A deep snuff tobacco history is rooted in the culture of Edinburgh, as it was home to dozens of snuff mills and barons. Renowned philanthropist James Gillespie made his fortune in the snuff industry owning his own mill and shop on The Royal Mile. The Water of Leith alone had four of these water powered mills, dotted from Lanark Road to Upper Spylaw, allowing the snuff to be transported down the water to the Port O’ Leith. Rival mills would commonly perform ‘raids’ upon each other in a bid for supremacy.
As a youngster in the mid 1990’s we would frequent these abandoned buildings on a weekly basis. I remember the Woodhall Mill at Juniper Green being the main haunt for social gatherings amongst keen smokers. It was perfect, away from the prying eyes of a school friend’s parents, driving up Lanark Road or coming out of the Railway Inn. Of course we had no inclination of the rich history of these structures and the tobacco products they once produced. There is very little left of these snuff mills now, most have been converted into waterside houses. One of these has a ‘token water wheel’ as a head nod to the history that once was.
Out of all the wonderful snuff tobacco brands we stock, one holds a special place in our hearts. Sir Walter Scott’s, run by long time friend to The Pipe Shop, Sir Johnny Scott (known by some as The Countryman) is perhaps the highest quality, tradition focussed snuff brand in the country. With a burning passion Sir Johnny Scott’s one man band operation, Sir Walter Scott’s Snuff is his passion project firstly. He employs a higher level of scrutiny to the manufacturing of genuine vintage recipes than any other brand and the end product is always a testament to his ethos.
Recipes sourced from the depths of time contain archaic processes only the dedicated or mad would attempt to reproduce. Be it the time consuming Thrice Brewed, a snuff that requires that the leaves are cut into halves and the stem entirely removed. One half is dried in the sun and pounded into a coarse powder and the second half is boiled twice in salt water, and the juice extracted is used again in place of the salt water with a fresh supply of tobacco. When the juice becomes rather thick and gummy, it is poured into a big pot and left to cool. The tobacco powder is then put into large chatties and the juice with which a little Arrack has been mixed, is poured over the powder, and the preparation is allowed to stand for about a week.
Perhaps The Pipe Shop Ltd. staff’s favourite Sir Walter Scott’s snuff would be the Anson’s Imperial. Named after Admiral of the Fleet Lord George Anson, who in 1759 was the first person to successfully grow apricots in Britain at Moor Park, his estate in Hertfordshire. This finely milled, slightly moist blend of fermented Burley, Bright Leaf Virginia and Zimbabwe tobaccos, is matured with Creme de Cacso Blanc. It is then further cased with an extract of crushed apricot kernels to create a luxurious, silky, high nicotine snuff tobacco.
As a result these snuffs that transport you back centuries, far more convenient than a Delorian. With an extensive selection of 18 different snuffs, Sir Walter Scott’s promises to keep any snuff enthusiast pleasantly occupied. To share our love for Sir Walter Scott’s: Anson’s Imperial, for a limited time only, we are offering £2 off of the delivery of any order that contains this snuff.