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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. There are no casings or flavorings added to this tobacco. This is the medium-cut version (coupe moyenne).

Notes: Semois is a Burley varietal that has been developed over hundreds of years in Belgium's Semois River region, in ground that is soggy and fog-shrouded.

BrandTabac Manil
Blended ByVincent Manil
Manufactured ByVincent Manil
Blend TypeBurley Based
ContentsBurley
FlavoringNone
CutRibbon
Packaging100 or 250 gr pack
CountryBE
ProductionCurrently available
Where to Buy SmokingPipes.com
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Strength
Medium to Strong
Flavoring
None Detected
Taste
Medium to Full
Room Note
Tolerable

Favorite Of 2 Users

3.8
15 reviews
Reviews
4 star:
12
3 star:
3
2 star:
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JimInks Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JimInks (2706)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

The semois is very earthy, almost muddy in spots, a little spicy, nutty, woody and bready, moderately floral and herbal, slightly vegetative with touches of hay and grass, and a cigar-like sweetness. The strength is in the middle of medium to strong, while the taste level is a hair past the medium to full level. The nic-hit is almost medium at first, but reaches that level by the last third of the experience. Won’t bite, but has some rough edges at it will burn fast, and also hot if you indulge in freight train puffing. I recommend a sipping pace. The flavor is consistent from start to finish. Leaves no dampness in the bowl, and hardly needs any relights. Has a pleasant after taste, and strong room note. Not an all day smoke. Also makes a good mixer.

-JimInks

20 people found this review helpful.

aztobaccosavant Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
aztobaccosavant (12)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Very Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Miffed by the packaging. Almost insulted. How can this producer spend so much energy on this flavor bomb and allow it to become dry and brittle. Well slap my granny. The moisture levels were irrelevant. Surprisingly rich aroma. Packed and smoked like a dream. Rich and thick with earthy flavors. Like the terroir in a French varietal wine. I love the stuff. It's real and it's honest. Pure smoke. Don't over intellectualize it. Smoke it. Love it or mail it to me.

Pipe Used: Parker. Dunhill. Cob.

Age When Smoked: Newish

Purchased From: Interweb moneyraker

Similar Blends: Peretti burley blend..

18 people found this review helpful.

Mister Moo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Mister Moo (12)
★★★☆
Very Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable to Strong

Wow. The 100g compressed block of Belgium's finest cut shag arrived wrapped in gold foil paper, ribbon-tied. It had a smell like no other tobacco; it didn't seem like it would go well for me at first glance. The smell was weird, the color was weird - dark, almost to gray. Not pretty. It smelled weird and wasn't pretty. What would you expect?

Easy fill and an easy light; doesn't call for relights. Even with plenty of moisture this springy fine cut tobacco wants to burn quickly if you don't uber-compress it and sip. Taste? It tastes great if you like, say, perique +5. Until I learned that there is one small area in Belgium where tobacco has been grown for over 100-years I guessed this leaf was from Africa or Asia or St. James Parish, Louisiana.

Semois river tobacco from the Ardennes region of Belgium is unique and, to my palate, very enjoyable. Spice-like with a serious nic-kick I smoked this happily from a smallish group-2 briar. Not too hot and not too much.

14 people found this review helpful.

Tantric Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Tantric (319)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Dry (and I mean dry), almost brittle, dark-brown Burley leaf. Like other offerings in the region (Scaferlati Caporal comes to mind, though the latter is or was produced in France and Semois in Belgium) this is a sun-cured leaf with no casings, added flavours or humectants. None the less you can smoke it as it is. It won't bite nor will it taste sour or produce an abrasive effect on the palate. More than smoking a cigar my impression is that of smoking the Spanish cigarrillos Jaén or Ducados Rubios. It's has a strong (but not overwhelmingly so), sharp, very natural tobacco taste. One might say "manly" and vigorous. It goes, as it were, straight to the point. This is not a contemplative tobacco (in the sense a Latakia mixture is), nor does it have the languid allure of Virginias, and it definitely lacks the piquant sweet-sour malice of Pèrique. One could say this is a farmer's tobacco, to be smoked (and indeed enjoyed) whilst working in the fields, under the sun, in a dry, hot summer. Pure, strong and straightforward natural tobacco flavour. In my view, a must.

Pipe Used: Mastro de Paja

Age When Smoked: N/A

Purchased From: Izmir Tobacco.

Similar Blends: Scaferlati Caporal and most sun-cured French tobaccos..

10 people found this review helpful.

