Tabac Manil La Brumeuse

(3.31)
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

3.31 / 4
40

30

7

4

Reviews

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 81 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 04, 2017 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
La Brumeuse - evocative name, no doubt, and for anybody regularly visitng Belgium countryside, like I do in any season (for business), is a rather appropriate one. Packaging and labelling are old style and quite fascinating as well. It's a very natural tobacco, no casing, grown and processed with no adictives. These are its most remarkable qualities. Taste? rather flat, no evolution, no complexity. Cigar-like? maybe, but what cigar? no premium, for sure. And why on heart one would choose to smoke a pipe to get a basic cigar taste? It's very dry, it burns fast even sipping at slow pace, Aftertaste is quite persistent, not unpleasant but reminds me of an old style, strong cigarette. I understand people fascinated by supposed "good old times" flavour, maybe boosted by some youth memories of a grandfather smoking on his rolling chair, under the porch; I also understand the repulsion of many adulterated products which, as a reaction, stimulates a "back to the basics" attitude. This is indeed a genuine product , but it's a smoke style - in all respect -belonging to the past. Tobacco manufacturing has been developing in the meantime , tobacco blending has been maybe far too "creative", present industry is many times much after quantity and marketing instead of quality; but all that said, this is a smoke - at its best - intersting; if you're looking for pleasure, taste, complexity and fun then look elsewhere. On the market there are many hi quality products, and if you 're into naturals and straight tobaccos, the choice is still wide.
Pipe Used: Butz Choquin billiard; Castello shape 55
PurchasedFrom: La Tete d'or - Bruxelles
Age When Smoked: fresh and after 1 year cellaring
6 people found this review helpful.
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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
Jun 18, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable
While not very complex, there are a few noticeable burley aspects. It's very earthy, a little spicy with herbal/floral notes, a little bread, a lot of wood, and grassy vegetation, with a light nutty sweetness. The nic-hit reaches the medium level. The strength is in the center of medium to strong, while the taste is not far from the full threshold. I get some feeling of cigar and/or cigarette here. It needs to be sipped, especially if you smoke it dry as is suggested. It will burn hot and you'll lose some of the characteristics of what makes this enjoyable if you're a fast or even medium puffer, and have a strongly harsh smoke. Won't bite. The clean, bold, sweet and savory, rugged flavor is very consistent all the way through when smoked slowly. It'll make a very good mixer if you choose. Leaves no moisture in the bowl, and hardly needs a relight. Has a long lasting strong after taste, and the room note is sharp. Not an all day smoke.

-JimInks
38 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 21, 2014 Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable to Strong
This tobacco surprised me a bit. I thought it would have more body. That's due to the strength rating employed here. When I rate strength it's in regard to body, not nicotine punch. I don't inhale so I pretty much don't care about nicotine content. I forgot that most others do. At least it seems that way. Anyhow, I find the body at mild to medium. The flavor is mild and does resemble Burley to a small extent. It might be my imagination but I keep getting faint traces of a vanilla-like nuance. Comes and goes and is most prevalent during the initial lighting. If you're careless it can burn hot and then it loses all flavor and becomes harsh. As SteelCowboy said, packing is very important and as JimInks said, it needs to be slowly sipped to get the most out of it. In spite of it being a small pain in the ass I'll give it 3 stars. One is for being unique.
Pipe Used: MM General, MM Country Gentleman
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes.com
Age When Smoked: fresh
22 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
Dec 14, 2014 Medium to Strong Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
Came very dry and crumbly in the brick and I jarred it immediately. As this is how it is supposed to be smoked, I wasn't concerned. Cigar aroma with a very lightly floral undertone. I found that I did have to be careful with the load to keep too much air between pinches. Tighter was better.

The first few puffs showed heavy cigar flavor with settled down very quickly to a burley-type flavor with added sweetness. I'm not sure what the casing flavor is but I've tasted it before - just not in a pipe tobacco. As someone who experimented with a lot of European high quality cigarettes, there are a couple that I will never forget: the Balkan Sobranie non-filters, 10 to a tin (those were absolutely wonderful!) and the French-made Gitanes/Gauloises brands. Both were distinctive. This pipe tobacco reminds me of the mellower Gitanes cigarettes. Not entirely satisfying. As a straight smoke, I found this tobacco theoretically interesting in its unique-ness but not terribly interesting to smoke. A bit too unrefined and crass. And BTW, hydrate it at your own risk. With additional moisture, this tobacco changed characteristics so dramatically that it could only be called a huge failure.

It was as a mixer that this showed it's true strengths for me. As dry and thin as it is, I did have to dry out the other tobaccos, but this brought a heavy body and a sweet flowery presence (not unlike Lakelands, but less powerful) to straight Virginias and a sort of alternate dimension to straight burleys - similar but different. It changed every mix to which it was added, some for the worse, but it showed enough positives that I'd like to experiment more. I think this is an exciting product - definitely unique and it merits more than the 2 stars-worth of my personal enjoyment. Plus it shows huge promise as a blender. 3 stars. And if you're a smoker of natural tobaccos, you have to give this one a spin.
15 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 05, 2014 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable
I honestly can’t recall smoking a blend that is similar to La Brumeuse. It came to me as part of a sizeable sample from a good friend and was on the dry side, which is the way I like it. The scent is also unlike anything I recall smoking. In the pouch is does smell a lot like certain cigars, however I don’t find LB to taste like a cigar, although there are small similarities. I find when packing LB that it can take quite a bit of this to fill a pipe. The short ribbons will leave a lot of air between them unlike any tobacco I have smoked. The pack is very important and I found myself over packing and more often under packing, leaving the blend to burn very fast (like a lightly packed shag) and hot. The flavor is very earthy, offering little sweetness. When smoked properly, I find LB to be very smooth and very straightforward in flavor. It doesn’t offer much complexity and is a little heavy on the nicotine, but not a knockout. LB is definitely a “niche” blend. I would not recommend it to newer pipe smokers. It was nice to smoke something out of the mainstream, but I don’t see myself looking for more. Kudos to Vincent Manil for bringing something interesting and unique to market.
Age When Smoked: New
11 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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