My Local Lebanese market, in addition to making hideously awesome Falafel and Kebabs and stocking some of the weirdest pickled fruits/vegetables I've ever seen, sells a fairly decent variety of Moassel of the Nakhla/Hennawy persuasion, as well as several knockoff KM and Mya hookahs. (I've spoken to the co-owner, and as soon as they sell the clones off, they're getting the real deal. Can't wait!) On my last occasion to stop by, for small talk and a couple bottles of Aloe Vera King, I noticed they had gotten a new shipment of tobacco in. As my friends here always sell 250 grams for a paltry six dollars, I decided to restock my NDA, as well as buy a box of Nakhla Mint, since I use that as a mixer in almost all my fruity shisha bowls. I noticed a rather unadorned Nakhla box on the shelf, and thought to myself, "That's the Zaghloul Light. Madwolf and the crew made that stuff sound tasty, I'll pick up a box as well." Twenty bucks lighter and 750 grams of tobacco heavier, I made my way to my boyfriend's house, where the Hookah lives.
A day passes, a couple of bowls are smoked, many online matches of Modern Warefare 2 are played. I finally look over at the Gladware container of the black, mildly sticky smokable, and decide to follow Gothkid's Zaghloul prep, in order to try it. For me, personally, adding honey, glycerin, et. al. for any reason except to rejuvenate older shisha is kind of defeating the purpose, so the concept of just packing it and burning it appealed to me. I'm a mellow, let-it-slide kind of guy, and if it was blah after a bowl or four, I'd chuck it out and chalk it up to experience.
Putting the shisha into my chocolate brown Egyptian bowl in the method outlined in the video (http://www.hookahpro.com/forum/video...s&videoid=2115
), I took the petite little red Mya clone out on the balcony, and fired up a trio of my Starlight Coconut coals on the burner. (http://www.starlightcharcoal.com
After said coals were blazin' hot, I dropped them into my coal carrier, a cute little 3-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, and took them outside. The weather is still a bit chilly at night, but not so that you have to wear a coat. One of the virtues of living on the beach, I suppose, but in any case, I applied coals, sans foil, to the mound of black tobacco. Pressing them down into the Zaghloul until I hear a crispy cooking sound, I begin to Hoover the almighty hell out of it, to get it going.
The first thing I notice is that the flavour is very similar to English-style pipe tobacco, especially those with Latakia. Any pipe smoker knows of what I speak, but it was a lot...subtler. I was actually surprised at how smooth it was, considering all the build-up I'd heard about the unflavored shishas.
The second thing I found to be true is that it does not produce much smoke. I've always been of the belief that flavor is of paramount importance in tobacco, even before I began the noble art, and so this didn't distress me. Being fond of the flavor made it doubly good.
The heat management of the uncovered moassel was blissfully simple. You could essentially throw the coals at the stuff and get a good result. As a hookah smoker that isn't fond of finicky, easily burnt brands, it makes me wonder why people would willfully choose to smoke something that has to be constantly tended to and coddled, when more traditional brands just take the heat offered and give smoke and flavor back.
After this nice late-night bowl, taken with a cup of hot Assam tea and Arabic music on the stereo, Zaghloul struck me as a shisha that someone would enjoy with intimate friends, perhaps in front of a fire, or while reading a classic book by one's self. As of late, I've been...growing up, in my shisha wants, shunning fruity flavours for spicy and/or more complex ones. I think this would be a fine blender for something like Cinnamon, Vanilla, or even Apple/DA, as its subtle spiciness would complement more, heh, adult palates.
All in all, I will be enjoying this Nakhla 'flavor' again. Next bowl I think I'll blend 50/50 with NDA, and foil it up, to see how it goes. I see no reason why anyone who likes Nakhla in general, or even smoking a pipe, shouldn't give this blend a try.
Postscript: I didn't really intend this as a review, merely my own personal experience with Zaghloul, but yet it seems to have the tone of one. Nevertheless, I'm posting it in the Discussions board, because it doesn't follow the review format.