August 2016

Old Mill Artisan Snuff


Snuff Menu


Two of the Commonwealths of The United States are Virginia and Kentucky.  They are both considered by aficionados to be the epicenters of two tobaccos known worldwide; Burley and Flue Cured Virginia.  It is little known that the entirety of Kentucky was once a county in Virginia.  

Commonwealth Snuff is created to honor these two fine contributions to tobacco pleasure.  

In addition to fine Burley tobacco, Kentucky is the home of world class corn whisky:  Bourbon.  The first component of this fine snuff is a combination of Green River Dark Fired and Dark Air Cured Burley, macerated in copious amounts of 8 year old Bourbon, pressed between charred hickory planks and aged to a deep mahogany before being packed into toasted oak barrels for a nice long nap.

The second component is a combination of Red, Orange and Golden flue cured Virginia leaf steamed then toasted in hand churned Amish butter to a light caramel color, packed into toasted oak barrels and set down for six months.

For the final blend, the Kentucky contribution is milled to a medium-coarse grind with medium moisture; the Virginia element is toasted again and milled to a fine, dry grind.  These two snuffs are compounded into a unique snuff delivering the joys of a natural toast and the deeper notes of a semi-moist coarse snuff.

Equinox 2016:
A significant departure from the 2015 vintage, this year's offering is based on Irish Malt Whisky scented with dried heather blossoms, toasted hazelnuts, dark roast coffee beans, a few Tahitian vanilla pods, a handful of toasted cinnamon sticks, a bit of bright citrus zest, dark roasted cocoa nibs and heather honey caramelized in hand churned Amish butter.  This cocktail is used to dress a rich blend of stoved red Virginia, dark air cured Burley and a bit of toasted Turkish Prilep.  The dressed tobacco bill is lightly packed into toasted oak barrels until the leaf and dressing are fully integrated, air dried and milled to a medium grind with Old Mill's signature moisture for easy snuffing and long lasting scent.

Cupid's Crest 2016  (Limited Edition):
A Valentine’s Day treat, this 100% toasted Red Virginia snuff is scented with Swiss Black Cocoa and Fresh Strawberries macerated in California Brandy along with a few Tahitian vanilla beans lightly sweetened with just a hint of Muscovado sugar and a large dose of eau de vie made from Pinot Noir and flavored with cherries and raspberries before being milled to a medium grind with a light topping of organic cocoa butter to create the perfect balance of scent and tobacco that is gentle in the nose and long lasting.  There are some mystery ingredients included to add subtle, nuanced layers and enhance the fruit and cocoa.  This is not a chocolate bomb.  It is a very complex matrix of scent and flavor that puts the tobacco bill center stage with the cocoa and other additions woven into the score in subtle waves of red fruit, cocoa and coffee with hints of hazelnuts and a mere whiff of vanilla.  It truly defies olfactory analysis.

Arabesque​:  ​
Also known as Turkish Toast.  A selection of hard to find Turkish leaf; Izmir, Prilep and Yenidje combined with Canadian Flue Cured, Piedmont Red Virginia, East Carolina Bright and Highland Rim White Burley, fully toasted and dosed with a combination of crystal clear fig and date eau de vie, toasted cardamom pods, black walnuts, Meyer lemon peel, cinnamon sticks, honey, mint, spices and fresh pomegranate seeds.  Aged under pressure in stainless steel canisters until the leaf fully absorbs the scenting cocktail, the tobaccos are milled to a medium grind then lightly stoved with toasted pine nuts caramelized with Muscovado sugar, hand churned Amish butter and a bit of vanilla to create the signature Old Mill moisture level.

Winter Solstice 2015:
Similar to last year's vintage with pronounced Colorado blue spruce notes from the aging crate, some deep coffee notes, butter from Amish country, fresh & dried plum baritones and an even heavier hand with the black treacle.  The citrus angle includes blood orange, Valencia orange and Meyer lemon.  The usual suspects from the warm spice line up are present in abundance; ginger, toasted cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice berries topped off with a pinch of nutmeg.  There are some faint hints of licorice root, sweet birch, dandelion root and wild cherry bark.  The tobacco bill is also a bit different.  I used Light Fired Virginia Orinoco instead of TN Dark Fired.  There is also a high percentage of Maryland leaf, a bit of Honduran Ligero and a generous portion of toasted Turkish Prilep.  I think it would be fun to try both the 2014 and 2015 vintages side by side; both are in stock.  I prefer amber jars with an alder liner for these two.

