Tabac Manil Réserve du Patron

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.


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


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

Average Rating

3.52 / 4





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Displaying 1 - 11 of 25 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 10, 2016 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
8 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 28, 2017 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.

28 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 19, 2017 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.
PurchasedFrom: Interweb moneyraker
Age When Smoked: Newish
24 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 10, 2017 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
PurchasedFrom: Izmir Tobacco.
Age When Smoked: N/A
17 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 17, 2010 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.
16 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 16, 2017 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
12 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Dec 04, 2014 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.
10 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 21, 2018 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
PurchasedFrom: smokingpipes
Age When Smoked: new
9 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 25, 2021 Strong None Detected Medium Tolerable
The one thing I am sure of, is that Semois is a natural tobacco, without anything inside. Pure Burley coltivated in its country. Simple, sincere, straight, big nicotine hit, no humidity, fast to burn, difficult to smoke and enjoy it…

On the contrary, I can’t understand all those people that describe it as an excellent tobacco, with so many different tastes, odours and …nuances, that smoking this, gives. I had filled bowls many times, in various pipes (briars and meerschaum), I forced myself to smoke that Semois, finishing the bowl, I think I didn’t get all this sort of excellent taste, nor the “nuances” of odours, Semois had to give me. Only a big nic-hit, sometimes to throat me, some hay and a lot of earth, mud and manure, I can’t affirm am going crazy of it!

Is it of the new tendency of people in masochistic behaviours? Is it because of their desire to harm themselves, proving, in that way, to be …tough masculines? I can’t tel…

For sure this is a simple, rural natural tobacco, apt to woodsmen, rude peasants, farmers on their rest hours, max for workers, walking back home after a hard-working day. Something they own, grew from their own land, a poor thing, but sincere, giving all that has to give paying little money to buy it, smoking in old half-burned pipes, that have a lot to tell about hundreds of full bowls smoked in winter mountain sharp paths, or quietly in home-confortable seat besides the fireplace. But nothing else.

We, very different people, with our lots of pipes, smoking and tasting delicate flavours, chatting about fine briars and block meerschaums, about brands that do this or that, delicate nuances of fine expensive blends, that a woodsman or a peasant can’t buy, can’t taste: a pack of Semois, cost in their land, about 5euros and that is all they can afford.

It’s something out of our reality, maybe an old tobacco that still survives only for them and the trend of ours is the only thing make us doing miracles to get it, as if it was something so precious, also because it’s not found or sold nowhere in Europe, except the lands of Belgium.

I’ve got two packs and I’m nearly forced to smoke it, better in meerschaum, because I have no courage to throw it away, hoping to get used to its rudeness. I’m a pipe smoker since 1970. All these years, I had the occasion to smoke and try many tobaccoes —some of them are dead, already— I never ever got myself smoking that …thing!
Pipe Used: briars - meerschaum
PurchasedFrom: Belgium
Age When Smoked: new
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 11, 2019 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
PurchasedFrom: Pipes and Cigars
Age When Smoked: Fresh
6 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Apr 21, 2019 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
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: A few months
4 people found this review helpful.
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