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Sir Walter Scott snuff: background.

Hi can anyone tell me a bit more about the makers of this artisan snuff like who makes it and where? I have bought a few tins from The Pipe Shop in Leith and it is absolutely lovely. I can't find any provenance on the company anywhere however.


  • I may be wrong, but I thought I had heard it was a very small operation, maybe even one man. I have not heard very much background on SWS, though it would be nice to hear some history of the company. They seem to make exceptional product.
  • matteobmatteob Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    I think it might be Sir John Scott actually after a bit of digging. A writer and countryside campaigner here in the UK. I thought Sir Walter Scott was a brand name exploiting the Scottish connection, Ivanhoe writer etc.
  • AamonAamon Member
    I remember reading this post from ArtChoo with some interesting history.
  • chrischris Member
    You are correct @matteob

    AFAIK it is just Sir Johnny producing wonderful snuff in small quantities - there has never been any mention of him having any helpers or staff.

    He is a member here - user name
  • matteobmatteob Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    Ahhhh ok this is the chap who used to be with Clarissa Dickinson-Wright on TV I presume? I love his Lundy Foot and Creme de Figue snuffs. He must use good tobacco as I find my other snuffs a bit lacking in comparison. As I say I had to dig a bit as he goes by Johnny not Walter. It was the bt after his name that did it. As i say I thought it was just a brand name. Are the larger 50g tins being made still?

  • Johnny AKA Sir Walter Scott was just a snuffhouse member just like Nigel{Abraxas} And the late Chef Daniels USA {Old Mill}  before they started making snuff. They did their research homework and started blending tobacco's with trial and error, until they perfected their craft. With the new UK regulations it is almost impossible to get raw leaf tobacco ; Which will put an end to the smaller operations. Abraxas has already hung up his operation. 

    There are other members here perfecting their crafts , Like Hitsuzen {OSP},  Cobguy ,  Michibacy {Gadsden} .
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • I hope Sir Johnny does not hang up his operations. He seems to be able to locate and use top quality tobaccos from around the world. I have looked at Abraxas snuff but fairly limited range of flavours on here not to my taste. Sir Johnny produces several that I could not be without tbh.
  • Buy in bulk now, then. You may not have much time left to stock up.
  • Has Nigel packed it in, then? Ah, too bad. A magician.
  • matteobmatteob Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    That bad? So what do the bigger makers of snuff use: Wilsons, Gawitt, Torque etc? I will have to look into this. Which UK Regulations ban raw leaf tobacco? I'm not an expert to be honest, It sounds like such regs will kill all small UK tobacco blenders and cigar makers no matter what the size. Snuff soon a thing of the past? All I can find is that whole leaf tobacco is now subject to duty. That would not kill off a product but just make it more expensive. That can be passed on to the buyer. I would be happy to pay this.
  • Gawith buys there tobacco already ground by Poschl,  then they flavor it and tin it . I'm sure the big guys can sort though the red tape of bureaucracy with lawyers on retainer.   
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • HitsuzenHitsuzen Administrator, Moderator
    Unfortunately, SWS has also hung up the towel. Here's his last post:
  • matteobmatteob Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    Hmmm so Gawith snuffs are not ground "using the oldest machinery still in use in the UK then?" Some misleading marketing there then and that totally kills the mystique for me of the company: Traditional British using time old methods and equipment. it means they are little more than processors.

    That is extremely sad. I can only get Creme de Figue in 15g now anyway. But honestly I have studied this Regulation in some depth and most countries have opted out of the cross border sales prohibition so I honestly don't know what the problem is. If the tobacco is coming from outside the EU buy it, pay your Duty and then make. your snuff. I would say it is the testing regs that have probably done for these two artisans. What a shame. I am into wet shaving as well and the Uak has several "one man band" artisan soap makers who still have to get their products through cosmetic toxicity testing and do so to serve their customers. I guess it is a case of "sod this" with these gents: too much grief.
  • matteobmatteob Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    Do Toque buy their tobacco pre ground too. It seems there is a lot of double standards over EU law implementation. The sooner we are freed from their legislation the better tbh.
  • AFAIK Gawith Conglomerate are atill milling their own, but they are acting distributors for Poesch Tobacco and in limited range for Kohlhase und Kopp (Robert McConnell and Rattray's pipe tobacco).
    Unfortunately plenty of misleading informations are lurking trough this forums these days. Jack
  • @ JackGraves At Kendal, the two Gawith families mirror the Wilsons in having split
    into two companies well over 100 years ago. Samuel Gawith, a totally
    independent company trading since the early 1790s works amicably
    alongside Gawith Hoggarth and the two buy snuff from one another, even
    though Samuel Gawith admits they are fighting for a share of an ever
    declining market.

