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Sir Walter Scott back in stock

WoS Inconsistency

This has been mentioned before on here, I just want to add in my own experience to this.  First few tins of Grand Cairo I received had a strong lavender scent (among the other scents), I grew to like the scent so much I ordered it in bulk, and this bulk container has absolutely no detectable lavender, it's like a different snuff altogether.  I just had the same thing happen with Gold Label, in the past tins I've received (several) they had a strong what I'd describe as rose scent, not quite as strong as Rows of Sharrow, but definitely present, this current tin ordered a year later has almost no detectable rose scent at all.  I even took a long break from both and stuck with plain snuffs, just in case it was a case of my scent receptors muting out the scent from overexposure, but no change.  It seems a real shame that they don't seem to practice much quality control over there, I love their snuffs but it's such a disappointment not getting the scent I've grown familiar to and fallen in love with.


  • I think these are the two that Wilson's have publicly acknowledged are the hardest to source ingredients for. They also get hyped up online (along with Irish #22) as being the best of the WoS lineup and are often recommended to newbies. It's certainly possible that the recipe gets tweaked to be able to meet demand.
  • I never detected neither lavender scent in Grand Cairo nor rose in Gold Label, and I am familiar with both scents (had over 100 g of Rows and made my own snuffs scented with rose and lavender oils). The Grand Cairo I know is spicy citruss potpourri, whereas Gold Label is bay (laurel) leaf + citrus + something floral.

    But I hear you. I have noticed that the quality of WoS SP-type snuffs have diminished. I think they use inferior tobaccos as of late (first noticed changed base flour 2 or 1.5 years ago). Also, I noticed the incosistency of flavouring in their side M&W range (since it "escaped" from Covent Garden).
  • I'm still heartbroken about a similar occurrence with McChrystal's. I fell MADLY in love with S'Nuff Smoker's Blend. It was a bergamot bomb that harmonized well with a sort of smoky essence.  I bought 800g.... and it's nothing like that first scent I fell in love with.  I could almost mistake it for O&G... it's all camphor and no bergamot!  I emailed McChrystal's to ask if they changed the recipe and they hadn't.  I thought maybe it was mislabled, but when I take them side-by-side I can tell they're different after all.
  • HuysmansHuysmans Member
    edited June 2021 PM
    I had a tin of Grand Cairo that was made in 2020 that had a much more pronounced lemon top note in it than the 2019 batch I bought. I recently bought a 2021 250g tub and in that the citrus and floral was nicely balanced and a much better experience for me than the 2020 tin. The tub is also very fresh and has a lot of ammonia in it when I take out a pile for my snuff box but this soon dissipates.

    PS I noticed on threads here going back a number of years that Grand Cairo can vary from batch to batch. Perhaps it's a feature of that snuff I can only guess.
  • Would it not be better to contact WOS re your complaint, nothing will be achieved complaining on here.
  • @volunge I don't recall where but I've seen rose listed as an ingredient for Gold Label.  I personally never noticed it in my first two 25g tins from 2019 either, but my 3 25g tins from 2020 were both unmistakably full of rose, and I've had Rows of Sharrow myself so definitely the same scent.  This latest 25g tin of GL is like neither of the previous two orders, it lacks of the rich darkness of the first 2 tins, and has no rose like the last 3 tins, it's rather ... dull.  Though I will mention the tin wasn't overflowing like I'm used to with Wilsons, so perhaps it was just old and stale and I just got unlucky with Mr Snuff unloading old stock on me.

    With Grand Cairo the first couple 25g were definitely full of lavender, which I disliked at first but it grew on me, but seemed to not align with what I'd read about the scents in GC.  I then bought a lb of the stuff, and it's lacking a lot in any scent at all, just mildly 'exotic', but rather boring, which is disappointing as I thought I'd have the best shot of fresh full scent buying bulk.

    @street carp Yeah this may be a factor, seems Wilsons is a little loose with adhering to strict recipes, or it's a case of mislabeling.  It's odd as these recipes are hundreds of years old in the case of GC and GL at least, you'd expect they would be a little more strict in adhering to it.. or perhaps cost of ingredients affects small tweaks they hope will be imperceptible to the average consumer.

    Lesson learned though, I'll never buy Wilsons in bulk again, and another lesson is to avoid reading the purple prose poetry creative writing fan fiction that is passed off as reviews on most snuffs.  "wisps of apricot blossom, honey dew dropped juniper drizzled with manuka honey, this snuff takes you to a magical place, of autumn, and childhood, and happiness, where rainbows treacle joy into your heart with each sniff.  Buy!"
  • volungevolunge Member
    edited July 2021 PM
    @expers, thanks for sharing your experience. What was the mfg code on the bottom of your last Gold Label tin (if you still have it)? Last two digits stand for mfg year.

