All three of the new Jakobsson's made-for-America products are high nicotine: 14mg/g. Gotlandssnus uses sodium carbonate (the infamous E500) in their products to raise pH levels and helps to increase free nicotine levels (the nicotine your body can actually absorb) This is a good thing for the nicotine addicted wishing to quit cigarettes entirely or significantly reduce their use...or any tobacco user looking for a bigger nicotine hit without the cigarette risk.
Unlike Swedish snus, American pseudo-snus like Camel SNUS and especially Marlboro Snus intentionally minimize bio-available nicotine. They market their 'snus' as something to fill in for cigarettes until you can light up again.
In addition to removing 4 grams of snus from each can, another cost cutting move by Gotlandssnus seems to be the tobacco used. In the past, the Jakobssons snus line was flavored with a rare tobacco native to Gotland: Alida. Like Taboca A/S which adds a very small amount of Cuban tobacco to it's Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta snuses, the Alida tobacco enhanced the character of the Jakobssons snuses. Unlike the Cuban tobacco, Alida is also legal within the United States so Americans could enjoy it too.
In the latest product sheets Gotlandssnus provided on the full Jakobssons line, all say "Tobacco 100% Foreign". On the Gotlandssnus website, the word any mention of Alida tobacco has been removed from the Jakobsson's snus products.....but is still proudly touted when speaking about the Gotlandssnus brand products.
Foreign tobacco is not bad thing - with the exception of the rare Alida tobacco, Sweden produces very little tobacco and all tobacco products manufacturers there rely on tobacco from around the globe. The type, quality and grade of the tobacco among other things are of the most importance.
Having established that however, if you took the Cuban tobacco completely out of Montecristo Snus, it would be Taboca Snus. The recipes are virtually identical otherwise. I don't know if the removal of the expensive Alida tobacco from Jakobssons is as striking as in the case of Montecristo and Taboca. I do know it definitely appears to have a taste impact.
Jimmy Karlssson of Gotlandssnus AB assured me that while the Alida tobacco may be gone, the tobacco and other ingredients used in the Jakobsson's snus products were of the highest quality and even more expensive than what was previously purchased. There is another reason the Classic and the new Classic Strong taste so different.
Jakobsson's Mint Strong Portion Snus
The Jakobsson's Strong Mint Portion Snus has an interesting flavor. For those of you already using mint snuses like General Large Mint White Portion or Thunder Frosted ES Portion snus, there is an herbal finish which will throw your taste-buds into confusion when first sampled. It is not a positive flavor nor does it complement the mint.
If you can get past the first portion or two, it does become interesting. Jakobsson's Strong Mint does have the potential to become quite addicting. This will not be a love it or hate it snus....it will be one some learn to love or won't bother wooing. I have to admit that once I got over my dislike of the first two portions, I became somewhat fond of it. If you like mint snuses in general, this is worth trying but keep an open mind.
Jakobsson's Strong Classic Portion Snus
Jakobsson's Classic Portion Snus has been a long-time favorite of mine. It's recipe is also used in the very popular tobacco and nicotine free snus Gotlandssnus makes: Tobak & Nikotinfri.
Being a lover of nicotine, I had great hopes for Classic Strong Portion. My hope and expectation was that it would have the same Jakobssons Classic taste (perhaps a little stronger) with the higher nicotine. Not for the first time when a Swedish snus manufacturer issued a high-nicotine version of an existing snus, I was very disappointed with Jakobssons Classic Strong Portion.
There was an initial sweetness which was totally inappropriate to the flavor profile and the taste was otherwise unimpressive. While I will continue to enjoy my pre-PACT Act freezer stock of Jakobsson's Classic Portion, the new Classic Strong Portion and it's 20 portions per can leaves me cold. Is this because of the removal of the Alita tobacco?
Jimmy Karlsson addressed my concerns on this as well. He stated that in turning the Jakobsson's Classic regular nicotine snus into a high-level nicotine strong snus, it was necessary to change the Classic recipe. I'm both relieved and disappointed; relieved that the Classic Portion should taste the same (sans the Alida tobacco) but disappointed at what the Jakobsson's Classic Strong Portion turned out to be.
I will pick up a fresh can of Jakobsson's Classic Portion while in Sweden next week to see if the taste has changed with the new tobacco mix now being used. Hopefully, any change will be for the good. That recipe truly is a "classic".
If you love strong snuses, there are much better traditional ones already on the market like General Extra Sterk, General Long Sterk, the Skruf stark/Xtra stark offerings, and a few others. You may want to try a can of Jakobssons Classic Strong for yourself, but don't buy a roll until you taste it. You can't assume that your like/dislike of Jakobsson's Classic Portion will impact what you think of the new Strong version.
Jakobsson's Wintergreen Strong Portion Snus
I am not what you call a fan of any Wintergreen snus so I don't like to recommend or not recommend any of them. The only thing I can report on is, as a non-fan of Wintergreen, is how long I am able to keep a portion in my mouth before I have to spit it out in disqust. Most don't make it to a full minute.
I've only been able to keep in and tolerate two wintergreen flavored snuses so far: Camel Winterchill SNUS and Jakobsson's Wintergreen Strong portion snus. I managed to keep both in for over a half hour.
Is this good or is this bad? That you will have to decide for yourself. It could be the wintergreen snuses I spit out quickly are actually the most accurate tasting while the Camel and Jakobsson's are not, or visa versa. I've never used wintergreen dip and have no personal concept of what "the perfect wintergreen" is supposed to taste like. Jakobsson's Strong Wintergreen is a popular choice at the SnusCENTRAL Snus Store so that must speak positively of it.
Jakobssons Strong Wintergreen is certainly a much milder tasting snus than a General Wintergreen. Again, I have no idea if that's a good or bad thing. If you are a fan of Wintergreen snus, the Jakobsson's is certainly worth trying. I'll probably even finish the can of Jakobsson's Strong Wintergreen eventually since Gotlandssnus AB does make REAL Swedish snus.
Conversely, I wasn't comfortable enough with the manufacturing process or ingredients of the Camel Winterchill SNUS to subject my body to a full 15 portions of it. I did keep the can...kudos to Reynolds for marketing very attractive new Camel SNUS cans. For the sake of the environment, Reynolds really needs to add a catch lid on the bottom to store used snus however. Streets littered with cigarette butts give a negative enough impression. We don't need to add used snus portion litter into the mix.
The Jakobsson name and Gotlandssnus's quality have made it one of the more popular Internet boutique snus lines today. I hope this apparent change in the business model in response to the US market does not end up reflecting poorly on both.
Enjoy your REAL Swedish snus,
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org