    "There is no record as to how the Gawith brothers split but whatever
    reasons there were seemed to have been forgotten," said a spokesman for
    Samuel Gawith.

    The main difference between the companies today is in trading. "We are
    rather bigger and all our snuff is now imported from Alois Poschl in
    Germany," says John Gawith, chairman and md of Gawith Hoggarth. "The
    company makes our base snuff after which we apply the flavours and
    blend them together."

    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • JackGraveJackGrave Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    @basement_shaman Gawith Hoggarth Ltd and Samuel Gawith & Co. has been merged by late March 2016. So then now there is no need to buy tobacco flour abroad (for GH operations) if could be made inhouse. As article in your post is from year 1999 so infoemations in it are (IMHO) a wee bit out-dated. They keep separate cataloques (and recipees) but they are made under same roof.
  • Just read that the stuff is made on a modern business park since merger and all the old Sam Gawith machinery is still at the old works. That is progress I suppose. Don't like the idea of Germans choosing the tobacco type and grade though. Nothing racist just different tastes. I am very sad that Johnny has quit. My friends at the Pipe Shop In Edinburgh says it is made in an 18th century snuff mill. I am not sure. Sadly Brexit is going to come too late but I think domestic law will be hard too. EU tends to be more punitive as they have armies of bureaucrats to justify the existence of and who make sure to dot every i
  • Matteob,

    I PM'd you last night.
    Should be in your In Box.

  • Thank you Sir I have replied via email.
  • More than likely the tobacco is grown in China or India since they are the largest producers of tobacco and can grow it cheaper. Big tobacco buys it from the farmers and then distributes to their storehouses . Unless you grow it yourself you have no clue what bug spray was used or disease prevention product. Or even the pollution of the air ,ground and water absorbed in to the tobacco.   

    I feel safer if grown in a poor economic area, those farmers can't afford bugspray.  
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • Good to see you around @Johnny You've been a bit quiet round her lately. Congrats on finding a way to continue operations.

    @basement_shamen Shame about Gawiths just becoming a scenting shed. I wasn't aware of that, thanks for the heads-up. I'm glad I managed to get heavily stocked up when SG was in the old building.
  • AamonAamon Member
    @JackGrave to clarify your comment, do you mean GH and SG base tobacco is bought and ground by Poschl, Or that GH used to be from Poschl though now they have merged they are now using SG tobacco?
  • RogueRogue Member, Administrator
    All the small manufacturers ceasin operation? Damn..broken dreams!!!
  • @Aamon if my researched informations are valid, then GH was used to buy tobacco flour from Germany and noow they are supplied from Sam Gawith mill in KB house. Jack

  • kekykeky Member

    Sir John Walter Scott baronet, lives in the Hermitage farmhouse near Newcastleton, Roxburghshire, Scotland. He is a countryman, author, conservationist and an all round good egg and a tobacco lover.

    Johnny prides himself on making quality handmade organic snuff.

    And yes the pipe shop in Leith, Edinburgh is the best place to purchase his product.

    Johnny did do several series for the BBC with Clarissa Dickson Wright  "Clarissa & the Countryman" - but the BBC will no longer broadcast the series due to protests and complaints by the LACS! Although there are a few episodes available on youtube & if you are lucky you can get the DVDs, but they are extremely hard to find these days.

    Johnny takes great care to source his ingredients and can take many months, even a year to produce a snuff.

    Johnny Scott's "Book of Britain" is a must read.

  • matteobmatteob Member
    edited June 2017 PM
    @Keky Thanks Sir Johnny and I have since exchanged in correspondence. He comes across as a very nice man indeed. I have a special order of a large tin of Creme de...pardon me Cri di Fi on order at The Pipe Shop. His Lundy Foot is superb for a quick boost of alertness too thanks to the instant rush of nicotine it gives. It has a lovely smooth residual taste too.

    The book is on order. I love the countryside and miss living in it. I have seen clips of the series and it is indeed something I would like to watch in its entirety.
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