The Kahloud Lotus – A must read

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Let’s talk about all of the things that you EVER complain about with hookah smoking.  Here is my list:

  1. Coals falling on the floor!  Arghhh!  My worst nightmare.  Especially since I smoke over or near my prized Persian rug.
  2. Harsh smoke.  Nothing worse than hitting the hose and coughing up a storm because the shisha was on fire.
  3. Coal Management.  While I sometimes enjoy the fine-tuning of my charcoals for the optimum session, it is actually quite tedious.  Ashing off my old coals every 5-10 minutes is a nuisance and I usually don’t trust my friends to do this  🙂  More importantly, if I’m entertaining friends, I don’t want to  be doing this in lieu of enjoying their company.
  4. Wrapping the bowl.  Ok, I actually enjoy the art of wrapping a tight bowl and poking perfectly placed holes. You true hookah aficionados out there understand what I’m talking about.  But foil is wasteful and this takes time.  Time I could be enjoying hookah 🙂
  5. Coals don’t last long enough.  One would think there is nothing that could be done here to improve this… or is there?

The Khaloud Lotus is a brand new device on the market that addresses all of my top 5 issues or complaints with hookah smoking.  Yes, you read that correctly.  All of them.  It seemed too good to be true as there are many gimmicky items coming on the market these days.  However, after watching HookahJohn’s video (http://www.hookahjohn.com/Kaloud-Lotus-KL.htm), I picked one up.  By the way, I spoke to John for the first time after ordering this (he actually called to discuss my order).  He’s a great guy and I’ll be ordering more from him in the future.

The Khaloud Lotus is essentially a bowl for your charcoal that also serves as a replacement for your foil-cover while also utilizing an ingenious air-ventilation system.  Let’s start with the appearance.  The device comes in a case fit for a Rolex watch.  I’d personally like to save a few bucks on their flashy packaging of the 50 dollar device but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hear a choir of angels singing when I first saw and opened the case 🙂  The device itself appears to be made of high quality metal and machined professionally.

Next, the charcoal.  I have been using three coco-wides and with some fiddling, can get all three coals to fit inside.  The Lotus somehow increases my coal length by 25-50%.  I was able to get over an hour with my 3 coco’s last night.  Normally it’s about 45 minutes.  More importantly, I didn’t ash the coals a single time during that session.  If you do want to rejuvenate the coals a little, you can take the cover off and poke the coals around till the ash falls off.

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The Lotus device itself sits snuggly on your bowl and is very stable.  I’ve tried this on my Crown v3, my Tangiers phunnel and two different Alien phunnels and they all fit very nicely.  Heat management is easy with the clever little lid on the Lotus. It has air vents that you can easily open or shut depending on what your needs are.  The handle is made with a heat-resistant rubber.  Be careful though.  The rubber isn’t enough to stop the handle from getting very hot.  I’d love to see some mod-ideas on how to improve the handle after-market. Another idea I have is to set of tongs that can somehow easily remove the Lotus from my bowl when it is hot.  Say, if I want to swap a new bowl on and put the Lotus right back on.  For now, oven mitts will have to suffice 🙂

My tips for setup.  If you pack your bowl too high and the shisha comes into contact with the device, the shisha will cake onto the bottom of the device which seems to degrade the session quality slightly and make cleaning the baked-on shisha a pain in the ass.  Experiment with different levels with different shishas to find out what works for you.  When I got the device, my first bowl  was some Tangiers Cane Mint (Thank you, Hookah John) and I packed it low enough that I had no shisa contacting the bottom of my bowl (which is lower than you normally are told to pack Tangiers).  It was one of the best sessions of my life.

A lot of the ingenuity of a device like this is that the heat is more evenly distributed across the entire surface area of your shisha.  If you think about how coals sit on your foil, they are always going to heat certain areas too much and probably heat the areas they aren’t touching less than you want.  Foil doesn’t spread the heat around as well as the thicker metal of the Lotus.  A possible tradeoff that you might anticipate might be that the Lotus takes much longer to heat up.  My first session with it and it was producing huge clouds on the third pull.  So this is a non-issue.

