Tabac De La Semois?

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ADKPiper

Part of the Furniture Now
Dec 13, 2020
588
1,435
Adirondack Mountains
Any opinions on this stuff?

Long the secret of the Ardennes' misty valleys, Semois remained unheard of to most outside Belgium until a writer for the New York Times received some as a gift, leading in turn to an article on this distinctive regional leaf. Earthy, floral, and cool, many who've now had the chance to try it often find themselves grasping in vain for a well-known tobacco to compare it to: "cigar-like tin note, but not like a cigar," "alternate-universe Oriental," etc. The simple truth is, Semois is Semois: a straight, all-natural Burley grown under unique conditions.



In the traditional style, Vincent Manil packs and ships this leaf quite dry; while there might be a temptation to bring the tobacco to a higher humidity if you aren't familiar with it, Semois smokes well (and many would argue, best) as received, and tightly packed. (As others have noted, the dryness also means you're getting more leaf, and less water, for the packaged weight.)



Reserve du Patron is Tabac Manil's medium cut of the now famous Burley.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,450
It depends mostly on how much you like burley, and whether you take to this particular variant of that leaf. Accordingly, I love the stuff, full-flavored with subtle nuances. Years ago, a member sent me a sample and I liked it so much, and said so, so another member sent me most of his full foil block of it and said it made him throw up. He also enclosed a lovely Ferndown bent billiard pipe! He asked me how I liked the pipe, and I went back to the packing and found it, and it is one of the treasures of my herd. I like the medium and thick cut. I also enjoyed Petite Robin, the shag cut, but it is a blend, whereas the others are a one leaf version. They get an A-plus from me.
 

georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,510
14,101
Semois comes in many (six, I think) grades, all of which taste distinctly different.

The top stuff is quite good while being like nothing else on Earth, while the lower stuff is basically crap. Traditionally used as a cheap cigarette filler.

So. A photo of the package you're talking about would keep this thread going in a straight line early on. :)
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,746
29,530
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
only tried victor manil stuff and I love it. I bought a small pipe a very small pipe for this blend. I smoke it in regular sized pipes too but it's strong enough both in flavor and nicotine to enjoy in a tiny bowl during breaks at work. It's a must try though because there is nothing else quite like it. And it's interesting historically as it is one of the few heirloom style tobaccos that is regularly available. Kind of gives some idea of what our ancestors smoked.
 

dunnyboy

Lifer
Jul 6, 2018
2,444
29,762
New York
I have a couple of bricks of Petit Robin stuffed into large Mason jars (although I'm not sure how much moisture there is to preserve). I find the shag challenging. As @FurCoat said, you have to pack it tighter than you think. Even then, it smokes hot for me. This thread has inspired me to give the semois another try in a smaller pipe.
 

gervais

Lifer
Sep 4, 2019
2,078
6,974
39
Ontario
I bought a block of the thick-cut stuff (la volute?)

I can't remember if I liked or not, but I remember it tasting very plant-like or "green", if that makes any sense. I need to revisit now.

I also remember not particularly liking how the thick cut burned
 

FurCoat

Lifer
Sep 21, 2020
8,860
79,699
North Carolina
I bought a block of the thick-cut stuff (la volute?)

I can't remember if I liked or not, but I remember it tasting very plant-like or "green", if that makes any sense. I need to revisit now.

I also remember not particularly liking how the thick cut burned
I like the Reserve du Patron which is the medium cut. I guess it could be described as a cube cut somewhat. It's like packing Grape Nuts.
 

vosBghos

Lifer
May 7, 2022
1,530
3,376
Idaho
Whatever the largest cut is (Blue Package?) on smoking pipes under the cut description it literally says "other" that one at least for me has the most distinctly floral flavor it's really its own thing, nothing else like it and I love it . The other cuts are great too but that one is really different...
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,746
29,530
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I tried the original offering from Manil and found them tasting unlike anything else I smoked. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy its odd flavor.
there isn't any thing to compare it with. It's just it's own kind of weird thing. Kind of blunt and kind of oddly refined. I love the stuff but it is not hard to see how someone could not enjoy it.
 

jackets

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 11, 2017
109
299
This is inspiring me to take out a jar of Petit Robin I have sitting in the cellar. I really liked the handful of bowls I had when I got it years ago. My two jars probably have 4-5 years on them at this point. Does anyone have any reports on how Robin changes, if at all over time?