JJ Sir Emmitt Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
JJ Sir Emmitt (17)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

This is a great staight forward no frills tobacco. Out of the package the tobacco is bone dry. However it packs and smokes like a dream. It presents with the best of what a straight burley can offer. With a sweet, earthy, nutty, and herbal profile exsentuated by a sharp pepper spice through the nose. This is hands down one of the best tobaccos on the market. If not the best.

Pipe Used: Various Cobs and briars

Age When Smoked: 1month

Purchased From: tobaccopipes.com

9 people found this review helpful.

Raines Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Raines (52)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Basically, it's the same tobacco than "La Brumeuse" from the same producer (Vincent Manil). The only difference is the cut : "La Réserve du Patron" have a smaller cut than "La Brumeuse". The shortness makes this tobacco less strong. So, the taste is rather the same but not overwhelming. That's why I prefer this one. It's rather strong and sweet in the same time. I know it's personnal, so maybe it's not the opinion of everyone. I recommend this tobacco for whom like strong tobaccos but not too much either.

Similar Blends: Tabac Manil - La Brumeuse.

8 people found this review helpful.

tschenyinkoh Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
tschenyinkoh (51)
★★★★
Medium None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

This is the review of Reserve du Patron 3.5oz - the medium cut version (Le Petit Robin is the thin-cut version and the La Brumeuse is the thick cut version. )

moisture: extremely dry

cut: beautiful ribbon cut and easily packed

burning: if you do not pack it tightly or sip it carefully, it will smoke very fast

tin note: very woody and earthy

when smoking: pure, clean taste; cigar-like; unique, straightforward; deep but not complex; smooth with hidden lightly floral sweetness.

strength: mild, if not medium

my rating: Enjoy + Buy it on sales → Three Stars Rating: it may not be my favorite but still be a nice change occasionally. But consider its uniqueness and others' Burley preference, I give it three and a half stars.

best smoke time: after dinner

pairing: rye whiskey

Age When Smoked: new

Purchased From: smokingpipes

Similar Blends: unique, no the similar..

6 people found this review helpful.

PebbleBrainGet'nAshtonite Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PebbleBrainGet'nAshtonite (3)
★★★★
Very Strong None Detected Full Tolerable

Most pipe tobaccos on the contemporary market tend to lose their complexity if you let them completely dry out to a brittle state. This is not the case with Vincent Manil's offerings. Something about this varietal and the cool climate it is grown in, makes it one of the deepest and most naturally mysterious smokes I've ever found. You will open the foil brick to find a dry solid cake that smells like an old musty barn full of timothy, clover, fescue, and alfalfa... aka HAY. There is almost a bit of mealy/earthy funk, like you'd smell off a cuban cigar wrapper. The thick cut of the Patron will load and light seamlessly in the pipe, don't be afraid to pack tightly for a stronger creamier smoke. I will not go into detail about the flavor journey you will experience when you smoke it. Like anything, try it in a few different pipes before you knock it, start small. Be careful, extremely high nicotine content that will put hair on your chest (if it's not already there.) Something tells me that this cut was intended to make it a cigarette tobacco; (for a little extra surprise, shove this stuff in your tube injector, -rolls an excellent cigarette)

Pipe Used: Dunhill Shell Gp.1

Age When Smoked: Recently Purchased

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

5 people found this review helpful.

PiedPiper1010 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
PiedPiper1010 (16)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Tolerable

I must say first off that there is a noticeable difference in this blend (or cut) than the La Petite Robin (thin or shag cut). I find them both to be very unique in ways that I have not tasted in ANY other blend of Pipe tobacco. Putting the focus on this cut Reserve du Patron as this is the review for it-I find this one to be a bit bolder in taste, has more of the cigar notes that others are speaking of than the La Petite Robin. It has a very earthy profile and I must say that Jiminks hit the nail on the head by saying the taste is almost muddy in spots when speaking of the nuances of woodiness and earth you will find in the blend. There is a subtle sweetness and also a steady spicy undertone. There is a big overall nuttiness that stays consistent throughout, with nuances of bread that I find align more with the taste of day-old bread rather than baked bread if you will. There is hay, a bit of grass and subtle floral notes and mineral notes. The blend comes dry-very dry, but fear not because somehow it has the right moisture content to be smoked right to the bottom of the bowl leaving the tiniest bit of moisture with fine white ash, notwithstanding the blends dryness. This is a one of kind smoke because the taste varies in my opinion significantly from the thinner shag cut. Unless you are a huge burley fan, this is not an all-day smoke, and if you are looking to give this brand a try, I found the La Petite Robin to be a more mellow, toned down version of this blend. Nevertheless, this blend is something that you should try as a pipe smoker if you are looking for something way off the beaten path. If you are a fan of burley, the blend is a must. Lastly, I find the nicotine in this blend to be on the higher side. I am giving this blend 4 stars because of the quality and uniqueness, and also because of its outstanding taste profile, despite it lacking the complexity of other blends. However, I don't think the purpose was to create a blend with a flavor profile that was all that complex but it certainly performs well for a straight-up burley blend. For those reasons, I feel the blend deserves four stars.

