This is Tabac Manil's Semois tobacco formed into bouchons; Semois is a Burley varietal developed over hundreds of years in Belgium. Bouchons are short cigars shaped sort of like wine corks with a pouched end (like a toque) and made to be smoked in a pipe; the pouched end is lighted. Please see Tabac Manil's semois tobacco listings for a description of taste and other characteristics. There are no casings or flavorings added to this tobacco.
Notes: Old pipes known as cheroot holders were designed to smoke cheroots, which were short, cylindrical cigars made to be smoked in pipes. This is not popular anymore, but smoking a bouchon in a pipe can be a wonderful experience. Try it, you'll like it.
A generous soul on a pipe-smoker's forum that I belong to sent me a few of these to smoke and they are wonderful. All of the flavors of the Manil semois are here, however these little guys smoke much cooler and slower than the standard thick cut semois for the pipe. This results in greater flavor clarity and a pipe-smoke that stays lit like a well made cigar. I could really taste the nuances in this fine tobacco; a subtle toasty sweetness, (which I didn't get smoking the pipe-cut product), perfectly balanced with an earthy mineral-like flavor along with a spiciness that tingles the tongue. I also tasted the infamous "floral note" that others have described experiencing when smoking the readily available green label La Brumeuse.
I was also gifted 2 different Manil cigars, a long thin one called an "Antique” and a shorter one with slightly thicker ring gauge. Both were fantastic and tasted practically identical to the bouchons. Marvelous tobacco! I smoked these in a cob to avoid charring the inside of the rim of any of my briars.
Floral, earthy, cigar like,; if you are a burley smoker this is something you must find because there's nothing like it nicotine level it's perfect for me just on the side high, but here comes the but lighting this take a bit of practice, smokes cool because it does not touch the bottom pipe, so there's a lot of air along with the smoke, it's a short smoke no more than 25 minutes and its impossible to rehydrate in my opinion it comes fairly dry from the store, I wish some one would make Virginia version of this, the question is would I buy this again... Probably but I would not go out of my way for it.
Box note of earthy, and mild vegetation. Tobacco tiny doorknob shaped cigar like smokable plug for a pipe. Medium brown and very dry, misted with water so I could handle it to insert into a pipe. I cut a cross in the top to get air flow. Burns slow with no relights, BUT like a cigar, it may need touchup lights to keep the burn even. The strength is medium to strong and nic is medium. Starts off mild and progresses to a strong level a little over halfway, it's almost too strong to smoke once the char line reaches the pipe. No flavoring detected. Taste is medium to full and very consistent, with complex notes a spicy mildly sweet cigar, rich earth, nuts, dry wood, very mild bitter cocoa, very bready, herbal floral, hay, mild tangy-sweet vegetative background note, and a peppery retro. Burley is leading with the "secrete leaf" (maybe red Virginias?) supporting. Room note is pleasant to tolerable, and aftertaste is great.
This is a first impression, and since I have only a few in inventory I think it is fair for me to write a few lines on preliminary smokes since it is unlikely I will have too many chances to change my mind on the experience. From the get go I understand why this is a love it or hate it smoke, as the taste is quite unique with a deep and distinct taste. Before I start describing the smoke, allow me to point out a few things. Very important, don't try this outside a pipe, it will get hot quick, it will burn your fingers, it will get a bit soft and it lets out enough tar to insulate a brig. Secondly, keep in mind that this is still a cigar, as in not tobacco in a bowl but tobacco outside a bowl. Don't puff it like you would a pipe, fearing that it will go out. Just like a cigar, you can puff, leave it a good minute, puff again, and enjoy. Otherwise you will get a heck of a buzz, the sucker is small but packs a good punch. What on my first try this was a 40 minute smoke, I surely got one hour if properly smoked. Thirdly, it will smoke evenly in a pipe - unlike many cigars, which in my experience, burn hotter in the middle and tend to leave the outside ring behind. Now then, the smoke is one original burley, with a bit of a smoky touch, but especially an earthy dimension, and I cannot emphasize enough on earthy. It is almost muddy earthy, not moldy, just borderline (if you like a good white mold cheese you know what I mean), spicy as a burly can get, hinting towards chocolate (a dark chocolate sweetness) and a tad of clove (some say flowers, I say maybe). It smokes evenly, the ash is thick, it won't fall on your lap, by no means harsh, and it keeps a good balance throughout the whole sitting. The nicotine will start nibbling a bit harder toward the end, and if you rushed it the smoke will get a bit warm. The overall taste is quite unique, the closest thing that it resembles is perhaps the Gittane cigarettes, less the harshness (and no, unlike the French smokes, don't inhale as you will pass out). As the wife described it, the smell is quite fine, but the smoke is thick and stifling. The right pair of words to describe this is original and rustic. For the price I would argue that this rivals in complexity to any a good Caribbean cigar, if you can get accustomed to the taste of course, and if you fancy the pipe adaptation engineering of this type of cigar. Not an every day smoke, but for sure I will keep a couple for the mid fall porch smoke. If you love burley, this is a must try !
Pipe Used: St Claud Camping OOM Paul
Age When Smoked: fresh out of the box
Purchased From: Online from the Vincent Manil Shop
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