Launched this December, this year’s Kardus from Swedish Match is a very special one as it marks the 150th anniversary of the ever popular General Snus brand created by master blender Johan A Bowman. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Kardus line, its a special limited edition snus (only 3000 boxes have been produced for this year!) which Swedish Match produces around Christmastime and it is designed to push the limits of quality and flavor. In the past I’ve been lucky enough to try several Kardus varieties (including 2009, 2012 and 2013), and I’ve previously reviewed Kardus 2015 here on the Northerner Blog! Given how much I enjoyed the previous Karduses, it definitely felt like an early Christmas present when a box of Fäviken 2016 (number 2276!) arrived at my doorstep just a few days ago!
Faviken 2016’s flavor is the result of a collaboration between Swedish Match Master Blender Lars Öberg and Magnus Nilsson, the award-winning chef from the Swedish restaurant Fäviken Magasinet which ranked 25th among the best restaurants in the world and is a winner of the Global Gastronomy Award from the esteemed White Guide. According to the Kardus website, “Drawing inspiration from Kardus, Magnus started to experiment with tobacco, consistency and flavor. He purchased Swedish tobacco seeds and started to grow his own tobacco in Fäviken. He has offered his guests his own snus made at Fäviken Magasinet since 2013.” The tobacco used in Faviken 2016 comes from a mix of tobacco grown in Faviken combined with selected tobaccos from Argentina, India, the US, and Guatemala. Faviken 2016 is produced from 100% lamina (leaf) which ensures a rich and flavorful experience.
One awesome aspect of Faviken 2016 is the packaging. The Kardus itself is stored inside a handmade pewter jar, and its designed so that the snus can continue to mature. According to Swedish Match, “Optimal flavor is achieved after about eight to 12 weeks, after which the flavor profile changes, but the snus can naturally be enjoyed long afterwards.” The jar is then placed inside a cylindrical shaped box which contains a handwritten batch number as well as plenty of information (in Swedish!) about this year’s blend.
Not long after opening my container of Kardus, I soon began to notice a rich smokey tobacco dominant aroma which had oak undertones and just a hint of what I believe is raspberry. Faviken is the first snus that Swedish Match has ever aged in Oak barrels, and this definitely imparts a nice woody taste which I find creates an interesting flavor that is slightly reminiscent of Crafted Snus Whiskey, but without any whiskey. After forming a few portions and trying them, I began to notice that the tobacco flavor would start off as being earthy with hints of oak, and after about twenty minutes the tobacco flavor slowly started to transition to smokey with lots of subtle flavors in between (such as grassy herbs). There was also a slight taste of raspberry at the beginning, but its definitely not very noticeable compared to the tobacco and oak.
Every box of Kardus Faviken 2016 comes with 150 grams of loose snus which is single cut into 0.72mm strips in order to produce an optimal mouthfeel and flavor experience. I usually found myself forming medium sized portions and then keeping them in for a little over an hour before the drip became a bit too strong for my liking. I would say that the nicotine content of Kardus is slightly stronger than original portion snus, and since its loose you have more control over the strength of the experience. With a roughly one gram portion I had a nice buzz set in within only a few minutes and it lasted until the twenty five minute mark before starting to subside.
Overall, I must say that Faviken 2016 is an absolutely incredible snus, and Swedish Match really knocked it out of the park with this one! The complex tobacco taste develops over time to create new tastes, and the notes of oak and berry came together to make for a flavorful experience which I plan to save for special occasions! I’m also looking forward to trying my Kardus again at the 8-12 week mark to see how the aging impacts the taste! As quantities are so limited, I recommend placing your order sooner than later, especially if you plan to purchase it as a Christmas gift for a snus connoisseur!