Sunday 25 January 2015

RIP Edgar Froese, 1944-2015.
"There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address"

Wednesday 24 July 2013

My Smoking Shop in Preston, Lancashire

Just a few photos taken on a recent visit to My Smoking Shop in Preston, Lancashire. Unprepossessing on the outside, being part of an old cotton mill, it is everything a good tobacconists should be on the inside.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Nice Quote

A simple post for today.

A quote from C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Food for thought...

Sunday 12 May 2013


I wrote the following review of FUBAR Grunt, made by Dholakia Tobacco in India for the Mr Snuff online snuff shop, four years ago, in 2009. Grunt seemed to be quite a decent snuff back then. I gave it three stars.

"Grunt is as fine and dry as a toast or scotch and with an even higher nicotine level but it does have quite remarkable differences to either of those styles of snuff. Although essentially a plain snuff it does have a distinct coconut flavour which almost masks that of the tobacco. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. In fact far from it. This deserves to be quite a classic in its own right."
Even the art on the plastic tub is cheesy!
So I decided to get another tub recently, expecting the same quality. That turned out to be very bad idea. What I now have resembles nothing more than an over-full, week old, stinking ashtray. And that is just from the aroma. The snuff is of medium-fine grind, medium-dry moisture level and a rich brown colour. Doesn't sound too bad, does it? Sadly I can only force myself to take a single nostril pinch, purely to discover whether that fag ash reek is just as unpleasant in the nose, and I am afraid to say that it is no better. Perhaps I should borrow the idea that the Swedes came up with in the 18th century, who, finding the tobacco available to them to be third or second rate at best, added citrus flavourings and various herbs to disguise the poor quality of the snuff they produced. In doing so they invented snus which is still going strong. However, I think this 25g tub of Grunt is beyond redemption and will end up in the bin. Or maybe I should scatter it on my newly seeded bits of lawn to deter the local felines, but I wouldn't want the RSPCA knocking on my door accusing me of abusing cats.... 

Now it gets just one star. After all, it is still tobacco and there is a decent dose of nicotine in there.

At least Dholakia produce plenty of other snuffs which are very good.

Saturday 6 April 2013

A Hilliard & Thomason Snuff Box from 1899

While I'm on a roll (and these things do seem to come in threes...) here another recent acquisition. It's a late Victorian snuff box made by Hilliard & Thomason of Birmingham and hallmarked for 1899.
It measures 70mm x 40mm, 16mm deep and weighs a respectable 56g. Although the internal gilding is a little worn it is still a superb looking box and doesn't seem to leak snuff at all.

Thursday 4 April 2013

A Birth Year Silver Snuff Box

I have long had a hankering for a birth year silver snuff box to match the birth year Peterson pipe I already have. This little beauty finally ended the wait. Made by Deakin & Francis of Birmingham and hallmarked for 1956 this box is in remarkably good condition, better condition than I am in at the same age in fact!  It measures 6.2cm by 4.5cm and is 1.2cm deep with a weight of 43g. The hinge is in perfect condition allowing the box to close properly.
 The style is distinctly Georgian and I do especially like its simple, curved form, free from the typical excesses of Victorian decoration, The vendor I bought it from said that it is an exact copy of a design from c. 1780 and I have no reason to doubt that.
 On top of everything else, it seems to be thoroughly snuff proof as well with not a hint of a leak. A box to cherish.

Friday 22 March 2013

Wilson's Of Sharrow Dynamite

About time we had a new post here...

Just picked up a tin of the new Dynamite snuff from direct from Wilson's of Sharrow (along with 1/2 lb each of Brunswick, Natural and IHT No. 22).

But this is about the Dynamite.
One small pinch of this stuff and your nose will believe it actually belongs to Sir Ranulph Fiennes, trekking across Antarctica in the middle of winter...

And I took that pinch several hours ago. I can still feel the effect!

Ow! Just took another pinch. Purely in the interests of science of course. Well, snuff review writing anyway.

So... it's medium snuff, relatively dark (due to the moisture I reckon, this tin being fresh), and once you get past the freeze-burn of the industrial quantities of menthol there is quite a decent tobacco to be found. Dynamite makes Hedges L260 seem like a right wimp! I expect I'll enjoy it a lot more once I've toned down the menthol by diluting the snuff with something plain and menthol free. I have no doubt the noses of the menthol lovers will rejoice at the availability of this new offering from Wilson's, but I suspect I might not be buying it again.

Now I'd better go and dunk my nose in a snowdrift to warm it up a bit.