Sunday, October 2, 2016

We'll Miss Chef Daniel Richard...

On Monday, September 26, 2016 Daniel Richard passed away.  He was 60 years old and lived in Bethpage Tennessee.

To snufftakers, he will always be known as Chef Daniel, and his loss will be felt for years to come.  First and foremost, Chef Daniel was a gentleman.  He always comported himself with class and generosity, and though many of us never got to meet him in person, many of us hoped to one day do so.  With his passing, we will never get this chance and we are poorer for it.

Whether he was posting about his latest creation, sharing some obscure tobacco lore, or musing about his beloved guard-kitty, Chloe...he always managed to share, or educate, or bring a smile to your face.

Chef Daniel was also an artist.  He created snuffs the likes of which have never been seen, and will never be seen again.  His creations were in a category all their own.  The patience, time, and knowledge he brought to snuffmaking produced artisan snuffs that surpassed all other snuffs in quality and enjoyment.  Do not mistake this for hyperbole.  I mean this quite literally.

We have a memorial page on the Modern Snuff website that talks about Chef Daniel's philosophy as a snuff-maker, shares some details about the pain-staking process of making one of his snuffs, and features a complete list of all the snuffs that Chef Daniel offered from Old Mill Artisan Snuff, along with his beautiful descriptions of those snuffs.

Chef Daniel Richard Memorial Page

Feel free to leave comments about the memorial page or Chef Daniel himself here on the blog.  And if you have any suggestions for the page, please share them.

Thanks.

Rest in Peace, Chef Daniel Richard.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff

Spoon vs. Pinch vs. Back-of-the-Hand

Some folks swear by the pinch.  They get to feel the snuff.  Warm the snuff between their fingers.  Break it up as they snuff it, as they rub their fingers together.  And they get to place the snuff where they would like.  Its also convenient pinching your snuff...no tools other than your fingers needed.  

Other folks swear by the spoon.  A few snuff off the spoon itself, but most spoon it onto the back of their hand.  It feels like you can take bigger doses off the the back of your hand, and with practice you can place the snuff where you want in your nose and vary the strength of your draw.  

I think the longer you take snuff, the more likely you are to vary your technique depending on your situation.  I work in small engine repair, and my hands get dirty.  So sometimes that makes my decision for me, as to how to take my snuff.  Sometimes I'm taking my snuff on the run, and a pinch is all I can manage.  Its fast, simple, and get the job done.  But, if I'm sitting around at home, I'd rather take a large amount off the back of my hand.  That's what I'm doing today as I write this.

Anyway...the whole point of my post, is don't get stuck in one method.  Keep trying different things, and be willing to vary how you take snuff depending on your situation, and what you want from the snuff at the time.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff

Monday, July 18, 2016

Life Drags you Along Sometimes...But Snuff is There

A dramatic turn of events.  Unexpected developments.  Evolving and unprecedented circumstances.  Life throws these at you sometimes.  Well, to be honest...a lot of the time.  Some you roll with, adapt to, and learn from...while others are worth fighting with everything to resist.  You can control your own approach to life, your own decisions, and your own actions...but that's about all you control.  Other people are out of your control.  The decisions of others are out of your control.  The goals and plans of others...also out of your control.

But, snuff is there.

The amazing smells and rich fragrances.  The pleasant burn and tingle in your nose.  The contrasting stimulation and relaxation that impossibly wash over you at the same time.  These selfish, private joys accompany you on your journey.  And so much better...so very much better...if you can share these joys with other snuff-takers that share your love of this ancient practice.  Gentlemen and ladies well met, and sharing in your admiration for the leaf of wonders.

About 4 or 5 months ago, I started a new job.  It quickly turned into a new career.  I've been working very hard to learn a new trade...a skill set that will keep me gainfully employed for my second half of life.  It has been exhausting, fun, frustrating, rewarding, and I've been loving it.  But, it took away a lot of my free time.  I haven't posted on this blog in some time, or visiting the Facebook page, or adding content to the message board.  Just too much energy taken for the new job...and the new direction.

