Legendary are the strength and mentholation of Hedges L260, engineered (says wise Brother Winslow) to clear anthracite from the sinuses of coal miners who spent their days "down the bloody pit." I wouldn't last five minutes in a coal mine, but I do delight in a good strong snuff, so I ordered some the instant I found an American supplier. Curiosity got the better of me, and I quickly cracked my large (25 g) tin of this heady, medicated British snuff.
Hedges is dark cocoa brown, medium-fine grind, and somewhat moist and clumpy. A touch of ammonia from the tin (not as much as the usual Wilson's), but above all, great waves of MENTHOL, bold as brass. When I popped my snuffbox at a party last night, a woman two yards away commented that she suddenly smelt menthol, and my buddy wondered aloud how miners took the stuff when the smell alone would kill the canary.
In the nose, though, Hedges is pleasantly complex... if you can hold it in. With my first, tiny pinch, my eyes and mouth watered, and though I was too numbed to sneeze, I needed to clear my nose and spit almost instantly. My next tries were more successful, and I could enjoy a mild, woody flavor underneath the camphor/menthol hit, a bit like a Connecticut-style cigar wrapper. It's good quality tobacco, but treated with nuclear quantities of medication.
Nicotine is also strong--though this is relative, as I still can't keep it in my nose for too long. More than one review I've read for L260 remarks that it's a beloved snuff, but only in the morning. It's a wakeup call for certain! And no surprise, it has been a great boon to my congestion. I've been having good luck using it to "clear the palate" (like a sorbet course at a pretentious restaurant) before sampling other snuffs. I like it the way I like moonshine, or stinky cheese--its knockout strength isn't really a "flavor," but it's an intriguing--maybe addicting--part of the experience.
"You know what's right with this world? Nothin'!"
-Oscar, "Grouch Anthem"