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Newbie looking for some shisha advice.

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I'm really green here - I just started smoking hookah in December and have only been out 4 times, though I have my own hookah in the works now. I first went out to a lounge for my birthday with some friends who also have never smoked. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially sharing a hookah with a couple of people - the social aspect was great. Sharing the same shisha and hose created a nice connection between us that I think wouldn't have been there with multiple hookahs/hoses.

What wasn't awesome was the shisha choice. I left it up to the proprietor to select something for me - he probed my taste preferences with a few questions and we settled in on something that I can't quite remember the name of, and he offered to change the bowl if it was something I didn't like (damn sporting of him if you ask me). Well, I didn't care for the flavor, but I'm not the kind of guy to send something back as long as it's not offensive. I was surprised (and a little disappointed) that it was devoid of any tobacco flavor. It tasted like some sort of blue soda with a bit of mint. I hated the mint (it made the hit feel "cold" and insipid, despite huge clouds) and was glad it was very faint. To me, the fruit flavoring tasted like cheap candy. This candy flavor is something I'm trying to get away from. In short, I would begrudgingly smoke this if someone else ordered and paid for it.

The next month I went in I saw Social Smoke's version of white gummy bear on the board and HAD to try it. Now, I know what you're saying  "You didn't like that your last shisha tasted like candy then you pick out a shisha named after a candy???" Well, you don't understand my affinity for gummy bears. I liked this shisha, but only for my love of gummy bears and because it tasted JUST LIKE the white ones - Haribo brand in specific. I would gladly smoke this shisha if someone else picked it, but would never order it myself again. 

Last month I gave Al Fakher mango a shot - we're getting better here - still flavored with some sort of artifice, but less fake tasting. Also, the smoke felt a bit more substantial and I could taste a tiny bit of tobacco in it - which is good. I'd be pretty happy with this one every once and a while.

This week, I gave Al Fakher Double Apple a shot. I liked it much better as it a more natural flavor. A very subtle apple swimming in a sea of star anise. I couldn't taste any tobacco, but the anise flavor was difficult to navigate, so it may have been there and my tongue isn't attuned to hookah enough to taste it. Normally I merely tolerate anise flavor, but I really liked this shisha, though I wouldn't mind a bit of tobacco flavor - I am smoking tobacco, after all. Also, it had a thicker mouthfeel and a deeper sugar flavor more akin to brown sugar.  While there is room for improvement, I would gladly pick and smoke this shisha again. 

Another thing I'm not a huge fan of on most of the shishas I've had is that they remind me of vaping. I've taken a few drags off of friends vapes and don't care for how "light" the smoke feels. I'd guess this is the VG in the shisha. 

If I could have a bespoke shisha, it would be: no mint, slight tobacco flavor, natural flavor (chef's choice on flavor), darker sweetness and heavier smoke (not thicker clouds, just a more substantial smoke feeling). With so many options out there, there must be something for me, I just don't know where to even start! 

Edited by AwD

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