Winter Solstice 2014:

A winter warmer in snuff form, Solstice is fragrant with the aromas that warm the soul during the deep, dark, short and frigid days when old man winter holds us in his icy grip.  Scents of Christmas cookies, evergreen trees, mulled cider, pumpkin pie and smoky fireplaces snuggled up with a snifter of warm brandy.  Rich, dark stoved red Virginia, Dark Fire Cured Tennessee Burley, spicy Oriental leaf and rich, dark St. James Perique and Cyprian Latakia are enhanced with a complex and very “busy” infusion of Spanish brandy (aged in Sherry casks), vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, salted caramel, butter, dried figs, black treacle, red currants, roasted chestnuts, walnuts & pecans, lemon & orange zest, dried cranberries and caramelized apples. This infusion started out on New Year’s morning 2014, destined to become a libation, but too alluring to be a mere beverage.  The tobaccos are steeped in the infusion and pressed in a toasted cedar crate until they declare themselves ready to proceed, and then air dried, milled to a medium-coarse grind.

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 fine grind with moderate moisture for a snuff reminiscent of root beer, without the sweetness.

Buttered Rum Toddy:  
Reminiscent of the classic cold weather tipple, Hot Buttered Rum, this snuff is built on a base of Dark Air Cured Green River Burley and Honduran Ligero with Piedmont Red Virginia providing some lighter character and natural sweetness.  It is liberally doused with Black spiced rum, dark Muscovado sugar, molasses, a generous helping of hand churned butter, cloves, cinnamon, sea salt, allspice, lemon and a hint of nutmeg, pressed between charred oak grilling planks before being milled to a medium grind.

Butternut 2015: 
Pure Brazilian Muscovado sugar and Clover Honey slowly caramelized to a deep mahogany brown, mixed with 12 year old Speyside malt whisky, Tahitian Vanilla Beans, toasted White “Butternut” Walnuts and Sicilian Sea Salt aged for six months and added to Air Cured Tennessee Burley.  After the leaf is thoroughly sauced it is packed under pressure between toasted white walnut planks and aged an additional six months. Gently kiln toasted and milled to a medium grind to create a sweet, salty snuff confection.  As is always the case, this vintage is similar, but not identical, to the 2014 version; a bit darker, more of a butterscotch scent with the white walnuts playing second fiddle.  The butter was toasted to a light brown, as the French call it beurre noisette, or hazelnut butter; this enhanced the caramelization of the raw sugar and dropped the honey into runner up status.  Still suitable for all day and makes for a lovely dessert snuff.  
Please note the name change.  This is still a toasted snuff, but doesn't follow the traditional definition of a "toast" snuff as defined by such classics as Fribourg and Treyer High Dry Toast.  So, Butternut it is.

Bananas Foster:  Created in 1951 by Paul Blangé at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana this classic dessert is the inspiration for this equally classic snuff.  Ripe bananas are caramelized in hand churned Amish butter from Kentucky and Brazilian Muscovado sugar then infused into black rum with molasses, vanilla beans, toasted allspice berries, a few strips of blood orange zest and cinnamon sticks.  After thorough maceration this liqueur is strained and used to dress toasted golden Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee dark air cured burley.  The scented leaf is aged in oak, air dried with a pinch of sea salt then milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for all day or a perfect after dinner snuff.

​​Pure Virginia Toast 2015:  Gone for 2016.

Take Five:  Dominican Seco, Nicaraguan Viso, Red Virginia and a bit of White Burley are toasted then dressed with genuine Plymouth Gin, Currants, Grapefruit Zest and a healthy splash of homemade Blood Orange/Meyer Lemon/Key Lime Bitters, then aged in airtight glass before being toasted again, milled to a medium grind with a hint of moisture and spearmint for a refreshing warm weather treat.  The initial impression is sharp and tobacco forward, the citrus and currants bring on a second layer with the mint giving a nice finish.  The cigar filler leaf combined with the juniper are a solid foundation.  Not a snuff for everyone, but a unique offering for those interested in complex and unusual scent combinations.

​​Javelin:  100% Red Virginia dressed with Kentucky Bourbon, Black Swiss Cocoa, Vanilla Beans, a few strips of Meyer lemon zest and a huge pile of fresh Spearmint.  The mint is picked fresh from my herb patch, crushed with sea salt and raw sugar and packed into a jar for several days to extract the aromas and flavor.  The remaining ingredients are added and allowed to age for six months before being applied to the leaf, which is then aged under pressure between slabs of toasted oak before being air dried and milled to a medium grind for a naturally and faintly sweet all day snuff perfect for summer snuffing with a moderate nicotine delivery.  The cocoa is pure and  as such will lend a hint of bitterness to balance the overall sweetness of the snuff. Back drip may be an issue for those sensitive to such things, but is by no means overwhelming or a detraction.

