Jurak Intro (and how to get some)
******** Note: pay attention to the stuff at the start and end of the post if you want to get some fabulous jurak i'm talking about! **************
As some of you know Iíve been working hard to obtain enough high quality hand crafted jurak to distribute it to sizable portion of my fellow HPers and it seems that Iíll be able to do so thanks some recently made contacts in absolutely heavenly village of Masouleh in lush and gorgeous province of Gilan (which is Northern Iran near the Caspian Sea). What I havenít really gotten into is defining jurak because doing so is tough but Iíll give it a shot.
Basically what is considered jurak depends upon the region or country one is talking about but no matter the locale jurak can be said to always consist of unwashed, lightly processed tobacco with a robust flavour and far greater strength then what is possible with the ultra mild Virginian leaf commonly used in modern moassels that is agglutinated solely with molasses. In a great many instances jurak refers to a black moassel that has had a complicated blend of various herbal essential oils incorporated into it without any single flavour such as vanilla, cardamon or pudina dominating the flavour profile. To put it simply, often times a jurak is simply a traditionally made spiced moassel by another name.
In terms of spice or herbal essences used in making juraks one wonít find a simple flavour like cinnamon, aniseed, vanilla or sandalwood being prominent but rather a cocktail of things like the essences of essences Carotte, Parma Violets, Geranium bourbon, Lemon May Blossom, Tonquin, Geranium African, Arrack (distilled Dates), Rose, Cedar, Oak, Neroli Oil (Seville Orange or Haifa Orange distillates) and various spices and herbs commonly used in Arabic, Persian, Turkic and Indian foods.
In India and less often in parts of the Arabic world juraks often use a cooked or baked fruit pulp that is baked/cooked/smoked a second time along with the agglutinated tobacco before being aged for an extended period of time. Outside of India such juraks are rare and never mass produced.
In terms of curing methods juraks are typically sun or fired cured and flute curing is rare outside of a few places along the Turkish/Syrian border, Turkmenistan and apparently some portions of Southern Lebanon and Northern Iran. In Syria and parts of Iran Iíve seen jurak tobacco cured in barns like those found in the Southern portions of America or various Latin American countries with the leaf hanging being exposed to smoldering pots of herbal essences for extended periods of time. In the Al Jawf and Tabuk provinces of Saudi Arabia the tobacco is cured in clay rooms connected to clay ovens which indirectly heat and smoke cure the tobacco. In the case of some jurak makers in Tabuk I understand that wetted, smoldering hardwoods are use in the process and the vapours of locally made floral essences are forced into the curing room via hand pumped bellows. A similar method is found in various portions of the Alborz moutain range within the general vicinity of the previously mentioned village of Masouleh which is a bit different in that they apparently age the jurak in ceramic jars which have wooden staves inserted into the leaf filled jars which are then buried in cellars and left to mature.
In any case, it appears that Iíll be obtaining enough jurak from the general region around Masouleh that Iíll be able to hook up a notable number of HPers with a decent sized sample. Personally Iíd say that the jurak under consideration is among the best Iíve ever had and certainly as complicated as anything Iíve ever tried. If I can generate enough interest in the blend I stand a very good chance of getting the family that makes it to regularly supply it to the states. As usual Iíll pay for purchase price and charge just the customs and shipping fees incurred. Anyone that is interested needs to watch out for posts on the subject because Iíll bet that what ever I get will come and go very quickly.