But, true to the premise of this post...snuff has been there.  A pinch of Pure Virginia Toast at lunch.  Some McChrystal's Anisette while resting in the evening.  Some Viking Dark once the kids were put to bed.  Some Silver Dollar Blueberry on a Saturday afternoon.  And on occasion, when in the presence of other snuff-takers, legendary snuff binges that would make the Victorians blush.

With the insane pressures of the new job having calmed somewhat, I'll be posting more.  I'll be finishing up the Modern Snuff website.  And we'll see what other surprises we can bring into being.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mixing and Layering Your Snuffs

There are a wide variety of snuffs available to the modern snuff-taker.  Some snuff-takers embrace their inner mad-scientist and enjoy mixing and layering multiple snuffs to create new flavor/scent experiences.  Here are a variety of ways that snuff-takers have been known to mix two or more snuffs:

1.  Actually mixing up an amount of mixed snuff in a snuff box or jar.  This involves placing two or more snuffs in one container in various proportions, mixing, and then taking them.  Some will go as far as to re-grind the mixture (in a mortar and pestle) and then sift it before taking.

2.  Mixing them in your nose.  You take one snuff, and then follow with the other.  This isn't as much "mixing" as it is "layering" the snuffs in your nose.

3.  Mixing them on the back of your hand.  If you don't want to mix up a whole batch, you an put a little of one snuff on the back of your hand, and then put a little bit of another, and take both snuffs at once in a mixture.  This could certainly help one figure out the proportion of each snuff that works well together before making a larger batch (method #1 above.)

4.  One up each nostril is a technique I've heard used, but have never tried myself.  You take one snuff up one nostril, and the other snuff up the second nostril.  Reportedly this is enjoyable.

Personally, I tend toward method #2 where you layer multiple snuffs in your nose.

I tend to layer Viking Dark with a lot of other snuffs.  There is something rich and smokey about it that works well as a layer with other snuffs.  Especially sweeter snuffs.

Old Mill's Pure Virginia Toast has a nice balanced sweetness that layers well with stronger, less subtle snuffs.

And, when I'm looking for some nice burn and nicotine, I like to layer with WE Garrett Sweet Scotch snuff with other snuffs.  When combined in my nose with a stronger scented snuff, WE Garrett's sweetness sort of falls into the background and increases the enjoyment.

If you have a particular method or combination that you enjoy, please feel free to share it in the comments.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Strange Snuff Machines

Have you ever used an odd contraption or machine to deliver snuff into your nose? I tend to see these snuff-machines as somewhat gimmicky devices mainly meant to cause a spectacle at a restaurant, bar, or party. I can't imagine someone using one for daily use.

I've actually gotten to use one at Gasthof's German Restaurant in Minnesota. Two piles of snuff are placed on the device under your nostrils, the waitress snaps the board, and you sniff right as the snuff is fire upwards into the air.

Just another quick personal story on this topic.  I was having a big back-yard party and I wanted to entice some folks to try some snuff.  And nothing entices people to try snuff like a weird contraption that fires it up your nose.  But, I didn't have a snuff machine lying about.

So, I went and got two new paint stirrers out of the garage.  Basically two flat thin pieces of board.  I think rulers would have worked, but I didn't have any rulers.

I placed two piles on the end of paint stirrer, placed the piles under a friend's nostrils, and told him to sniff lightly when I struck the paint stirrer.  I basically just tapped the paint stirrer holding the piles of snuff with the other paint stirrer, and it fired the snuff upwards just like one of these snuff machines.

I would say about nine people at the party tried snuff, mainly because there was alcohol involved and a weird method of taking the snuff.

I've added a photo album over at the Modern Snuff website featuring some of these snuff-machines. If you have any photos to add to the album, please share them with me!

