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Notes: Semois is an air-cured tobacco grown and sold only in Belgium. Similar to burley. Very strong tobacco taste, lots of nicotine.

Blend TypeBurley Based
Packaging50 grams pouch
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None Detected
Medium to Full, Full
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Skando Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skando (203)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Strong

After Florina, which I worked during the late August, now it's to do with its big brother Semois by Huis Windels/Mechelen (BE).

I was gifted of a 125grms canister (it's of something as a non-vacuum sealed cardboard tin with a plastic lid) of this.

Its cut is shown as "Grove Snede/Grosse coupe" as actually I found: a medium ribbon, very long and soft to the touch. Not wet not dry, just perfect. The tin aroma is freshly herbal with earthy and faint cigar-like undertones. Differently from Florina, I don't detect any tonka. The colour is a quite uniform medium brown with some lighter specs.

Very easy to light and keep, the best of Semois comes from the very slowest drawing. I would classify the smoke as earthy/herbal (fresh hay, damp hearth, notes of mint and burnt coffee) in the pure Burley/Kentucky tradition. It leaves a clean and sweet mouth.

To the nose Semois is earthy and a bit toasted (I'm thinking to bread and coffee).

The high nicotine content makes my tongue and throat tickling, but never to the extent of say a Peterson's Irish Flake, No hiccups.

The wife say it's strong, that means Semois is VERY strong and strictly to avoid smoking at home...

I could never compare Semois to our Italian Forte or Comune. Semois is very much more delicate, velvety and well-behaved. In case the Austrian Landtabak has similar results.

Seems to me that, in terms of quality, Semois should be rated four, exactly as I did with Irish Flake. This is not meaning that I myself would rush buying a kilo of this. Sure this is not my desert island tobacco.

5 people found this review helpful.

UncleGar Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
UncleGar (110)
Strong Very Mild Medium Tolerable

The above description agrees with the pitifully little information I've been able to find on the internet. As (true) perique is only grown in a small area of Louisiana, semois tobacco is grown only in the Semois River valley in the Ardennes, Belgium. The Battle of the Bulge was waged there.

It is only sold in Belgium. You won't find this at your local Piggly Wiggly. (My benefactor lives in the Netherlands and I thank him for this sample.) Why the restricted marketing? Obviously, Belgians want it all to themselves! Probably an artifact of tax and export laws, possibly due to limited supply.

First impressions: when I opened the mailbox, I immediately smelled dried tarragon. You know: clover, sweet hay, chamomile. When I opened the envelope, I also detected some tonka. It is a medium brown very soft shag cut. It packs well, but care must be taken not to pack too tightly.

Being forewarned by its strong aroma and of its reputed nicotine level, I chose a funky little "The Smoke" with its nonporous pyrolytic graphite bowl of about 10 cc capacity, knowing that I could clean with fuming nitric acid if I had to. Oddly, the strength of the casing(?) did not show up in the taste. Little if any. It first tasted and smelled cigarettish and slightly cigarry. The closest comparison of my limited experience would be Edgeworth Flake: burley-like. Later down the bowl, deeper flavors emerged and any light aromatic character that may have been originally present totally disappeared. No bite. Nicotine? Well.. let's just say smokers of this will never suffer from constipation. It seldom requires relighting, probably owing to the shag cut, yet smokes cool.

This is not a tobacco for girly-men. This is one for wooly- bearded bikers and truckers and smokers of Lucky Strike unfiltereds. The strength went past my normal quitting time but I persisted to see how it finished. The bottom of the bowl revealed the true uniqueness of semois: a somewhat tarry non-sweet, non-bitter plain tobacco taste. It lacked the ammoniacal taste and aroma common to strong burleys. It did give me a slight case of what others have described as the "burley curse", a roughness in the top of my throat which I've never had before.

It would not become a regular for me if it were available here. I'll stick to my Prince Albert, but I'm glad to have the opportunity to sample this. Thanks again, Martin!

4 people found this review helpful.

Bigdadz Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Bigdadz (39)
Strong None Detected Very Full Tolerable

This is a no fuss straight forward tobacco. Rustic and bold, the taste is full bodied and cigar like. It is fast burning and requires no relights. This is what I like to smoke when I want something quick and satisfying.

Similar Blends: Vincent Manil Semois.

3 people found this review helpful.

Pipe4ever Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipe4ever (204)
Strong None Detected Full Pleasant

Top quality raw, unflavored natural Belgium brown tobacco, strong with powerful, masculine "cigar-like" flavor, deep taste of dark chocolate, black coffee, hay and Havana cigar, I got 100g pack of this, I will be ordering some more for sure.

Wonderful stuff! Highly recommended for cigar smokers and for those who like true natural tobacco.

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30194)
Strong None Detected Medium to Full Very Pleasant

I've tasted a Burley tobacco here and there that reminds me of Semois. I wasn't surprised when I was told that Semois is a Kentucky cultivar that made its way to Belgium. Regardless, Semois is a nice treat.

When I first received some from a friend in Belgium, I thought the stuff smelled like fresh Play Doh and cigars. No toppings, casings, or other flavors. This is natural tobacco.

