Tabac Manil La Brumeuse

(3.33)
Semois leaf is a rich, pure leaf burley tobacco that is grown and processed in Belgium in the Ardennes Valley (Val Ardennais) - think Battle of the Bulge. Highly reminiscent of smoking a cigar, but in a pipe, it is a fascinating tobacco that has been highly regarded in Europe for well over 100 years. From start to finish, the flavor becomes more and more pronounced, giving a reliable and enjoyable smoke. This is the thick-cut version (gross coupe).
Notes: According to the catalog from tabac-semois.com: Le Petit Robin is Coupe Fine/ Thin cut. Réserve du Patron is Coupe Moyenne/ Middle Cut. La Brumeuse is Grosse Coupe/ Big Cut.

Details

Brand Tabac Manil
Series Pure Semois
Blended By Vincent Manil
Manufactured By Vincent Manil
Blend Type Burley Based
Contents Burley
Flavoring
Cut Ribbon
Packaging 100 grams or 250 grams pack
Country Belgium
Production Currently available

Profile

Strength
Medium to Strong
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
Flavoring
None Detected
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Tolerable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Taste
Medium to Full
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

3.33 / 4
41

30

6

4

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 41 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 10, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong
La Brumeuse means in French "The Misty One" or, perhaps, "The Foggy One". It is correctly pronounced La Brooymuze.

It is tobacco with terroir (you wine drinkers will know what that is). Semois is a descendant of burley, but, isolated and grown in Belgium now for hundreds of years, it has evolved into its own thing. Today it is a cousin of burley and not burley itself. The taste and nature of this smoke bears this out.

This is real artisan tobacco and not an industrial product. One man, Vincent Manil, controls it from seed to match. I remember reading an article by G.L. Pease about PG (propylene glycol, the humectant). He stated that while he didn't use it himself, sometimes some of the tobacco he uses comes with it already on.

And that's the difference between a blender and an artisan. Vincent Manil doesn't source the tobacco he uses, he grows it right there on his farm. It is grown, cured, roasted gently, aged, cut, packed and shipped--and that's it.

The above facts alone give it a four star, strongly recommended rating. They also make it entirely unique in the world of modern pipe-smoking. True artisan, all-natural, uncased, unflavored un-everything tobacco: hopefully it becomes a thing.

Now, about smoking it. You can tell the family resemblance to burley. You can tell it is not descended from Virginia. You can also tell that it ain't burley. Reviewers have used terms like "cigar", "floral", "herbal", but I don't get that. This is unlike any pipe tobacco or cigar I have ever smoked. There is a richness to it that reminds me of a good Turkish or Oriental, but lacking the sourness and spice. Very hard to describe. There is an old-timey musty pipey-ness to it that really evokes memories to me. I swear I have smelled this scent before, way, way back when I was a kid.

Perhaps the simple burleys our great-grandfathers smoked were much closer to their natural state than anything (besides La Brumeuse) available today. Perhaps I came across that as a child...

This will lose its fragrance, subtlety, and nuance if smoked quickly. It will also bite you. Sip slowly, leisurely for best results.

Incredible stuff and you owe it to yourself as a pipe smoker and a human being to try it.
66 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 10, 2015 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium Pleasant
We are all familiar with this phenomenon: we are about to enjoy something normal, say, a head of lettuce. Some giggin' hipster from Reddit or Tumblr comes up and implies that regular lettuce is merely passé and thus a signal of our inferiority by describing instead Madagascar lettuce which is only grown between the months of April and May on a plateau above a forest where it is fertilized by trained parrots with little buckets of shark livers and ground human bone. The hipster method is simple, you see. Whatever is normal, is boring. Therefore, whatever is dysfunctional or abnormal in enough conflicting ways to appear distinctive, like a shirt of ten clashing colors, is good. The hipster attacks you by making you feel ordinary and mud while he looks "interesting," different and unique. The hipster is the "dead end of Western civilization" as AdBusters has said, and manages to ruin just about anything by overselling the trivial but distinctive in preference to the ordinary and functional. For that reason, I approached La Brumeuse Semois with some trepidation. After all, it had been in The New York Times, a magazine that specializes in both hipsters and illusions, but attracts many of us with its writing that is usually more erudite at best and simply over-written like that prose of a poseur with a thesaurus at worst. I am happy to report that not all of the hype is nonsense.

