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Dsdrummer04

Shisha in a lounge vs home

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A few months ago, I tried Al Fakher watermelon at a hookah lounge and I fell in love with it. The flavor was great and there was zero harshness to the smoke. When I finally got my own hookah, I bought a 50g pack of the same flavor and, well, I was really disappointed. There wasn't much harshness, but the flavor was way off. There was a fruity note to it, but it definitely didn't taste like watermelon or watermelon candy for that matter. I've tried it with different bowls and hoses, and nothing is giving me the same experience I had that fateful night at the lounge.

 

Is it possible that I just got a bad batch? Are 50g boxes of tobacco notoriously bad and I'm just a n00b who doesn't know any better? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

 

Your comments are appreciated.

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A few months ago, I tried Al Fakher watermelon at a hookah lounge and I fell in love with it. The flavor was great and there was zero harshness to the smoke. When I finally got my own hookah, I bought a 50g pack of the same flavor and, well, I was really disappointed. There wasn't much harshness, but the flavor was way off. There was a fruity note to it, but it definitely didn't taste like watermelon or watermelon candy for that matter. I've tried it with different bowls and hoses, and nothing is giving me the same experience I had that fateful night at the lounge.

 

Is it possible that I just got a bad batch? Are 50g boxes of tobacco notoriously bad and I'm just a n00b who doesn't know any better? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

 

Your comments are appreciated.

Another person who experiences the temperamental nature of AF. To begin with, it may not be your fault that you can not reclaim that same taste from the hookah bar that night for a few reasons.

 

1. To begin with the 50g packs are an entirely different cut when compared to larger packs of AF. The 50g packs are finely minced and then formed into little bars that are housed in the packaging. The larger AF packages have a much more choppier cut with discernible leaves and stems. It is very nearly 100% likely that the lounge uses the 250g and Kilo tubs which are the much larger cut. Both smoke differently from personal experience, and I have found that both take different pack styles.

 

2. The 50g packs are not quite as juicy as the larger packs. AF is not as wet as some other modern brands, but the 50g packs tend to not have excess of molasses. I have heard that this is due to the production process from which we get the 50g sizes in which the 50g packages are made from the left over odds and ends from the larger production cycle. I don't know if I believe that fully, but the fine mince makes me put a small amount of stock into it.

 

3. If you buy AF from local stores always make sure you check the expiration date printed on the box (usually on the top or bottom). It is highly likely that they are carrying much older stock which is not necessarily bad, but if it is indeed old shisha that would impact your session. You can get an idea for the age by also looking at the packaging as AF has recently re-done their boxes. If it looks like this http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/hookah/images/6/64/Al-fakher.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110627120654it is most likely an older production line, but if it looks like this  AF-50-Box-Watermelon-l.jpg?pIdProduct=12 it is most likely a newer production.

 

Now onto problems it could be on your end:

 

1. Heat. I can not stress enough how much AF is a fickle mistress when it comes to heat. Hit it with a tad too much heat and the whole session is ruined. Hit it with not enough heat and you end up with wispy smoke that doesn't carry much flavor. Two quick lights on opposite sides of the bowl will suffice in most cases on an egyptian bowl, but when it comes to naturals you need to be careful. I tend to start my sessions with AF packed fluffy in my egyptian bowl and two Titanium coals on the edges of the bowl opposite eachother with a wind cover. I let it sit for a short while to warm the bowl before I pull the windcover, purge, and take my first pull. Never run into problems doing that and the sessions last a long time. If you go three quick lights I would take care and used 3 halved quick lights in a circle around the edge of the bowl, and I would use three naturals by beginning the session like I said before with two and a cover, than after the bowl is warmed through put the third on and make a pyramid shape with the coals partially hanging off and you should not shock the tobacco.

 

2. The pack in the bowl. I have found the 50g boxes enjoy a much denser pack with holes pierced through the shisha down to the bottom of the bowl. Use a phunnel or vortex for this reason and you should be all set. The larger cut needs to be fluffed pack, but I have heard people tightly packing it with no problems but I have never had luck doing that. With both packs ensure that the shisha does not touch the foil in any way, AF will incinerate quickly if it makes contact with the foil.

 

3. Your hookah. Very unlikely, but you may have leaks somewhere in your hookah. An improperly sealed hookah will not deliver the best session possible, and in some cases will completely ruin the session. A more probable reason is the hookah with which you smoked in the lounge may have been very different then what you are using. It could be using a diffuser which makes more smoke, or it could have a much larger space in the base to fill with smoke. More smoke usually imparts more flavor in many shisha brands, and AF tends to conform to this.

 

tl;dr AF is a great brand, but there is a small learning curve with it as it is not like other modern/american brands. Just be careful with heat management and packing and you should not have any other problems!

