Jackie Guigui-Stolberg
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The Right Snuff!

München, Germany Cultural December 30 @ 5:20pm

Bavaria: The Snuff Capital of the World. Bavarians are wonderfully fun-loving, traditional-culture-loving people who enjoy all manner of sensual delights, among them beer, folk music, and snuff.

Snuff has a centuries-old tradition here and there are quite a few different words for it in the local dialect: Schmaizla, Schmai, Schmalzler, Schmoizla, or Schmä just to name a few. All names refer to a special ingredient that was originally mixed with snuff tobacco in this particular part of the world in order to keep it moist: pure butter-fat, which is "Schmalz" in German. Today aromatic oils have replaced the fat in the original recipes, but "Schmalzer" is still very popular and is sold in a distinct category apart from "Schnupftabak", or snuff made from more conventional recipes.

Snuff usage is still common throughout Bavaria. In recent years it has even become fashionable for visitors to the Oktoberfest in Munich to consume a non-tobacco, dextrose-based type of snuff facetiously referred to as "Wiesnkoks" ("Oktoberfest cocaine"). There are dozens of snuff-sniffer clubs here in Bavaria in which both men and women, old and young, meet regularly to enjoy tobacco snuff, drink beer, and generally celebrate traditional Bavarian culture. The Pöschl tobacco company (founded in 1902,, located in the Bavarian town of Landshut, controls more than fifty percent of the world market for snuff. Near the town of Regensburg in Bavaria, is the world's oldest producer of snuff, the Bernard snuff factory (, which has been making the beloved nose-tickling substance since 1733.

Bavarians dominate German and international snuff-sniffing championships, which are usually held in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland every two years (a few American snuffers have numbered among the contestants in recent years). These are marvelously entertaining competitions in which lederhosen- and dirndl-wearing contestants race to load their nostrils with five grams of snuff - neatly and in record time.

Since 2010, smoking has been completely prohibited in restaurants, dance clubs, and other public places in Bavaria, this maybe being another reason for the enduring popularity of the smoke-less tobacco alternative, snuff.

I could write a general article about the very lively culture of snuff-usage in Bavaria, or an article, if you like, could focus on a more specific angle:

1.) I could introduce one or both of the snuff-making businesses mentioned above and tell about their history, their products, how they are made, their customer base, the companies' challenges in view of new, stricter laws relating to the sale of tobacco products, and how snuff is marketed in this day and age. (I have seen that there are two very different images related to snuff: On the one hand, a snuff-user seems to be young, virile, and a rough-hewn/natural type or, on the other hand, snuff is marketed as something elegant and genteel, with very nineteenth-century-looking package designs. )

2.) I could interview/feature a "Super-Nose," a leading expert on snuff in Bavaria. One is based very close to me, in Munich.

3.) I could interview/feature someone who does snuff-testing for a living, for example an employee of one of the above-mentioned snuff businesses.

4.) I could interview/feature a prominent female snuff user. There is a woman, Hanna Butz, who runs a successful and very comprehensive snuff and snuff-accessories website, and there are many other women who are members of snuff-sniffing clubs and have battled to victory in snuff-sniffing championships.

5.) I could interview/feature a reknowned male snuff-sniffing champion, for example Heinrich Kugler from the snuff-sniffers club in Unterbach, Bavaria.

6.) I could focus on different types of snuff boxes, snuff bottles, and even catapult-like snuff machines that, at the push of a button, launch portions of snuff with considerable force straight into the nostrils. German snuff-accessories websites show beautiful snuff boxes and bottles made of glass, ceramics, and even carved horn. The Bavarian Forest, on the German border to the Czech Republic, is a traditional glass-making region where beautiful snuff bottles have been made since the seventeenth century. I could find a company that still produces snuff boxes and bottles or, even more interesting, interview a collector of antique snuff boxes and bottles.

7.) I could visit a snuff-sniffers club and report on what's going on there.

8.) I could attend a snuff-sniffing competition and report about it; would be lots of fun, with great photo opportunities.

I could illustrate an article with my own photographs or otherwise find photos for you from other people and sources.

With friendly greetings from Germany,

Jackie Guigui-Stolberg
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