Finest Quality Indian Snuffs

Two new Fine Border snuffs.Toque Snuffs

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 Two new Fine Border snuffs.

Will the REAL Wilson's Best SP please stand up?

XanderXander Member
edited February 2009 in Types of Snuff
Please forgive my novice palate. Today I have been rotating between Wilsons of Sharrow Best SP, Queens Extra Strong and Tom Buck exlusively. * Clearly these are all SPs. Wilsons has seen fit to call one "Best" Though I can't fathom why. I'm aware they have a few other varietes too, but I haven't got them.
I'm having a hard time distinguishing these from each other. If you handed them to me without the lids on (and presumably the sticker on the bottom blacked out) I could not tell you which was which.
Best seems the lightest and finest, and tends to open my sinus the most.
Queens is a bit heavier and courser, but not too much so. It is the slightest bit moister too. The flavor is stronger, but still the same flavor (to me).
Tom Buck is she srongest and richest flavor of the three. There seems also to be something else in it that I can not distinguish. Rose perhaps? However, in grind and moisture it seems identical to Queens.
For my money, I'd buy the Tom Buck again if given the choice, but the others are by no means bad snuffs. The whole thing just begs the question, why so many nearly identical SPs? Also why call one Best, when it is not the best? Other than tradtion, I can't see an acceptable answer.

So what does everybody else think?

* not entirely exlusively: I needed the rush of QWS's Smoker's Blend first thing in the morning. I also needed the nick rush and pinch of an American (Tops Sweet) a few times in the evening and to cleanse my palate between the SPs (which all seem low in nicotine content BTW)
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Comments

  • edited February 2009 PM
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Yeah, It doesn't matter too much what SP means, but what it is: a plain tobacco with bergmot oil. I was indeed aware that other blenders use the terms "SP" and "Best". I think a lot of the terminology predated patents and copyrights so they are public domain.
    Anyway, my whole point was that the differences in these three, in my very humble and exceedingly novice opinion (IMVHAENO), aren't distinct enough to merit separate products. I'm reading elsewhere that Queens has a heavy lavender and Tom Buck has some. Maybe so, but again, it must blend very well with bergamot as I cannot distinguish it. (I do love Wilsons Lavender though)

    On a related note, I think SP is comparable to OP in tea. We know it stands for Orange Pekoe, but it has nothing to do with oranges, orange flavor, or orange color! Its all about size and quality of tea. Neither does anyone really know what "Pekoe" means. Yet we're stuck with another goofy tradition from the same time periord as "SP"
  • Xander, I think it's "best" to go through the whole lot and find your own "best". WoS's Best SP is not the best SP for me, I prefer Tom Buck. But then again, once you've tried Toque Original, you will wonder which is the "best", TB or TO. I use both, seperately of course. Maybe I should mix them and then I might really have the BEST SP around!!

    Cheers
    Pieter
  • KunugaaKunugaa Member
    edited February 2009 PM
    I imagine the word "best" for snuff was used pretty much like best bitter. It is a word used to describe the strength and style of the beer rather than the quality of the beer. Best SP is very much like best bitter, simple and light taste, medium strength and ideal for regular use. Tom Buck would be a darker, stronger ale.
  • Hey Xander welcome and I think you're doing pretty good. First you try to tell us you can't tell the difference and then you start giving some pretty descriptions of each one!

    I think what a lot of people start to notice with firms like Wilsons and Sam Gawith is because they're so old and use a lot of handwork that there are significant variations even in one line of snuff. For instance snuffster can probably tell you the Best SP he buys by the barrel today isn't what he got last year or the year before that. Tobacco is a natural product like wine, and it's going to change over time and be noticed in snuff unlike cigarettes which get blended with all kinds of crap.
  • Snuffbox is absolutely right there is a lot of variation the 25g Tom Buck i received today is different from the small tins i have had in the past much lighter in colour and seems stronger. I can definately tell the difference between the Queens Extra Strong and the Tom Buck if i had to choose i would go with the Queens although there isn't a lot in it. IMHO you get the best experience from buying in larger quantities as the snuff is as fresh as can be.
  • I always buy SPs in the 250g containers, and they seem to be of the same high quality each time. I prefer Best SP to the others, simply because it's a little mellower.
  • Best SP is a favourite of mine, very nice to use though little messy when pinched: can't help leaving strains of powder everywhere! Must try those other Wilson's SPs as well, wouldn't be disappointed if they were exactly the same.
  • Tom Buck and Queens Extra Strong are exactly the same snuff (Wilsons admits this), so you were just trying two different snuffs, not three.
  • Anyone try the WoS S.S.? Im one that favors Tom Buck over any other. This S.S. really has a neat spice flavor of some kind. Still it does have its similarities as for grind, texture.
  • Yes, Tom Buck and Queens Extra Strong are one and the same. It's an excellent snuff indeed. A tobacconist in London once told me that this snuff was distributed in northern England and Ireland under the name Tom Buck, and as Queens Extra Strong in the Home Counties. I cannot confirm that this is accurate, but it makes sense. I can well imagine northern miners preferring a masculine snuff like "Tom Buck" over the dandyish-sounding "Queens Extra Strong."
  • I've heard lots of people claim that Tom Buck and Queens are the same and I used to believe it. Someone even posted a quote from a Wilson's employee stating they were the same. Maybe at one time they were, but I've used these side by side and can tell you they are different. They are very similar but if you place the two tins in front of you the difference is undeniable.
  • @Spyro: I have seen some significant differences in some Wilson snuffs from batch to batch, also freshness can affect highly scented snuffs.
  • I've found slight variations in the line of Wilson's SPs break down thusly:

    Best SP - Medium grind, medium color, and the 'baseline' amount of scent.
    SP 2 - Same as Best SP, with a much finer grind
    Tom Buck/Queens - Same grind as SP2 with a strong addition of bergamot.
    SP 100 - Same grind as Best SP with a slightly darker tobacco base. I found the bergamot scent was stronger than my Best SP.
    Gold Label - Same as Best SP with a slightly lighter scent

    I haven't tried Silver or S.S. but I imagine the variations are similar to those above.
  • Hate to bring this up, but after reading all I could find on the topic of Tom Buck and Queens extra strong, I am quite a fan of Tom Buck. When I considered buying a quantity of Tom Buck I was only able to get 25 g tins, so based on this thread I jumped on a 450g tub of Queens that was in stock, since they are considered the same thing.

    So I have opened two tins of Tom Buck now, and decanted a significant quantity of Queens Extra strong, and after airing them out for a short period, I find the Queens to be a far better snuff! What I am wondering is it the same, and I have batch differences, I know I have had at least three different cans of Tom Buck open now, is it the tin vs tub freshness, or are they different. Real confused now. The Tub of Queens extra strong is a finer grind, and does not have the burn I get from the Tom Buck. Sorry for the confusing presentation here, but this Queens extra strong is, to me, a far better tasting SP than the Tom Buck. I have a staggering array of SP snuffs, and the nuances are subtle, but this tub I have is so smooth and tasty. I mainly use Queens, SS, and IDHT #20 now, all from Wilsons, and all decanted in small batches from 450 g tubs. I love them all!
  • I second that. we all have to find our own Best Sp's. For some reason of all the SP's It's WoS Gold Label I prefer
  • The gold label is very good, I have put some 4 cans in the snuff locker, they all have their place in the rotation.
  • Ok, those were my thoughts a long time ago. Now I've had all the WoS SPs and gotten to know them. Sadly both Tom Buck and Queens Extra met with unfortunate accidents.
    Current ranking:
    1) SP Silver
    2) SS
    3) Gold Label
    4) Tom Buck/QES
    5) SP 100
    6) Best SP
    7) SP 2

    No's 3, 4, and 5 all could really be tied for third place. I kind of like them equally. SP2 was good, but the only one I'd probably not get again.
  • Finding one's own best S.P natural to me. I agree the mists of time have obscured the reasons for certain snuff names. For me it's part of the wonder and historical mystery of snuff in some regards. Like what does the 2 in SP 2 mean, or the 100 in SP 100, and what about SS, and was there an SP 3 out there or SP 450? Satisfactory enough for now are explanations citing codes or formula names or listing abbreviations and such as the rationale, but I suppose it's fun to not know sometimes.
  • cstokes4cstokes4 Member, Moderator
    No Grand Cairo?
  • Not possible when you have it all!

    I don't consider it an SP even though Wilsons does. I think the flavoring is too complex, and SPs should be simple. I think of it (and a few others) as an expansion on the SP ideas. I do like it better than the SPs though.
  • I also think of Grand Cairo as an expansion on the basic SP recipe rather than being an SP itself, for the complexity reasons cited above. In terms of complexity, I think Grand Cairo is the....best SP.
  • What about Best Dark?
  • A bergamot scented black rappee? Same family as Brunswick & Princes, but perhaps a medium grind instead of course. I know Wilson's has them all listed as SPs on their website. I think they are not interested in classifcation. They leave that to us. How do you consider it?

    Might be some rose in that too, I just had it out.
  • I do consider Best Dark an SP but am happy not to draw such lines of classification.
  • "I know Wilson's has them all listed as SPs on their website."

    I think they removed that section a while back.
  • They still have a page of snuff varieties though many of their snuffs aren't listed there.
  • Well well - the page is still there but they've removed the link to it from their homepage.
  • Mouseover "Snuffs" for the sub-menu.
  • Ah ! I had JavaScript turned off so this didn't work ...
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