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Mr.Snuff-Purveyor of the finest quality snuffs, chew, snus and snuff accessories.

Ammonia and rehydration.

Recently I raised the topic of adding ammonia to snuff as a preservative.   The  encyclopaedia entry that I read was from around 1900. 

Has anyone tried rehydrating old snuff with water and ammonia or just ammonia on its own ?

The reason that I am pondering it is I have read here that some people end up with mouldy snuff after their attempts at rehydration. I was thinking that the ammonia fumes might retard the growth of moulds.


  • If you properly rehydrate, you shouldn't have an issue with mold. Indirect rehydration is the key.
  • Don't bother. Passively hydrate the snuff, you should be fine. Ammonia is only used as a preservative. It is the reason why some freshly opened snuffs smell "off".
  • edited December 2016 PM
    I always assumed that the ammonia smell was from recent or continuing fermentation of the tobacco. Ammonia is a byproduct of fermentation, that's why in snuff that's been sitting on the shelf for a while the smell is either reduced or absent altogether.

    As to rehydrating with ammonia, it seems to me that it would be far more difficult and dangerous than it's worth. Just go with indirect rehydration.
  • cpmcdillcpmcdill Member
    edited December 2016 PM
    Some snuffmakers add a few granules of food grade Ammonium Carbonate (Baker's Ammonia) per ounce of tobacco during initial milling. It seems that in some instances it was traditionally used to make stale old tobaccos seem fresher and of higher quality. As a preservative, I'm not convinced. I've had tobacco reeking of ammonia develop mold.

    I would not use liquid ammonia in snuff, as it's not food grade and probably has the wrong pH.

    If you want to add Ammonium carbonate to an already milled snuff, which I have not done before, it will probably alter the character for better or worse. Either re-mill the dry snuff with a few granules, then passively rehydrate, or dissolve granules in water, then add in and mix a few drops at a time, without milling. Experiment with small quantities, as it's too easy to cross the line with the ammonia.

    There are some who add Ammonium Chloride, which is also called Salmiac. A different scent characteristic, but not unknown in snuffs.

  • I tent to try and not re-hydrate too large amounts at once, typically a few days max at a time. The indirect method if used in a 25g toque tin will hydrate the snuff from dry to medium-high in about 6-8 hours, I typically leave it overnight then its right to go in the morning. It is mostly Artisan snuff you come across issues with mold while re-hydrating. 
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