The SetupWith a selection like this, how do you choose what to use?
Yes, the bowl is half the struggle. Making sure you're packing a good bowl is very crucial, whether you're smoking alone or with others. When I'm smoking, whether it be alone or with friends, I'll generally pack the bowl. In fact, I almost demand to pack them. It has gotten to the point now, to where I'm packing three bowls at once, and half the time I can't remember which is which. So yes, when setting up, make sure you pack your bowl properly (you can read some of our other articles on specifics for that topic). Packing is almost an art form - one that you don't want to rush at all. Also, make sure you clean your hookah. An often missed point, it's as easy as running some hot water through your stem before you smoke. Generally, when I'm getting set up, I'll put the coals on the burner first. Then, while the coals are on, I'll get my bowl packed first. After that, I'll make sure my hookah is clean. Between bowls, I'll usually run some hot water through my stem, just to make sure that there isn't any ghosting. Make sure the water is changed, tray is clean, and so on and so forth. Sometimes I'll even go so far as to swap hoses out between bowls, if I've just smoked something that's particularly strong. Usually within the time that I've packed my bowl and cleaned the hookah, the coals are done, so I'll put them in my Heat Management Device or on the foil, and let the bowl heat up for a few minutes. When it's ready, I'll take that sweet, sweet first pull and just enjoy it. If you don't have a clean hookah, or a properly packed bowl, chances are that you won't enjoy the session nearly as much as a result.Pretty much my go to setup these days - Mason Onyx Bowl, Shishabucks Straus, and the B2
So, beyond the actual setup of your hookah, there are two more things that I think are extremely important. The first is the atmosphere in which you're smoking. Personally, I like nothing more than to be relaxing on the couch, enjoying a beautiful bowl, watching my favorite TV show, or playing a game of some kind. That said, I also take great pleasure in sitting in my office, smoking a tasty flavor, and writing these articles for you guys, writing a review, editing a video, and so on and so forth. To make the atmosphere just right, I usually like to have some calm and relaxing music playing. Nujabes can often be found being played in my office (my girlfriend is getting really sick of it at this point). There's nothing like the calming tones of Arurian Dance playing while there's smoke swirling around me, and it creates the perfect level of ambiance. So I would highly recommend finding your calming music, something that puts you in your happy place, and just having a listen while you enjoy your favorite flavor. I guarantee you this, there's not much more relaxing in the world than that.
While I'm a big advocate for solo smoking, there's nothing that can beat having a fantastic smoke session with your best friends. So, the final component to the perfect smoke session is the company. I'll never forget the first time I really enjoyed a bowl of hookah. My best friend packed Al Fakher Grapefruit Mint, we sat and we watched what would later become my favorite TV show, just chatting, having conversation that ranged from simple thing, to deep and complex talks about life. It's something that truly made an impact on me, and is a lot of the reason for why I enjoy hookah so much. Nowadays, I get together weekly with a small group of friends, just to sit down, watch some TV, and smoke some phenomenal hookah. I always pack at least two or three hookahs, since I don't like waiting for the hose to get passed. They're not quite as into hookah as I am, so I'm always so pumped to talk about the new stuff that's coming out, new flavors that I've tried, or just giving them flavor recommendations for them. Hanging out with these friends is one of the highlights of my week, just because we all get together and get to enjoy something as a group, something we can all talk about and relax with. That said, you want to make sure that you have the right company. There's nothing worse than smoking with that one guy that never passes the hose, always tells a story while he's holding the hose, knocks the bowl over, and so on and so forth. Everyone knows one, and generally that's all it takes to ruin a session. So, keep you friends close, and your smoking buddies even closer.
The Perfect Session?
Does this stuff make a perfect session? For me, yes. It's utter bliss, and the perfect zen for a hectic life. Is this what's going to work for you? It's possible that's not what you want. Maybe you hate Nujabes. Maybe you hate other people. Maybe you hate having a clean hookah (you shouldn't). These are just the components for my perfect session. It might not work, and that's okay. What's your perfect smoke session like? Do you agree with me? Tell us in the comments below! As always guys, thanks for reading, and happy (perfect) smokes!