First, let me debunk: this is simply a strong but sweet Burley blend. If you can imagine a Burley-Virginia hybrid, think of that. It has the broad nutty flavors of Burley but an inner sweetness; I believe Vincent Manil when he says there are no additives and I detect none. Instead, it seems, the curators of Semois use a long-curing process to bring out the natural flavors in this leaf. Compare it to C&D dark burley and you will find it has more of the hay flavors and less of the bitterness, but similar strength. From the bag, it has overtones of something like marzipan or amaretto, but I think these are natural curing flavors and nothing added.

The warnings are correct: pack this one tight because it is dry and will burn like a tumbleweed. Properly crammed into a pipe, it lights quickly and emits moderately thick clouds of warm burley smoke, both nutty and hay-like, with a notable lack of sharpness, bitterness and bite. I advise using the biggest pipe you have and filling it 3/4 of the way to minimize the amount of wind directly fanning the flames, and smoking it slowly. It is a pure, simple, pleasurable flavor.

Thus I both debunk and enhance the myth of Semois: it is not radically different than what you would expect from a slow cured high-end Burley, possibly enhanced by frequent mists making the curing process a question of degrees rather than industrial-style grinding progress. However, it is delicious. This will not appeal to those who like a riot of clashing flavors or toppings that obliterate the tobacco taste with a candy-like flavor, and its publicity nexus starting in 2013 might be seen as a revolution against the attitude that favors candied tobacco and gaudy blends, but it is a lovely, plain flavor that develops complexity in the same way plants in nature do, over time and with subtlety.
43 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 22, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
This has quickly become one of my favorite pipe tobaccos. I'm not an every day smoker, so when I pack my pipe, I like it to be with something flavorful and fairly strong. Semois delivers an incredible cigar-like earthiness from the first puff, but with floral undertones that counterbalance the intensity quite nicely.

Rustic is the only word that comes to mind when I smell it in the jar. Like a basket of mushrooms, with clovers and grass. Fantastic.

Entirely free of flavorings or casings, which is rare. A must-try if only for that reason. Highly recommended all around.
Pipe Used: Wessex Bent Billiard
PurchasedFrom: ThePipeGuys.com
Age When Smoked: 1 month
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 15, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Mild to Medium Pleasant
I've been slowly working my way through a "block" of it. Many people have compared it to cigar leaf, and that's an apt comparison. It is very light (in terms of weight) and dry. The pouch aroma is subtle, but reminiscent of a baking cake (but my wife says is smells like pine shavings...) The smoke is strong...but not strong like dark fired VAs. It's a quick pungent strength that does not linger. My head does not swim from smoking this (coming from someone who can barely smoke 1792 flake). The flavor is not burley, not VA, not completely like a cigar... I think the flavor is actually a light flavor, like the aroma (but most people describe it as being a full flavor.) But the smoke makes its presence known, not in bite but in an almost wasabi kick. I really like it but it's not a familiar or homey kind of affection. I'd say it's exotic, but in a rustic way, not in spice. This is someone's meat and potatoes (someone's burley) but not on this side of the Atlantic (I'm in 'merka). One whiff of the subtle pouch note and you'll know you're in for a pipe smoking experience that is totally unique.