I picked up the lotus for 49.99 off HJ’s website.  I haven’t yet it seen it much cheaper, however, for the improvements it will make to your session and the money you will save on foil, it is a must-buy.  My roommate and I have dubbed this the greatest hookah invention of our lifetime.

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Fumari Flavors – Orange Cream, White Gummi Bear, Prickly Pear, Ambrosia

My first experiment with Fumari went pretty well so I ordered some other highly rated flavors.  Fumari is a great shisha for beginners as it has very little nicotine and almost never turns harsh.

Fumari Orange Cream

Setup: 30″ Mya Obelisk with cloisonette stem –  Nammor hose with Crown glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Crown Classic 2.0

Smell: It smells very strong of Oranges with a hint of cream versus an even balance of the two.  Extremely pleasant smell 10/10

Taste: The taste is delicious.  It would be hard to find a more smooth smoke out there.  10/10

Smoke Quality:  Fumari clouds are up there with the best.  9.5/10

Buzz:  As with my previous experience, Fumari packs very little punch.  Unless you are really nicotine sensitive, you probably won’t feel anything – 2/10

Notes:  This is a favorite among my friends and as such, I bought a 1000 gram bag of it.

Overall score – 9.5/10

 

Fumari White Gummi Bear

Setup: 30″ Mya Obelisk with cloisonette stem –  Nammor hose with Crown glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Crown Classic 2.0

Smell: This smells exactly like White gummi bears.  When you open the bag and smell it, you want to dive in an eat it –  10/10

Taste: After the Orange Cream, I thought shisha couldn’t taste more yummy but I was wrong.   10/10

Smoke Quality:  Fumari clouds are up there with the best.  9.5/10

Buzz:  As with my previous experience, Fumari packs very little punch.  Unless you are really nicotine sensitive, you probably won’t feel anything – 2/10

Notes:  This flavor is very unique and very sweet.  If you like sweet shisha, this should be at the top of your list.  I just need to figure out how to add some tangiers to this to give it a perfect score.

Overall score – 9.5/10

 

Fumari Prickly Pear

Setup: 30″ Mya Obelisk with cloisonette stem –  Nammor hose with Crown glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Crown Classic 2.0

Smell: Hmmm, this smell at first was unique but I’ve never smelled a more delicious shisha.  Every time a friend smells it for the first time, their eyes light up and they are blown away 10/10

Taste: Super sweet on the lips.  Couldn’t be better. 10/10

Smoke Quality:  Fumari clouds are up there with the best.  9.5/10

Buzz:  As with my previous experience, Fumari packs very little punch.  Unless you are really nicotine sensitive, you probably won’t feel anything – 2/10

Notes:  Fumari continues to impress.  The only thing stopping it from being a perfect 10 is the lack of any buzz whatsoever.

Overall score – 9.5/10

 

Fumari Ambrosia

Setup: 30″ Mya Obelisk with cloisonette stem –  Nammor hose with Crown glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Crown Classic 2.0

Smell: You can smell a little bit of tropical flavor in this blend.  A hint of banana or cococunt.  Not my favorite smell but not bad, either.  8/10

Taste: This tastes slightly better than it smells and consistent with the sweet tropical smell  9/10

Smoke Quality:  Fumari clouds are up there with the best.  9.5/10

Buzz:  As with my previous experience, Fumari packs very little punch.  Unless you are really nicotine sensitive, you probably won’t feel anything – 2/10

Notes:  It’s important to note that I have to try really hard to make Fumari turn harsh.  Unlike some other brands where poor coal management will lead to your shisha on fire, all Fumari is extremely resilient.  As such, it is now what I smoke 80% of the time now, especially with any novice smokers.

Overall score – 8.5/10

Fumari Mint Chocolate Chill

I’ve long wanted to try Fumari brand shisha as I’ve read a lot of good things about it.  So I finally sent away for three 100g packs of it.  This review is the first pack I’ve tried – Mint Chocolate Chill.

