An acquaintance from Belgium brought me a pouch of this for the holidays, and I have been partaking of it semi-regularly. This is my first experience with anything semois.
The plastic pouch is puffy-full, and indicates 40gr worth of contents. At opening, the cut is a fine ribbon, rather springy, with some moisture. The nose is a trifle alarming: rather medicinal and mildewy. It put me in mind of an old bottle of Jägermeister that had been reposing in the sun. Unlike Skando, I don't detect any tonquin flavouring. Mothballs, perhaps, but...
The fine cut responds well to a firm pack, and an initial light is all that is needed. First puffs are tea-dry, and a bit tingly in the back of the throat. This feels and tastes like burley, with a pharmaceutical chaser. The medicinal quality dissipates over the course of a bowl, revealing a plain tasting tobacco, with some strength. This taste doesn't really evolve so much as simply darken and continue along the initial path. At the bottom of the bowl, the stength is quite noticeable.
Overall impressions are that this could be well-enjoyed by burley & RYO lovers, especially those fond of the robust Euro offerings - such as Scaferlatti or Caporal. I found it acceptable, but am in no hurry to replenish. A reasonable (albeit occasional) change of pace for this smoker.
Last week I took advantage from a friend's trip to Antwerp, a got back three types of Semois tobaccos: - a 40grms pouch of Florina - a 125grms can of Semois by Huis Windels - a 200grms pack of Le Cerf Ardennais
I have gone through several bowfuls of Florina, here my review.
Florina comes in a 40grms unsealed yellow pouch marked "vieux Semois" and "coupe pipe". At the opening I have been very pleasantly greeted by the unmistakable Tonka flavour, which brought me back thirty and more years back to my very first tobacco: Egberts 44. The cut is a (not too much) fine shag, plain medium brown.
I used the same couple of straight Castello used for the SG's 1792 Flake. Due to the cut and the humidity (just perfect!) the weed loads and light and behaves very much easily. The smoke is something of the softest kind: smooth, velvety, earthy/nutty, the Tonka giving just a natural sweetness which fades out gradually from the start to the end, and well compliments the nature of this Kentucky weed. Also a true pleasure to the nose, please believe me Dear Friends !
I cannot say I would smoke this all-day long, but this yellow pouch is calling me often...
I heartily recommend Florina and Semois to the TR Community, it's and experience really worth trying.
Although I haven't yet had the privilege of trying unadulterated Semois, this one has definitely left a good impression on me.
First light gives a strong cigar-like nutty flavour with thick smoke and a medicinal and funky tonka(?) background that disappears mid-way. As you smoke it down however, the cigar notes subside a little to give way to nuts and the reappearing tonka(?). Good for gray, rainy days.
Easy to smoke and turns to honest ash. Blue collar quality tobacco.
Florina proclaims itself as being "semois", although I'm not sure that the tobacco that makes up the 40-gram pouch comes from the Semois valley. However, the attributes related to these tobaccos are present : a cut guaranteeing easy stuffing and good burning qualities.
Opening the pouch, the tonka aromatization is present, but without being invasive as could be the emanation comming out of a fresh 1792 box : the smell is really appeling. After an easy ignition, the smoke produced is both sturdy and soft, and usually requires no relight. The amateurs of semois will be greeted with the particular taste of this grass, embellished with the aromas of tonka which, if present at the beginning, gradually fade to finally disappear towards the end of the bowl. The smoke is creamy and rich, with a strong flavor devoid of aggressiveness. We know that we smoke real tobacco and not an aromatic hoax.
In the end, it is a very pleasant tobacco, which is easily found in Belgium, with strong semois accents, even if a little less refined than productions from Vincent Manil. The touch of tonka is nice. Recommended.
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