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Snuff is a form of finely powdered tobacco, which is sniffed directly into the nostrils. Formerly used mainly by the aristocracy of England, it is enjoying something of a revival today, and we are pleased to introduce you to its pleasure. A little perseverance may be required to acquire the habit but the stimulating effect, subtly different to that of smoking tobacco, can be found to be equally satisfying whilst avoiding the known risk of smoking. To the palate jaded by excess smoking, snuff offers a pleasing and cleansing sensation and those concerned over the effects of tobacco smoking can be assured by the fact that snuff, whilst made from the finest tobacco leaves, does not reach the lungs.

Wilsons are still in the happy position of being able to make snuff in the traditional way. It is made from carefully selected blends of choice tobaccos, often originating from Africa where the leaf is particularly suited. After a number of maturing processes the leaf is dried and ground,in the old days by the power of the water wheel at Sharrow Mills in oak mortars by iron pestles. Several stages of sieving follow to ensure the silky, even texture and, to recipes known only to two members of the Wilson family in each generation since 1737, natural oils such as Bergamotte, Attar of Roses, Jasmin and Sandalwood are added in precise measure to delight the nose. Finally the blended snuff is matured in wood to ensure permeation of the flavour and to allow the full development of the flavour and character.


Take a pinch of snuff between your thumb and forefinger. Holding the pinch to the left nostril, release part of it with a short, sharp sniff and then repeat the exercise into the right nostril.

You will probably sneeze at first, but this is entirely natural. Persevere by taking another two pinches within the next half hour and you should find that the desire to sneeze has disappeared. You should now begin to experience that indefinable “lift” which a good snuff gives.

The Four Different Categories of Sharrow Snuffs

Category 1: The SP Varieties.

Best SP has been Wilsons’ best selling snuff for more than 250 years. Its basic aroma is of the finest tobacco leaves with just a hint of the addition of various essential oils of Mediterranean citrus fruits. SP 100 is very similar with a slight variation in the texture of grinding, while Queens and Tom Buck are both stronger versions of Best SP, Gold Label is a milder flavoured SP using 100% American tobaccos.

Category 2: Mentholated Snuffs.

SM (Sharrow Medicated) is flavoured with a pleasant balance of Menthol Crystals and Eucalyptus oil. SM 500, SM Brown, SM Blue and SM Gold are all variations on SM, the last two with the addition of Camphor. Extra Strong Menthol has an even higher amount of menthol in the recipe. Menthol is simply that, with no Eucalyptus. Super Menthol combines strong Menthol flavours onto a citrus base, which is particularly popular. Aniseed and Eucalyptus is simply that, while Aniseed Extra also uses the more complex citrus base. Crumbs of Comfort uses spearmint as one of its many ingredients, while Country Mint has spearmint on its own. Prime Minister is a glorious mixture of nearly all the various mentholated ingredients with spearmint as the top note.

Category 3: Scented Snuffs.

Royal George has many different flavours with Violet, Rose and Vanilla contributing to its very sweet aroma. Jockey Club is another popular sweet scented snuff. Strasbourg has the tang of Citrus Spice. Sharrow Irish D High Toast is a medium brown toasted SP. Irish Toast is a medium brown brew of fairly moist fire-cured tobaccos, while Irish High Toast is a light brown version but very dry. French Carotte is quite coarsely ground and sweetly flavoured. Irish Coffee with its flavour of Irish whiskey is an excellent after dinner snuff.

Category 4: Fruit, Spice and Flower Flavours.

The above category is self-explanatory and the snuffs carry the flavour as indicated by their various names.

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