I had the exact, exact, exact, start to hookah as you. NO flavor, huge clouds, no flavor. Cleaned as much as I could and over-engineered the leak checks. It all helped a smidge, brought some flavor, but not to the level I remembered it from lounges. In fact, by HP standards, pathetic.
So what fixed it? I found out my heat management stunk, or was non-existant
. I added coals and windcover combinations until I got the shisha to burn, yep, on purpose. I then dialed back heat until I found the sweet spot and the flavor. Once I found the optimal heat and pack for one shisha, I moved to another brand/type and started working there. Then I found this forum and the work that so many before me have shared here.
My guess is fix your heat, work your packing, master one shisha before trying to work several brands at once, causing more confusion. Move to the next when ready