Furfright 2013 – The Art of Hookah

If you do not already know, I will be hosting a panel at Furfright (which is just a few days away!) this year called “The Art of Hookah”.  It will be a 30 minute panel dedicated to the discussion of all things hookah, demonstrations, tips, and other such information, followed by a hookah circle in front of the main hotel.  If you are interested in coming I have provided the information below.  I would also appreciate it if you could RSVP via Facebook (not required though) so I can have an idea of how many people will be showing up.

There will be a drawing for a hookah at the end of the panel.  For those of you that are interested, all you have to do is show up and you are entered (provided you are 18+ years old).

TIME – Saturday, October 26th @ 6:30 PM

LOCATION – Coach Room

RSVP – https://www.facebook.com/events/160036330870911/

DESCRIPTION – Hookah circles…you see them outside of every convention, but why? What is hookah? Why do people smoke hookah? Are they expensive? Is it bad for you? Where can I find the answers to all these questions?

Let Connecticut’s resident Hookah Husky answer all your hookah-related questions! Learn bowl packing techniques, how to properly set up your hookah, differences between herbal/tobacco/stones, hookah etiquette, and more!

***This panel discusses tobacco use, and is restricted to attendees who are 18 and older***

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Shisha Review – Social Smoke Mobster

Sorry for the absence on my part.  A lot has been going on in my life (work, searching for a new place to live, finances, usual life problems).  My mind is full of ideas but with everything happening it is hard to find the time right now.  I promise though, I will not leave you all again because I love my readers so much (without you, then it’s just me reading my own blog).  Anyway, below is my first shisha review of many to come.

Today I will be reviewing one of my favorite (if not my #1 choice when it comes to shisha): Social Smoke Mobster.

Social Smoke is a company that joined the industry only recently (in 2002) and has made a name for itself in the current market by not only manufacturing shisha, but hookah pipes as well.  While they do produce some traditional flavors such as apricot and double apple, they differentiate themselves from the traditional brands (e.g. Nakhla & Al Fakher) by producing more contemporary flavors such as Pandora’s Box, Sex Panther, Tiger’s Blood and my favorite – Mobster.

REVIEW:

Mobster is a flavor I have yet to find anywhere else.  What it is meant to taste like is the widely popular Monster Energy drink, and I must say it does it quite well (almost too well if I do say so myself).  From the moment you open the plastic can it comes it you are hit with the strong and familiar smell of the original green Monster.

The cut of the tobacco is typical Social Smoke (shredded) with no stems or artificial dyes, and is very wet (a phunnel or vortex bowl would be best to use so as to prevent the juices from dripping down your stem).

As for the taste, well if you like Monster you will LOVE this.  It is spot on to what a can of Monster taste like.  This shisha produces thick clouds of smoke and the flavor lasts for a long time (unlike some shisha which can lose it’s flavor fairly quick).  It is not uncommon to smoke this in a standard Mya bowl for 2 hours and have it still taste like the first puff.

This tends to be one of the flavors most requested when I bring my hookah anywhere since anyone who has tried it falls in love with it (unless you are someone who does not like Monster).

I would give this shisha a rating of 10/10.  If you are someone who liked hookah and monster, I suggest you go out and buy yourself some of this.

What’s In a Name?

Many of us in the United States have come to know the waterpipe we smoke as a “hookah”, but the name can vary depending on where in the world you may be (or even just your cultural surroundings).  If you are really curious about the origins of all the different names and how terms are used throughout the globe I suggest setting some time aside to read up a bit and educate yourself.  By no means am I an expert on the etymology of the words and phrases used, but I would like to share with you all a basic understanding of the word “hookah”.

What does it mean?  Where did it come from?  Why were you shown waterpipes by the clerk in the store when you asked to see shisha?

Lets start with what we all know: hookah.

Hookah – The common term used in the United States when referring to a waterpipe used to smoke tobacco (or shisha).  For the most part you can get away with using this word throughout the US and have people understand what you are talking about.

Narjilah/Nargileh – Another name for the waterpipe commonly used in countries like Syria, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine.  

Qalyān – Used to refer to a waterpipe in Iran, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Shisha – Commonly used to refer to the tobacco smokes out of the hookah.  However, there can be some confusion when using this word as it has a different meaning in other cultures.  Often spelled “Sheesha”, this term is used to refer to the pipe itself, and NOT the tobacco smoked out of it (common in Egypt and other counties in the Arab Peninsula).  This can be good to know when going into authentic smoke shops since the shop owner may confuse your inquiry about tobacco for a waterpipe instead (happened to me recently on my trip to North Carolina.  I asked the shop owner where he kept the shisha and he pointed me to the waterpipes).  

Mu’assel – Arabic name for the tobacco/molasses/honey/glycerin mixture we all love to smoke in our waterpipes.  Also known as “shisha“.

