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Old December 4th, 2008, 03:26 PM
Hajo Flettner
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Hookah Legend
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,746
Default Re: What does it all mean!? Hookah, Shisha, Maassel, Tobamel, Narghile?

This topic has long been a pet peeve of mine so i'll sound off on it.

When I was introduced to this thing of ours in Syria I was told that the water pipe is called a narghile and although I know that numerous other names exist all over the world describing the same thing I prefer the term "narghile" and the variant argileh.

As to India i've only been to Kashmir (which I think should be part of Pakistan) and Goa and I don't know much about the tobacco culture there although I enjoy many Indian products when I can get them. I recall they you use a variant of the term hookah although the actual term varies greatly since India is such a huge and ethnically diverse country.

Basically I am not too concerned about what the water pipe itself is called although I do feel very strongly that one should use the term traditionally used where you are. As a result, I don't think that Someon e Yeman or Syria for instance should call it a hookah as that is lingustically wrong for them.

I don't know why Americans call a water pipe a hookah since they are not (for the most part) from India but it doesn't particularly bother me

As to the tobacco it does annoy me to have it called shisha. I have found that a great deal of confusion exists among my fellow Occidentals as to what the various forms of narghile tobacco are called so here is a quick guide:

tumbāk (or any variant on the spelling) - This is a dried, whole leaf product smoked by placing the coals directly on the dampened leaf

Black Mu'essel - This is a tobacco product that uses molasses as an agglutinant and has no flavouring agents other then what naturally is provided by the tobacco and molasses. This style of product usually does not have glycerine added.

Tobamel - This is a tobacco product that uses honey as an agglutinant and traditionally has no flavouring agents other then what naturally is provided by the tobacco and the honey. Modern variants can use absolutely any kind flavouring you can think of and typically have glycerine added.

Mu'essel - A generic term for a tobacco product that uses molasses as an agglutinant and can have absolutely any kind flavouring you can think of and typically have glycerine added.

Jurāk - This is a finely cut product made out of fire or air cured tobacco that uses molasses as an agglutinant and often uses various herbal or wood derived essential oils for flavouring but never uses fruit/candy/coffee etc style flavourings.

Last edited by Hajo Flettner; December 4th, 2008 at 03:30 PM.
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