Setup: 30″ Mya Obelisk with cloisonette stem –  Nammor hose with Crown glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Crown Classic 2.0

Smell: The smell is like smelling pure cocoa mixed with mint.  – 8/10

Taste: I’ve had cocoa flavored shisha before and wasn’t a huge fan.  I prefer a sweeter, chocolate flavor which I honestly have not yet found in any shisha.  However, the mint/cocoa blend went down very smooth and was extremely refreshing.  The flavor lasted well into my second round of Coco’s – 9/10

Smoke Quality:  Fumari seems to be known for their clouds and their reputation is well-deserved.  My Crown Classic doesn’t crank out the clouds quite like my Tangiers large funnel but the clouds were massive.  The smoke was slightly less dense in quality than other brands but high in volume.  Most importantly, the smoke never got harsh even when I was cranking 3 fresh Coco’s for a while.   9.5/10

Buzz:  Almost non-existent buzz for me but another friend who doesn’t smoke much felt relaxed – 2/10

Notes:  A very good start for the Fumari brand.  I like the resealable pouches that their stuff comes in.  Overall, I have high hopes for the other flavors I ordered and am curious about some of the other flavors I passed up on my initial order.  This shisha was very low maintenance, which is a huge plus.  The very low buzz is something to notice, however, that’s one of the smallest factors in my overall score of a shisha.

Overall score 8.5/10

Al Fakher Melon and Al Fakher Golden Grape Reviewed

Al Fakler Golden Grape

Setup: 33″ KM Pharonie – Namoor hose with Glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Crown Signature Glass Bowl.

Smell: Awful – Almost sickening for me.  Reminded me slightly of ketchup. 1/10

Taste: Better than the smell.  I could make more grape flavor out than the ketchup.  4/10

Smoke Quality:  Good clouds. I enjoy AF clouds almost as much as any brand 8/10

Buzz:  Normal AF slight buzz 5/10

Notes:  Overall, a very average flavor for me which was a disappointment since this a “premium flavor”.  I will probably let this breath before smoking again and just give to a friend if I don’t like it better.

Overall score 5/10

 

Al Fakher Melon

Setup: 30″ Mya Obelisk with cloisonette stem –  Nammor hose with glass tip

Coals: Coconaras

Foil: Doubled up heavy duty reynolds

Bowl: Tangiers Large Funnel

Smell: Wonderful.  Tastes like a honeydew melon.  Good enough to eat – 10/10.

Taste: This flavor got oooo’s and ahhh’s from my friends when it hit their lips – 10/10

Smoke Quality:  Good clouds. Probably a little better than normal for AF bc of the Large Bowl.   I enjoy AF clouds almost as much as any brand 8/10

Buzz:  Normal AF slight buzz 5/10

Notes:  An excellent flavor and smoke quality.  Perhaps the best AF flavor I’ve had to date and a good mixer for the future.

Overall score 9/10

New flavors have arrived and a “gold” hookah?

My latest shipment arrived.  A large diffuser for my new egyptian was the top priority.  The small diffusers fit the Mya stems very well but they are way too small for the “nut” at the end of the KM stem.  If you don’t know what a diffuser is, drop me a comment and I’ll write a post about them.  Along with my order, I figured I would try a couple of new flavors since AF is on sale with southsmoke.  Regular Melon and my first foray into the “golden” AF line – Golden Grape.  I’ve read mixed reviews about the Golden line but with people’s tastes varying so much with shisha, I need to try it for myself.

In other news, a Persian friend of mine has two decorative hookahs that appear to be gold plated.  I’m not so sure they would smoke well at all but they are very interesting looking and a nice conversation piece.  Here’s a photo of one of them:

My new Egyptian Hookah

This is my new Khalil Mamoon Pharonie 33″ Egyptian Hookah.  I ordered it off southsmoke.com.

So far, the sessions have been just average as I fine-tune my setup.  I just ordered a large diffuser since the bubbling noise on this thing is intense.  I can barely hear the TV in the background!  It is truly a beauty to look at though and I love the original craftsmanship with the hand-made Egyptians.