Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....
With respect to build quality it never really occured to me that so many companies are pushing rubbish simply because they can get away with it for a while but that is clearly possible. While I don't know for sure I think that the poor quality of narghile production has more to do with exploding demand outstripping capacity and a desire to cut corners rather then not fullfill orders. Of course Chinese rigs are usually crap and to expect other wise is silly given that state owned/controlled slave labour factories can't do much else.
As an aside I think that the criticism of GM is unfair in that I've seen nothing objective to indicate that build quality has been an issue since the mid '80s and since I know people that do QA and production planning for numerous auto companies I tend to think that the problems the American industry have faced are numerous & complex.
As to jurak I beg to differ. In part because jurak is made by literally hundreds of companies with literally thousands of products it's natural that quality and style/flavours differ a lot. I've helped distribute literally a couple of hundred samples to several dozens of HPers and to say that the response was positive is as understated as saying that starvation isn't much fun.
Some jurak is indeed harsh and simply not suited to the Western palette. On the other hand brands like Ahmad jurak so rich and flavourful that even people that like gulf style moassel like AF usually love it. Like basically everything we smoke a lot of how well you like something has a lot to do with set up and how you smoke. If you smoke even the best jurak like it was SB you'll be sick and hating life.
Also worth mentioning is that a great many traditional black and spiced moassels are actually quite rich and relaxing and the flavours can't begin to be described as anything other then delightful by anyone that wants a change from washed, bland moassels from the U.S. or the gulf states.
Brands like Prince and Societe Chark du Tombac make a bunch of products that are mild, complex and radically different then all the big brands available in the West and while they won't appeal to SB/fantasia fans they do extremely well with people that like Nahkla, Fumari or similar brands.
To me the contrast between traditional products and the American style moassels is like the difference between "lite beer" and Mackeson Stout. The former is for people that want a drink with as little flavour as possible and zero texture while the later is for people that love strong, assertive flavours and think texture is a good thing. The difference is that the SB/Fantasia people are willing to pay Mackeson prices for budmilcoors quality.
As to innovation I've seen a good bit in terms of electric narghiles and the amazing shisha art narghile from France. Hoses have also been innovative in terms of quality of build and ease of cleaning.
What I do not find innovate is the ever growing range of heavily washed moassels that all lack any tobacco tastes at all but instead taste like fruits/drinks/candy/something fake. Given that washed and unwashed fruit/drink flavoured moassel of exceedingly high quality and realism are readily available I don't see much more happening with market segment.
What I do find to have potential is high quality traditional style products providing taste and smoke texture that sugary, glycerin laden products can never replicate. I also don't see that potential being met which is a pity because plenty of pipe and cigar smokers would take up narghiles if such products could be had.
Last edited by Hajo Flettner; June 25th, 2009 at 04:13 PM.