Derived from the term Arabic ‘huqqa’, hookah is a Hindustani word. There are various theories that revolve around the origination of the hookah. Some say it originated in Persia, while many attribute its origin to the Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign.
Times of Hookah Past
The concept of hookah is now world famous, and is known by different names across different regions. Nargeela, water pipe, argeela, sheesha, kalyan, ghelyoon or okka are a few of them. Many of them are of Somalian, Turkish, Indian, Arab, Persian, Ethiopian or Uzbek origin. Most of us are pretty familiar with the term ‘sheesha’ or ‘shisha’. But not everyone is aware of its roots. Sheesha is a synonym for hookah and is derived from the Persian word ‘shishe’ meaning glass. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Somalia and Tunisia are few places where the word is commonly used. There is, however, an interesting twist to this. Around the 15th century, the Indian Glass Manufacturing started operations in India through the British East India Company. The glass base was called ‘shisha’. Soon, the mystique spread to Iran. Strong and flavourless tobacco called ajami was paired with it. It rose to fame around the time of Murat V in 1623-1640 under the Ottoman Empire's rule. The Sultans of the era took portraits with their hookahs and it became a status symbol of the time. It was smoked at diplomatic meetings and also after royal dinners.
A little something about that ‘Shisha’
Hookah smoking differs from cigarettes or any other form of smoking, as the tobacco used in a Hookah is different. The unique tobacco blend in a hookah is made from tobamel – a type of tobacco leaf mixed with fruit pulp and honey. The base of a hookah is typically water but many smokers tend to add different things to the water, like pomegranate juice or rose oil, for added flavour.
Much to the delight of smokers, the tobacco used in hookah has emerged from the classic used in early 80s to various fruity flavours until recently. While many hookah buffs still settle for a strong Turkish tobacco, many dig in the assortment of flavoured tobaccos available, often referred to as ‘shisha’. This dark and wet tobacco mixture comes in various flavours like cherry, apricot, apple, jasmine, vanilla, rose, liquorice, watermelon and honey. There are exotic blends available beyond these fruity and flowery flavours like cappuccino, paan-rasna, lemon-cola, apple-mint and an unending list of unique custom-made blends.
Bottom of a Hookah
Water has remained the traditional base of hookah since time immemorial. However, with emerging trends, hookah smokers have tried different infusions for a more unique experience. Few common additions to turn up the base and enhance your hookah smoking experience are fruit juice, ice, soda, grenadine, simple syrup, extracts, Red Bull, milk, popsicles and frozen fruits. What’s interesting is the exotic infusion of alcohol. Yes! You read that right. Starting from vodka, wine and margarita mix, this is a curious concoction preferred by aristocrats who want that extra buzz. These are, however, humdrum and are practised almost always. Have you ever tried adding whisky to your base?
Try a top-shelf scotch or a simple bourbon as your hookah base. It will not only complement the flavour but also create a richer experience than just plain smoking it. The flavours in the https://thewhiskypedia.com/whisky will lend a notable subtlety to the smoke. If you are the adventurous kind, you will be glad to know that the addition of whisky to the base gives an intense buzz. If you are ready to experiment further for a rhapsodic experience, try a whisky base with jasmine or mint combination, as they blend really well!