Semois brings nicotine to the party. But unlike the ropes, which I find ghastly, Semois is full of flavor. And Semois delivers the nicotine differently than the ropes. My first few bowls of Semois led to a tingly, humming feeling on the top of my head. Inreresting. The sensation went away quickly.

Semois does have smooth, cigar-like undertones. I find it can venture into herbal territory and carry in slight hints of pine as well. Very good stuff. Not for the timid. As a bonus, this stuff burns cool and dry and can be smoked with a single match. Fantastic.

I've also blended this half and half with St. James Parish Perique. Yum.

Semois lingers like crazy in a pipe, so consider smoking it in a cob. If you love it, think about dedicating a pipe to it. My meerschaums are reserved for Semois. I'm glad I have a source for this fun stuff.

3 people found this review helpful.

poupehan Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
poupehan (23)
Very Strong Extremely Mild Full Pleasant

As far as I remember, and only until recently, pipe tobacco for me has always been linked to semois. In fact Poupehan, my username is the name of a village along the semois river. I think Corbion where my favorite tobacco comes from was already taken, an Poupehan, come-on think about it, is WAY funnier sounding ;-) In fact there are two brands of Semois that can be found everywhere (I should say everywhere here in Belgium): Carte d?or and Florina. Windels is only found at some tobacconist's. It is only through ASP and a Belgian smoker (C.) that I learned about the existence of this Windels. So this makes that the international pipers community (through many posts on this site, ASP, knows this brand best, while in Belgium it is virtually unknown.. So simply put semois is the Belgian version of ?tabac bruns? ? dark air cured tobaccos (the drying happens in barns in the mists of the semois valley). Caporal is the French version of this type of smoke and better known. There is a similarity, but caporal is much harsher and less aromatic. Even if all semois tobaccos are easily identified as semois, both carte d?or and florina have very distinct tase and aroma profiles. This Windels first dissapointed me because it sits somewhere between both and so I thought of it as somewhat blander. In fact it is probably the finest and most elegant of the three, whereas the others while excellent (florina remains my favorite) are somewhat rougher. And even if it is the softest and mildest, it is probably the strongest one too. Unlike what you might think, over here it is not the smoke of bikers an truckers. All the pipers I know smoke semois, and all are thoughtful,cultivated and well mannered pater familias -like me I?d like to add ;-) The last point I?d like to make is that of all tobacco?s I?ve had the opportunity to taste, a bit like fine wines or fine cigars, this is the only pipe tobacco I know that reflects very well what the french call its ?terroir? . If you know the Ardennes, you know what I mean.

I do NOT recommend this at all: production is low and I wish to be able to find some for years to come ;-)

3 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30194)
Strong Mild Full Very Pleasant

I think this is the same tobacco which Unclegar smoked. I'll sent a picture of it to the webmaster.

Perhaps I am a bit chauvinist, but this Belgian tobacco of the Semois-region is one of my favorites. There are still some cultivators of it and I hope they won't extinguish.

Semois is always very fragrant and makes me think of hay or wet grass. It gives an "earthly" smoke, quite strong.

The only negative thing is perhaps that in the last 1/3 of the bowl it is working on the (empty) stomac. So I prefer it after dinner.

As Unclegar said, I think you can only buy it in Belgium and it is not well known out of the country, what is not quite rightly. It deserves a greater reputation.

3 people found this review helpful.

Wallenberg Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Wallenberg (11)
Overwhelming None Detected Extra Full Pleasant to Tolerable

The smell of the package reminds me very much of a fine cigar - forgive me, I only smoke cigars once a year perhaps. Friendly reminder: this is a very fine ribbon cut, I'm not sure if it qualifies as shag. Maybe there's a reason the package shows beautiful clay pipes with rather small bowls: it burns fast, it burns hot.

Taste is delightful. At first, the first half of the bowl grants you a smoky, cigar-leaf experience, and let me tell you: it's the best of both worlds! Cigars never appealed to me so much, but in this fashion I couldn't be more satisfied. Through the latter half of the bowl it suddenly turns into a festival of nuttiness, even hints of molasses and bread. If you think this tobacco, as old-fashioned as it is, can ever get old, I must disagree. The variety of tastes this traditional Belgian tobacco offers is manifold.

If ever you find yourself in Belgium, take the time to look for this piece of history. I was lucky to have a friend share some with me and I say you must try this.

Now this is real tobacco! If you're planning to smoke this in company, be aware that your peers might get a nicotine hit just from your proximity. Sleepiness ensues...

As a side note - don't inhale if you're trying to roll this 'baccy into a cigarette. You might enjoy the first few draws, but you will regret any further attempts. Gauloises Caporal and Gitanes are soft compared to Semois tobacco.

Pipe Used: briar Bent Rhodesian, meerschaum Billiard

Age When Smoked: fresh out of the package

2 people found this review helpful.

