When I started playing snooker, my chalk of choice was whatever deeply worn stump I could find sitting abandoned on the table.
I never gave it a second thought.
Indeed, the first time I felt personally affected by chalk was probably on the pool table, seven pints deep, when I didn’t have any. And chipped the cueball straight in to a baying crowd of fellow loudmouths on the final black. Student Night.
A game that probably cost me a fiver (and a deflated ego). Yeah, I really cared about chalk then. “Somebody needs to ask for some behind the bar, this blunt P-O-S is cramping my style.”
Years later, my first impression of Taom chalk was thus the price point. Fifteen quid, you say?
Those Finns are taking the p***.
How can any chalk justify a price point that is three times higher than the stuff that many professionals are already happy with?
Well, I still have problems answering that question.
But I do have a piece of Taom in my cue case, so now seems like a decent time to assess whether it’s actually any good.
Taom Chalk Review: The Popular New Snooker Chalk From Finland
The first thing to say about Taom chalk is that you’re raising the stakes in any club match by using it.
Turning up with fancy pants handmade Finnish chalk — like this — is the snooker equivalent of putting on a glove before a game of pool.
This fella takes it a bit seriously, doesn’t he?
You’ll no doubt pick up a few sharp comments down the club if you get taken apart by boozed up Jerry with his bent house cue and the aforementioned abandoned stump.
It was different in his day…
In contrast, Taom chalk is elegantly designed in a circular wrapper with equally fancy pants typography that screams: “I’m loaded, Jerry.”
It looks really nice and we’re suckers for a bit of branding. Got the iPhone and everything.
But how does it play?
What Are The Benefits of Taom Chalk?
Taom chalk is sold around a four-point promise:
- No miscues, kicks or bad contacts.
- It doesn’t leave ugly marks on the table (or your clothes).
- It provides extra grip and thus extra spin.
- It lasts twice as long as any other chalk on the market.
So we’ll use this criteria to assess how it performs…
No Miscues, Kicks or Bad Contacts?
But I will concede that the Taom does seem to result in less kicks and fewer dodgy contacts.
Is that because the chalk is a better quality, or simply because it stays on the tip better?
Not sure — but the net result is a modest improvement and fewer kicks.
Doesn’t Lead to Ugly Marks?
Taom chalk is certainly cleaner than other options we’ve tried. It leaves considerably less gunpowder on the table, even if you dedicate an entire session to long dragged blues.
You’re less likely to leave the table looking like your 4-year-old’s gone full Picasso on it.
That might endear you to the club owner, but the tangible benefit again comes from the lack of residue that it leaves on the cue ball – which in turn can reduce heavy contacts and kicks.
There’s a caveat here…
It’s all good in solo practice sessions. But what about in matches? Unless your opponent is also using Taom (“Snap! Taom Sisters!”), you’re still going to leave with a messy table and a chalked up cue ball that may require cleaning (inevitably a few seconds after you’ve had that fateful heavy contact).
Extra Grip and Extra Spin?
Now, this was a pleasant surprise.
Once again, it’s tough to say whether the reason is the quality of chalk or simply more of it staying on the cue, but it’s possible to generate noticeably more spin and grip using the Taom.
It was most evident with delicate screw shots around the pink and black spot. Instead of cueing 10% too hard for fear of a lack of reaction — or a slow table — the Taom allowed a reliable, predictable grip that I felt aided my ability to judge the power required.
This was also the case with those delicate little jab shots where the balls are close together and a punchy clean contact is required.
Could it be a placebo effect?
“I’m chalked to the nines; just need to deliver the bloody cue straight.”
Possibly, but I liked the feedback from each strike.
Lasts Twice As Long As Other Chalk?
I can’t speak for the famed durability of Taom as I’ve only had it for a couple of months.
But what I can say is that I’ve barely made a dent in the chalk despite practicing fairly often since the end of lockdown.
Really though… I’d expect nothing less.
Come on, guys, if I’m not slathering my tip with this thing on my death bed, somebody’s getting a letter of complaint.
Which Snooker Players Use Taom?
Taom boasts a growing list of professional snooker players who use the chalk.
It’s also seeing a steady take-up on the pool circuit.
The TaomBilliards website has two testimonials from former World Champions.
“It help with kicks and bounces PERFECT STUFF”
“It’s the best development in snooker in my lifetime mate. If we could get ALL players using it, we’d be close to 100% kick free snooker.”
Seriously, Shaun, the best development in snooker in your lifetime?
What about all that extra prize money?
You need only have been watching the recent World Qualifiers on Eurosport to spot more and more players sporting the circular fancy pants chalk wrapper. Unless I’m mistaken and other manufacturers have decided that circular chalk is what we’ve been missing all along…
When you’re playing at the top level, any accessory that can deliver even the most marginal of improvements is something that will gain traction fast.
That seems to be the case.
The question is whether an ordinary club player will see much benefit from what is undoubtedly a premium product.
Taom Chalk Review: In our view, it’s a nice-to-have but not a must-have.
Where Can I Buy Taom Chalk?
You can buy Taom chalk from TaomBilliards in packs of one, two, six or nine. However, delivery is not the fastest (up to 7 days) and they charge in Euros.
Taom is also available on Amazon, for roughly the same price, but with faster delivery.
One thing’s for sure, you’ll be bloody lucky to pilfer this chalk for free from behind the bar.
Have you tried Taom chalk?
Let us know what you thought of it below.
Taom Chalk Review
Taom is a lavishly expensive chalk that the professionals love. It provides noticeably more grip on the cue ball with fewer kicks and bad contacts. Is it going to revolutionise your game? No. It won’t prevent all miscues, either. But it may help.
This is a ‘Best In Class’ chalk for those who can swallow the premium price.