CLICK HERE to view the album.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Mystery of the Garrett Snuff Fortune

The following article is archived from Delaware Today, located here.

The Mystery of the Garrett Snuff Fortune
A fortune built on Red Clay Creek went mostly to lawyers.

BY MARK DIXON

Click forLarger Version
Haven’t written a will yet? Then, you should know about the Garrett Snuff fortune—$30 million, most of which went to lawyers.



The story begins in 1930 when Henrietta Schaeffer Garrett—a childless widow and heir to a fortune that took 150 years to build—died without heeding her long-dead husband’s request that she write a will. By the time it was over in the 1950s, more than 26,000 self-proclaimed heirs had come forward to claim the estate.

“Like ants frenzied by a blog of sticky honey, the alleged heirs…converged on Philadelphia by bus, train and automobile,” wrote historian Clifford Weslager. Dozens misrepresented their own ancestry, accused their dead parents of having affairs and falsified official and family documents to present themselves as Garrett heirs.

In Germany, a man who shared Henrietta’s maiden name shot his aunt and uncle after they refused to fund his trip to America to claim the Garrett fortune. (In remorse, he then committed suicide.) In Philadelphia, “someone” slipped an entire forged page into the bound files of death certificates in the vital records office. Even Henrietta’s trusted business manager made his play.

“One searches the voluminous records of the Garrett case in vain to find an unselfish character to contrast the godly with the unrighteous,” wrote Weslager. “There was one wholesome, fine, upright person, and that was Walter Garrett, whose money was the cause of it all.”

Garrett was the great-grandson of John Garrett, who began making snuff in 1782 at what had been a flour mill on Red Clay Creek near Yorklyn. Snuff is a form of powdered tobacco inhaled into the nose by users. Natives of Brazil are the first to have used snuff, which was introduced to Europe by a Franciscan monk after he noticed natives using it on Columbus’ second voyage in 1493. By the 18th century, snuff was the tobacco product of choice among elite Westerners.

Garrett Snuff was long a leading brand, mostly because the family got into the business early and built a lead over other producers. Folk tales in New Castle County asserted that the water of Red Clay Creek conveyed special properties to the Garrett products. But, according to Weslager, the tobacco was grown elsewhere and Garrett manufacturing processes were nothing unusual.

Click for Larger Version
It was a hugely profitable business. In 1850, Walter’s father, William Garrett, built what Weslager called “one of the most pretentious mansions in Christiana Hundred”—three stories tall with 19 rooms, oak floors, paneled doors, wainscoting, fireplaces with marble mantles and balustrade stairs. Locals called it the “snuff mill mansion.” And it wasn’t even William Garrett’s full-time home; he had moved to Philadelphia. William Garrett bequeathed the snuff mill to his sons, Walter and William Jr., the latter of whom died childless, thus returning his share to his brother.

When Walter Garrett married Henrietta Schaeffer in 1871, he was a 40-year-old bachelor—tall and heavyset, with a flowing mustache, who wore a frock coat, starched collar and silk hat. She was 22, and blond and had left school in the eighth grade. As one of the richest men in Philadelphia, Garrett had a wide choice of potential wives. According to Weslager, however, he was “smitten” when he saw Henrietta scrubbing the stoop in front of her parents’ house on South 13th Street.

“A latter-day Cinderella story” is how the newspapers described it. Walter bought her a three-and-a-half-story house on South Ninth Street. Then he bought the house next door for her family and connected the two so Henrietta could visit her family at will. He also provided a coach and horses, a coachman, a cook, a personal maid and a downstairs maid.

“To say that Walter loved his pretty, young wife is an understatement,” wrote Weslager. “He adored her, he cherished her and he became so devoted to her that he didn’t want to leave her side.” Henrietta didn’t like highbrow amusements such as the opera, so Walter stopped going. She did like sentimental sheet music, so he bought her a rosewood piano on which to play it. She also liked Atlantic City, so he built her a 10-room “cottage.”

