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Le Petit Robin may just be the most unique and flavorful tobacco in the world… and no, that’s not hyperbole. Named after Vincent’s son Robin, Le Petit Robin is Tabac Manil’s first ever blend and the first ever tobacco mixture containing Semois leaf being used as a condimental tobacco. The bulk of the blend is a not-too-sweet blond that Vincent had been tinkering with for over a decade. He eventually tabled the recipe for several years, but now its finally being released for all to enjoy! The blend contains 30% Semois, but good luck getting the contents of the blond portion from Vincent… he’s not talking. The hay-like sweetness of the blond perfectly balances and mellows the sharp floral, mineral, and cigar like Semois leaf. Packed tightly, this dry, shag cut blend smokes wonderfully without any need to relight. Le Petit Robin is a masterpiece.

BrandTabac Manil
Blended ByVincent Manil
Manufactured ByTabac Manil
Blend TypeVirginia/Burley
ContentsBurley, Unknown, Virginia
FlavoringNone
CutShag
Packaging3.5 ounce package
CountryBE
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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Strength
Mild to Medium
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium
Room Note
Pleasant to Tolerable, Tolerable

Favorite Of 1 Users

3.6
8 reviews
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DrumsAndBeer Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrumsAndBeer (199)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

Due to the extraordinarily thin cut of this tobacco, I prefer to smoke it in a pipe with a longer stem. Needless to say, my one and only formerly neglected churchwarden has been getting a lot of attention lately. As for the cut, Le Petit Robin is as shaggy as shag comes, so firm packing and a slow sipping cadence is a must, otherwise it does tend to burn hot.

For those like myself who found Manil's thick cut, pure La Brumeuse Semois a little too earthy, but simultaneously enjoyed certain aspects of its unique flavor, Manil's one and only semois based blend could very well be a must try.

The flavor of Le Petit Robin covers the entire spectrum. It's lightly sweet, earthy, grassy and full of fine subtleties. The side stream has a delicate floral quality and the finish is piquant and long. The semois flavor is very much in the mix, lending body and its signature lush mineral taste. The brighter tobaccos lend a sweeter, verdant & woodsy quality to the taste and provide a perfect counterpoint to the semois.

Altogether, this is an excellent, well balanced, natural blend that I can only describe as a real treasure from the Ardennes Valley. While I enjoyed Manil's La Brumeuse, Le Petit Robin hightlights Vincent Manil's skill as a tobacco blender and obviously he's an expert because this particular offering is superb.

11 people found this review helpful.

moniker Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
moniker (95)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Mild to Medium Pleasant

The story from Tabac Manil is that it took Vincent Manil several years to develop his Le Petit Robin pipe tobacco. Though everyone knows LPR contains Manil’s signature Semois, M’s mum about the other tobaccos he uses here. After sniffing and smoking LPR, I suppose he uses selected flue and air cured VAs, including some lemon and some brown leaf. Le Petit Robin is an incredibly fine shag cut that is pressed into 3.5 oz. blocks and wrapped in “paper foil” that is over wrapped with a nice, retro, paper label. Pulling at the tobacco brick, the very fine strands of tobacco are amazingly long. The tobacco is dry but not dusty dry. Still, the super-fine strands ensure that tobacco dust is produced in quantity any time this tobacco is handled incautiously. The brick smells somewhat of Semois, which is to say like Burly and also mildly cigar-like, with musty, earthy, spices, maybe some cocoa and mushroom, but there is also a more pervasive, grassy, faintly floral aroma that wafts up. Overall, LPR smells more subdued than Manil’s La Brumuse (pure Semois), and I detect no topping (perhaps there is very light casing). Because of LPR’s propensity to turn to dust when it’s handled, I try to pull a small, continuous wad from the brick like I might pull a cotton ball off a larger wad of cotton batting. To smoke LPR, I pack it into a #3 – 4 bowl that has not been used for “dark” blends, including American KY. Then, I light it slowly and puff it as gently as possible while keeping it lit. For me, LPR is best sipped, which allows me to enjoy its ethereal secondary tastes and scents along with its primary VA and Semois. The smoke begins softly and gently, and I love to fill the air around my head with great, profuse clouds of this naturally, subtly aromatic smoke. The smells and tastes both move from lighter and mid-band VAs to Semois as a bowl is smoked down. The smoking aromas are myriad, including grasses, moss, herbs and floral spices, and the musty, cigar-ish spices are condimental if the burn rate is kept slow. Tastes parallel the aromas, along with some cashew and a little tannin, and it is just bitter enough to be bracing. Overall, IMO, it strikes a nice balance between interesting and relaxing. Strength is more medium than mild, and for all the delicacy of the side streams, tastes move from mild toward and finally a little over medium as one concludes a bowl. Room note is pleasant, and aftertaste is a nice trailing off of the smoke, providing one keeps the fine ash at bay.

