It’s a long time since I tried snuff. There’s a factory in my home town of Kendal in the north-west of England that makes the stuff. Samuel Gawith is still in business and they do a wide range of different perfumes. It is essentially powdered tobacco that isn’t smoked or chewed, but drawn up directly into the nose. I remember a friend in London, at St Alban’s Holborn, whose favourite was Otterhound produced by Gawith’s.
I have considered it since stopping smoking in December 2006, but I think the nicotine would get me hooked again on the weed – so I haven’t. The English way is to take a pinch from the tin and put it in the hollow part between two tendons of the right hand at the base of the thumb, “nature’s snuffbox” as some call it. A couple of sniffs and it’s done.
Many years ago, I heard that some gentlemen’s habits were quite outrageous in Germany. Whatever we English get up to in town, the Germans really overdo it. For example, the Handlebar Moustache Club has German members and some are absolutely amazing. Snuff in that country is taken in the English manner, or with the most amazing machine, the Schnupfmaschine.
Here is a video of it being demonstrated, and it doesn’t seem very necessary to understand German. Don’t fall off your chair laughing!