These are just a few of the various names, but you get the point.  Be mindful of where you are and who you are with when using certain terms.  While using the wrong term will not get you in trouble, you may get some funny looks from people if you say you “smoke shisha in your hookah”.

How To: Homemade Shisha

Greetings fellow hookah smokers!  Today I will be showing you my own little recipe for homemade shisha.  After smoking for many years I finally decided to experiment a bit with my own blend, hoping to get a good smoke out of it so as to create some wild flavors down the road (garlic, BBQ, and bacon to name a few I will be trying later on).  Many of you may be thinking “Ewwww, Garlic shisha?!” right about now.  While it may sound weird, we wont know that until the time comes for me to make it.

Anyway, enough talk about obscure flavors for a bit.  What I am here to talk about it not obscure at all, but a homemade clove shisha that I made a little while back.  After scouring the internet for a recipe that I liked, I settled on one by Ezxen over at hookahforum.com (I highly recommend this site for anyone getting into hookah, or who already smokes).  I ended up having to modify the recipe a little since my shisha turned out a bit dry the first shot, but overall I am impressed with the outcome.  I packed the bowl just like I would pack Al Fakher (light and fluffy), lit up a coal and smoked it.  The result?  White fluffy clouds, a hint of clove, and a nice cooling sensation caused by the clove.

Continue reading for the recipe I used (modified version of Ezxen’s) as well as a step by step with pictures.  Enjoy!

Shisha Recipe

Ingredients (with Ezxen’s ratios):

  • American Spirit Red Natural Rolling Tobacco (40%)
  • Molasses/Honey (20%)
  • Vegetable Glycerin (20%)
  • Ground Cloves (20%)

Modified Ratio’s

  • Tobacco (36%)
  • Molasses/Honey (23%)
  • Vegetable Glycerin (23%)
  • Ground Cloves(18%)

Steps

  1. Wash the tobacco.  This will remove some of the nicotine as well as the tobacco taste, allowing for the flavor of whatever you are adding to come out.  I boiled the tobacco 3 times  for 5 min, or until the water was almost clear.

  2. Squeeze the water out of the tobacco and let the it dry.  You can either use the oven for this (spread out the tobacco on a cookie sheet and bake @ 200 degrees), or just spread it out thin on a paper towel and let it air dry (this is what I did).

  3. While the tobacco is drying, prepare your wet ingredients in a dish.

  4. Once the tobacco is dry, put it in a container and add the dry ingredients (in this case, the ground clove).  Mix thoroughly.  If you are using a liquid flavoring, then you can skip this step as you would have added the flavoring in the previous step.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly.  Make sure to coat EVERYTHING.  You don’t want any dry tobacco in there (This is where I modified the ratios.  With the original ratios I found the tobacco to be too dry, so I added an extra teaspoon of molasses/honey and an extra teaspoon of glycerin).

  6. Once everything is mixed, put it in an airtight container and let it sit.  The longer the better for this step of the process (mine sat for a couple days, but you can wait as little as 6-12 hours if you are really anxious to try it)

  7. Now you are ready to smoke!  Pack a bowl and taste your very own shisha.

Hookah Tip #1 – Transporting Coals

Unless you are using quicklights, chances are you use your stove to light your coals (or a portable coil stove).  Now if you smoke in your kitchen, transporting the hot coals from your stove to your bowl is not a big problem.  I myself used to smoke in my kitchen from time to time because it made it easy when I needed to light up a new coal.  Now that I live in an apartment with a very small kitchen, this is not very probable.  This turned a small distance to travel into a long trek from the kitchen to the bedroom, down a narrow hallway narrowly avoiding the cats littlerbox each time I walked past.  While I have never personally dropped a coal while transporting it, I have always worried that each time it is going to happen.  Being on a budget though I did not want to spend $10-$20 on a charcoal holder for transportation, so I got creative.  Last Christmas I was given a mini cast iron cookie skillet (which I never ended up using) that I thought would be perfect for this task.  I dug it out from the cabinet and what do you know, it works perfectly.    Now I no longer have to worry about dropping coals as I transport them through the apartment. 

So my advice to all of you out there in a similar situation; innovate!  Chances are you already have something around the house you can use for this task without having to spend any extra money.

Let Me Introduce Myself

As I am not one for long introductions (nor am I a great wordsmith), I will leave this short and sweet.

Hello and welcome to my blog!  I am your host Dima, the Hookah Husky.  You may remember me as the guy from the hookah circle outside that one convention or the guy with the hookah in the park I saw that one time.  But I am more than that, much more.  I am what some would call a connoisseur, or enthusiast, of hookah (waterpipe, narghile, shisha, etc.).  While I may not have as much experience as some other hookah smokers out there, I do know a thing or two about the art, and wish to share my knowledge with all of you out there.  This knowledge includes, but is not limited too; tips, tricks, reviews, and other such fun facts about the hookah and its social/cultural uses.

So stay tuned for updates on an irregular basis, and enjoy your smoke!