Overall, Le Petit Robin is just what I’m hoping for when I try a new-to-me tobacco, namely well-bred, well-behaved, tasty, and unique, also quite satisfying. Four stars. Well done, Vincent Manil.

Pipe Used: Various briars; group 3 - 4 with an easy draw

Age When Smoked: right off a "fresh" brick

Purchased From: 4Noggins

Similar Blends: compare/contrast to well-aged and rested GLP Montgomery.

4 people found this review helpful.

JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2028)
★★★☆
Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

The semois burley is very nutty, very woody, mildly spicy, earthy, lightly floral, mildly dry, and cigar-like with a little cocoa, and perhaps a few drops of molasses. it also has a touch of cigarette. It is the main component by virtue of its strength, if not by its composition status. The very grassy, hay-like, citrusy, bready vegetative bright Virginia has a bit of power as well. The brown Virginia provides a little dark fruit and a bit of earth as a condiment. There may be another varietal in the mix, but it’s hard to define what it could be. There’s a sugar note that either comes from a casing or perhaps the brown Virginia. The nic-hit is a step past the mild to medium mark. It won’t bite unless you exercise freight train puffing. Being a very thin shag cut, it will burn fast and very warm, so I recommend a sipping pace and tight pack in the bowl. Has a couple rough edges. Burns clean and quickly with a very deep, consistent range of savory flavors from start to finish. Easily burns to ash with very few relights, and leaves no moisture in the bowl. Has a rich, pleasantly lingering after taste. Not quite an all day smoke, but it’s very repeatable. Four stars for the flavor, three and a half stars overall.

2 people found this review helpful.

eon Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
eon (9)
★★★★
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Now here is a blend that caught me unawares. Having smoked close to forty blends over the past decade, I was not expecting something to redefine what a pipe tobacco can be. Yet that is precisely my impression of Le Petit Robin.

As others have noted, the cut itself is almost a category of its own. It is extremely thin and fuzzy in a very pleasant, bohemian way. I tend to pack Le Petit Robin quite light, and consequently, the burn rate is pretty much doubled compared to my regular Virginia-Perique and Latakia blends. Strangely enough, I cannot say I detected any negatives from this, despite having a palate prone to bite. The bowl ends faster and that is all. It burns very dry and clean, and I admit sinning against one of my ground rules by refilling the same bowl immediately once or twice. That this brought no noticeable ill effects to taste or moisture only proves how well behaved the little Robin is.

The taste is even further apart from anything I have tried before or since. I find it hard to pin down the flavor but what it reminds me of the most is malty bread. The smoke is rich and creamy with hints of sweetness throughout. Overall, the flavour is not something I have ever found myself craving. But that is probably down to the fact that it is really quite unlike anything else and is thus an acquired taste in the true sense of the term.

I can easily see this as an everyday smoke for someone who likes its unique taste profile. Whether you do or not can only be ascertained by filling a bowl - which is something everyone should do at least twice or thrice. If only to take a path less traveled. It will be an adventure worth the detour.

Pipe Used: Hilson Barbi dublin

Similar Blends: A class of its own!.