Pipe Used: Petersons

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Pipes and Cigars

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29926)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong

Reserve du Patron, Pure Semois came very dry in the brick. It appears that this is standard practice for all Tabak Manil blends... at least that was the way with the Le Petite Robin I sampled. Le Petite Robin had a slight, floral, tea-like aroma & provided a semi-sweet floral flavor whereas Reserve du Patron's brick aroma was cigarish but doesn't burn so much with a cigar-like flavor in the bowl... It possesses a relatively strong, earthy, Burley flavor that is obviously different than a Kentucky/Burley grown in specific regions of the US. After about a third had burned down, the strength became akin to a medium to strong cigar with mainly a cool, earthy flavor/taste. This is not a blend but rather a solid brick of pure Belgian Burley with a unique flavor.

Strength is almost as strong as Five Brothers but not as strong as Picayune. On my first trial run, I smoked it completely dry as packaged & later hydrated it as I would any tobacco that's too dry. A couple of weeks later it had almost reached the 69% humidity level that I prefer. I was too anxious to give it a try prior to reaching that threshold which provided a fast burning rate even when sipped through my "quality" Country Gent cob. On my second trial run in my Missouri Meerschaum I stoked another bowl. It had absolutely zero bite and delivered a quick Vitamin N blast with a tastier flavor than that of a cigar-like experience. I'll just say it's a different kind of packaged Burley with a flavor that's rather unique & enjoyable that will make your head spin if smoked too fast & furious & strength increases as the smoke session progresses. It doesn't leave a bad taste on the palate & didn't cause me to have to immediately go brush my tooth.

It's a quick preparation to stoke & smoke & is relatively clean without many stem pieces (more like little chunks) to be removed, if desired... an easy preparation, as it were, right out of the brick. Taste is rather only "slightly" floral with minor cigar notes & smokes cool with a flavor of nothing more than that of the tasty Belgian Burley that is unlike anything grown in our country. I liked it for it's strength, unique flavor, ease of packing, preparation & burning characteristic. There's a lot of tobacco crammed into one of these bricks once hydrated to a proper smoking humidity. However, smoked in its natural dry state is still a treat that is enjoyable & subsequent bowls might be too much to endure. I'll see!

Pipe Used: Sterling Pete 312, Cob, Cavicchi CCC

Age When Smoked: A few months

Purchased From: Smoking Pipes

Similar Blends: Rather unique & nothing I'm aware of compares to this pipe tobacco..

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (29926)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable

Reserve du Patron - Pure Semois came very dry in the brick. It appears that this is standard practice for all Tabak Manil blends... at least that was the way with the Le Petite Padron I've sampled. Le Petite Padron had a slight, floral, tea-like aroma & provided a semi-sweet floral flavor whereas Reserve du Patron's aroma was almost cigar like but doesn't burn with a cigar flavor but that of strong Burley. After about a third had burned down it smoked like a regular Burley tobacco with a minor floral, earthy, cool, unique flavor/taste. This doesn't appear to be a blend but rather a solid brick of pure Belgian Burley with a different flavor than an American/Kentucky grown tobacco. It is not as strong as say, a heavy duty cigar but still, a fairly strong smoke.

I found it similar in strength to Five Brothers but not quite as strong as Picayune... Somewhere in between. Rather than smoke it completely dry as packaged, I hydrated it as I would any tobacco. However, it had not quite reached the 69% level that I prefer. I was too anxious to give it a try prior to reaching that threshold & it still provided a good, fairly fast burning smoke even when sipped through a quality, Pete System pipe.

It may seem to have some bite about it but that is mainly due to its strength... like getting halfway down into a good, semi-strong cigar. It will deliver a quick Vitamin N blast with a flavor that goes beyond that of a cigar-like experience. As far as comparing it to the strength of a pipe tobacco, I'd say it's about like Irish Flake or HH Bold Kentucky but will burn down much faster unless properly hydrated. Let's just say it's a different kind of packaged Burley... flavor that's rather unique & enjoyable.

