Snus by Swedish Match. Since 2005, Kardus has represented the shining example of the finest snus in the world. A mere 500 boxes of Kardus Superior Blend are produced each year, traditionally released in November.

Reading the story of each year's Kardus is more fascinating year after year. Conny Andersson, the man at Swedish Match entrusted with creating Kardus (among a lot of other things) seems determined to out-do himself with each Kardus release. No detail is too small...even the box must carry the theme for each Kardus release. This year, it took Swedish Match 16 pages to deliver the full Kardus 2010 Story. Granted they are small pages but 16 still sounds like a lot.  The story is fascinating and a good number of the pages are pictures, making it a quick read as well. The Kardus 2010 Story also saves me from having to repeat much of it here which earns Swedish Match my gratitude....probably yours too.

The tobacco, Ranjangan Pakpie Karang Jati, is from Java. It is lower in nicotine than we are accustom to, but has exceptional taste. The tobacco is harvested leaf by leaf during the growing cycle and only the middle leaves are taken and used in Kardus Superior Blend 2010. Wow. And if that isn't enough, the leaves themselves are cut in the Ranjangan Way; hand cut into long fine shreds and dried on bamboo mats in the hot sun. This year's Kardus is flavored with Arrack from Java as well.

Conny described the taste of Kardus 2010 to our friend Chad Jones as "exotic, fruity and spicy, fresh and sweet-sour. Complex with balanced bitterness and saltiness. It reminds a bit of ripe tamarind with tangible UNAMI-notes and clear hints of dark chocolate. Arrack enhances the rich sweetness and makes it even rounder."

If you find yourself at a complete loss in imagining how Kardus 2010 will taste after reading the above, you are not alone. I consider my palette well traveled, but even after 2 years in Asia and the Philippines during the 1970's, I have no memory of Arrack and no idea how it tastes. That doesn't mean I never tried it; it could mean I tried it too much.

It seems Arrack is the most popular drink in Sri Lanka but the Indonesian version used in Kardus 2010, Batavia Arrack, is made completely differently. It is sugar cane and rice based and is called the "rum of Asia". As a side note, the Philippines version (also completely different from the Indonesian version) is marketed in several flavors such as mango, blueberry, bubblegum, and cinnamon among others in an effort to appeal to all age groups.  Where is FDA when you need it?   I'm guessing Sri Lanka and Indonesia consider the Philippines version to be the Camel SNUS of Arrack.

Add to the mix a tobacco whose finest leaves are cut in the mysterious  Ranjangan Way.  UNAMI notes, unless they are the same as UMAMI notes, are a complete unknown to me.  Either way, how they will contribute to the taste is yet to be discovered. Said to be richer than Kardus 2009 (which I loved), combined with Conny's description of the taste leaves my taste-buds dazed, confused, yet strangely excited with anticipation.

And then we come to the Tamarind.....

Kardus 2010 and what the heck is a Tamarind?

One of the interesting aspects to Americans discovering Swedish Snus are the natural flavorings used. In the beginning was the Bergamot which is used in many varieties of snus. As a typical American, I had no idea what a Bergamot fruit was.  I still don't know if they grow on trees, vines, or bushes. I had hoped to see and taste a bergamot when I was in Sweden last year, but was told they were out of season. Not sure if I beleive that now...more likely bergamots are a State Secret.

With Goteborgs Rape' No.2 White Portion snus we had to contend with something called a Lingonberry. They are also known as cowberries by some which wasn't a big help in anticipating the flavor of this snus when it first came out.

And now with Kardus 2010, we have Tamarinds. Coming primarily from Africa and Mexico, even after researching I could not figure out what they would taste like. The SnusCENTRAL Bunker is hidden in Texas so a trip down to Mexico was not out of the question. Once we found we could not enter Mexico driving the heavily armored and lethal SnusCENTRAL Assault Tank, that trip was ruled out for security reasons.

With Bergamot and Lingonberries behind us, 2010's Kardus and its Tamarind...whatever a tamarind is...will also be a horticultural adventure with a fascinating historical twist.

Shipwrecks and Snus

Kardus 2010 The porcelain shards embedded in the Kardus box this year come from the cargo of the ill-fated final voyage of the East Indiaman Gotheborg which sank in 1745 and was salvaged in 1905. After spending 8 months in Java due to weather, the East Indiaman Gotheborg reached Sweden on September 12th, 1745. Actually, it would be more accurate to say "almost" reached Sweden.

As the ship prepared to enter Gothenburg's harbor and to the horror of the people waiting to greet it, the East Indiaman Gotheborg hits an underwater rock and sinks. The crew was rescued but the near-sighted/drunk/suicidal (I don't know the real answer) pilot on board the ship must have had some serious explaining to do. I must add that despite what some incompetent historians have written, the last name of the pilot was not Unz!

And thus 250+ year old porcelain shards, Java, Gothenburg, Arrack, tobacco, and Swedish history all come together as Kardus Superior Blend 2010.

Will this prove to be the finest edition of Kardus produced to date?  Kardus 2010 became available for Pre-Order yesterday.  Delivery is still set for the first week of November.  Those of us lucky enough to be among the 500 who get to experience Kardus Superior Blend 2010 will find out...once we figure out tamarind and arrack.

Salivating already,

LARRY WATERSGreat Seal of the Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for




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