    I would say, the new non-airtight shrink band seal is partly to blame for the drop in WoS quality. Judging by mfg code, my 20 g Best SP tin arrived fresh, but way drier than it used to be. It's a shame they stopped sealing their tins with tape... Really sad.

    And just a bold guess - for some reason WoS might be mixing their snuffs, at least sometimes. Maybe Rows stock was moving too slow at some point and they had cut it with (perhaps) better selling Gold Label. Or - more likely - accidentally used same sieve for sifting two different snuffs (I believe that every scented snuff has its own dedicated sieve).
  • Could be cross contamination from how they store it in the factory, I know SG stores their pipe tobacco in piles just sitting next to each other with nothing at all to stop cross contamination, if WoS stores their snuff in a similar way you can expect cross contamination.
  • expersexpers Member
    edited July 2021 PM
    @volunge 231 20A
    Mine have always had the hard clear plastic shrink band, but I've only been ordering since 2019, so I'm not familiar with the change but maybe that plays a role. The others I've ordered seem fine on the other hand. So this gold label would have been manufactured in 2020? Not excessively old, but definitely dried out, and no scent beyond the tobacco

    @n9inchnails Yeah maybe that's what happened with the rose-scented orders.. just as an aside, the little bit of rose mixed with gold label is absolutely fantastic, guess I'll have to blend it myself with rows of sharrow.  I find rows of sharrow a bit too sweet for my liking, but mixed with the darker fantastic tobacco of gold label creates a wonderful scent, especially when outside on a summer day.
  • volungevolunge Member
    edited October 2021 PM
    Here we go again. WoS Jock's Choice, batch code 158 21A. Reportedly, "utterly terrible [...] very little scent in it at all [...] the base tobacco is wrong as well".
  • WoS Dr. Rumney's Brown batch 309 20A was unrecognizable. "Plain cardboard" is the only descriptor which comes to mind.
  • If we're doing batch code warnings, I got a tin of Beltane straight from Sharrow Mills last month, batch code 215 21A.

    Has no scent at all and the flour doesnt look like anything I've ever seen from WoS. It's dark brown, fairly coarse and uneven grind, but fairly moist.

    I emailed Wilsons about it last week and have had a bit of a comical exchange with them. The customer service person forwarded my email onto the mill manager, a man of few words who ignored my entire email and asked me for my address (which he would've had access to as I provided my order number) so he could send out a new tin. I replied saying I didn't want or expect a free tin, I was just letting them know there was a duff batch. Today the customer service person emails me back providing me with Toque's sales email address, saying they should be able to help me as they ship worldwide. I don't even know what to say, other than there's possibly some day drinking happening at Sharrow Mills
  • RogueRogue Member, Administrator
    edited November 2021 PM
    I'm in the same boat as you all. Got a bunch of WoS tins. Each and everyone revolting. Smelling stale and dusty. 2 tins of Extra M. One new, one old (from when it was called Extra Menthol). The old one has a sweet finish, long-lasting, strong, powerful, ice cold menthol. The new one is a small blast, then it just smells dusty and my room when I've been coding for days without airing out! Honestly, I'm disappointed, and have thrown out multiple tins. I won't let this inconsistency ruin WoS for me forever, as I will (albeit at a later date), order one more load. If it is the way it is now, I'm sticking to Toque, cause I've yet to experience ANY inconsistencies there. Which is a shame, really, I've had a deep love for WoS since at least 2012.

    Edit: Upon closer inspection, everything I've bought after 2019 appear to be of lesser quality than I've had reason to expect.

  • RogueRogue Member, Administrator
    Sent a message to WoS.

    "The base changed slightly as we had to add some EU tobacco.

    Dave Atkin
    Mill Manager
    Wilsons & Co. (Sharrow) Ltd.
    Sharrow Mills, Snuff Mill Lane,
    Sheffield, UK. S11 8AD
    Tel:  +44 (0)114 266 2677
    Fax: +44 (0)114 267 0504"

    Screw politics. I'll continue to support WoS by buying their products, despite not liking their new base.

  • volungevolunge Member
    edited November 2021 PM
    Fingers crossed they haven't stockpiled tons of bales of that crappy EU leaf and will find another source for higher quality tobaccos. WoS have good recipes and know how to make decent snuff. They just need better baccy.

    Talking about menthols, I can assure that McChrystals Jip hasn't suffered (had some this late summer). You can buy it in bulk from Toque.
  • RogueRogue Member, Administrator
    Yes, I might do that, @volunge. For the time being though, I'll stick to the snuffs I have.

  • I’ve noticed some differences in scents between batches, but nothing worth noting. The main one I remember is Babeton Blue, from SA. It had a very interesting coconut scent a long time ago. Like ten years ago I think. It was really nice. Then, abruptly it lost the coconut. And hasn’t returned. I imagine that the people working in the mill ad lib while they’re mixing snuff. Since it’s probably not by machine( I could be wrong) there are people less or more skilled. However the German snuffs seems to be of good uniform quality.
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