1 person found this review helpful.

dixcreek Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
dixcreek (90)
★★★☆
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

Sweet grassy with an earthy nutty roasted grain taste. Very shaggy, could say beyond shaggy! An interesting mixture to say the least. Can burn hot due to the cut, so pack it pretty tight and keep the tamper handy. Easy to the match and a consistent flavor profile throughout the bowl. The nose out of the package put me in mind of the tobacco barn when we had booked down several sticks of good red tips and let them mellow for a year. I think this is one you should try if you like burley and bright leaf mixtures. Am interested to see how it ages, if I don't smoke it up too quickly!

Pipe Used: MM devil acorn

Age When Smoked: New brick

Purchased From: Smoking pipes

1 person found this review helpful.

Gentleman Zombie Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Gentleman Zombie (729)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

The Semois is earthy and a little nutty and has a lot of body. The "blond" taste a whole lot like bright Virginias to me and I suspect that's just what it is. Sweet hay. Altogether this is more or less a VaBur and a pretty good one at that. As Drums said you need to pack this firmly and smoke slow or you'll create an inferno. Flavor is good enough for 4 stars, but I'm deducting one for the heat.

Medium to strong in body. No added flavorings. Taste is medium. Burns very well, perhaps too well.

Pipe Used: MM Marcus, Country Gentleman, Mark Twain

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

Blackhorse Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Blackhorse (86)
★★★★
Mild to Medium Very Mild Mild Tolerable

Eval'd. as a MYO cigarette using Zen king size full flavor tubes (red). This tobacco is perhaps the "very most" in two ways. First, it surely is the finest shag I've ever seen (handles being stuffed into a tube very well). Second, it is likely the most expensive blend I've ever purchased at $25 per 3.5 oz package. That's over $100/lb.! Yikes! Is it worth it? Well, in a way. It's not going to be an everyday smoke for me. It's special occasion stuff for sure. But it IS very, very good as a cigarette. For those that have never indulged in pipe tobacco cigs...note that blends that are super light and even boring in a pipe come alive smoked as a cig. Stokkebye Turkish, Norwegian & Amsterdam come to mind. As does Gawith Kendal Gold. Then there is perhaps the premier blends, Daughter & Ryan...esp. 3 Sails. I use a Powermatic Mini injector to stuff tubes and it does a magnificent job though it's one of the lowest cost machines out there at $17. Built like a tank. But back to the Petit Robin. It's notable as has been described in that it is the only Semois BLEND, using 30% Semois. It has a very distinctive cocoa burley lightly floral note. Very fine indeed. It stuffs well as it comes in the pack once it is pulled apart and fluffed to an even consistency. I can't recommend this as a pipe blend as I've never smoked it that way. But as a cigarette tobacco ( and let me testify that the hobbyist injector machines put out a "small cigar" that is so vastly superior to any over the counter smoke they may as well be from another planet...they're that good) this stuff is crazy wonderful.

Pipe Used: MYO with Zen full flavor tubes

Age When Smoked: Used as soon as purchased

Purchased From: Pipes & Cigars

Similar Blends: Other Semois Tobaccos.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pecci Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pecci (9)
★★★★
Medium Mild to Medium Medium Very Pleasant

The smell out the wrap is wonderful. The cut is way beyond "shag", or at least any other that I have seen. It deserves a name of it's own. Perhaps "fuzz" would be appropriate. It comes dry and do to this in combination to the "fuzz'', It burns as quickly as a pyle of 3 yr.old leaves would in Death Valley. As a result, I did get a little tongue-burn, but only because of my quick pace. It was like, it burned so fast, I wanted my money's worth.

The good news ... I thought it tastes good, especially during 1st light and if your lucky enough to have any relights. Room not was floral and very enjoyable. To me, the floral note transfers to the taste, but with the addition of an earthy quality. There is a very slight grassy flavor that stays in the background, and I would love to know the mystery addition to this blend. I'm tempted to fire-up Google Earth and pan in close enough to read any top secret order list that might be labeled on a stack of "in-coming!" ;)

I found the nic-hit to be in the mid-range, probably because my cadence being rapid.

It's unique, with a great history/story/ mystery behind this blend. As a result, I think every piper would choose to experience this.

Pipe Used: Smallish MM Cob & lg. bent stubby Custombilt

Age When Smoked: 1 week

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Nothing on the planet Earth!.

Nobody has rated this review yet.