Sahara Smoke Vortex Bowl Review

Received bowl on Thursday (7/30/08) along with my new AF. I originally purchased this bowl because of wanting a small phunnel. Figured this design, with the mod piece built in, would be interesting to try. Plus the price was lower than most other models (Sahara Smoke for 9.95).

Bowl is larger than most of my normal mod/Egyptian/MYA bowls, but not overly so. My KM bowl is MUCH larger. It's well made and has a sturdy feeling. I did find out the mouth is larger than my Syrian's necks (it fits my Eygptian fine although it's also too big for my QT), but a damp paper-towel wrapped around the existing grommet makes an air-tight seal.

For the first smoke, I based my packing off suggestions from other members. I packed it "loose and fluffy" to just below the hole on the center section with some of the new AF I received. Originally I received thin smoke - partially from not realizing the bowl wasn't making an air-tight seal and the tobacco itself. After 45min I called it quits. The next morning I checked the bowl and found 3/4'ers of the tobacco was unburnt.

Attempt two was much better - taken more hint from members, I overpacked the tobacco, making the level higher (right up to the holes but still far enough down as leave a good gap between the foil).

As to overpacking - I mean not making it "fluffy", just glopping it in and lightly tamping it down. It used slightly more tobacco than before, about what I pack into my Egyptian bowl (or a deeper MYA bowl). Now knowing the mouth issue, I set everything up and this time received a MUCH better smoke. Excellent flavor, great puffy clouds and even after 1.5-2 hours (and 5 coals) I could have added more coals and continued smoking for some time. After a cool down I checked, this time only a 1/3rd of the bowl was unburnt.

Both times, I checked the inside of the stem and found little to no "meltdown" from the bowl (although the bowl did already have the well-worn burn marks). The grommets/paper-towels had no staining/residue either. The base water was also "clear" - colored water normally means the melted juices reached all the way down the stem.

A single layer of Heavy-duty foil was used and that provided good protection, coupled with a windcover to manage heat. (2) 1.25" Exoticas heated the bowl perfectly, but a single Akhla wasn't enough to get decent smoke. A QL broken in half may work or two QL's placed on the edges may work better.

Although future experiments will show how well it can be used with other brands, I do believe most drippier tobaccos will benefit from the bowl.

  1. Good Price - 9.95
  2. Does hold less tobacco than the MED phunnel.
  3. Does help extend the amount of time, flavor and clouding during the smoke session.
  4. Makes burning harder, but doesn't stop. Did help with recovery after overheating and allowed for continuation of smoking without re-pack.
  1. Make be larger than hookah's stem - additional grommets may be needed.
  2. Still uses about 25-30g of tobacco.
  3. May take some experimentation to perfect usage.
  4. Requires more heat to produce good (cloudy) smoke.

This bowl would be a good addition to anyone's collection. So far is works great, providing you are willing to "play around" a bit to figure out what it needed. I do consider this cheaper than purchasing a true phunnel and mod, but since I lack a phunnel (and the brand o'baccy it was designed for) I can't make a true comparison.

I would say if you had the money, pop for the bowl. It's only slightly more pricey than a good clay bowl, so even for some reason you don't enjoy it, you aren't out much money.

VIDEO LINK: (coming soon)

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