Smoking Jurak in Masouleh
Iíve been spending some time in the Gilan province of Iran working an effort to sell a cement as well as a glass plant and itís been extremely busy and stressful. The good news that I was able to verify that they have the ability to do great skin grafts the provincial capital of Rasht. Although Rasht is a lovely city itís also very modern and a bit to commercial for my taste.
My translator is fellow named Hushang who is quite amazing since he speaks the local tongue
(which is called Gileki) as well as Azeri and of course Parsi and English. What is rather amazing about the province of Gilan is how varied it is with jungles, rice paddies, beaches and mountains. Although my time has been spent on business for the most part I have gotten to a good deal of today and yesterday checking out local environs while waiting for people more important then I to show up and get site reports and such.
In any case, I got to hang out in Masouleh which is a town literally built into the side of mountains where streets and roofs are the same thing and buildings just flow into each other. Itís a bit of tourist trap but fantastic nonetheless. Masouleh reminds me of the cliff dwellings of New Mexico but more amaing in that people actually live and thrive here.
One of the cooler things that happened is that I got to sample of the locally made jurak which is called "joy of the mountain" and I have to say that the name fits. Itís not at all like the super powerful 20%+ nicotine jurak that one hears so much about but rather an extremely complicated blend of tobaccos taken from all over Iran and neighboring countries like Azerbaijan. The tobaccos are seemingly equally mixed air and fire cured varieties which are blend and smoked jointly. There are also some spice notes but they tend to be secondary which is how I think juraks should be. What I have is a very relaxed, rich, heavy flavour profile that is as complicated as anything Iíve tasted. Quite honestly, Iíd have to say that "joy of the mountain" is as refreshing and as satisfying in terms of taste and texture as anything Iíve ever had.