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 fine cut version (coupe fine).
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.
When I was a child, I remember going out to my great-grandfather's farm with my family. The farm hadn't been active in decades at that point and the property had been effectively abandoned. One structure that remained intact was his tobacco barn. Great-grandaddy was a tobacco farmer of the old-school. He grew, aged, and blended his own tobacco. I had completely forgotten about those childhood explorations of his property until I got my first whiff of pure Semois. That smell - pure, clean, earthy, leathery tobacco - immediately took me back. Though I had no idea what the smell WAS at the time, decades after it had last been used, THAT SMELL still permeated his tobacco barn and had embedded itself into my memory.
When I was first offered an opportunity to try this unique tobacco, I didn't hesitate one second. And I am so glad that I took the leap. Semois is unlike anything else that I've ever smoked. Gone are the sweet sugars of virginia leaf. Nowhere to be found are the dark, oiliness of cavendish or the heavy smokiness of latakia. What you have instead is pure, old-school, completely natural burley tobacco.
It's redolent of leather, dry summer forest floors, hay put up for the winter, split wood set aside to season for next year... It is wholly unique and fascinating. Smoke a bowl of Semois and you will start to appreciate the flavors that you've never noticed in your regular blends and it may just ruin you for any topped aromatic that covers over the essence - the soul - of the tobacco.
Life-changing may be an exaggeration... but not by much.
A note of caution: use a cob - Semois is not to be trifled with. It's strong and it WILL ghost your briar, no question.
Very odd appearance and fragrance, with an aroma almost like meal worms or reptile food... Go on, smoke it.
This stuff is an acquired taste for the experienced smoker only. Has a pungency comparable to Cuban cigar leaf on the light, but develops and smooths out considerably if you give it a large enough bowl to do so.
Had the pleasure of sampling some from a friend, I'd highly recommend it if you have a way to acquire some.
Individual reviews are the opinion(s) of the contributor and do not reflect the opinion(s)
of STC Holdings LLC. Published review content of this website is considered the
copyright intellectual property of the reviewer and STC Holdings LLC and may not be
reproduced in any manner without the expressed written consent of STC Holdings LLC.