The top of the bowl is very cigar-like, kind of musty and pungent. About halfway down that baked bread/cake flavor comes through. Almost floral, more like yeasty. There is a natural sweetness present that reminds me of wet forest floor (go ahead and groan...) This is 100% no additive, no topping or casing tobacco and it's very inspiring that someone can make it work.
PurchasedFrom: Wal Mart (how, I wish!)
Age When Smoked: New
13 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 12, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant
Money's worth is right! This is the most "perfumey" burley I have come across, but in a very good way. Normally I like sweeter stuff but this just shines on its own. Real earthy, dry, but with both high & low notes - barley, wheat, herbs - I just can't compare it to anything else. Packed with care, will smoke slowly and dead cool all the way to a fine dry ash. Bravo to Mr Manil & The Pipe Guys
Pipe Used: Old meer, MM
PurchasedFrom: Pipe Guys
Age When Smoked: new
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 04, 2016 Medium None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
I will start by saying that this is NOT A NORMAL TOBACCO. And therefore, you can't really compare it to anything else. I will also say that this is one of the greatest smoking experiences I have ever had in my life. If I had one tobacco to bring with me on a desert island, it would be this.

Grown in the Ardennes Region of Belgium, this is a varietal that is found nowhere else in the world. Semois is semois. Similar to burley, but adapted to grow in the nitrogen poor, cold, foggy, Ardennes Valley.

It is sold in a 3.5oz gold-foil-wrapped brick. Upon unwrapping the brick, you will be greeted by a horrifying sight, if you are a seasoned pipe smoker -- the absolute DRIEST tobacco its possible to imagine. Do not worry. This is how it is intended to appear. The aroma is unmistakably cigar-like: fermented, chocolatey, with a slight hint of hay and spice.

You're going to want to pack this tighter than you would normally pack a bowl, and EVEN TIGHTER than that. Manil Semois is so dry that it will go up like gun powder if packed too loosely -- air space is your enemy in this tobacco.

The charring light will show you the animal you're dealing with is different than anything you've ever dealt with. It is quite finicky and requires an entirely different way of thinking while smoking. Even if you have the slowest cadence in the world, you will have to slow down for Semois. But that's okay -- challenges are good in life.

The taste of this tobacco is entirely unique. Distinctly cigar-like, but less intense and MUCH more enjoyable. It's very bold and chocolatey, with a thin dry smoke. It is full flavored, but dry and thin, like a lighter tobacco. On retrohaling, you're greeted with a deep fermented hay quality, with hints of spice and roasted nuts. It's a lovely experience. It will go up like gunpowder if you puff on it -- this is a VERY mindful smoke.

I feel a sort of bias towards this because I like it so much. You might not. It is certainly not for everyone, as reviews on this site might lead you to believe. I highly recommend you give it a shot, just for the sake of experience. It is almost an entirely different form of smoking, that's how truly unique this tobacco is. Seasoned pipe smokers might hate it -- or you might love it. You never know. But do yourself a favor and light up a bowl of Tabac Manil - Pure Semois (La Brumeuse). Even if you hate it, you'll be glad you tried it.

Although it is quite expensive, at $24 for 3.5oz, you end up with quite a lot more tobacco than you'd imagine due to the water content -- or lack thereof. A brick filled a 16 and 32oz mason jar to the brim. Pretty cool.

Pipe Used: 2015 Peterson St. Patricks Day shape 05
PurchasedFrom: SmokingPipes.com
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the brick
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 16, 2010 Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Being from Belgium (near Antwerp) myself, the Semois region has long been one of my favourite holiday locations within our country, be it for a longer period in a chalet with the family of for a daytrip alone on my motorcycle. About 200 km away from home, one find oneself in a totally different landscape than the lowlands I live in. (steep hillsides, cut away during millenia by the river, lots of woods, occasional medows and fields with livestock, medieval castles and monasteries... add to that the other language - French instead of Dutch - and you could think you're in a different country alltogether)

Therefore, the Semois tobacco was not uknown to me. First smoking cigarettes, I regularly bought Semois cigarrillos or Senoritas. Since December 2008 i have become a pipesmoker, but hadn't had the chance of revisiting my favourite part of the country until a month or so ago.

On a day trip, I bought the stuff in a shop in Bouillon, and have been enjoying it. The taste and aroma, to me, is almost floral. It delivers quite a nic-kick, true, but I find it endurable. (I am used to smoking medium blends...) Springy ribbon cut and quite dry, needs packing tightly. Very advisable to "smoke-in" a pipe due to these characteristics. If you want to smoke anything else in the same pipe though, you will need about 5 pipefulls of another tobacco to get rid of The Ghost of the Semois.