But Henrietta was not dumb. After Walter died in 1895, she did not blow the $6 million he left her. She lived modestly—more so than Walter—and kept careful track of her investments. Her physician would later testify that he often found her reading stock reports when he made house calls. In the 35 years before her own death, the estate grew to $17 million and to $30 million by the time it was distributed in 1951.

Settling the estate took years because every claim had to be investigated. In 1937, Henrietta’s body was exhumed to confirm that no will had been secreted in the coffin. Genealogists produced a three-volume report dismissing relationships to all but three cousins. These were people Henrietta had never met, but to whom she was related through her mother.

Afterward, workers went to Henrietta’s house on Ninth Street with orders to smash everything, including the rosewood piano. Administrators had decided that nothing could be sold, lest some buyer later use an item to claim a relationship to the family and make a new claim on the fortune. The fragments were loaded into seven wagons, transported to a lot outside the city and burned.

Now, call your lawyer and make that will.

--------------------------------
--------------------------------

I found this article interesting, because it refers to the Garrett snuff empire, and suggests how successful it was.  It is sad to think that the fortune had no direct heir to go to, and that the whole thing ended in a huge legal battle and all the money going to lawyers.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Friday, February 26, 2016

Famous Snuff-Taker - Samuel Johnson

Click to see larger version.
Dr. Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory, and has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history." He is also the subject of "the most famous single biographical work in the whole of literature," James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson.

Samuel John spent eight-years compiling and writing his A Dictionary of the English Language, with 42,773 word entries, and approximately 114,000 literary quotations included to illustrate the usage and context of the words.  Johnson had planned to complete the work in three years.  In comparison, the Académie Française had forty scholars spending forty years to complete their dictionary of the French languate, which prompted Johnson to claim, "This is the proportion. Let me see; forty times forty is sixteen hundred. As three to sixteen hundred, so is the proportion of an Englishman to a Frenchman."

Johnson was a tall and robust man. His odd gestures and tics were disconcerting to some on first meeting him. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a condition not defined or diagnosed in the 18th century.

It is said that Dr. Johnson took snuff by the fistful and filled the pockets of his coats with the magic tobacco dust.  Below is an image of one of his snuff-boxes.  It is carved ivory in the shape of a gloved hand.  It has a silver top that is engraved with, "Dr. Samuel Johnson, The Lexicographer, 1770, From a Friend." (Circa: 1770, Size: 4" H x 2 1/8" W x 1 3/4").


Mark Stinson



Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Dreaded Snuff-Binge

I'm fairly sure every snuff-taker has done this at least once.  I'm talking about the snuff-binge.  Sometimes it happens when you find one particular snuff you really really like.  Sometimes a snuff-binge is sparked by receiving a new selection of snuffs in the mail.  Sometimes it happens after a busy week, when you finally have a whole evening just to relax.  Whatever the cause, the occasional snuff-binge is sort of amusing.

We like to think of ourselves as discerning and sophisticated snuff-takers, enjoying the scents, flavors, and traditions of our age-old activity in a calm and reflective capacity.  And most of the time we are.  But, the snuff-binge is a little bit of our base nature peeking through the cracks of our civilized veneer.  Just as some animals will eat lethal amounts of food before they realize what's happening, there is some needy animal part of our brain that takes over sometimes, and a full-on snuff-binge results.

I will admit to a snuff-binge last night.  I received an amazing order of snuff.  I told myself, "Hey, Mark...try these slowly.  Control yourself.   Just enjoy each new snuff at your regular snuff-taking pace, and spend the next couple of days trying each of these new snuffs."  I was resolved to exercise a Gentleman's level of control.  But, the kid in a candy store part of my brain took over, and four hours later I had taken copious amounts of every kind of snuff I had received.  My nose was thrumming and felt heavy and a little numb.  My eyes were dry in their sockets and red like a stop sign.  Used kleenex littered my desk top.  I was surrounded by a jumble of snuff tins piled here and there.  I was happy as pie, but a little disappointed in myself!

