The heating system in our house worked, but my room was the always the coldest in the place. I laid back down in my bed; freezing from hanging out the window practically naked. I plugged in my hair dryer and warmed myself up. I laid there on my back, staring at the ceiling with a blank mind hoping that the hum of the hair dryer and the warmth would put me to sleep.
It was at this point of warming semi-consciousness a strange chill came upon me. Even with the heat of the hair dryer, I began to shiver. I shut it off and stayed still with my eyes pressed firmly shut. Then my bed moved. Not a small squeak or roll, but it MOVED. The head of my bed slammed violently against the wall behind my head. I pressed my eyelids even tighter and my muscles froze. Once again, my bed slammed against the wall, only this time I felt an ominous presence that radiated straight through my bones.
I was cold, yet I was sweating. I was shaking, yet I couldn't move a muscle. I finally forced myself to open my eyes. It took a second for them to clear, but what they instantly focused onto makes me wish that I had never opened them in the first place!
There was a ghastly figure with blood-red eyes, a face that would make Freddy Krueger look like a character from Sesame Street, and these fingers... The fingers were were on these gangly, outstretched arms as if trying to scratch my face. They were gnarled and had these black talons that looked like they could slice through flesh like a hot knife through butter.
I tried closing my eyes again, but even with my eyes shut, I could still see those red eyes piercing my soul. I opened my eyes again only to find my phantom visitor face to face with me. I wanted to close my eyes again and pretend that this was not happening, but I was so incapacitated by fear that all I could to is watch. The phantom whispered a few things that I could not understand, and then, just like that, the apparition floated upwards... Still parallel to my paralyzed body, it vanished through the ceiling. The last thing I remember are those hands. They were still reaching out as if they were trying to grab me as they vanished through the ceiling.
...14 years later...
Sitting at work with a lip full of Copenhagen and a pack of cigarettes in my pocket, I felt that I absolutely had to give up these damn sticks that had been a vice in my life since the age of 10. I started doing some research on "healthy" tobacco and I came up with some YouTube videos of a fella who quit smoking using Swedish Snus. This was the ticket!
...2 years ago...
I received my first order of snus from Sweden. It was Offroad Cranberry. I loved the taste, but the portions made me angry. I immediately placed my first order of lös (loose snus) along with a 3ml IceTool. When my order arrived, I was suddenly jerked back in time to that horrible night and that same paralyzed feeling that I had 14 years ago.
As I peered into the magical yellow envelope, I saw something that I had only heard about before... There was a Phantom in my bag, and that scared the crap out of me. I had read so many reviews telling me to run and hide from this stuff. I decided to try it, and being new to snus at the time (and knowing nothing about loose snus), I promptly spit out the Phantom and threw away the can. I was afraid of the phantom, and I wasn't going to let all the ghost stories I had read destroy my loose snus experience.
...3 months later...
At this point, I had become a self-proclaimed loose snus master. I could hand-bake, I could bonde, I could wear a pris of loose snus while working in front of people with the same cleanliness and comfort of a portion. Then I started realizing that I just did not like any of the flavors that I was tasting.
Could it be that I was being haunted? Something following me around preventing me from truly enjoying the full experience? There was! And it was a Phantom menace! I ordered a few cans of Phantom Classic loose snus and decided to confront my fears face-to-face.
This time around was a whole new chapter. The grind was coarse, yet it stayed together better than any loose snus I had ever used. The flavor was raw, yet sweet. A natural, earthy tobacco coupled with an incredibly bold citrus. Not just a hint of citrus, but an amazingly bold flavor.
The earthy tobacco, coupled with the bold citrus was like heaven for my taste buds. As it warmed up under my lip, the citrus began to give off a slightly salty, yet sweet taste. The flavors balanced out so perfectly that I immediately realized that the Phantom was not something to be feared, but rather something I yearned for.
...Several rolls later...
I remember it being a busy day at work. I had probably gone through about 1/3-1/2 a can of Phantom when I finally got a chance to check my e-mail. What was going on to make my beloved Phantom so sad that it had become Blue? I remember reading the announcement and then posting and reading about it on the forums. No one on the forums wanted to man-up and order at this point because there was an image of Phantom portions being quite hard to appreciate. I jumped on this opportunity and immediately ordered a few cans.
...One week later...
