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Snuff Explained

History of Snuff

Snuff-taking is one of the oldest customs associated with tobacco and today is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence. The earliest knowledge of snuff dates from the second voyage of Columbus in 1494 when American Indians were observed sniffing a mysterious powder. Within a few years of the voyagers adopting this practice, it was introduced to Europe. During the 16th century, snuff taking became very fashionable throughout Spain and France. The first snuff arrived in Britain during the reign of Elizabeth I but only after CharlesII returned from exile in France did snuff make any real impact. Initially, snuff was restricted to Court circles and men of fashion. Apart from Charles, Queen Anne and George III both indulged in the habit.  In 1702, as a result of an attack by the British on a French/Spanish convoy, one ship was found to contain a cargo of snuff. This was duly seized and some was given to the crew as part payment. The snuff then found its way around the ports from which the sailors were discharged. This gave the opportunity for the man in the street to be able to take snuff. As a result of this, taking snuff then steadily increased and snuff mills began to appear in London, Bristol and Northern England.

What is snuff?
Dry snuff is intended to be sniffed up the nose. It is not ‘snorted’ as snuff should not get past the sinuses, throat or lungs. Usually, it is scented or flavoured from a range of floral, mentholated, fruit and spices.
The range of textures and moistures varies from very fine to coarse and from the toasted (very dry) to the very moist.
The manufacture of nasal snuff is a mixture of a finely ground tobacco, flavouring and water. In the old days, the tobacco leaves were ground by the power of water-wheels but modern machinery ensures a much higher standard.
After grinding, in order to obtain an even texture, several stages of sieving take place. The snuff is then blended with ingredients like - Bergamotte, Attar of Roses, Jasmin, Spearmint, Aniseed, Eucalyptus, Citrus and Sandalwood. The blended snuff is then matured in wood to ensure permeation of the flavour and to develop its character before it is ready for dispatch.

Taking Snuff
Take a pinch of snuff between your thumb and forefinger. Holding the pinch to one nostril, release part of it with a short, sharp sniff and then repeat the exercise with the other nostril.
You will probably sneeze at first but this is normal. Persevere for a couple more pinches within the next half hour and the desire to sneeze should disappear.
There is a second method which is to take the snuff from the little hollow created just below the tendon at the base of the thumb when the thumb is outstretched.

Pocket Snuff Boxes

Pocket Snuff Boxes