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What are the different types of Snus?

A can with snus

Snus is available in many types but with two main varieties: loose or portioned.

Fifty years ago, the only real option was loose, but as Snus gained popularity, different delivery methods of Snus were created. Loose Snus is essentially ground tobacco and is divided into three broad types, depending on the grind size: fine, medium, and coarse. Course grind has a more robust tobacco flavour but is more challenging to pack. Loose Snus is the same as when Snus was first invented and used by Jean Nicot and the French Royals, which the Swedes then popularized; the open ground Snus was and still is packed together and formed into a sort of tablet, which is then placed between the lower lip and gum. Sweet Swedish Tradition!

Snus is also available in the nasal form, just as the native Americans used it for headaches! However, unlike the native Americans who used pure ground tobacco, modern nasal Snus or dry Snus is usually white and less intense, flavoured with fruits, spices and menthol.

Snus used to be moistened, dark-coloured and of only one standard strength; now, we have a rating of 1-4 to suit consumers' tastes. Level 1 is the same intensity and strength as the original or standard Snus and is usually indicated by two dots on the box; Level 2 is more robust, more intensely flavoured, with a more substantial 'hit' of nicotine; it is indicated using three dots on the box. Level 3 is even more robust, and Level 4, the newest out of Norway, is labelled Ultra strong, indicated by five dots. New Snus also come in flavours nowadays; there's something more than just the general additives to Snus that affect flavour from brand to brand, like fruit flavours like melon, blueberry, and lime. However, these mellow flavours are restricted to pure white Snus as regular Snus overpowers such flavouring. All Snus has a smoky taste except for white Snus, they also have a mint flavour. Original Snus tastes like tobacco; new white Snus can be mixed with regular Snus to give a smoky tobacco flavour plus added flavouring like whiskey, bergamot, liquorice and mint.

Portions of Snus have different varieties, from large pouches and portions to micro portions called formats, all to fit the consumer's taste. Portions of Snus take root from the first pouch-type Snus known as the original portion, a dark brown pouch of Snus that retains the same moisture as white Snus. New formats include the Large, slim, Super slim, mini and micro versions. As the 1970s rolled around, Snus was packaged into pouches to prevent the mess of compacting loose Snus between one's fingers. Before this, loose Snus were carried in round metal tins, often made of precious metals and adorned with fancy designs and engravings, as people of high status mainly used Snus. 

Loose Snus

Loose Snus is mixed with moisture and made sticky; it is then made into a ball or Prilla, placed behind the lower lip or under the tongue. Despite being messier and requiring some skill to 'bake' properly, loose tobacco is preferred due to the uninterrupted taste and increased intensity. Loose Snus, despite not lasting as long as portioned Snus, gives a much faster 'hit' of nicotine, along with a full-bodied flavouring. Most Snus users prefer loose Snus due to their authenticity to tradition; due to this, loose Snus are usually more limited in terms of flavour and strength; most loose Snus available are of high strength and robust and smoky flavouring. 

Loose Snus, the non-white kind, is also more likely to stain teeth. Loose snus users often enjoy the freedom of changing the 'format' or size of their formed snus tablet. Portioned snus users are limited to the size they are portioned in a box. Loose Snus, however, is much more challenging to be used discreetly in public. Pre-baked Snus, pre-preformed cylinders of Snus that can be broken down and reformed, are available and solve the need for forming skills in novices. Another issue with loose Snus is the feared 'mudslide', a term used to describe the falling apart of a created piece of Snus in one's mouth, resulting in a mouth full of tobacco that doesn't look or feel pleasant.

Overall, Loose Snus is a more traditional product. However, all-white loose Snus does exist, which reduces the staining effects and can be more discreet in case of a mudslide…. Or avalanche. Loose Snus remains limited, however, and that's how most loose Snus users would like to keep it.

Portioned Snus

Packed Snus is refined ground tobacco that has undergone the baking process. Tobacco is 'baked' into pouches during packaging, where it's compacted and moistened; moistening the tobacco causes a quicker release of nicotine; this can cause the pouches to become runny and create a mess, a mess they were intended to prevent. Ironic. Portioned tobacco is usually more discreet, less messy and available in many formats; however, it lacks the same flavour and intensity as loose Snus due to the packaging creating a barrier. Portions also come with the limitation of fixed formats in a box, meaning they do not give consumers the option of increasing and decreasing portion size as they please, like with loose Snus. While protecting users from the infamous 'mudslide', portioned Snus is easy to use on the go and comes quite close to loose Snus. Portioned Snus comes in the original portion, which is strong brown tobacco, multiple different intensity versions and format versions of the initial portion, and finally, the white and all white portions to be discussed later. 

Portioned Snus offers more consumer variety, flavouring options, and moist and dry versions. Portioned Snus is also available in perforated portions for consumers who prefer the ease and convenience of pouches but wish to experience tobacco's direct taste. Although plenty of innovations in portions exist, users want to stick to portions as close to authentic as possible.

All White Snus

All white Snus is washed, portioned tobacco with nicotine. Available in dry and wet forms, with the dry taking a little longer to kick in than wet forms, but having the added benefit of not becoming runny. Black portions are the same as white portions but differently coloured. All white is a step further from white Snus, a type created in the 1980s with less tobacco. All white Snus come with reduced tobacco and are packaged dry. 

All white Snus is a recent innovation inspired by its predecessor and uses a lot less tobacco, which means reduced smoky flavouring and intensity. Still, due to this, it can be flavoured. It also released less 'juice', so although it isn't relatively as strong, it reduced the smell of tobacco from the user's mouth. It is an excellent Alternative for users trying to quit or find something more discreet and easier to use in a social setting.

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