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American Scotches VS. English Plain

I have smoked, dipped, and snuffed my way to an idea. I wonder if the difference in how American Scotches and plain English snuffs react with my nose may have something to do with the fact that American scotch snuffs tend to be fire cured. I'm not sure of the English ones (whether they tend to be fire cured or not), but I do know that snuffs that have a woody or smokey smell tend to make my nose run a little. I wonder if the fire curing causes a chemical change that affects this. WoS has never made my nose run, and the ones I have used tend to be redder in color. Any ideas?


  • Both English toasts and American Scotches are "fire cured" or toasted. "Scotch" comes from scorched, not the country and toast is toasted tobacco. Different woods are used, but the difference in nasal reaction is more likely from the tobacco which is used. American scotches are more alkaline and that could also be a factor.
  • From what I understand fire curing and toasting are very different. Fire cured tobacco will accrue less heat damage but be exposed to smoke particles. Toasts will usually be air cured tobacco that is exposed to high temperatures (relatively) but not wood smoke although the tobacco itself may reach its smoking point. I would submit that it is the smoke particulates from fire cured tobacco that cause irritation and perhaps to a lesser degree toasts.
  • I don't think scotch is a corruption of "scorched" simply because these snuffs have a historical traceable heredity to Scotland. I think "Scotch" means "Scots" or "Scottish". Nonetheless, they are cooked in a fashion as described above, which I think their Scottish ancestors learned from their Irish cousin ancectors who were "toasting" snuff.
    At the end of the day I think its the residual moisture content in your average WoS snuff that is causing your nose to run. IE: add moisture to a moist place and said place causes evacuation.
    A scotch on the other hand is likely to absorb ambient moisture and not have a discernable effect except in a dry environment. If you WoS snuff is a toast, I don't have an arguement, since they are almost as dry as scotches.
  • @Juxtaposer: Is that your understanding of the fundamental difference between scotch and toast? The grind and mositure levels notwithstanding: the former is fire cured and the latter is air (heat) cured? Makes sense to me.
  • Scotch is scorched according to the various things I've read over the years, but the Scots of the 18th century and onwards, apparently, had a great liking for the original Irish toast, serendipitously made by the Dublin snuff maker Lundy Foot and Lundy's snuff was indeed scorched. I think some of these ancient distinctions - like the meaning of SP - are impossible to prove one way or t'other.
  • Heating tobacco brings the sugars to the surface,it may not be the smokiness but the sugars that make your nose walk briskly .The color of the tobacco has to do with how it is cured and the sauce used and or the parts of the leaf.
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • @Juxtaposer: Is that your understanding of the fundamental difference between scotch and toast? The grind and mositure levels notwithstanding: the former is fire cured and the latter is air (heat) cured? Makes sense to me.
    Not quite! Fire cured and air cured are tobaccos bought from the farmers. The heat processing to make toast is done by the snuff maker.

  • XanderXander Member
    edited January 2013 PM
    @Juxtaposer I wrote "cured" but I was thinking cooking, as in cooking the post-cured tobacco.

    If I cook regular snuff in my toaster, it gets toasted. So its hot air cooked. Is then scotch burned directly, or some other cooking process?
  • A good question regarding the snuff makers handling of the obviously fire cured tobacco for American Scotch Snuff. It is possible that intentional "toasting" is done to it but I think its color would be much lighter if that were true. Also the effort to "toast" would be worthy of mention in one way or another due to the expense as well as its selling point (fame) and there is no evidence of any mention. It may be that some heat involved with bringing into proper case is there but not to the extremes of "toasting". As a tobacco by-product in America I'm sure little expense was given to Scotches. Some salts added, some sugars to the sweets, they probably don't even use sieves having machinery that pulverize everything going through.
  • Not to be OT but I think it would be interesting to know is where Snuff sits in the sortation process. It is my understanding that farmers presort the tobacco in bundles to get a better price for prize leaf. A cigar company will buy the best and resort it again. After the curing period, it is resorted yet again.
  • JuxtaposerJuxtaposer Member
    edited January 2013 PM
    My take on the naming of Scotch snuff is the use of stems and parts otherwise of no use for other products. The Scottish are well known for their resourcefulness and certainly would have been in the forefront of snuff making in America. As a side note: Surely tobacco other than fire cured was used for snuff in America. Perhaps certain percentages for some brands, obviously Starr would be one that has very little if any fire cured.
  • Yeah, Starr seems like its never been within a mile of a fire. Absolutely scentless. I mean there are plain snuffs, but even plain has a scent!

    Well it has some scent, but an exaggeration won't hurt anyone. :^o :-\"

    I suspect it would be an excellent choice for home scenting experiments, I just wish it was available locally, and I mean other people's locales too. I'm hoarding my last unopened tub of it until I can find a replacement supply.
  • I would think that American or not, snuff would be made from a decent leaf selection. Stems are in every type of product softened by additives or flavorings
  • Good find @MattheFox
  • cstokes4cstokes4 Member, Moderator
    Damn good find!
  • This book (or that portion of it) should be in our library if not already.
  • cstokes4cstokes4 Member, Moderator

    Just tried uploading it, file is too big.

    I will try something else over the weekend to get it archived.
  • I wonder how similar todays manufacture is the that 1897 book description.
  • I would like to think that the subject of the leaf used in snuff would be the same if not better because we still supply huge amounts to other countries and the sweet Vinginia leaf is still one of the best wrappers on top cigars
  • erictheredericthered Member
    edited January 2013 PM
    Interesting. I wonder what the difference is between "eating" snuff (Scotches) and dip. Presumably it's what is now dry snuff and, say, Copenhagen.
  • @ericthered, Grind and moisture level. Add water to your Scotch snuff and let it sit a couple days. The tobacco will expand into a fine grind "dip". Swedish snus is the same. It starts as whole leaves, ground down to a course powder, close to a course ground snuff, then re moisturized, and steam treated to get to final size. Before the Swedes discovered adding water and slow heating it, snus was nasal snuff.
  • Now thats interesting @bigmick
  • I've never done the couple day long soak, but I have made scotch snuff prillas in my hand or a tin just by mixing snuff and water until it looks like snus. They're not much for taste though.
  • Thanks Matt. Snus is my first love. Snuff is a wonderful Mistress.
  • @bigmick I don't know much about snus or snuff but I thought that tobacco for snus was pasturised using steam directly after curing or have I got this all wrong? I am very much interested in this process and the differences between preparing tobacco for snuff and snus. I don't take snus but I have just sown some tobacco seeds and would like to my hand at making a few different products.
  • @Ubert, snus is heat treated/pasteurized right before packaging. It's part of the final blending of flavors. The tobacco is cured, mostly air or sun cured, then stored/aged for however long to conform to recipes. Most of the tobaccos are two + years old before being turned into snus. The heat kills microorganisms and slows or stops the aging process.
    Curing tobacco is the hardest part for us home growers. Planting , growing, grinding is simple.
  • I had hoped to make it clear that they are not like toasts. Three Thistle Strong is one of my favorites. All of them are good though. I don't really like the sweets except for the Wild Cherry.
  • @Juxtaposer Evident, because Wild Cherry is not a sweet. :)
  • I'm inclined to disagree.
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