It's a quick preparation to stoke & smoke & is relatively clean without noticeable stems to be removed... an easy preparation, as it were, right out of the brick. Taste is rather slightly floral & smokes cool with a flavor of nothing more than that of the tasty Belgian Burley that is unlike anything grown in our country. I liked it for it's strength, unique flavor, ease of packing, preparation & smoking quality. There's a lot of tobacco crammed into one of these bricks once hydrated to a proper smoking humidity. However, smoked in its natural dry state is still a treat that is enjoyable & subsequent bowls might attract a Burley buff... like me.

Pipe Used: Peterson System Sterling 312

Age When Smoked: Fresh Brick

Purchased From: Tobacco Pipes

Similar Blends: A Unique Belgian Burley...

2 people found this review helpful.

DrAcula Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
DrAcula (62)
★★★★
Medium to Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong

Presentation: Unique packaging. It comes in a foil wrapped brick wrapped again with the paper label. I like the art on it too. Only available in 3.5oz size though.

Cut: Comes in a standard sized ribbon cut. However this tobacco is bone dry -- crunchy leaves dry. But don't let this fool you, the dryness does not subtract from the smoking experience in the slightest.

Tin note: Sweet, earthy, nutty.

Tasting notes: Mainly nutty, woody and a cigar-like earthiness. Though at times you will get a tinge of spice or sweetness. Sometimes a bit bitter (a sign to slow down!).

Mechanics: This blend packs and lights SO easily. Because it is so dry, it does burn well; but remember, this means you will need to tamp more often than normal to smoothly continue its burn. This blend is more forgiving than wetter blends if you pack it tighly.

Extra Remarks: Some say this blend is strong in nicotine, be weary if you are a lightweight with that. Full of flavor and burns from top to bottom, never forcing you to waste tobacco at the bottom of the bowl. This blend taught me that dry tobacco is not necessarily a bad thing. This is a simple, beautiful blend -- everyone should try this blend. 4 stars!

Pipe Used: Bent Apple Meer

Age When Smoked: Fresh from tin, 6+ months

Similar Blends: Cornell & Diehl - Old Joe Krantz, Cornell & Diehl - Junkyard Dawg.

1 person found this review helpful.

MarkTheLad Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
MarkTheLad (46)
★★★★
Strong Mild Medium to Full Tolerable

Wow, this tobacco is my new #2, fantastic flavor, earthy, nutty, light sweetness, slightly floral and oodles of creamy smoke, also kind of reminds me of a very tasty cigar. I bought the Reserve du Patron and there is a lot of tobacco in this package, very dry, wants to be packed firmly, very few relights and smokes like a dream. Beware the nic-hit on this tobac is on the high side, but that's another plus in my opinion. This is different from everything else and I love it, 4 stars! Bravo Mr. Manil!

Pipe Used: Missouri Meerschaum cob

Age When Smoked: Fresh

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

Similar Blends: A fine cigar, very unique..

1 person found this review helpful.

Rustedrailsmokes Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Rustedrailsmokes (238)
★★★★
Strong None Detected Full Very Strong

Once you get by the fact that its dry in the brick when you get it, (Of course, I'm trained to think dry tobacco is bad tobacco or damaged) this is a very different but very interesting blend.

I'm not a big cigar smoker, but the flavor of this is similar. It is very earthy, nutty, and even a little bread taste to me.

Packing and lighting is a cinch. It takes off like a cigarette. I never get any tongue burn, but it can get hot in a smaller bowl. I love smoking this in thick bowled pokers, my Bones Pickaxe, etc... It also works great in my Radiator Pipe bowls. When traveling its a great quick smoke with a decent nic content.

This is something completely different from our normal blends and I have really enjoyed learning more about the history of the tobacco and how it is still processed to this day.

Pipe Used: Thick bowls and radiators

Age When Smoked: Fresh to one year

Purchased From: Smokingpipes.com

1 person found this review helpful.

manxman Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
manxman (78)
★★★☆
Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Pleasant

Everyone should try one of the Semois blends, they are so different. I'm not a fan of straight burley. But this tastes like a cigar, not a cigarette. While it is more expensive than other tobaccos, it is VERY dry, so you're not paying for Belgian moisture. Be aware that this dryness translates into a faster burn rate. Obviously, it burns dry, no residual moisture at the heel. Try to sip slowly. The taste is earthy, somewhat mineral-like. I truly believe I am immune to nicotine, even when I inhale, I get absolutely nothing. No tongue bite experienced.

Pipe Used: Savinelli with balsa filter, meerschaum

Age When Smoked: fresh

Purchased From: Cup o Joes

Similar Blends: Carter Hall, Le Petit Robin.

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