Mac Baren Scaferlati Caporal Rouge

Notes: Originally manufactured by Seita. Then the manufacturing licence was granted to Imperial Tobacco during the last half of 2000 until 2016, when Mac Baren purchased the rights and started manufacturing it.


Brand Mac Baren
Series Scaferlati Blends
Blended By Mac Baren
Manufactured By Mac Baren
Blend Type Cigar Leaf Based
Contents Cigar Leaf, Kentucky, Virginia
Cut Shag
Packaging 40 grams pouch
Country Denmark
Production Currently available


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

Average Rating

2.47 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 19, 2004 Very Strong None Detected Full Very Strong
From the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV, until the early 1990s, all tobacco-related activities in France were a State monopoly, and since at least the time of the first emperor Napoleon (beginning of the XIXth century) one of that monopoly's duties was to provide free tobacco to the soldiers in France's armies.

Napoleon thought tobacco was good for soldiers: it kept them awake during guard duty, held them entertained and relaxed during the long waits involved in classic warfare, and, as anyone who has smoked a clay pipe well knows, a lit pipe is a source of warmth and comfort.

After the fall of the old Soviet Union, mass-graves have been investigated belonging to the Grande Armée, the formidable army with which Napoleon invaded the Russian Empire in 1812. Practically every soldier excavated in these archæological searches was found to have an army-issue clay pipe with him.

It was the corporal's duty to distribute their rations of free tobacco to the troops: hence this type of tobacco became known as tabac de caporal (corporal's tobacco), a dark, opaque shag known as petit gris (little grey.) Men would go into the service in their teens. They would there learn to smoke. Naturally, after leaving, they would want to keep smoking the same caporal. And this they did, in clays, in the rugged briars of 19th Cent. Saint-Claude, and as cigarettes, shag being suitable roll-your-own material.

For generations, farmers and peasants bought their caporal in rough paper cubes containing 50 grammes of the stuff: it was the plain working man's tobacco: harsh, acrid, sour, rough; like home-made lightning water. Not for town sissies!

The marquis in his hôtel particulier, the banker in his club, would smoke English tobacco, or expensive cigares de La Havanne. But the peasantry, the working class, inpecunious students, leftists, counterculturists, artists, bohemians, they all would proudly smoke the coarse, harsh scaferlati, leaving the soigné stuff for the hated bourgeoisie. There is an enormous amount of cultural folklore behind this tobacco.

It is emphatically NOT for the faint of heart! Highly nicotinous, vile-smelling, sharp-tasting...wonderfully guaranteed to make animal-rights types collapse in a bundle! Try it with home-made fire-water whiskey or brandy. You will feel the hair sprouting on your chest.


I am told that the old American classic, Plow Boy, was not unlike Caporal.
29 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 12, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
Scaferlati Caporal is composed by three types of tobacco: Virginia, in little portion, dark-fire Kentucky, is clearly recognizable and the Paraguy. The last one is a dark-air cured tobacco so is a tropical tobacco, we can considered it as "cigar leaf", and this particular tobacco is part of the tradition and the legacy of the french style tobaccos. The cut is short, shag/ribbon, so the packing is very easy and the smoking is fine, go well from the beginning to the end. The aromas are simple, full and rustic, dominated by woody and earthy notes. The moisture is poor but can be used right from the pounch. I nconclusion is a strong grumpy tobacco; who loves the Kentucky based will like Caporal too.
Pipe Used: Anatra dalle uova d'oro, Peterson
PurchasedFrom: Tabacconist in Italia
Age When Smoked: Opened after the purchase
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 28, 2015 Very Strong None Detected Full Very Strong
Being an old Frog and an old tobacco smoker I'd like to correct some of what Eulenburg said, despite it is imho the best opinion related to this tobacco. Basically, the tobacco was called "du gris" [some grey] (the "petits gris" are small snails which are good to eat 😉 -Helix aspersa aspersa-). It was freely distributed to every soldier. Since military service was compulsory for all male French till 1997, every male French citizen know this tobacco. It's a very acrid hard high nicotine tobacco. The "not for sissies" tobacco indeed. From the deepest of the countryside to the slums of cities, everybody used to know what "du Gris" was. Sorry to say, but smoking american tobacco such as Marlboro was perceived as being "sensitive" or "posh". There used to be two packages: the grey one which was the ordinary ranks and the blue one, called "scaferlati supérieur", which was reserved for higher ranks. The name in fact comes from the colour of the package, not from anything else. The package contained 40g of tobacco. Personnal appreciation? Well, in my beginning as a pipe smoker, I used to mix it with some tobaccos I found to mild. To be honnest, it's a throat killer and it SMELLS tobacco in the room after; not pipe tobacco but Tobacco. Good point: 0% flavoring. So if I need a spike, I'll have one, otherwise no thank you. By the way: good point for it: Either old and dessicated or new and wet, it taste the same! :D. Ready for the trench life of WWI... The only other tobacco I tried which was a bit similar to it may have been dehydrated Capstan Original Navy Cut.
Pipe Used: unamed huge bryar pipe "imperial kind"
PurchasedFrom: Paris
Age When Smoked: new
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 20, 2018 Strong None Detected Full Strong
Got lucky and someone granted me a pouch of this. I wanted to try this for a long while.. Kentucky, Burley.. none of the Virginias.. what could go wrong?! I love me Burley and Kentucky and find the habit of throwing Virginia into 99% of all blends....well, let's say "boring" to be kind.