It is that feeling of Christmachaunakwanzika! You open the mailbox and there, shining like a shiny present, is that yellow bag. This time, as I saw the bag, I also noticed an interesting scent. The 100 degree weather had baked my Phantom Blue in my mailbox releasing this scent almost akin to Windex. It did not smell bad, but rather fresh. The smell gave me that same feeling that you get when you take your favorite shirt out of the dryer and it has that warm, sweet-smelling caress that that shirt has given you for years. The smell of the Phantom Blue made me feel like I had a new best friend.
...One hour later...
Freshly chilled, I opened my first can. The smell still reminded me of a certain Windex-like freshness. Being used to rather large amounts of loose snus, I immediately popped two portions. The initial taste hooked me immediately. There was a certain sweetness at first, but it quickly mellowed into an amazing balance of flavors. There was a sweet citrus, there was an earthy tobacco, there was a plethora of herbal notes that danced across my tongue like a naughty club girl listening to Paul Oakenfold spin a hot record.
I continued to use nothing but Phantom Blue portions for the next few days until I got yet another e-mail. It was a dream come true... A loose Phantom Blue Snus?! I immediately ordered a roll, and a week later it was time.
...Time for what?...
Once in my life I feared the Phantom. Now I had become one with the phantom. Many people called me nuts, but slowly and surely, my voice began to spread among the web forums. I had an open offer to anyone willing to try Phantom Blue that I would buy it from them if they did not enjoy it.
Over the past year or so, I have only received rejected Blue from two people. In comparison to the couple people who rejected the Blue, the Phantom Movement had grown in droves! If you haven't tried it yet, you are not fully experiencing snus!
...Fast forward many months...
The continued success of my friends over at V2 tobacco, coupled with an aggressive customer-based R&D business model has brought more and more people around the world into the Phantom Movement. Or maybe some were more interested in Offroad travel. Either which way you dice it, there was still one thing that kept looming over my favorite brand.
Unlike myself, many people prefer portion snus over loose snus, but the Phantom was an abrasive fellow. He travelled Offroad regularly, and the road was rough. People these days prefer a soft ride. Thankfully for those people, the automotive industry (V2) had found a new source for smooth-riding suspension (portion material) and the last complaint no longer had ground to stand on.
Phantom Classic and Phantom Blue were amazing in loose form, and had finally shed their "rough-rider" image and success was imminent.
...Success equals what?...
With the success of Phantom Classic, Phantom Blue, and the Thunder that echoed with every step that the Phantom took, my friends over at V2 were able to dig deep into the coin purse of life and upgrade their entire production line.
A small company started by two brothers now holding a respectable share of a market dominated by monsters rose up like an apparition... a Phantom of the snus world, leaving a mark never to be forgotten. It became an image seared into the mind of every snus user just like the claws that vanished through my ceiling as a boy. Phantom Snus is always on my mind.
...What happens when a Classic gets depressed?....
You may call it the bastard child of Phantom Classic, you may call it the the love of Phantom Blue's life... You and I call it Phantom Brown Snus. I had read reviews of this snus done by long-time Phantom haters calling it absolutely brilliant. You may call it the "Einstein" of the Phantom line. I did not think that this phantom would be able to haunt me like the rest; How wrong I was! This phantom is unlike any other.
Phantom Brown is rich and earthy, it is highly enjoyable while remaining unobtrusive. The flavor is that of your favorite pure tobacco mega-brand, coupled with a hint of rich, chocolaty smokiness. But just when you thought you had found the perfect snus, in comes yet another trait that blends so perfectly you would think it were made by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie during the most perfect naughty-time ever.
As the snus warms under your lip, it begins to radiate it's mothers' traits. A faint, yet noticeable hint of juniper adds a welcome sweetness to the smoky, earthy traits contributed by it's father Phantom Classic. The Phantom that invoked my fear of ghosts for the first time since my first taste of Phantom Snus had dissipated into what has become my daily staple.
All of these varieties have become available in a new White Portion. For the first time ever I can say that the portion is just as enjoyable as the loose snus version.
My name is Xobeloot, and I have been haunted by multiple phantoms for years. Do not be afraid, for what originally scared me into paralysis is now the Guardian Angel that guides me every step of the way. I thank you V2 for remaining true to the consumer, keeping the flavors fresh, original, and not succumbing to the monsters that haunt the little guys of the snus industry.