English Nasal Snuff
Amazingly, snuff has been produced for hundreds of years with little technical recording of the process.In certain periods of its illustrious history, snuff had been the number one method of consuming tobacco products.
Until the twentieth century, the hogshead was the main method of packaging and shipping tobacco.
Within these large wooden staved barrels, as much as 1500 pounds of tobacco could be prized or pressed. A series of cured leaves, bound together by their stalks (known as hands) was layered into the hogshead and pressed with just the right pressure, so as not to damage the leaves.
Once a hogshead arrived at the mill site in good order, the snuff making process would begin. The hands were removed in their layers and sorted for various uses. If leaves were in an exceptionally pliable condition, they were used for making rope tobacco. Rope tobacco was tightly twisted, connected, and placed onto spools for curing. Then, the rope was cut into shorter sections, refereed to as a carotte, which was ground by a rasp for snuff, or broken into small sections for smoking in clay pipes. The remaining tobacco was sorted and stripped of its veins and stems.
After the stripping process, the tobacco and certain choice sections of stem were coarsely chopped in preparation of fermentation. Once stripped and chopped, the tobacco was ready to be placed in the Bin Room for fermentation. The bin room was arranged with a series of removable slat walls standing four feet tall and eight to ten feet long. The bin room could accommodate four bins with each being able to hold 2,000 pounds of chopped tobacco.
Possibly the most prestigious rooms in Sharrow Snuff Mill were the two seventeenth/eighteenth century floors that housed the round table of mortars and pestles. In the grinding process, the snuff work must be of the right moisture. Too moist and the works will stick to the mortars and pestles. Too dry and much of the hard work will go up into dust particles that float away.
As the snuff works were ground to a fine powder or flowerŽ, centripetal force caused the flower to rise to the top of the mortar and heap around its edges. Well trained workers had to constantly watch this process from start to finish.
Throughout these stages of , laborers have preformed the majority of the work with supervision coming from a Wilson family member. But the scenting process has remained a family secret for ten generations.
With the familys permission, I have listed the blended tobaccos and essential oils that are added to create each individual bouquet of Wilson Snuff and Fribourg and Treyer Snuff, yet the ratios will never be exposed to me.
Once these ingredients were mixed into a container in the family scenting room, the door was opened and the container was handed to awaiting employee, who poured its contents into the mixing machine.
Located on the first floor of mortars and pestles, a large geared water powered barrel, capable of holding 1000 pounds of flour (ground, unscented snuff works), was the mixing machine. This water powered barrel simply spun around at a slow revolution, mixing together the family secret ingredients as well as the blends of Burley, Golden Virginian, Flue cures and, sun cures, that create each individual flavor of snuff.
not all flavours are listed
Gawith Hoggarth Snuffs