Comes bone-dry in the (lovely, classically designed) pouch, no suprise here I'm used to the low moisture from blend as Five Brothers. Richly colored from red-brown to dark brown. The pouch note is very mild (in the sense, that I have to dip my nose INTO the tobacco ribbons to smell anything) which I know of unflavoured, most natural tobacco blends. Pouch note i taht of a horse-stable to me, but in a pleasant way!

This is the "heavy-duty" kind of Burley! Immensely earthy, woodsy and very natural, spicy tobacco aroma with a nutty undertone and very(!) little sweetness to it. Reminiscent of a spicy, dark cigar. This is not for everybody I can see in the reviews.. but lovers of most natural, bold and honest pipe tobacco will find a friend in the Caporal...others can go smoke their sugar, err "aromatic blends" 😉 (not to offend anyone, I like some sweeter blends myself)

This must have very little casing if at all, it's all natural flavours, you really get a sense of smoking an almost raw, unadulterated plant. Bold, spicy, insanely earthy and woodsy, the horse-stable-ish aroma is also slightly present and accompanied by hints of nuts and sweetness with lots of strenght without being harsh.... I love it! It takes me to the battlefields of the french army, having a break from the terrible war and enjoying a pipe to settle me, dreaming of home and my family. I love it when a tobacco makes me dream..

3,5 stars from me for a surely underrated tobacco blend in the truest sense - pure tobacco from A to Z, a bold companion for the lovers of the Burley leaf!
Pipe Used: Clays, Cobs
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 06, 2021 Very Strong None Detected Full Very Strong
This classic and historic French scaferlati tobacco is, as many other reviewers have noted, decidedly not for the faint of heart. Even for those who don't inhale the smoke, it is quite strong and even a smaller bowl might set your head a-spinning. Although I was initially reticent to try it, given my proclivity for aromatic and cavendish-heavy mixes, it has slowly become my every day smoke because of how easy it is to light and keep going, its absolute reliability in strength and taste, as well as its affordability (in France, of course).

Its taste is reminiscent of hot rural summers among cut hay, prancing horses and ripening wheat fields. Although it is light on the VA, it is definitely a tongue biter, and though I'm not a spitter, I've found myself salivating to excess on a number of occasions. It is an excellent smoke to accompany a nice bourbon on the rocks, or even those wonderfully tasting Belgian beers. I recommend smoking it outside or in a well-ventilated space, since the smell will linger and indelibly infuse any porous surface within 10 meters of it.

An old-school tobacco for those who like it rough and rustic, for habitual smokers and highly recommended for filterless cigarette smokers looking to stop inhaling (that's personal experience, by the way!).
Pipe Used: Genod Viou Mini 17, Savinelli Minuto 109
PurchasedFrom: Any French tobacconist
Age When Smoked: New
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 22, 2022 Strong Very Mild Medium Tolerable to Strong
My curiosity was piqued when I recently read a couple of Nestor Burma detective stories in comic-book format. "120, Rue de la Gare" has the author's protagonist referring several times to "du gris", the P.I.'s preferred pipe tobacco. The plot thickens with a clue to another tobacco which shall remain unnamed. Yes, Scaferlati Caporal Rouge ("du gris") is rustic, strong and virtually unflavoured. Yes, you can imagine it being dished out to rank-and-file "Poilus". However, to dismiss it out of hand as unsophisticated misses a subtle point underscored by Léo Malet's Nestor Burma character. It in no way impairs his effective thought and action. I personnally find it to burn coolly, to be unsickly and of a consistent strength.
Pipe Used: Savinelli Siena 616 KS
PurchasedFrom: Spain
Age When Smoked: Fresh pouch
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 04, 2020 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
It's not an amazingly strong blend. I was a relatively big fan of two of the local Italian blends, Forte and Italia. However, I am not satisfied with the recent productions since it contains recon tobacco. So, upon a suggestion, I gave this one a try this blend.

Virginia is noticeable and unnoticeable. One, who previously smoked pure cigar leaf or blends, can say that there is something (of course Virginia) thinning the cigar leaf's strong taste. But on the other hand, Virginia's taste is not obvious at all because the blend's strength doesn't allow you to notice. I would say this is a very spicy blend. Frequent retrohales are not suggested. Overall, I enjoyed smoking it.

Apart from the taste, it smokes very drily, no tongue-bites, and burns slowly.
Pipe Used: Couple of Savinellis, Italian pipes
PurchasedFrom: Local tobaccionist
Age When Smoked: Straight from the pouch
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