When I first came in contact with this tobacco, about 12 years ago, it was something like a dare. I was told I could only hate it or love it because it was so unique. The description at that time was "smells like a cow shed". With this conditioning I had my first try of it and agreed. Needless to say, I wasn't too impressed.
Today I'm back for this snuff and I love it. But first things first. The tobacco comes from Bernard and it is sold in a yellow cardboard box which contains an open but slightly rolled up plastic bag with 50g of this snuff. This is one of Bernard's "traditionals". This company is selling a few different ones which are based on or made from recipes that are roughly 100 years old. I like that. I have seen one or two reviews which claimed that this tobacco is "strongly fermented". That is in fact not true. The Virginie is heavily smoked. That is the process where all its flavour comes from. It does not spend the flavouring and curing process in a fermentation liquid as for example many Schmalzlers do.
Heavily smoked means that I open the package - or now the snuff box because it couldn't be kept just in that plastic bag - and I smell rainy, dark outdoors at dusk. Campfires, leather and yes, even the occasional farm or barn. Heavily smoked means that I think about charcoal. It means that I get a craving for smoked fish or smoked ham. This tobacco is heavy, rough and tough. A pipe smoker will know exactly what I mean when I say Latakia.
But how does the snuff work in the nose where it belongs? In colour and consistency it could easily be mistaken for a Schmalzler. It is nice and moist, not too fine and very dark brown, almost black. The flavour is going through phases in my nostrils, developing into something quite complex. I believe this tobacco is best enjoyed when going for a walk through a forest or park when it rains and leaves have been rotting on the ground for a while, mixed with scents of moss, wood and clear fresh air. This is clearly an autumn and winter snuff and does not bring as much joy when snuffed on a very hot summer day. But that happens and is not a problem. This is pure tobacco flavour and natural tobacco sweetness after a very particular manufacturing process. If you only enjoy menthol with artificial fruity flavours, this snuff might not be for you. For 50g one might think that is quite a lot just for a try, but I think the price is near unbeatable for this amount. And make no mistake, this is by no means a "cheapo". It is great value for the money. I absolutely recommend it and I know it will not be for everyone. But I promise that once you like it, you always will.