I would love to say that I will never have one of these snuff-binges again.  And you probably tell yourself, "Never again.  I'm a sophisticated snuff-taker, and completely in control."  But, odds are...some delicious selection of snuff is going to show up in your mail one day, and you'll once again fall prey to that grabby greedy part of your brain that can't have enough.  When that happens, don't be too disappointed in yourself.  It was only a matter of time..

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website
.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sarsaparilla from Old Mill Artisan Snuff

I started into the new Sarsaparilla snuff from Old Mill Artisan Snuff today.  And I thought I would post some of my impressions of it.  Like all Old Mill Snuffs, when you open the tin you are immediately struck by how densely packaged the snuff is in the tin.  It is packed to the brim with the finely ground tobacco, and its best to use a spoon (or other small object) to fluff it a bit in the center and portion out the snuff you are going to take.

The Sarsaparilla snuff is a medium brown color and has moderate moisture.  It sticks together a little bit, and is moist enough to clump if pressed together.  I usually spoon it onto the back of my hand, and then spread it out a little bit.  You have to snuff it delicately, so you don't pull it too far into your nose.  The moisture makes it much easier to take than an American Scotch, but the medium-fine grind requires you to go a little easy with it.

Here is the description of the snuff from the Old Mill website:
Sarsaparilla:  Stoved red Virginia, toasted St. James Perique and a small amount of dark air cured Burley are dressed with a cocktail of Jamaican sarsaparilla root, dandelion root, wild cherry bark, ginger root, juniper berries, cinnamon sticks, black malt syrup and vanilla beans then conditioned in toasted Colorado Blue Spruce crates.  When fully matured the leaf is air dried and milled to a medium fine grind with moderate moisture for a snuff reminiscent of root beer, without the sweetness.
So, how's the scent/flavor?  The short answer is DELICIOUS.  The methods that Chef Daniel of Old Mill uses to make his snuff ensure that the scent is rich without any hint whatsoever of anything artificial.  There is this spicy "root beer" flavor to the snuff, but its more than that.  There is both a richness and a creaminess that is something beyond just a "root beer" flavor.  I love blended root beer floats at Sonic, and this snuff reminds me of that combination of creaminess and spiciness you get with those.  Chef Daniel says "without the sweetness" in his description above, but there is a subtle sweetness there, mostly likely from the way the tobaccos were prepared.

In my nose, the snuff lingers quite well.  It diminishes over time, and the spicy "root beer" flavor changes over time, revealing layers of complexity.  It is one of those snuffs where you can sit and enjoy the changes in the scent over time.  I snuffed up enough of the Sarsaparilla in a short amount of time, that I generated a throat drip.  Much like Old Mill's Pure Virginia Toast, the throat drip has both a pleasant flavor and subtle burn.  With moderate use, this would be unlikely to develop any drip at all.

Chef Daniel only sells to individual snuff-takers directly.  So, if you are interested in getting some of the Sarsaparilla, simply go to the Old Mill Website and use the contact form to start communicating with him.  He'll get you the price list and set things up with you.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Scent-Track to Our Lives

Daffy Duck Uses Snuff.  Snuff Said.
I had a weird thought the other day. You know how people take their MP3 player everywhere? Its like adding a sound-track to your life.  Or sometimes people joke about a signature theme song playing everytime they walk into a room, like what happens with heroes (and some villians) in movies and television.  Music sets a tone.  It adds flavor to life.  It is mood altering, and adds extra layers of meaning.

Snuff-takers have a SCENT-track to their lives. The world just smells better all the time when you are a snuff-taker. You can choose what the world smells like.  Snuff-takers often take different snuffs in different situations.  Snuff allows you to augment and take advantage of one of your five senses, and feed it with sensory input.  Snuff sets a tone.  It adds flavor to life.  It is mood altering, and adds extra layers of meaning.

Mark Stinson
Modern Snuff Website