More about this fine weed can be found at : www.tabac-semois.com, so here's a chance to brush up on your knowledge of French. (if you leave out the hyphen in the webaddress, you access the other artisanal tobacconist in the same small town, by the name of JP Couvert - I will add it once this package is empty)
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 21, 2015 Strong None Detected Medium Very Pleasant
According to lore, this straight Burley tobacco derives its flavor from the "terroir" or environment of the Ardennes Valley in Belgium where it is grown. Its taste is best described as that of a sweet Burley, as if hybridized with a bright Virginia, that develops internal flavors delicately when packed tightly and sipped slowly.

Upon opening the brick wrapped in gold paper, the smoker is greeted by a scent of almonds and hay, maybe a hint of amaretto, which are not added flavorings but property of the leaf. As the bowl burns, these flavors develop into other harvest flavors, more like a new harvest than late autumn, full of freshness and the unmistakable fineness of a careful curing.

"La Brumeuse" is cut in a scraggly ribbon cut and very dry, a condition which necessitates careful packing. I do not recommend moisturizing it as there is no need. Smoked in its dry state, it generates voluminous naturally sweet smoke with a taste like a cigar refined into a gentle, wholesome flavor. Soft, creamy, lush and abundant smoke pours out of the pipe and the nutty richness of Burley gives way to an infinite dimension of interior flavors.

While some might shy away from blends that are not blends so much as a single ingredient, the high quality Burley here -- like a sweeter, more refined version of Five Brothers or C&D's Cube Cut Burley -- reveals its many tastes like metaphors, described by most as resembling a sun-drenched crop drying in a bar, with notes of hay and a tea-like fragility. This is a perfect all-day smoke with an enchanting flavor and enough nicotine to create a dreamlike state amidst the clouds of fragrant smoke.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 28, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Once again I must preface this review with a caveat: I'm an unabashed fan of burley. Typically my tastes run towards a blend of burley and Virginia with something extra. For example C&D Pegasus (burley, Virginia and unflavored black cavendish) and C&D Old Joe Krantz (burley, Virginia and perique). This is a departure from either of those veins but what an interesting departure it is. If La Brumeuse was a cigar it would be a puro. I do know that Tabac Manil does make cigars but I have not had the pleasure of trying one.

With my caveat having been stated I can't recommend this leaf enough, especially to those who are fans of burley. This is a very simple smoke and really runs in taste order like this: earthy (think the smell of mushrooms), vegetal sweetness (like bell peppers), floral, cigar"y" and nutty. There's really no change from the top to the bottom of the bowl but it most certainly is a unique taste that must be tried to be understood. The tobacco itself is quite dry but you get your money's worth in the package because of this. It should also be packed just a bit tighter than normal to slow down the burn and get the most from each bowl. It does burn cool even though it's fast. The nicotine hit is very bearable but at the upper part of medium to full. All in all a wonderful smoke even though it is not complex in the sense of changing taste throughout the bowl but complex in the sense of being unique in taste.

One thing that struck me was the length of time this tobacco has been on the market but not available, in my lifetime at least, to the American market. This has been around since the early 1900's (I think before, but I'm playing it safe on the time frame). This tobacco paired perfectly with my horn stemmed Ropp pipe (courtesy of smokingpipes.com) which is most likely from the early 1900's as well. Images of being stuck in a trench enjoying this pipe were hard to avoid as this may have been the only luxury in the Great War. I suggest you try this tobacco to gain a sense of history and a sense of passion from this great producer in the Ardennes.
Pipe Used: Ropp Bulldog, Northern Briars Liverpool
PurchasedFrom: www.smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: Out of the package.
7 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 11, 2021 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Very unique taste profile. Hearty and somewhat floral in a unique way. A plain and easy smoke, no thrills, just honest tobacco taste. Must try for lovers of most natural tobaccos.
6 people found this review helpful.
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