Italo Svevo Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Italo Svevo (26)
Mild to Medium Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant

There are some descriptions on this page I totally agree with, others I don't. Perhaps quality has changed over time. It surely is a smooth, soft tobacco with great aroma and full flavour. It surely has cigarish undertones, notes of coffee and herbs perhaps, and I agree, you "could never compare Semois to our Italian Forte or Comune. Semois is very much more delicate, velvety and well-behaved." For me, it tastes in between Italian Kentucky and Dutch RYO shag. Burns fast, but no bite whatsoever. Maybe there's a little aroma, I can't say for sure.

Things I disagree with: "strictly to avoid smoking at home": It actually smells phantastic (though tobacco smoke is always potentially harmful, never forget!); "Rustic and bold": it is smooth and well-behaved. "It contains a lot of nicotine": maybe before, but the stuff I got is medium, medium-mild. Which is fine to me.

So I can definitely recommend this excellent, Belgium-made tobacco. The only thing why I don't give 4 starts is the cut. It is neither "broken flake," nor "medium ribbon": it is shag. Medium shag. You can actually roll ciggies out of it. That's why it burns so fast. Maybe you like this, I would prefer a normal ribbon. Next time I hope I get the coupe grosse.

PS smokes best with a churchwarden!

*Update: as it dries out, it actually becomes more like Comune.

Pipe Used: Aldo Velani (balsa filter), Savinelli, Brebbia

Age When Smoked: New

Similar Blends: Manifatture Sigaro Toscano - Comune.

2 people found this review helpful.

CherryTree Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
CherryTree (3)
Strong Medium Full Pleasant to Tolerable

Hi everyone. I have been consulting this site since the beginning. Have tried many tobacco's. This one is one of my favorites. Almost as good as "Langue de chien" from J.MARTIN. No bite, strong, not disturbing smell, cheap, and available (

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30194)
Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Pleasant to Tolerable

I'm aware that this fine tobacco is very rare anywhere outside its country of origin, Belgium. I live in Belgium, so if anyone is interested in obtaining this or any other brand of Semois, you can contact me at Happy smoking!

2 people found this review helpful.

sasha Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
sasha (228)
Strong Extremely Mild Medium to Full Very Pleasant

Thanks God I have some friends in Belgium and I can always be supplied with this fantastic tobacco. If you think this is another strong typical European tobacco, such as Italian Forte or French Caporal, you are missing the point. It is strong, that's for sure, but its real strenght is its delicacy. When you open the pouch you can smell a scent of hay and maybe tonka, something that reminds me of Amsterdamer, but less intense. This fragrance disappears when you light it up, making space for its earthy taste. You better smoke that after lunch or dinner, 'cause the last third is quite challenging.

2 people found this review helpful.

Jari T Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Jari T (2)
Medium to Strong Very Mild Full Pleasant

Recently there was some talk about Semois tobacco on ASP and I got curious. Luckily, a kind Belgian piperster was willing to trade some (Thanks C.!) I have smoked Semois almost exclusively now for a month or so.

This particular brand of Semois is packed in a simple plastic bag with a maroon paper label inside that says: "Semois" and "Grove snede - Grosse coupe" The latter perhaps meaning a coarser cut.... There is a picture of a gentleman with a pistol stuck in his belt standing on a ship deck smoking a long clay. Arrrrr! Underneath him: "A.Windels", which must be the blender or the tobbaconist. Or both.

The cut is thin ribbon, unifom in color, ranging from mid browns to semi mid browns (I should have just said "this baccy is brown"...). Pouch aroma is hard to pin down. Different. It's sweetish and mild, but there's something extra, something herbal, not unlike chamomillle. There could be slight topping, then again perhaps not... Could this be the tonquin flavor?

Packing this cut is easy, but due to fine cut one must beware overpacking. Lighting is a regular a two match job . From the first puffs it produces a fair amount of thick white smoke. The taste is cigarish and creamy yet mildly sweet. Quite different from anything else I have smoked this far. The "herbal" component peeks in every now and then. While Semois doesn't bite my tonque at all, a slower puffing cadence is in order since it does bring out a decent range of underlying notes. I'd like to think Semois as the oboe of tobaccos. The concerto gets slightly dull and a bit bitter in the end though. DGT doesn't do any good for this tobacco, but doesn't hurt it either IMO.

Semois Windels makes a good after dinner smoke, not only because it is somewhat potent in nicotine department, but for it's decent room note as well. Or so I have been told. A Sturdy and satisfying smoke.

This is same time simple and intriguing tobacco. Oh, and did I say it was different.

-- Jari T in Helsinki

2 people found this review helpful.

Skoma Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Skoma (32)
Very Strong None Detected Extra Full Tolerable

Unfortunately this tobacco is impossible to get where I live. Thank´s to Peter/Pure Impact for getting me one of this! Semois halve grove is a natural tobacco with no added flavoring. I would describe this blen as full, natural, honest, strong, tasty.... Very cigarish taste without being harsh, after midbowl it turns more nutty. Has a very strong nicotine hit and it is a very sedating, relaxing smoke. Perfectly suited for the after work pipe, chilling out and reflecting the day. Definitly no all day blend. Burns fast and hot, no relighting needed. Highly recomended!

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