With Swedish Match releasing their first 20mg/gram nicotine snus; Lab Series 06, and V2 Tobacco's pending release of Thunder RAW Ultra Strong Frosted Snus, I've decided it was time to visit the super high nicotine Ultra Strong snuses personally.
This quest began in article Beyond Extra Strong which focused on why the Ultra Strong snuses needed to be broken out of the Extra Strong snus category It also focused on the lack of a common standard as to how the nicotine levels of portion snus are rated for consumers.
I haven't been the biggest fan of GNT regarding production methods, taste, and a marketing plan based on offering the highest nicotine snus available in the past. With some trepidation, my last snus order contained one can each of Odens Extreme Portion Snus and Odens Extreme 59 Cinnamon Portion Snus. They have sat in my snus chiller mocking me each time I opened the door. Finally, on October 7th, I broke the seals and tried my first portion of Odens Extreme.
I admit to being pleasantly surprised by the Odens Extreme Portion. It's not a subtle snus. The taste is overwhelming black pepper followed by tobacco. As time goes by, that flavor profile remains without evolving until the portion finally starts to fade out 30 minutes or so later.
Once I understood that, I found Extreme Portion to be a pleasant medium bodied snus I enjoyed. The highest complement I can pay Extreme is that I finished the entire can; not because I had to for this article, but because I enjoyed the taste.
The physical can itself was a modified version of their Old Viking Snus hockey puck cans and did not have a catch lid. I am not fond of portion snus cans without catch lids.
Fortunately, GNT has unveiled a new can for Odens Extreme which has both a smaller profile and a catch lid. The graphics are attractive and the new cans meet my bar-worthy test: if you were at a bar looking to meet someone new, would you leave this can on the bar or hide it in your pocket?
There are more elegant cans on the market; Swedish Match has bar-worthy down to a science while Skruf AB exhibits the best of Scandinavian Minimalism with their equally bar-worthy cans. None the less, the new Oden's cans are attractive.
The Extreme portions were plump, moist, and very comfortable in the mouth. Despite the high nicotine, there was no gum burn. However GNT managed to achieve that, they did very well. Bottom line: Oden's EXTREME Portion Snus is a snus I will order again in the future as an occasional use snus.
The Oden's Extreme 59 I was disappointed in. Having used the Odens Classic Extra Strong Cinnamon Portion snus, I was expecting a similar strong cinnamon taste. It wasn't there. Even the aroma only hinted at cinnamon.
It's not a bad snus per se, it's just not what you would expect from a cinnamon-centric snus. Extreme 59 is I think a first attempt by GNT at making a more complex and nuanced flavored snus. They still have a lot of work to do in achieving this, but I applaud the attempt even though I won't finish the can of 59.
Extreme 59 also has a bitterness to it; either from the nicotine or the tobacco used (or both). This is hidden by pepper in the Extreme portion but evident in the Extreme 59. This is not a snus I personally would buy again but everyone's taste buds are different. Just be forewarned: don't expect an Oden's Classic Cinnamon experience with Extreme 59.
The nicotine side of the Extreme equation is another issue. The initial nicotine hit from Oden's Extreme didn't feel any different than other Extra Strong snuses. What was different was the amount of Extreme portions I could chain snus one after another. Three was about as high as I could go before feeling too jittery to continue. As a wake-up snus, after two portions in a row combined with a mug of coffee, I was feeling uncomfortably awake.
In fairness, I generally don't chain snus Extra Strong portions let alone Ultra Strong snus here at the SnusCentral Bunker. I save that for social situations, physical activities, and for when my cognitive functions require the maximum optimization at 3AM which science now proves nicotine can provide. My usual daily rotation is a mix of Strong, Extra Strong and Regular strength portions. The Extra Strong members of my rotation are there primarily because I enjoy how they taste; not just for the nicotine.
People do tolerate nicotine differently. Keep in mind especially when chain snusing that you will be raising your nicotine blood levels quicker than your body can metabolize and eliminate the nicotine from your system. I don't recommend double barrelling any Extra Strong or Ultra Strong snus especially when chain-snusing. Nicotine, like any legal substance, can be very dangerous if too much is ingested at one time. Snus often but safely.
Odens Extreme Portion snus is a significant step up for GNT in terms of flavor. It's not knocking at the door of any of the premium snuses in this regard, but is different enough to stand out and tasty enough to be enjoyable if not chain snusing.
It holds up very well in the budget snus category. Stepping the nicotine down to a regular or strong version of the same recipe would be a welcome addition to the Oden's line which I would use more frequently than I'm physically able to with the Ultra Strong version.
The Extreme 59 I would consider a work in progress. Hopefully as time goes by, GNT snus recipes will continue to improve in flavor and ultimately complexity. This will require more of an emphasis on the quality of the tobacco used versus how much nicotine the tobacco contains. Taste and quality are ultimately the most important considerations for a snus user. You can always double barrel a great tasting lower nicotine snus, after all.
With the likelihood of a snuser going through an open can of Extreme slower by necessity than a lower nicotine snus, steam pasteurization wouldn't hurt either.
With Oden's Extreme Portion snus, GNT has taken a positive step forward. I look forward to including another can in my next order....if my hands have stopped shaking by then.
Yours in snus,
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org