|It seems a little stupid when you think about "highly recommending" something that's out of production, but this is one spicy and tasty mix! I suspect C&D put it in the tin, as the cut of this blend shows obvious signs of that blender. The tin nose is very musty with the orientals really showing themselves. There is an underlying scent of darker virginias. And by the way, this may have been a broken flake at one time, but it came out of the tin as a wide ribbon... with the usual chunks and chips of a C&D blend. My tin was marked as being from 1999.
Taste-wise, this was a solid winner. Hugely spicy and not at all reticent about showing its colors straight away. I find it to be a mild-to-medium blend but the flavor made itself obvious and never quit. No additional drying required - it was pretty dry in the tin but not tinder dry. The flavor of this reminded me of C&D's Oriental Silk, a favorite of mine, but it was more intense. I'm not sure what this stuff was like fresh but if time mellowed it, then it was one roaring lion in the beginning. Very flavorful but not strong. There was an undercurrent of light sweetness but this one was firmly in the spice camp. It makes me wonder what some age on a tin of GLP Cairo or Embarcadero would do. Only one way to find out! Wish I could find more of this, though....
|Well, this is the last of my samples of the old F&P blends. Fez was indeed a unique smoke, but not one I cherished. The Oriental components added smoothness and spice to the Virginia leaf, but there was just something missing. Not sure what, but the two bowls I smoked left me unimpressed.
Fez was easy to pack, light and keep lit. It didn't bite and a slow burn produced some flavor. Just too light for me, I suppose.
I have a friend who says Fez smokes best bone dry; for whatever that is worth.
|Update: As Fez is no longer available, I don't smoke it often. I have smoked quite a bit of Cairo in the meantime. I recently smoked several bowls of Fez, though, and I now realize that Fez and Cairo are quite different in character, and are both wonderful. No time now, but I'll give more details later.
-- First smoke in a small Amiel Dublin left an impression that this was weak in the flavor department. So, now I'm using a big Oom Paul. Initially, it is irritatingly vague, but ?interesting? springs to mind -- also, ?disappointing.? It?s got some bite (probably lemon VA), medium body in this bowl; bowl smells nice, constantly changing from Ammonia/permanent magic marker, to cigarette (very little), butterscotch, mellow fruit, vanilla, exotic spices and nice, rich VA aroma. But actual flavor is still very subdued. Also, I know this is subtle, you can sense a delicate interplay, and I?m not concentrating too often.
Flavors deepen somewhat after ½ bowl, subtleties begin to arise; VA?s move forward with flavor and sweetness, bite recedes, any former harshness of flavor disappears. Delicate but wonderful top range is apparent, and is probably the best aspect of the smoke; but is supported by light to medium VA mid-range. Base note is really a blend of low-midrange and high base notes. Top range is OR/VA, mysterious but playful. Mid is all VA. Base near end deepens, showing possible presence of or/red/blk or mat VA (but if mat, is tiny amount b/c flavors, even base, is zesty and refreshing, though round.)Now I remember the magic of this blend, or maybe this is the first time I?ve every fully appreciated it, because this was first bowl ever in a big-bowled, somewhat caked pipe. I?m pretty sure Cairo is even better, and retains its ?best non-Latakia oriental? place, but this is a solid blend. Much figgier than Cairo. From now on, Fez gets smoked in big pipes; so does Cairo. I believe I will have to designate a pipe to these two blends, esp. once I determine what kind of pipes are best for them.
(post-logue: Picture the scent of Cairo, with the fig/raisin tin aroma of Haddos. Not quite as bright as Cairo).