Tabac Manil Le Petit Robin

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 and 70% a mixture of mellow, smooth golden tobaccos, 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.
Notes: According to the catalog from Le Petit Robin is Coupe Fine/ Thin cut. Réserve du Patron is Coupe Moyenne/ Middle Cut. La Brumeuse is Grosse Coupe/ Big Cut.


Brand Tabac Manil
Series Pure Semois
Blended By Vincent Manil
Manufactured By Tabac Manil
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley, Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 3.5 ounce package
Country Belgium
Production Currently available


Mild to Medium
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.73 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 26 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2018 Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Pleasant
When it first came out in 2016, (or at least that's when I bought some) I smoked about half of the brick and put the other half away. In 2016, the blend was sweet, nutty, and a bit harsh. Very enjoyable but just had to take it slow. Back then (fresh) I would have given it a 3 star rating. After jarring the other half and aging for 2 years, this blend has mellowed out and balanced its self. This now tastes like a va/bur/or blend with maybe some cigar leaf. The description doesn't mention orientals or cigar leaf but after some aging I swear i can taste them. There maybe none in the blend but this blend after 2 years tastes more like pebble cut by mcclelland mixed with maduro. Still nutty, not as sweet as it was when fresh, and a bit tangy from either the Virginia's or aged burley? If there are no orientals in this then I must be crazy. Give this time to age and settle, you'll be pleased. It Really does now taste like a high quality mcclelland blend or something. Bravo Vincent at tabac manil.
Pipe Used: Clays and churchwardans
Age When Smoked: 2 years
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 23, 2016 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 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.
36 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 12, 2016 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. 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
PurchasedFrom: 4Noggins
Age When Smoked: right off a "fresh" brick
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 26, 2017 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable
As this is a thinner cut version of Le Petit Robin, I’m essentially repeating that review here. The semois burley is very nutty, very woody, mildly spicy, earthy, lightly floral, mildly dry, and cigar-like with a little cocoa, and 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, tart and tangy citrusy, bready vegetative bright Virginia has a bit of power as well. The brown Virginia provides a little tangy dark fruit and a bit of earth and wood 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. The strength and taste levels are medium. 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 sweet and 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.

21 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 22, 2017 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
14 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 01, 2018 Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
I'm going to keep this one brief.

Vincent Manil's Le Petit Robin is absolute perfection. Grassy and sweet virginias (maybe?) with a subtle addition of earthy and floral semois. The fine shag cut guarantees an effortless smoke every time.

This is hands down one of the easiest blends to smoke. I take a smaller pipe (clay works best), wad up a ball of Robin, and stuff into the pipe. No three layers, no Franks, etc. Just wad up a ball and stuff it in. It burns quick so be sure to smoke slow and gentle. You'll be rewarded with a flavorful, strong smoke.

I wasn't a huge fan of the original release from Manil. Even as a lifelong cigar smoker, it just didn't do it for me. Just too much. This is a perfectly balanced blend now.
Pipe Used: Clays
Age When Smoked: 1 year
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2018 Medium None Detected Mild to Medium Tolerable
Now this is the most unique pipe tobacco I have tried to date. The presentation merits a comment in a review. This comes in a very neat gold brick with very nice (IMO) "old school" paper labeling. I comes as a brick of peat moss...well it is tobacco but it looks just like peat moss to me. It is a solid mossy brick and is unlike anything I have put in a pipe. It is also dry, according to Webster dry. I actually took some and put it in my survival kit to use as tinder, it is that dry. I have not smoked the pure Semois version from Tabac Manil, disclaimer. This is a cool blend. Tin note is a light floral and packaged cigarette like. It also has a light cigar note: like a Macanudo or Ashton Connecticut shade mild cigar. Very earthy "tobacco" notes. This tobacco is very pleasant, it is a light vegetal smoke, earthy, woody and dry. It also has a lot of tannins, like a black tea or Chianti in body. The flavors are reminiscent of Burley, but not a direct comparison. I do not get the nutty flavor I get with most Burley blends but it has that woody quality that is not quite Oriental and quite unique. The other tobacco's are not named but I would guess that they are Virginia based, a light sweetness and very grassy hay like. Not old damp hay but more like fresh cut dry hay bales. The parallel to cigar that I have read in other reviews is certainly there but not the cigars I enjoy. I am a Maduro fan and Nicaraguan cigar fan. This is more like Mexican leaf. Very straight forward with little nuance. There is a noticeable nic hit. I do not inhale and toward the end of the bowl I got a little light headed and felt that not so pleasant feeling in my stomach (I am a nic light weight). I enjoyed this smoke, it is not an all day or even an every other day smoke for me but I do find myself going for it every few weeks. prior to the review I smoked it every day for a week to get a good feel for it. Pack this tight and smoke it slowly. I noticed that in a cob it has a bit more sweetness and is a bit more flavorful, especially in my Cobbit Churchwarden (a bit more forgiving if you puff more frequently than suggested). I would give this a try, especially if you like mild cigars.
Pipe Used: Cobs and briars
PurchasedFrom: pipe's and Cigars
Age When Smoked: fresh from brick
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 28, 2018 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant
There's a lot of tobacco packaged in this brick-shaped, gold foil, wrapped container. It didn't feel like it weighed 3 1/2 ounces when I received it but I didn't put it on a scale. I concluded that it had dried out some so I hydrated it within a zip-lock bag with a pouch humidifier for a couple of weeks. Afterwards, I could feel that it had gained a little weight. It is not packaged to retain moisture & the folded ends are not sealed. It will inevitably contain a moisture content of its environment. I had read reviews prior to purchasing & pretty much knew what to expect & it is very tightly packed within the brick.

