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Semois

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco Reviews' started by Stonewall, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    Got my sample (generous) in the mail today. I was fortunate enough to receive the J. P. Couvert variety of Semois. I immediately transferred it into a lined, washed out tobacco tin (can type) and put the lid on until I returned home from work to try it.

    Upon returning home, the second thing I did (first thing was to wrestle my furry buddy, Benji) was to pop the plastic lid and take in the tin note. I honestly admit I'm somewhat uncertain of the smell of this tobacco. It reminded me of a Hungarian tobacco that KSummers had sent me a couple of months back.

    Once again, if I were to be honest, the perfume of this tobacco isn't really something I find pleasant. But it isn't, unpleasant, either. Just very different. The tobacco is dark chestnut brown coloured rough ribbon cut and was at perfect moisture level for quick charring (I plan to place two bowls worth into a small bowl and increase the moisture to see if the flavors change).

    Three passes with the flame and equal number of light tamps and I'm in business. Subtle at first but opens up to a buttery richness. Almond liquor, bittersweet dark chocolate, a little pine nut. I'm no burley fan whatsoever, but this burley is supreme. Rich hints of Turkish and cigar leaf and rose peddle.

    Nicotine was noticeable here. I'm a cigarette smoker, and normally can't detect the nicotine that others do with pipe blends, but I put Semois at around 7.5 or even, 8, on the scale. Must be sipped slowly. Burns quickly and down to a fine ash.

    I enjoyed it so much I smoked two bowls, back to back in a small, Yanik, apple meerschaum.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
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  2. Malcontent

    Malcontent Active Member

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    And my first thought after reading this was, "How do I talk my boss into sending to Europe for a few weeks?"
     
  3. buistd

    buistd Sales Account

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    I wouldn't do this if I were you. Semois is designed to be smoked very dry - it does require caution as smoking it too hot can really ruin your day - but do not rehydrate it en masse. I saw a documentary on Vincent Manil in which he said to never add moisture to Semois as mould will grow on it very soon after. That explained why the Semois I had added some moisture to turned into a mouldy mess in a Kilner jar. I suppose though that if you are just doing a couple of bowls' worth it won't harm but Mr Manil seemed very keen on smoking it as it comes.

    Nice review by the way. Some of the flavours you picked out are really spot on. I find that pine nut flavour really interesting; I would even say that it borders on being a pine needle aroma/taste. There's definitely something woodland-y going on there.
     
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  4. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    Thank you, Buistd. I hadn't had a chance to go back to it yet. I certainly won't be adding any moisture to it.
     
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  5. sillyoldbear

    sillyoldbear Active Member

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  6. fred28

    fred28 Member

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    Just a question: As I know, Semois is Kentucky so it's a Burley?
    If yes, how can you said this Burley is a Kentucky and this othet not? or all Burley are kentucky?
     
  7. fred28

    fred28 Member

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    I watched a video from Vincent Manil, very interesting (on youtube, it's in French).
    Anyway, here a short story from a French website ( I use google translate so I hope it's clear). Have FUN!:

    "We're on vacation, so do not believe you're dragging me a tobacco planter to another. Holy Cow. Even after several glasses of wine sipped on our terrace with a panoramic view over the valley of the Semois even dozing in the sun in a comfortable chair, Ms. Van Hove sees through my intentions with ease. And it seems inflexible. We must therefore resign.
    Yet the following Sunday, dull day, then suddenly, on returning to the car after a brief tour of Bouillon, she said: It may be time to go see your Manil Should not tell me twice. . With Tomtom, we are fifteen minutes later Corbio front of the store Annex Museum Vincent Manil.

    First thing that strikes me is Sunday afternoon and yet there is an up-and-coming clients. After a quick tour of pretty small store, I see that the master of the house is alone behind the counter. I wish to explain to him that I really wanted to talk to him in the hope of finally having the answer to two questions that haunt me for years. Impatient, so I start to question my interlocutor: In your book you say that semois is made from plants kentucky. What do you mean exactly by kentucky? The answer is brief: well! tobacco from Kentucky! look planter betrayed his astonishment.. It must be said that this question is not exactly conspicuous by its intelligence. Undaunted, I continued: Okay, but tobacco that made the historical fame of Kentucky is burley. Called in kentucky America is the "dark fire-cured burley" burley to dark color. It even happens that tobacco dried over fires or that the roasts. Kentucky is therefore not a separate species, but it is defined by his or her treatment. Therefore, plants kentucky introduced in 1855 in the valley of the Semois by Joseph Pierret were, in my opinion, nothing more than burley and therefore the semois while it is typical with its particular soil, mists Ardennes and roasting it undergoes is burley. That said, and this is where things get complicated, whereas according to an authority as Greg Pease, kentucky is a variant of Burley and other sources such as Italian Toscano cigar manufacturers mention of real tobacco variety called kentucky. So I want to know once and for all what plants you use. It was long, but I had quite exposed the problem and now I finally know. Safe source. Manil, he obviously does not exactly share my excitement. He looks at me like I was a Martian. This is kentucky, he replied dryly. I do not know any more! This is the cold shower. Ice. Yet Vincent made an effort to get some old brochures, but we find it not the answer. This leaves me little hope one day to unveil this mystery.

