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 - 11 of 19 Reviews
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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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.
30 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2013 Very Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
In a sort of Jean-Paul Sartre-type moment, I acquired some of this in Paris, in one of those strange paper cubes. Hmmm. If you like French cigarettes, you'll probably like this, because (to my palate at least) it tastes exactly the same: strong, pungent and (as my old dad used to say) rough as a badger's arse. It's nothing like what, in the UK, most people think of as pipe tobacco. Gawith's Kendal Dark shag is probably the closest equivalent. Maybe, like suffering in general, it's an experience worth having as a way of purifying and strengthening the soul. Personally, I thought it dreadful. I couldn't recommend it, except as a sort of Lenten penance. When you light up, expect people to beg you to stop and the leaves to fall from the trees. If the cat has fleas, puff some of this over it and watch the little varmints run away coughing. No. No.No.
9 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
Jul 19, 2008 Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
So THIS is what horse doody tastes like!

After one bowl of this I felt a strange urge to stop bathing, worship Jerry Lewis, eat cheese, act superior and surrender to the nearest gendarme.

I rolled some up in a ciggie. Not a good idea.
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
May 15, 2017 Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
It's strong, it's simple but it's also tasty, pure nutty, even cigar-like Burley taste. I find it tastier, if stronger and a little harsher than the almost fashionable Semois, but these two tobaccos are pretty close in feel and taste. It comes very dry in a rough ribbon cut but there's no point in rehydrating, this is how it's supposed to be smoked. It burns fast and can produce some tongue bite. I would not smoke it on its own, and I'd only give a friend to try as a curiosity but it adds a nice dimension when blended with other tobaccos and this is why I bought it.

P.S. it's nowhere near as strong as the old Gitanes and Gauloise cigarettes and tastes different than both.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 04, 2005 Very Strong None Detected Mild Tolerable
My slw bought me a bunch of Maigret novels, in which I have been delving lately. Caporal being the tobacco the great detective smokes, this is the reason why I bought some Caporal yesterday.

Actually, it is one of the first types of tobacco I smoked, in my late highschool/early college years. I used to smoke it as gauloises cigarettes, pipe tobacco and even gauloises ryo tobacco (some of which smoked in my pipe). So lighting up some yesterday bore no real surprises, just a new perspective of a finer palatte which has been tasting numerous blends ever since college.

As described by the esteemed Eulenburg of course Caporal is a rough blend. Harsh and bitter and STRONG. Today, I would compare it to st Bruno ready rubbed or Semois, although these are somewhat finer and more aromatic blends. And perhaps not as strong (except perhaps Florina vieux semois). So why would one even think of lighting up that stuff, when there are so many better tasting and more refined blends? - Except for being a Maigret fan anyway 😉

For one, no matter how harsh it is, even how hot it burns, it goes easy on the tonge. No bite. Maybe...if you'd smoke it realy fast - no: impossible, you'd probably faint before it'd bite you :-). The sidestream smoke actually smels nice, it reminds me of how pipes, smoked by old men, used to smell when I was a kid. Robust, woody, smoky. A smell of the past.. The taste itself is not that strong, in that you could smoke it all day (you'd need to be able to handle the nicotine, of course). And in fact, the old chaps used to smoke this all day. Those were different times - pipe smokers didn't allways have one or two hours to leisurely savour their pipes with imported tobacco in an expensive big freehand. Rather there used to be a need for a quick and preferably cheap (or at least economical) nicotine fix. And Caporal does just that: a half an hour smoke is just as satisfieing as one or two hours of nightcap. Ok , it's not as good, but since it does not contain latakia, it passes the "wife test" without problems. This must be worth something! 😉

You know what? I really enjoyed this caporal yesterday, and I'm going to return to it tonight, and I even think it is going to stay in my rotation (for some time anyway)
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 08, 2019 Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable to Strong
SCAFERLATI CAPORAL ROUGE – Few words to describe some things about the typical dark tobacco used in France, known as dark French tobacco. The name is Scaferlati or Gris and there are six basic types, all very similar one to each other. There are 5 Scaferlati Caporal (gray, blue, green, red, Export) and in the same family there is also Saint-Claude. All these blends are on the market and are representative of the typical french taste (tabac brun = dark brown tobaccos. It is Paraguay tobacco, a type of cigar leaf). They are all natural tobaccos, without flavoring. About the composition they all mainly have Paraguay tobacco, typical of "dark brown" french tobaccos and some Virginia. Very difficult to perceive the differences if you don’t smoke them every day. Caporal Export and Saint-Claude are more refined and delicate (the second is very appreciated), while the other Caporal (red, blue, green and gray) are coarser and purer.

The red one is an indigenous tobacco more than a mixture. It is natural, pure and it is composed mainly of Paraguay tobacco with a little bit of Virginia. It is well known and it is the most common. Pay attention: this is not Burley, this is not Kentucky, this is not Habana, this is not Brazilian leaf neither Java nor Sumatra. This is Paraguay Tobacco and the only way to try Paraguay in a pipe is buying this typical French tobacco. Again, this is the only way to taste this unique tobacco. That said this tobacco is rather monotonous and one- dimensional. 100% natural, with a typical cigar taste and aroma but without any nuance. Regular, for pure tobacco lovers and for cigar leaf lovers. In my personal rating system (from 1 to 10) my score is 6 and two and a half stars.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 08, 2011 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
This tobacco, because of its cut, needs to be smoked slowly, needs a minimal moistness and must be smoked in a medium sized-bowl.

You also need to pack your bowl tightly.

By doing so, you will discover a tobacco, yes maybe a bit on the unidimensional side, but still unveiling lot of flavors that are mainly smoky, spicy and earthly. The last third will see a nice sweet note come in.

However, Caporal is mainly made with kentucky tobaccos, not VAs, just like his cousin, Caporal Export.

It deserves a lot more credit.
3 people found this review helpful.
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