I unfolded the end & gave it a whiff and noticed the unmistakable aroma of tea & Belgian Burley. I don't believe it's a topping note... hard to tell. I've smelled this tea-like aroma in another blend before. I think it "may" have been the Peterson's Sherlock Holmes blend. Anyway, I immediately noticed the extreme fine cut of this mixture... even finer maybe than a steel wool pad but it works. The moisture content at this point seemed just about right for smoking but maybe still just a tad on the dry side. I pinched off enough to fill a size three bowl & stuffed it fairly tight as other reviewers had suggested which turned out to work very well for a proper burn rate. It quickly takes to the match & instantly glows cherry red all across the bowl with just a brief touch of the flame.

Upon the charring light I got a burst of flavor that improved considerably after about 1/3 had burned off & provided more flavor & a better taste without any harshness. I loved this Belgian Burley flavor combined with the VA from the very first puff but the third ingredient or ingredients seem destined to remain a mystery but whatever, the varietals play well together. I've never seen or tasted anything like it before. Very unique indeed & fairly strong. It must be packed tight & drawn lightly to get the best flavor & won't bite if puffing cadence is properly controlled. It has a tingly sensation on the palate & leaves a pleasant aftertaste. I liked this well enough to reopen the package & load up again. I'll be keeping this in my rotation as long as it's available & ordered another brick & will be filling up my Mason jars & try to retain a proper moisture content. From my experience with cigars, cigarette & pipe tobacco, they all seem to smoke best with the proper moisture content & I suspect that Le Petite Robin is no different.

This tobacco possesses a unique flavor & aroma that I really enjoy & tempts me with the desire to smoke subsequent bowls. I can't possibly explain the flavoring of Le Petite Robin but JimInks's review probably pinned it down. I never noticed the slightest cigar taste & I'm thinking there may be some Turkish mixed in. It doesn't produce any condensation while smoking & quickly burns down to a fine gray dottle & oddly enough, only leaves a mild tobacco smell/odor or room note behind that is fairly pleasant & seems to quickly dissipate. I've previously mentioned that my olfactory glands may require some maintenance or fine tuning but regardless, this is my take on Tabak Manil's Le Petite Robin. Great stuff!
Pipe Used: D. S. Huber Bent Dublin/Pete 312 Sterling
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes, Pipes & Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fairly Fresh Brick
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 26, 2016 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
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Nov 28, 2016 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
PurchasedFrom: Smoking pipes
Age When Smoked: New brick
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 10, 2020 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
I had tried the Reserve Du Patron, so when I ordered more of that I also picked up a brick of Le Petit Robin to try.

When I opened my brick, I was a little taken back at the appearance of the tobacco. Its a very very very short shag. Dry like I expected and it clumps together when handled. The note from the jar I moved it to was hay for sure.

I smoke this is smaller bowls and the thing I had to learn was to really pack it in tighter that I'm normal too. It lights easily and doesn't require relights. The taste is bready/nutty to me with a sweetness on the top.

With my nic tolerance this isn't something that I smoke multiple bowls in a setting of as it packs an unexpected punch. I've learned that it makes a nice morning smoke along with my coffee to start the day.

I think I prefer the longer shag of the Reserve but this is a great tobacco which is not like anything else on the market that I've found. I found a book which has photos of the process by which this is made which I found fascinating even if I had to translate the descriptions on GOOGLE.

the room note is close to cigar/cigarette according to my wife who forbid me from smoking it in the car with her.
Pipe Used: smallest bowls
Age When Smoked: Fresh from brick
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