Perfecto:  Another 100% filler leaf cigar snuff composed of all four primings:  Big, bold, dark Tapado Ligero from Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley, Rich and slightly sweet Viso Mata Fina from the Bahia region of Brazil, Seco from Batouri, Cameroon with a light, natural tobacco scent from sun curing, often used as wrapper leaf, and finally, Volado leaf from the 2005 crop of Criollo“98” Cubano leaf grown in the Cibao Valley, Dominican Republic.  The individual primings are treated separately with Fundador Spanish brandy and Sicilian sea salt.  Fundador is a unique example of the art of distilling wine into brandy; it is made with Airen and Palomino grapes in the Andalusia region, distilled using copper pot stills and aged 7 years in sherry casks.  Sipped neat it has an earthy, nutty and decidedly fruity aroma and flavor; the perfect spirit for fine cigar tobaccos.  The process is time consuming but essential for developing each leaf to its optimum potential.  The leaf is toasted lightly before being dressed with brandy and salt, pressed in untreated Spanish cedar crates until the scents are fully integrated, toasted again to a deeper caramel color, milled to a medium grind, sifted through 75 micron stainless steel screens and toasted a final time before the individual snuffs are compounded into the final blend, aged in cedar and finally packed in cedar lined amber glass jars.

Alpine:  Pure Red Virginia aged in a toasted Colorado Blue Spruce crate with fresh Peppermint and a solid dose of organic menthol crystals, very lightly sweetened with Blue Agave Nectar and Black Currant eau de vie then milled to a medium grind with a touch of moisture for a refreshing summertime snuff.

Kind of Blue:  The mood, not the color, honoring Miles Davis Sextet’s masterpiece album recorded in spring of 1959.  This is a moody fruit and floral snuff suitable for evenings with cool jazz on the music machine and a glass of your favorite adult beverage.  Composed of Toasted Burley, Red Virginia and Maryland leaf, enhanced with blueberries and dried lavender blossoms from Provence infused into 100 proof Russian vodka along with a few strips of Meyer lemon zest, a vanilla bean and some fresh spearmint, allowed to age in toasted oak barrels before being milled to a medium moisture, medium grind snuff.

Mint Julep:  Every May there is a thoroughbred horse race just up the road in Louisville, Kentucky held at a track known as Churchill Downs.  The race goes by many names; Run for the Roses comes to mind, but The Kentucky Derby is the official name for this prestigious race, the first of three races that form The Triple Crown.  There are many traditions surrounding the race but none more notable than the official cocktail:  The Mint Julep.  Fine Kentucky bourbon, fresh mint, a bit of sugar fill a silver cup packed with crushed ice, garnished with a sprig of mint and a pair of narrow sipping straws.  This snuff is created to honor the derby which will be held this year on May 2 and consists of toasted White Burley and Red Virginia dressed with the same ingredients as the cocktail, without the ice, garnish and straws.

Suzette:  Inspired by the classic dessert Crepes Suzette created at Paris restaurant Chez Marie in 1898, consisting of thin pancakes flambéed in orange liqueur, this snuff accurately reflects the original recipe with obvious substitutions.  Deeply toasted Flue Cured Virginia and Dark Air Cured Burley are combined with fresh Red Virginia, dressed with an infusion made from a ridiculous amount of blood orange and navel orange zest, hand churned Amish butter and raw Muscovado sugar from Brazil, all caramelized in a slow oven then steeped in Cognac.  After the leaf is thoroughly drenched with the infusion it is aged in toasted oak barrels.  It is then air dried and topped with three orange liqueurs; Grand Marnier and Combier from France and Solerno blood orange liqueur from Sicily.  I added some of my homemade Grapefruit Bitters and roasted walnut oil to add some dimension and another layer of scent.

Antebellum:  Georgia is considered the heart of the Antebellum South and is also the primary producer of peanuts, peaches and pecans in the world.  In tribute to this wealth of flavor, Antebellum snuff is composed of a variety of toasted flue and air cured leaf topped with a cocktail of pecans caramelized in hand churned Amish butter and Brazilian Muscovado sugar along ripe, fresh peaches, white corn whisky, a few cinnamon sticks and a handful of vanilla beans. After thorough aging the leaf is toasted again and milled to a medium grind with minimal moisture.

