Carbon Dating has identified bowls from water pipes being used circa 1350
A hookah, also called nargile (nargeela), or water pipe, is a stemmed instrument for inhalation of various substances in which the evaporate is cooled by water. The tobacco used in our hookahs is called mu’assel or shisha (sheesha). Written record of hookah smoking dates back to the 1500’s and was first recorded in northern India. These first hookahs were often made of not much more than a coconut shell with a reed inserted into it, and were used for inhaling opium, hashish, tobacco, and/or any combination of the three.
Hookah use spread out to the rest of the world from India. when it reached the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) they were crafted into pretty much the objects that you see on our shelves today. Stems made of metal, bases made of glass, hand crafted and hand painted. We can also thank the Turks for the first hookah bars or “cafe’s” as well. The use of a water pipe for comfort, leisure and social interaction has been widespread in the Middle East since that time.
Then as well as now, hookah use is considered to be enjoyable, relaxing, an action and object of social gathering which suits our purposes in a lounge setting quite nicely. Societies have used hookah as a way to bring people together, to relax, reflect, and enjoy delicious tobacco flavors as well as good company and conversation for centuries.
The use of the exteremely moistened and flavorful shisha in the states has been gaining popularity by leaps and bounds. Some research states that hookah use in the USA has doubled over the last 15 years. Ifrit’s enjoys being part of that appealing up and coming trend and now you have the chance to hop on the train as well. Our hookah lounge and most in the states are “Americanized” versions. You’d be hard pressed to find any Starbuzz Blue Mist or Fantasia Dragons Breath in the Middle East where the most popular flavors haven’t changed for generations. The wide variety of shisha flavors, modern and practical design of hookahs such as Mya and Leilia are distinctly western innovations.