    Meanwhile there are new customers into the store. Companion Vincent cares, but as my second question may be indiscreet or embarrassing, I do not want to ask them. I ended up with Manil in the hallway that runs the store. I read your packets Tobacco semois Pure mention. And elsewhere in the Fumeursdepipe forum, several members distinguish between manufacturers semois as Windels who mix semois with other tobacco and some growers like yourself, diehard who deliver to the customers and semois nothing but semois. Me, I always told them that 100% semois does not exist. So tell me, is that your packages contain only tobacco semois Ardennes. Certainly this is not exactly talkative: Pure semois, it means pure semois This entire response.. I insist: So you're telling me that you use exclusively semois without adding tobacco from other sources. I hear the beginning of irritation in his voice: What do you want me to tell you? This is pure semois My pitbull damn character that does not let his prey, forcing me to make a final attempt: I am sorry, but I know from a reliable source - indeed the picture of my source is in your book -. no, but then no semois on the market, contains 100% semois What Manil replies. Mine contains 85% semois and the remaining 15% are composed of different high quality tobacco. won. Finally a clear answer. When I try to learn what it is tobacco, Vincent is solved: it's a secret. Point bar. Never mind, I still final confirmation that pure semois does not exist. Moreover Manil told me that 100% semois would not be good to smoke: there would be problems of combustion. I am learning, and it is great news that Manil tobaccos contain no preservatives. That's why it's so dry tobacco book: they were wetter, they might rot.

    Revenues at the store, we start talking about pipes. Vincent and I share a real appreciation for two really likeable characters: Jacky Craen pipes Genod and Jean-Pierre Petyt, the owner of La Louviere civet. During the conversation it becomes clear that references Vincent in pipes belong to the past: he speaks of the former Belgian carver Jean-Pierre Forton and Patrice Sébilo the precursor Trever Talbert Herbignac. When we talk about the handmade, he told me his admiration for Poul Winslow. When I confess that my eyes Winslow does not belong to the cream of carvers and craftsmen even it produces a lot of ugly pipes, Manil obviously takes me to a sacrilege. Then I think the time has come to show my stripes, but my partner has no idea who I am. Nobody is a prophet in his own country. That said, Vincent hangs on my lips when I talk to him as carvers Trever Talbert and David Enrique. In fact he asked me to write their names on a piece of paper because it promises to discover their website.

    Manil now discovered a true passion in me and invited me to take a tour of the museum. It starts a video, but it is my daughter and my wife who watch. Vincent and I never stop chatting. I am from a future project while insisting that it must remain between us. This project, I wholeheartedly support and also I promise that when the time comes, I can help by keeping in touch with my relationships in the world carver. About the future of his tobacco, he tells me he will continue to occur even after 2012 when the European Union will end its policy of subsidizing. But more for the same price. I assure him that fans semois craft assume that future growth without flinching, considering the price of imported tobacco which they are accustomed.

    Vincent asked me to smoke a pipe with its tobacco. I fill a Cornelius Maenz and we set around the museum. Especially billboards of yesteryear charm me. We also pass by the table on which he made his famous hand plugs. I confess that the three plugs that Jean-Pierre Petyt had offered me one day, were rather disappointed. Vincent was surprised because his caps are its pride. He then explained to me how exactly do I get the most: Any must select a pipe with straight walls, then you have to wet his mouth and thinner conical cap part. Is the introduced into the hearth on hold well by making a quarter turn. Then, using a sharp knife, there is a cross in the top of the cap, allowing a better ignition. Once the cap turned over its entire surface, just calmly smoking, never pack, because the combustion is very regular.

    I went out with an assortment of cigars Vincent Manil and with half a kilo of semois The Foggy, fat cutting pipes and a box of freshly made twenty caps. Back in the cottage, I tried two caps using strict guidelines. A real treat. The indescribable charm semois pure. Hat. However, a caveat: do not smoke a cork in a smooth pipe. The flange may burn. Better to sandblasted pipe or black rusticated.

    After returning from vacation, I found a nice email from Vincent to tell me he had visited sites Trever and David and he gasped. A rookie again. A new budding enthusiast Nicot.
     
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  8. fred28

    fred28 Member

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    can you compare it with Kendal Kentucky? I'd like to know how they are different.
     
  9. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    Sorry, Fred. I've never smoked, Kendal Kentucky. So I'm no help there.
     