 

Edit 1: I see you have a Mya Econo Gelato. 

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Another person who experiences the temperamental nature of AF. To begin with, it may not be your fault that you can not reclaim that same taste from the hookah bar that night for a few reasons.

 

1. To begin with the 50g packs are an entirely different cut when compared to larger packs of AF. The 50g packs are finely minced and then formed into little bars that are housed in the packaging. The larger AF packages have a much more choppier cut with discernible leaves and stems. It is very nearly 100% likely that the lounge uses the 250g and Kilo tubs which are the much larger cut. Both smoke differently from personal experience, and I have found that both take different pack styles.

 

2. The 50g packs are not quite as juicy as the larger packs. AF is not as wet as some other modern brands, but the 50g packs tend to not have excess of molasses. I have heard that this is due to the production process from which we get the 50g sizes in which the 50g packages are made from the left over odds and ends from the larger production cycle. I don't know if I believe that fully, but the fine mince makes me put a small amount of stock into it.

 

3. If you buy AF from local stores always make sure you check the expiration date printed on the box (usually on the top or bottom). It is highly likely that they are carrying much older stock which is not necessarily bad, but if it is indeed old shisha that would impact your session. You can get an idea for the age by also looking at the packaging as AF has recently re-done their boxes. If it looks like this http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/hookah/images/6/64/Al-fakher.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110627120654it is most likely an older production line, but if it looks like this  AF-50-Box-Watermelon-l.jpg?pIdProduct=12 it is most likely a newer production.

 

Now onto problems it could be on your end:

 

1. Heat. I can not stress enough how much AF is a fickle mistress when it comes to heat. Hit it with a tad too much heat and the whole session is ruined. Hit it with not enough heat and you end up with wispy smoke that doesn't carry much flavor. Two quick lights on opposite sides of the bowl will suffice in most cases on an egyptian bowl, but when it comes to naturals you need to be careful. I tend to start my sessions with AF packed fluffy in my egyptian bowl and two Titanium coals on the edges of the bowl opposite eachother with a wind cover. I let it sit for a short while to warm the bowl before I pull the windcover, purge, and take my first pull. Never run into problems doing that and the sessions last a long time. If you go three quick lights I would take care and used 3 halved quick lights in a circle around the edge of the bowl, and I would use three naturals by beginning the session like I said before with two and a cover, than after the bowl is warmed through put the third on and make a pyramid shape with the coals partially hanging off and you should not shock the tobacco.

 

2. The pack in the bowl. I have found the 50g boxes enjoy a much denser pack with holes pierced through the shisha down to the bottom of the bowl. Use a phunnel or vortex for this reason and you should be all set. The larger cut needs to be fluffed pack, but I have heard people tightly packing it with no problems but I have never had luck doing that. With both packs ensure that the shisha does not touch the foil in any way, AF will incinerate quickly if it makes contact with the foil.

 

3. Your hookah. Very unlikely, but you may have leaks somewhere in your hookah. An improperly sealed hookah will not deliver the best session possible, and in some cases will completely ruin the session. A more probable reason is the hookah with which you smoked in the lounge may have been very different then what you are using. It could be using a diffuser which makes more smoke, or it could have a much larger space in the base to fill with smoke. More smoke usually imparts more flavor in many shisha brands, and AF tends to conform to this.

 

tl;dr AF is a great brand, but there is a small learning curve with it as it is not like other modern/american brands. Just be careful with heat management and packing and you should not have any other problems!

 

Edit 1: I see you have a Mya Econo Gelato. 

 

I appreciate the help. I'll try some of those suggestions once I pick up some more AF and let you know how it goes. Thanks.

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A few months ago, I tried Al Fakher watermelon at a hookah lounge and I fell in love with it. The flavor was great and there was zero harshness to the smoke. When I finally got my own hookah, I bought a 50g pack of the same flavor and, well, I was really disappointed. There wasn't much harshness, but the flavor was way off. There was a fruity note to it, but it definitely didn't taste like watermelon or watermelon candy for that matter. I've tried it with different bowls and hoses, and nothing is giving me the same experience I had that fateful night at the lounge.

Is it possible that I just got a bad batch? Are 50g boxes of tobacco notoriously bad and I'm just a n00b who doesn't know any better? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Your comments are appreciated.

Definitely wanna go for the larger packs as stated earlier. I use the smaller packs as testers to see if the flavor is actually worth buying in bulk. AF is a good, inexpensive brand but it's pretty hit or miss. Watermelon is definitely one of AF's better flavors though so I wouldn't abandon it. I bought a tub of it and it's great.

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Definitely wanna go for the larger packs as stated earlier. I use the smaller packs as testers to see if the flavor is actually worth buying in bulk. AF is a good, inexpensive brand but it's pretty hit or miss. Watermelon is definitely one of AF's better flavors though so I wouldn't abandon it. I bought a tub of it and it's great.