​​Lambic:   From the tradition of fruit flavored beers brewed in the Pajottenland region of Belgium comes this lightly hopped snuff combining the bittersweet characteristics and floral aromas of toasted Hallertau hops with a variety of fresh and dried fruits, berries and spices infused into pure grain alcohol along with amber malt syrup.  After thorough maceration the cocktail is applied to a tobacco bill of red Virginia, Highland Rim Dark Air Cured Burley, Turkish Izmir and Yenidje and Maryland leaf.  Aged in glass, air dried and milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for a beer lovers’ snuff with sweet, natural undertones of fruit, hops highlights and a deep note of malted barley.

Equinox:   Spring 2015.  Bright yellow flue cured from Canada lightly dressed with plum eau de vie infused with dried Japanese cherry blossoms, a few sprigs of fresh mint and Meyer lemon zest, air dried then milled into a faintly floral, semi-dry snuff of medium grind with unique notes of freshly mowed hay from the excellent leaf.  

Nocturne:    A rich, dark, moody, somber, smoky and somewhat serious snuff with a scent dominated by coffee beans, enhanced with Barbados black rum infused with molasses, lightly caramelized oven-dried fruits, vanilla pods and cocoa nibs.   The infusion is applied to stoved Virginia, dark fired Kentucky, toasted white burley, Latakia and oriental tobaccos then allowed to age and ferment in toasted oak whisky barrels until they reach an onyx black color.  Milled to a medium grind with moderate moisture this is a powerhouse snuff suitable for late evenings by the fire with a glass of Islay or Lowland malt whisky.  Somewhat stimulating like a good cup of coffee, yet relaxing in the depth of scent and flavor, this is a snuff for deep seat, thought provoking contemplation with friends or in quiet solitude.

Moulin Rouge:    Fresh ripe black cherries are macerated in California brandy along with a handful of currants & raspberries, a few cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, Mahlab kernels and cocoa nibs and then applied to 100% Flue Cured Red Virginia, pressure aged between toasted cherry wood grilling planks, lightly toasted, milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for a naturally sweet snuff suitable for all day or as a dessert & a great snuff for Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras. Mahlab is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, the St Lucie cherry, the cherry stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is soft and chewy on extraction. Its flavor is similar to a combination of almond and cherry. It has been used for centuries in Middle Eastern cuisines.

Spotted Dick: “It’s a pudding” responded Sir John Gielgud’s character Beddoes, in Murder on the Orient Express, in his role as Col. Arbuthnot’s Gentleman’s Gentleman when asked about this wonderful British dessert calling for currants and suet served with vanilla custard.  In our case it’s a snuff based on Golden Virginia leaf dressed with lemon, treacle, black currants, hand churned Amish butter instead of suet, black walnuts and vanilla beans infused into dark blackstrap rum, well aged and milled to a medium grind with medium moisture for a semi sweet snuff suitable as dessert or all day and especially suited for the fall and winter holidays.

​​Black VelvetAn uncommonly smooth blend of Black Cavendish, Stoved Virginias and Cyprian Latakia elegantly scented with black coffee, orange & lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon and brandy aged in toasted oak barrels then milled to a medium grind with medium moisture.

​Fire and Ice​: Dark Fired Kentucky, Light Air Cured Virginia, Black Cavendish and Sun Cured Maryland tobaccos steamed with Cognac to a deep onyx, dressed with organic menthol crystals, a hint of peppermint and caramelized dried fruits. Smoky, bracing and refreshing, reminiscent of a bonfire in a blizzard. Not a mainstream snuff, and not for everyone, but perfect for those times where smoke and ice provide refreshment and comfort on long, frigid winter nights.

Calypso:​ A tropical fruit bomb of dried pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, guava and key lime zest infused into dark rum, applied to Dominican Ligero, Red Virginia and Tennessee Burley aged in airtight glass canisters.  After a thorough fermentation the flavored and scented tobaccos are air dried and milled to a medium grind with minimal moisture.

​​Marlin Spike:    Dark Air Cured Virginia, St. James Perique and Flue Cured Bright Leaf are generously moistened with artisan rye whisky then gently aged under pressure between thick slabs of Himalayan Pink Salt in hot, humid conditions until they turn a deep black color. Medium milled, lightly misted with Artisan Rye Whisky then cask conditioned in a small virgin oak barrel creating a salty, densely scented snuff with notes of caramel, toffee, bittersweet chocolate, all brought forth from the natural tobaccos and whisky; no additional ingredients.  

Black Ice:Dark Fire Cured Tennessee Burley, Dark Air Cured Virginia, Cyprian Latakia, St. James Perique and Black Cavendish, against a background of Eucalyptus Oil, Lemon Zest, Fresh Mint, a mere hint of Menthol and Tennessee White Corn Whisky, milled to a medium grind with moderate moisture for a tobacco forward medicated snuff.