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Sir Walter Scott back in stock

The art of pinching

GilliatGilliat Member
edited February 2017 in Snufftaking
Sometimes I fancy a pinch when I am in company of others, and I find that this method, when skilfully executed, is sufficiently elegant and the least suspicious looking. While almost anybody can sniff from the back of the hand, boxcar, using a straw, bullet or a spoon, pinching clean and stylish from a proper snuffbox is probably the most difficult method, but also the most "rewarding".

For those of you interested in educating yourselves about this, here are a few quick "guides" you might find interesting to consult and adapt to your own style:
(I am sure most of you have already seen these, but I think the subject itself is worth a dedicated educational thread)

The classy and entertaining Sir Guy:

First part of this video (notice the rabbit leg attached to the typical scottish ram horn mull, used to dust off the remains)

And of course the "famous" Aldo Raine impersonation, sadly I could not find a better version on youtube:


From Robert Good ( Segar and Snuff Parlour, London)

One description of the act of taking a pinch of snuff which appeared widespread around Europe in 1800, divided the ritual into twelve stages:

1. Take the snuffbox with your right hand.
2. Pass the snuffbox to your left hand.
3. Rap the snuffbox.
4. Open the snuffbox.
5. Present the box to the Company.
6. Receive it after going the round.
7. Gather up the snuff in the box by striking the side with the middle and forefinger.
8. Take a pinch of snuff with the right hand.
9. Keep the snuff a moment or two between the fingers before carrying it to the nose.
10. Put the snuff to your nose.
11. Sniff it by precision with both nostrils and without any grimace.
12. Close the snuffbox with a flourish.

Some other "guidelines" including an alternative version of the ritual described above, here:


I will try to get some screenshots from a few books I browsed recently with relevant infos.

If you have any similar resources, please feel free to share them here.
Everything you do comes back to you! Respect Life, Share Peace, Live NOW!


  • Always love watching Sir Guy video. The 12 step guide is great, but in the interest of brevity, I reduce it to 11 steps- - I simply pick up the snuff box with my left hand first. I also like to loudly exclaim "ta- daaaa" with jazz hands for my personal "flourish ".
  • =))

    I don't bother pinching the opposing nostril as Sir Guy does. I don't think it helps matters, it just overcomplicates things. Also, I close the snuffbox before pinching. I don't often cough or sneeze, but when I do I don't want an open snuffbox in the vicinity.
  • I agree with 50ft. I always close my snuffbox on the off-chance of a cough or shudder. Other than that I suppose my pinching is very much like that from inglorious basterds.
  • I think that the Brad Pit video isn't accurate, most Jewish snuff takers will hold the pinch for a long time and snuff slowly. How he did it in the video is too quick, it is more smelling the pinch and it eventually gets in your nose. 

    The throwing the rest on the ground is accurate though, but it drives me nuts, feels like a waste.
  • GilliatGilliat Member
    edited February 2017 PM
    Well, it is just a movie, a war movie, and on top of that a Tarantino movie, I am somehow reluctant to the importance that screen accuracy plays the specific style of snuff taking related to a certain religious or ethnic group. :). Not to mention that the quirkiness of the character is beyond these type of considerations.
    Everything you do comes back to you! Respect Life, Share Peace, Live NOW!
  • @Gilliat, yeah I didn't expect it to be an accurate portrayal, just wanted to point out the "traditional" Jewish way of taking a pinch.   

  • Would that extend to American Jews, too?  Is it a Jewish religious way of doing it or more of a local thing?  
  • @Effy well my only experience with Jewish snuff taking is from eastern European decent, doesn't mater if they live now in Israel or US.  I'm curious to know about the Russian way of taking snuff. 

    There is another thread hear about Snuff in jewish law, you should look at it there.
  • EffyEffy Member
    edited February 2017 PM
    @yisraeldov that was what I was getting at - is the method part of the law to the extent that all Jews would do it that way, regardless of how snuff is taken locally?  Is it more of a tradition?

    As in, is the portrayal of Aldo Raine not accurate because American Jews do take snuff a certain way, by tradition or law? Do the laws not only cover what and when one can snuff, but also how it is to be done?
  • @Effy As far as I know there is no Law and not even a really tradition, its just the way I have seen people do it. I've seen people hold a pinch for a good 30 min. 

