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Rehydrating snuff?

SCaseySCasey Member
edited July 2011 in General
Is this even possible and, if so, how do you go about doing it? A while back (a year+/-) I bought a crap load of snuff, a few of which were drier like a few Wilson SPs and a few of F&T's drier blends. My most treasured snuff though was an F&T moist snuff--Santo Domingo, of which I purchased about 6 or 7 ozs. After a while I then took to smoking my pipes as my standard habit rather than snuffing, but now I am back to my snuffs. Most are fine, but I noticed that the opened big tin (2 oz.) of Santo Domingo that was open already has dried out a bit with the effect of being a little harsher and a little less fragrant with the natural oils (cedar, sandalwood, etc) that are strongly present in the snuff when first opened. Is there any way to 'refresh' an old snuff a little? Any tips or tricks would be appreciated if anyone has anything that they have discovered works. I'm willing to use 'er up as she is, but if I can rehydrated it in some form or fashion, I'd love to know how....


  • Here's one way of doing it:

    Or just a soak couple of tonquin beans in water overnight then drop them into the snuff. After a couple of days the snuff will be moist again, plus you get the added flavour of the tonquin.
  • Another way, that I used recently: put the snuff in an airtight container, ideally a food grade jar, and put a peeled apple in there as well as a table spoon of water (you could also use port, cognac or something like that). leave for about three days in a slightly warmer than room temperature environment and you will have re-hydrated snuff with a touch of apple to it. The apple, of course, also helps the re-hydration and replaces some of the lost flavour.

    When snuff dries out it looses aromatics as well as moisture, so you never quite get the flavour back. That in mind, it's a good opportuntiy to add some of your own flavouring, hence the port etc. I find that re-hydration works better with plain snuffs because there is less flavour to lose. You can also use the dried out snuff as a neutral flour for home-blending, which is arguably a better way to go. It can be used to tone down an already dry snuff like Dholakia White or added to larger amounts of moist snuff. But in all honesty, if I ever do get dried out snuff it's because I have bought a small tin to test and I tend to just throw it out.

    The way to avoid this in the first place is to buy your favourites in bulk and keep in the air-tight cannister it comes in. Bulk buys are fresh, always, and the snuff is protected by its own bulk. The single way to enjoy snuff as it is visualised and created by the blender. But buy straight from the company - the cannister is almost guarenteed to be filled with a new batch.
  • XanderXander Member
    edited July 2011 PM
    What I normally do is pour the snuff out into a larger closeable container. An empty snus tin works well, but so does a small tupperware or rubbermaid type container. Then I settle a bottle cap into it and fill the bottle cap with water, making sure not to spill the water onto the snuff. Then seal the container and let it sit for a day. When you open it the again, being always careful not to spill the water, you will see the water has evaporated and the snuff is much rehydrated.

    You can add water directly, but you run a higher chance of making the snuff go moldy. If you do add water directly, using distilled water will reduce this effect. Using an evaporation method, you are essentially letting the enviromnent distill the water for you.
    Of course you can never restore the freshness (flavor and ammonia) that are there at first as snuffster says, but you can make them much more enjoyable than being dried out.

    The F&T tubes should actually keep snuffs very fresh. Make sure you are sealing them tightly after use, and make sure the gasket and threads are clean to make a close fitting seal.

    Good luck!
    Edit: you can subsitute other liquids for water as well. Liquor in particular can add nice scents.
  • I would have thought if the mould spores are in there they will re-produce whether you use condensation or directly add the water to it? I agree about distilled water though if you have a high fluoride water source and your nose is sensitive to pick it up (although mine isn't) In all honesty, lots of different approaches work and there is probably not too much real difference, IMHO.
  • XanderXander Member
    edited July 2011 PM
    I'm just going from experience. Flouride won't kill mold, chlorine only kills bacteria. I have a particle filter on my water line and am on city water. The filter takes out most of the bad stuff that the city leaves behind, and they are actually pretty good about getting it clean before it gets to me (they mainly leave a bit to much chlorine residue.)
    I rehydrated some deKralingse snuff a few months ago and was sloppy and splashed a bit on the snuff.
    When I came back to check on it (which was a day too late) a happy little mold colony had taken it over, so I had to dump the remains of the tin. I think it was one of the samples Jaap had sent me, and I know he runs a clean shop, and uses no preservatives, so it must have come from my water and the ambianet air.
  • Thanks for the tips guys. I think I'll try the capfull of distilled water method. I like the idea of reintroducing an aromatic once again. Sandalwood, perhaps for the F&T Santo Domingo mentioned above. I guess the only way for even distribution would be a few drops of the oil in with the water. I like the tonquin bean idea as well, but I'm unfamiliar with it, so I'm not sure how it would fare w/ the flavors in Santo Domingo--maybe well, but they'd be nice to have in any case.
  • XanderXander Member
    edited July 2011 PM
    @SCasey: Oil? Be careful. English snuffs do not contain oil. Or are you talking about an essential oil? You can soak a cotton swab with essential oil such as sandalwood and let that sit in the snuff. The snuff will soak it up. Be careful with these as some are very pungent. Tonquin beans are also known as tonka beans. These can probably be obtained through whomever is supplying you with essential oils. If you are in the US, I recommend Moutain Rose Herbs. I have obtained mine through them. These too can give an undesired effect as they have a strong scent. It may overpower the subtle scent of Santo Domingo.
  • The beans are very user friendly, just let one or two sit in there. They are an absolutely integral part of snuff history and a lot of old snuffs - like the Smiths cardinal range - had a whole background wash of tonquin in there - a unique flavour that only ever enhances a snuff. One permanently in the snuff box was a standard practice back when.
  • Cool. Thanks. I'll have to start experimenting a little. :) I've got a good amt of info to start with. Cheers!
  • @Xander only essential oils. I'd never conceive of adding Actual Oil to snuff. That would be a mess, I'd think. :)
  • XanderXander Member
    edited July 2011 PM
    @Scasey: most German snuffs are oil moistened. Also these can dry out, and some people may try to re-oil them. Difficult and can cause complications, but not impossible
    There is a do-it-yourself schmalzler out there, which you add your own grease.
  • @Xander ah, gotcha.
    What snuff book (history of, practice and culture of, past and present) would you recommend in order to educate myself on the subject? I'm interested to dive in a little more. Thanks.
  • XanderXander Member
    edited July 2011 PM
    You might try the Articles section under FAQ. Its still a work in progress though.
    snuffster,ermtony, filek, PhilipS, snuffgrinder all might have some recommendations for you.
    I have no books on snuff personally. I only read snuffhouse. 8-/

