General Kardus Fäviken 2016; The General Variation Lessons Learned
While not at the Kardus level, this is not the first time Swedish Match has broken the glass protecting Johan A Boman's original General Snus recipe and created alternate versions.
In December 2013 Swedish Match released two new production snuses; General Variation Smokey Oak Portion Snus and General Variation Rustic Blend White Portion Snus. These two snuses were created based on the hypothesis that in an alternate universe, what if Boman had used a slightly different recipe and ingredients in designing the original General Snus?
Commercially, although unique, General Smokey Oak and Rustic Blend were not successful enough to stand on their own merits and Swedish Match announced in August 2015 that both were being delisted.
An easy conclusion to arrive at was that you don't mess with perfection; in this case Johan A Boman's classic General Snus. I don't think it's that simple and with General Kardus Fäviken, we know Swedish Match doesn't either.
Some times you can be too close to a product. The General Variation series was created in-house by Swedish Match blenders. By bringing in Magnus Nilsson, a world recognized chef with an intense appreciation for snus, the Boman recipe was looked at with new eyes. I'm not actually sure Chef Nilsson ever saw the actual General Snus recipe. Anyone who has outside of Swedish Match has never lived to talk about it.
My belief is also that Swedish Match came to the conclusion that varying the Boman recipe within the already rich General Snus production brand was a limiting factor. The annual General Kardus release is a one product stand-alone showcase snus.
The super-premium tobaccos, flavorings, tobacco cut, and manufacturing methods used in Kardus could not be and were never designed for a mass continuous release.
General Brand Manager Carl Egeberg was tasked (no pressure at all) with taking Swedish Match’s defining snus product, General Kardus, to even greater heights for the General Snus 150th anniversary celebration. Considering the above, I believe he along with his colleagues decided on a very different approach to General Kardus 2016....which brings us back to Magnus Nilsson.
Chef Magnus Nilsson at Fäviken Magasinet
Magnus Nilsson is the award-winning chef from Fäviken Magasinet, ranked 25th among the best restaurants in the world, and is a winner of the Global Gastronomy Award from the esteemed White Guide.
With Swedish Match, creator of the finest Swedish snus brands on the market for the last 200 years, and Magnus Nilsson, culinary expert and chef extraordinaire, a collaboration between two very different industries was formed with the goal of creating the finest snus ever made.
This collaboration is not as unlikely as it might seem at first glance. Both Swedish Match and Magnus Nilsson have flavor and the taste experience in common at the World Class level.
Magnus Nilsson’s interest in the Swedish cultural heritage led him to snus in 2009 when he started to deliberate offering snus as a complement to coffee at Fäviken Magasinet.
What at first was an exciting idea soon developed into a serious project for Nilsson. He started reading about snus manufacturing and the product’s cultural significance in Sweden.
While doing so, he came across Swedish Match’s vintage snus Kardus. Is it a coincidence that Kardus 2009 was the finest Kardus ever produced? I think not. I also think we were very lucky that Nilsson's interest in Kardus didn't start in 2012. He may well have not moved forward to the next steps which ultimately led to General Kardus Fäviken 2016
Drawing inspiration from Kardus, Magnus started to experiment with tobacco, consistency and flavor. He purchased Swedish tobacco seeds and started to grow his own tobacco in Fäviken. He has offered his guests his own snus made at Fäviken Magasinet since 2013.
“It’s commonplace to receive requests for various forms of collaborations when you have reached a certain level in this industry, but the General Kardus project really grabbed my attention." says Magnus Nilsson
"It has been stimulating to be given access to Swedish Match’s know-how of the craftsmanship that goes into making snus, and particularly to discuss the selection of raw materials and how to optimally prepare them with Swedish Match Master Blender Lars Öberg. Together, we have developed a snus for the true aficionado”
“For the development of General Kardus Fäviken, we have combined selected parts of General Kardus with Fäviken Magasinet’s snus. The product contains many elements of the process we have used in the production of our own snus here at Fäviken, but we have been able to further refine it using Swedish Match’s snus expertise,” says Magnus Nilsson.
Carl Egeberg added “General Kardus Fäviken has a good balance between Swedish Match’s expertise of manufacturing snus and Magnus’s gastronomical know-how. One example of how this is reflected in the product is that this is the first time we have matured tobacco in oak casks."
Continuing on, Egeberg expanded "the oak casks in which the snus has been matured impart a distinct flavor to the product. Never before have we used tobacco from so many different countries as in this year’s edition of General Kardus, and we are combining this diversity with a local flavor from Jämtland. There is a piece of Fäviken in each and every one of the 3,000 numbered editions of General Kardus Fäviken.”
General Kardus Fäviken 2016 Factoids
- As Carl Egeberg just mentioned, only 3000 numbered editions of General Kardus Fäviken 2016 will be released. Will they all be released this week or like last year, half in December and half in Q1 of the following year? That I do not know as of now.
- The vast majority of the 3000 boxes are allocated to be sold through the Swedish Match Snus Stores in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Strömstad, as well as 90 selected retailers in Sweden beginning today. A very select number of internet snus shops including the legendary SnusCentral.com Snus Shop will also be selling General Kardus Fäviken 2016. If you are an eCustomer, don't wait. Last year, SnusCentral.com sold out their entire allocation in less than 40 minutes.
- To check availability or to buy General Kardus Fäviken 2016 , click this Product Page Link. If it resolves at "No Page Found", you are too late.
- General Kardus Fäviken contains 150 grams of snus, carries a recommended price of SEK 995 and is manufactured in a limited edition of 3,000 numbered cans. I can not reveal what SnusCentral.com's price will be but Moe never sells any at the recommended price. He knows your snus money can only go so far.
- General Kardus Fäviken is a carefully balanced snus with a pronounced taste of the oak barrels in which it was aged, along with notes of wild berries and herbs.
- The tobacco blend of General Kardus Fäviken 2016 has been specially developed and comprises tobacco grown in Fäviken combined with carefully selected tobaccos from plantations in Argentina, the US, India and Guatemala.
- The tobacco in General Kardus Fäviken 2016 is all lamina, meaning that the stalk and midrib is removed and only the finest parts of the leaf are used. The tobacco is then cut into 0.72 mm strips, in a method that is known as single cut. This yields a cut surface that exposes the structure and that imparts a longer-lasting flavor, unlike ordinary loose snus, which is ground.
- For the new snusers out there, like all Kardus Editions, General Kardus Fäviken 2016 is only available as a lös or loose snus.
- General Kardus Fäviken 2016 is packaged in a hand-made pewter, where the snus continues to mature. Optimal flavor is achieved after about eight to 12 weeks, after which the flavor profile changes, but the snus can naturally be enjoyed long afterwards.
Just how good a snus is General Kardus Fäviken 2016? My box will be going out today or tomorrow in my next Swedish Snus Ambassador Diplomatic Pouch. Thank you to Peter and Jonas for negotiating that. A very special thanks also to Maja Dahlberg without whom this article could not have been so timely published.
I will be back with a review, maybe even a video one, later this week. Since Thanksgiving is over and we're in December......
God Jul och ett Gott Nytt Snus År!
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org