Remembering the Trenches (Tabac Manil – Pure Semois (La Brumuese))

pt-sza0100Remember me telling you that people give me suggestions for tobaccos, and I jot them down, and I forget to put down who gave them to me?

So, here I am reviewing La Brumuese Semois by Tabac Manil.  Why?  Because, somebody recommended it to me.  Who?  Remember me telling you that people give me suggestions for tobaccos, and I jot them down, and I forget to put down who gave them to me?  Well…

So, here I am reviewing La Brumuese Semois by Tabac Manil…  OK!

I picked up this tobacco on somebody’s recommendation; I don’t remember who, but I remember them thinking that I would enjoy it immensely.  I was, of course, dubious, as I am not really a Burley fan, but I figured I would give it a shot purely on the quality of that recommendation.

Someday I am going to learn to write this stuff down!

So, I get this brick in gold foil paper with a green, plain, boring paper wrapper and it’s wrapped like no other tobacco that I’ve ever seen, American or European.

Well, when I went to order it at Pipes and Cigars, the link to the picture was broken (at least for me) so I had no idea what I was getting.

O…  K…

Well, I might have seen it when I looked it up that, but I didn’t remember, so I looked it up again, and got this description;

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).

And it goes on to say;

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.

Well, that really does sound interesting!

I open up one end of the wrapper and take a smell of the…  Foil?  Note.  OK, that’s what I’m gonna call it; foil note!

The foil note as one of nutty, sweet, Burley goodness that always smells better than it tastes.

And the tobacco is dry.  How dry?  Well, I think they left all the moisture in the soggy ground.  Since the foil wrapper is not sealed, I imagine the tobacco is supposed to be that dry, so I use my nails to scrape off some of the tobacco off of the brick.

I’m a little nervous, as Burley tobaccos always give me a numb feeling in my throat, and I highly doubt this one is going to be any different.

Well, it lights easily enough, but that is hardly surprising given how dry it is.

Wow, this tobacco actually tastes as good as it smells!  The tobacco has a sweet, grassy, earthy taste that is distinctly reminiscent of cigar leaf, but unfortunately it does numb my throat like all Burley tobaccos.

So, as I’m smoking I start to think; in the First World War, pipe smoking , though on the decline, was still easily as popular as cigarette smoking.  And cigarette companies were marketing their products by shipping them overseas to the boys in the trenches.  However, this only included the American cigarette market.

Since the war started in 1914, and the U.S.A didn’t enter the war until 1917, there were a few years without American cigarettes.

So, what were the boys smoking?  Well, it stands to reason that they would be smoking tobacco grown in the local regions around France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the like.  And this tobacco has been grown in the Semois valley for hundreds of years.  I’d be willing to bet dollars to pesos that all our boys in the trenches, including those from Canada and Newfoundland, were smoking La Brumuese Pure Semois.

As I get nearer to the bottom of the bowl, the tobacco is getting stronger, and by the time I reach the dottle, it is simply too harsh to smoke.003-666-0001

I almost forgot; I bought a German Alwetter pipe, an antique from around the turn of the century, and I use it to exclusively smoke Semois tobacco.  It’s not saying that I don’t smoke Semois in other pipes, I simply reserved that pipe for the Semois.

Well, I find I can’t smoke a lot of Semois, because it is Burley and it makes my throat numb, but I find that when I do smoke it I really enjoy it.

If you’re not a person with a freak reaction to Burley tobacco, I highly recommend you give this a try, as far as strength, taste, and room note go it’s amazing.

You can get it at, or for $24.90 USD for the 3.5 ounce (100 gram) foil pouch.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

3 thoughts on “Remembering the Trenches (Tabac Manil – Pure Semois (La Brumuese))

  1. Okay you made me fire some up
    But I fired it up kn a cob
    Enjoyed it
    There seemed to be a slight menthol feel to it

  2. I just ordered some of this the other day, for the same reason as you, it looked interesting. While there are scores of pipe tobacco blends out there, they all revolve around a handful of themes, so when something truly unusual comes along, which ain’t often, it’s worth a try.

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