today, after quite a number of years without trying it again, I decided to smoke some Tunisian traditional plain moassel
from the favorite brand in that country (at least among old men) SHEIKH EL BALAD
I still had some, brought from Tunis long time ago. It was rather dry, so I tried to recover it a few days ago by adding some molasses: just a small coffee spun for what reminded of a 50 gram box. I left it on a tupperware for some days and today, tried in my first "shisha
": a beautiful tunisian rig, without purge and with fixed ashtray, the way Tunisian waterpipes used to be, with an even more beautiful bohemian crystal base, chosen in the souk of the medina (old town) of Tunis, for my birthday back in 1998. The "djebed
" or hose is Tunisian as well, of the best quality available at the end of the nineties. I put the coals directly over the tobacco, packed, as some advice to pack a bowl of Zaghloul, the "good old way": that is loose at the bottom of the bowl and more pressed on the surface you will burn. Now, mark that Tunisian bowls are made of metal, and are almost flat. I smoked for about 45 minutes, avoiding to take too many deep draughts, in order to avoid getting a bad buzz. I was somewhat disappointed by the relative lack of flavour of the tobacco, but then, as I hoped, having got used to smoking briar pipes and sometimes cigars, since I first tried plain moassel more than ten years ago, I was surprised to stand it very well. No buzz, and a rather relaxing feeling.
As I was smoking, I was listening to a Tunisian traditional MALOUF singer who arguably one of the best voices in the Arab world: LOTFI BOUCHNĀK. (the CD is INEDIT
LOTFI BOUCHNAK, Malouf Tunisien (Maison des Cultures du Monde, 1993). Same as the moassel, I had'nt listenned to this CD, which is one of the first classical Arab music I bought, and is now out of stock, for quite some time. It is gorgeous, at least for those of us who like classical Arab stuff, and very representative of the best recordings of the Tunisian version (MALOUF) of what is called Andalusian Music, that is classical music of he Maghreb, called NOUBA in morocco, and yet another name in Algeria. Altogether it was a very nice smoking session!
Even if I should try again this SHEIKH EL BALAD, but fresh, not "recovered"...
I will try to upload some pictures of my tunisian shishas.