    Also be sure to read Prof Griffith's site.
  • Ok. Thanks. :)
  • Hugh McCausland, Snuff and Snuff boxes, London 1950
    The various Fribourg and Treyer booklet scans on the various sites.
    All about snuff and snuff taking, Society of Snuff grinders, blenders and purveyors, circa 1986.

    The McCausland and the Society booklet are not online to my knowledge, so are ebay/old book shop projects. Both draw on earlier records, company lore and old stock books. The best of all the literature in my opinion is the McCausland.
  • Thanks!
  • @Snuffster I went and looked on eBay for anything from McCausland right after I read your post and immediately found 'Snuff and Snuff Boxes', so I picked it up right then. I'm excited to familiarize myself with some of the history of snuff culture.
    Thanks again for your recommendations! Cheers!
  • Well done, you've got the best..
  • Snuff Yesterday And Today by C.W Shepherd is also very good reading.

  • Thanks Stephan. I'll check it out.
  • ...Stefan..sorry. :)
  • What about using saline?

  • I've heard u can use saline to rehydrate but I simply just put my dried snuff into an airtight container and laid a few fresh orange peels on top and left it in there over night. Worked pretty well and added a nice fragrance.
  • Only thing that i might add here is that you should always add the water to a bit of paper, or I soak a ryo cig filter so as not to have any spill able water. The small dehydration disks are perfect and cheap, at most tobacconists.
  • I just found two Bernards tap boxes that went dry :(( , what's odd is that two older ones have not.

    I am going to order a couple of snuff boxes to rehydrate in as I have a box of ryo filters around here somewhere. Then I will carry it in those boxes as I am completely off tap boxes from now on.

    Any idea if certain kinds of snuff are more prone than others?
  • Oiled snuffs tend to seem not needing much hydration. Toasts on the other hand can absorb ambient humidity and become overly hydrated rather easily. Be sure not to introduce mold spores or other unwanted ingredients when rehydrating. I use distilled water.
  • RadiumRadium Member
    edited December 2016 PM
    Why don't you fridge/freeze your stash?

    My entire snuff arsenal is always organized in two sections:

    1. Several 1000mL cans inside freezer at -24 Celsius. (each being a different experiment, I rarely repeat a recipe twice)

    2. Seven glass Penicillin vials filled from the frozen cans, stored inside the refrigerator at 1 Celsius.

    I take out one vial each day of week, and finish it by night. Then wash the empty vial and put it back in fridge.

    At the end of the week I disturb the residents of freezer and refill the seven empty vials and get ready to start another week of safe Tobacco enjoyment.

    This way I never face any flavor loss or dehydration.
    I enjoy fresh flavor and moisture daily.

    - No matter if the base "moisture" of your snuff is water or mineral oil, some snuff form cakes or flakes upon freezing.
    But no worry, they are as loose as baby hair, and disintegrate to fluffy powder with the slightest finger touch.
  • I am trying to hydrate 40 grams of snuff through indirect method (placing a small amount of brandy (4-5 ml) in another container beside the open snuff tin, both in an airtight container). Lets see if it works out. 
  • @newbiesnuffer I think you would have more luck rehydrating 5-10 grams at a time instead of the whole 40 gram batch in on one go. That was a method suggested to me by one forums member here and it's worked wonderfully so far.

    Also as far as rehydrating snuff go, has anyone tried those little thingies they sell for humidors? Also, has anyone actually tried to keep snuff in a humidor? Is it a good idea to?
  • @newbiesnuffer I wouldn't try to hydrate 40g of snuff like that. Snuff stores better when drier IMHO, plus by the time you start working through, it may need hydrating again, and each time it's rehydrated and dried, it loses some of it's personality, almost like a rinse. There's also an increased risk of mould. I would rather rehydrate a day or two's usage at any time, indirectly and overnight. The only time I would try to do a larger quantity, would be if I was attempting to rescent a snuff with direct sauceing.

    So for me the choice would be pouring the brandy direct into the lot, and mixing/turning the container till the sauce has worked it's way through the whole batch, and leaving this batch for a time to thoroughly infuse, or indirectly hydrating in small quantities for immediate consumption.
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