  10. fred28

    fred28 Member

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    I think about ordering some of these tobaccoes but I'm not sure. I really enjoy the GH kentucky tobaccoes. For me, it's like you are smoking real tobacco.
    What can you say about burn quickly? how long a pipe last with Semois compare to another tobacco?
     
  11. BernardLerring

    BernardLerring Member

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    I'm getting rather interested in this stuff. Perhaps the best thing to come of Belgium since the sprout? Where in the UK can we get some from?
     
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  12. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    I've smoked Vince Manil Val Ardennais pur Semois, thanks to a generous sample. I found it to be very cigar like, full flavored, strong even, but smooth and rich too. An article I read on the net said to load the tobacco very firmly in the bowl, and after trying a normal load and a firm pack, it was better firm. The bowl lasted longer too. When I filled the bowl normally, it burned so quick, a medium bowl maybe lasted me 10 minutes. The firm fill gave better flavor, and maybe a 25 minute smoke in the same pipe.
     
  13. CptBeefheart

    CptBeefheart Member

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    In Belgium, can you find this stuff easily in lots of shops or do you have to go to a special place? The reason I ask is because a buddy of mine goes to Brussels on business regularly and I'd like to ask him to pick some up for me if he wouldn't have to go out of his way for it.
     
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  14. pipealicious

    pipealicious Member

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    Hi, as a native Belgian and enthousiastic pipe smoker for about 10 years I can tell you that the genuine Semois (particularly the one from Manil and others in Corbion) is not readily available in any tobacco shop. It's a niche product (without being derogative of its intrinsic quality). In Brussels it is for sale in one specialized cigar and pipe shop in the heart of the town: "le Roi du Cigare" address Rue Royale 25 (close to the royal palace and parliament house.
    Their website: http://www.leroiducigare.be/
    For what concerns the taste, it is a love it or hate it tobacco, some Belgian pipe smokers revere it, some think it is an abomination ;-), but what is certain is this: only a few producers remain of this authentic tobacco in the town of Corbion, produce is small and it is 100% artisanal. The real product is smoked dry, has no casings and contains a high percentage (>85%) of the pure Semois Kentucky (which is a roasted burley variety here as far as I know). I have tasted several blends from the genuine Corbion manufacturers and some non-genuine Semois that is produced elsewhere and contains less (or none at all) of the original
    tobacco grown in the Semois valley. The comparison of these is interesting in itself: the common aspects are a pure and strong tobacco flavor (although NOT similar to cigars, I find) with a high nicotine content. It can be nutty, grassy/hay and pinewood like. Manil's Brumeuse is one of the mellower varieties in flavor. Others can taste more harsh. I know people who smoke hardly anything else than Semois, but for me it will never be my daily smoke. It is definitely something different than everything else available in tobacco land, especially overseas.
     
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  15. pipealicious

    pipealicious Member

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    To make the story complete, I highly recommend you to pay a visit the following English blog post of Arno, an avid Dutch pipe smoker who got into the origin/variety/history of Semois tobacco: http://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/sunny-semois/
    I quote him literally here:
    "Semois tobacco originates from an old burley seed. Because of the unique soil and a peculiar microclimate it became what it is today. Making it is pretty simple. You plant it, let it grow, harvest it, dry it (air-cure), humidify it again, cut it, toast it (heat-cure), get the moisture level right (rather too dry than too wet) and wrap it. The end result is a nut-brown, dry en broad cut tobacco. "
    ...
    "When you open such a “brick” you notice a kind of fresh, organic and grassy smell. Some types of Semois also have something of a light anise, aniseed aroma. The tobacco is pretty dry (it is supposed to be) so when you put in your pipe, press hard. Talking about a pipe, I favour a corncob when smoking Semois. In my honest opinion the light corn-taste of the cob goes well together with the taste of the Belgium tobacco. Also be sure to dedicate a pipe to the Semois because it has a strong tendency to leave a ghost behind. Upon lighting your pipe the tobacco smokes very mild on the tongue. After just a few sips the full aroma of the Semois comes forth. It has some kind of cigar-like taste, all very natural. As far as nicotine goes it is in the medium to full range so you have to be careful."
     
  16. p120d16y

    p120d16y Active Member

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    I've been excited to try the original Vincent Manil and I'd heard he's going to bring it to the US. Can't wait.
     
  17. mongo

    mongo Active Member

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    Me too..... I have a sample of J.P. Couvert's, and it rocked my world! If I could get my hands on unlimited supply of Semois, I think it would be the majority of my smokes.
     
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  18. David Emond

    David Emond Active Member

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    Hmmmm pre orders start jan20th :) going to try and get one.
     
  19. vmfa314

    vmfa314 Member

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    Who is going to be carrying this starting jan 20 in the states is love to try some
    Mack
     
  20. Monty

    Monty Sales Account

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    Received my sample and loved it. Ordered a 3.5 oz pkg from SP. 24.50
     
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