  • GilliatGilliat Member
    edited February 2017 PM
    And why or how is all this relevant to the OP?
    Everything you do comes back to you! Respect Life, Share Peace, Live NOW!
  • So they hold it in their fingers for 30 mins slowly "sniff" it then spill it on the floor, call it what you want but that is NOT snuffing its just wasting tobacco, like Napoleon. Smelling a glass of whiskey then spilling it on the floor isnt drinking and that aint snuffing.
  • @Gilliat, you're right, it's not, @Effy should look on the thread about that topic.

    @n9inchnails I think it is the new generation, they saw the old generation "smelling" this powder and no one explained to them what it was. That being said, if you smell it for long enough it does get in your nose, just slower.
  • @gilliat and @yisraeldov I'm sorry that you think that discussing how snuff is taken is not relevant to the topic "The Art of Pinching".  Yisraeldov said that the way Brad used the snuff was not authentic, which is why I was asking my questions.

    While Jews in Isreal or who grew up there or spent a lot of time there might well pinch a certain way, would 2nd or 3rd or nth generation Jews in America be expected to do the same to the extent that the way it was done in the film would be classed as inaccurate (to use the term from the earlier post)?
  • GilliatGilliat Member
    edited February 2017 PM
    @Effy : I didn't express any opinion, I asked a question. I just failed to see the link between that scene in that movie and the so called authentic tradition of snuff taking amongst jewish people. Your further assumptions are none of my bussiness.
    Anyway if we feel the need to give a voice to any "tradition" and personal evaluation of "authenticity" we might end up branching out in history way more than you would care to discuss here. Maybe re-reading the OP would help you get a clearer idea what this thread was about.
    Everything you do comes back to you! Respect Life, Share Peace, Live NOW!
  • I think that we might be going in circles and missing each other a tad - that WAS my question, if there was a link between the scene in that film and any particularly Jewish method of taking snuff which would transcend a local tradition to be carried on by Jews generally.  As this thread is about methods and guides for taking snuff, I thought it worth seeing if one of the sources cited might be technically wrong (as was claimed), for if all Jews would be expected to pinch in a certain way and it is not followed in that film, it would be technically wrong, however it would still be A method of taking snuff, of course
  • I don't find anything difficult about it. I do notice my snuff box empties faster. some snuff is lost on the fingers and some on my stash and always on a light color shirt. 
    Other methods I don't see it so much. Pinch is the least cleanest method. I employ it often enough. And there is nothing discrete about it. It appears to the onlooker you're picking .
     There is no mistake when using a tool except for drug use.  Back of hand looks like you're wiping snot. Not very gentlemanly like. Straws definitely looks like drug abuse as snuff abuse too . Bullets can look like drug use or a vapor inhaler. Boxcar can  looks like itching your nose and probably the sneakiest way in public .
    Any method you use in some peoples eyes, even after you explain it is just tobacco; will be construed as drug consumption . There is just not enough exposure of snuff use.

    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • @basement_shaman, technically IT IS drug consumption so not really  being construed. It isn't illegal drug consumption, but not much different that drinking beer or coffee or smoking tobacco.  
  • GilliatGilliat Member
    edited February 2017 PM
    Glad we are back on track. Other than the relativity of concepts like "drug" and "legal" , I totally agree with @basement_shaman, there is not enough snuff exposure, and we tend to embrace the fear of being stigmatised by other people's opinions. Luckily for me, I have learned to value my personal comfort and peace of mind more than what others think about me, and without making a show of it, I snuff openly whenever or wherever I feel like it. As long as I don't carry any other "illegal drugs" with me, I have done it and will continue to do it without shame, in the bus, on the street, in the park, in waiting rooms, airports, and never had anyone questioning me about it. More than this, I have never seen a red&white sign saying "SNUFFING TOBACCO STRICTLY PROHIBITED", and hopefully never will. Of course there will be strange looks from those around when noticed, but this is completely out of my control, therefore not my problem!
    Everything you do comes back to you! Respect Life, Share Peace, Live NOW!
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