08 March 2018

General Kardus Spring 2018 - Review. 8 March 2018.

It's time, General Kardus Spring 2018 is here! Kardus is the most exclusive, and expensive, snus Swedish Match releases each year. This year is the first release in the "Gastronomy Series". For those who don't know, gastronomy is defined as "the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food." This year's release was made in partnership with restauranteur Karl Ljung, and is a truly unique flavor compared to past releases!  I'm going to give a little background in this review, but if you want more details my friend Andreas from Stiff Upper Lip translated the inner book into English, and I put it up in PDF format if you want to check that out, here.

Background
This year’s Kardus was made in collaboration with Karl Ljung, a restauranteur and snus user, and Swedish Match’s Master Blender, Lars Öberg. Ljung noted that snus is simply tobacco, salt, water and flavoring. He believes that snus is like cooking; no matter how much you refine it, you still start with these ingredients.  He believes that to produce a quality snus, you have to star with the basics.  This year's release, once again, is all lamina. This means only the best parts of the tobacco are used. The tobacco used is from India, Spain, and the Philippines and is cut into 0.72mm slices according to the single cut method. This gives a different taste sensation and feeling under the lip than regular los snus. This year's flavor profile is inspired by Swedish herbs. This year's flavor is described as, "dark and spicy. The herbal compliments are clear; rosemary and thyme are noticed, together with citrus, dark berries, and a hint of spruce." Only 1000 were produced this year, and each container has 150 grams of snus. The nicotine content is listed as 14mg/g. The price point is 999sek, or $120.77 USD.

Mouth-Blown Glass Vessel
This year has a special vessel; it is a mouth-blown glass vessel made by Orrefors glassworks in Småland. The Swedish glass industry is world famous, and each glass vessel was hand blown by the skilled craftsmen at Orrefors. The text and signature are blasted in advance. Since the glass vessel is handmade, that means each vessel is one of a kind and unique. Orrefors is linked to gastronomy as much of their glass is used in Swedish restaurants. The green color is due to the herbal taste of this year's edition. Karl Ljung said that he really liked the green colors and that "good taste also means having a taste for the beautiful and elegant."

The Review
So, all that being said, let's talk about this snus. When I open the vessel, the aroma that greets me is very herb heavy. I detect rosemary inn the front, along with thyme. The tobacco character is rich, dark, and has a slight spice to the scent. There is also a light hint of spruce. One thing that surprised me this year is how easy the tobacco is to work with; this is the first Kardus release I’ve ever been able to handbake! The tobacco is soft in the lip, and the prilla stays together really well. The flavor releases quickly, but does mature the longer you have it in. Right off the bat you’ll detect the dark, robust tobacco character. The herbal presence is the star of this snus, with flavors of rosemary and thyme mingling with the tobacco character. The longer I have it in, the more I notice the spruce character. It’s not as present as the rosemary and thyme, but it’s a rather nice accompaniment. I didn’t really detect much citrus; there’s a small hint, but it’s not too bold. And I didn’t notice any berry taste. The nicotine feels to be firmly at the strong level. The flavor lasts quite a long time; I can usually keep a prilla in for 45 to 55 minutes before it starts to slide and the flavor fades.

This snus is a very unique release.  As someone who studied Culinary Arts, I really appreciate the gastronomy approach to General Kardus. Those closest thing I can compare it to is the Göteborgs Rapé (2017 Local/Cities Edition) which had a taste of rosemary to it. But, this is much better.  If you're a snus fan, Kardus is a no brainer.  It's the most exclusive release Swedish Match releases every year, and well worth the cost.  As of right now, it's not for sale to the US, but who knows, that may change. If you're in Sweden, you can buy it from the Swedish Match webstore and have it shipped to you. A special thanks to my friend Michael in Sweden who grabbed this for me.

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