Oh yeah man. Watermelon, Rose, Mint, and Energy Drink (energy drink paired with a nice ginger ale is amazing) are all really great flavors and have never let me down. Straying outside of those I find it hit and miss, but for the price per amount you can get there is just no beating it really. You can experiment with it and not feel like you are tossing money in the garbage which I have always loved, it is definitely a brand that is good for beginners to learn packing techniques and heat management quickly because it will almost immediately smack you when you get it wrong. But when you get it right ohhhhhh baby.

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You might also find better luck with the 'special edition" line, its mostly the same exact thing, but a little jucier, the cut is bigger, and the flavors are more bold. But again, they only come in 250g so it goes with the larger packs are better thing. 

 

I dont really like AF on its own aside from a few flavors, I usually have to mix it with something else. But I do like the flavors. Try picking up some haze, fumari, pure, or whatever other juicy modern brand and it really helps tone down AFs issues.

 

Sorry I'm late on this, hopefully this is still relevant lol

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You might also find better luck with the 'special edition" line, its mostly the same exact thing, but a little jucier, the cut is bigger, and the flavors are more bold. But again, they only come in 250g so it goes with the larger packs are better thing. 

 

I dont really like AF on its own aside from a few flavors, I usually have to mix it with something else. But I do like the flavors. Try picking up some haze, fumari, pure, or whatever other juicy modern brand and it really helps tone down AFs issues.

 

Sorry I'm late on this, hopefully this is still relevant lol

Yeah, the main thing that makes AF a bit difficult to deal with on some cases is that it is sticky and gummy where as most other modern brands are just wet. I second mixing with a wetter brand to help mitigate AF's problem sides.

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You might also find better luck with the 'special edition" line, its mostly the same exact thing, but a little jucier, the cut is bigger, and the flavors are more bold. But again, they only come in 250g so it goes with the larger packs are better thing.

I dont really like AF on its own aside from a few flavors, I usually have to mix it with something else. But I do like the flavors. Try picking up some haze, fumari, pure, or whatever other juicy modern brand and it really helps tone down AFs issues.

Sorry I'm late on this, hopefully this is still relevant lol

AF is by far my favorite brand. I almost only smoke AF aside from tangier cane mint which is my favorite flavour. In my opinion i dont really see AF SE being juicer then the regular AF as both seem the same to me. As for the cut i couldnt comment on that as i dont really look to see whats bigger. The special edition line has some more flavorful shisha but also have some hit or miss flavors. Like the banana montana. Smells just like a runts banana but has a very weak flavor on the other hand their lovely cherry is amazing.

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AF is by far my favorite brand. I almost only smoke AF aside from tangier cane mint which is my favorite flavour. In my opinion i dont really see AF SE being juicer then the regular AF as both seem the same to me. As for the cut i couldnt comment on that as i dont really look to see whats bigger. The special edition line has some more flavorful shisha but also have some hit or miss flavors. Like the banana montana. Smells just like a runts banana but has a very weak flavor on the other hand their lovely cherry is amazing.

I agree the special edition have some gross light flavors. Like rich creme. I hated that one. I don't see it being any juicer and mixing it when the tub is full is damn near impossible. I would tip it upside down and still have problems. Not my favorite by any means. I love standard old af. It's always perfect.

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Oh yeah man. Watermelon, Rose, Mint, and Energy Drink (energy drink paired with a nice ginger ale is amazing) are all really great flavors and have never let me down. Straying outside of those I find it hit and miss, but for the price per amount you can get there is just no beating it really. You can experiment with it and not feel like you are tossing money in the garbage which I have always loved, it is definitely a brand that is good for beginners to learn packing techniques and heat management quickly because it will almost immediately smack you when you get it wrong. But when you get it right ohhhhhh baby.

I can vouch for Al Fakher being a good beginner brand, it took me a long time to get used to it and I almost smoked it exclusively this past year getting used to hookah, but because of all that trial and error its really helped me overall, I still have many problems don't get me wrong, but I basically went through my first ever 250 gram pack of Tangier's, which was noir at that. And never ran into a single problem even when I experimented with it and that's a bran notorious for getting to smoke properly, more so than Al Fakher if I'm not mistaken. I'd also like to add to whoever mentioned the 50 gram packs of al fakher being better with a denser pack makes those particular packs work very well out of an alien mini phunnel bowl, I've had great results with full flavor and smoke this way. Packed down very tight below the rim. And of course not so good results in that same bowl with the big packs. I also vouch for the Egyptian bowl working extremely well if not the best for al fakher especially when it comes to the big packs. I just find it to be so much more forgiving.

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