HookahJohn.com Revises Alien-Mini Phunnel Bowl
John Naddour, of HookahJohn.com has once again revamped his line of Alien Mini Phunnel bowls in an attempt to create the perfect bowl for the solo smoker. John is not the originator of the “phunnel” design and the raw materials used are not of his own doing either. It should be noted that John is the first to tell people who the creator really is.
As a preface to the description of his alien phunnel, John writes:
“Before I start the description I want everyone to know that without Eric Hofmann of Tangiers this product would not be available anywhere. He is the true inventor of the Phunnel bowl from its design to the quality of materials used”
John has made many changes to the Alien’s design over it’s life time. None of the design elements have changed much between batches, until now. John has taken what was once a good bowl and has designed a great bowl. This bowl is one that any serious hookah smoker would be proud to own.
The most noticeable difference is the change in color schemes. John has added six new colors to the lineup but the one in question for this review is the “Blue Surf”. The color is deep, bright, and complex. The variations of color depth and swirling texture are a much needed deviation from the original colors.
When observing the structure of the bowl, as compared to my “True Red” alien (purchased almost two years ago), the bowl is much sleeker and more stream lined. The diameter of the bowl remains unchanged but the depth of the bowl has been increased noticeably. With the greater depth, come steeper angled walls, bringing along sharper edges that seem to grab onto the foil when foil is being applied. This sharper edge may or may not be appealing to you depending on how your skills are at foiling a bowl. Although I have not tried to test durability, I could imagine the bowl breaking if it were to be dropped or knocked off a counter top.
While the overall shape has been slimmed down, the inner diameter of the neck has also been made a bit smaller. The above pictures shows a dollar bill that has been rolled to the diameter of the neck and placed down and in the bowl so as to protrude out. This was done to make the inner diameter of the neck easier to measure and photograph.
Something that I have found to be displeasing is the lopsided angle at which the crest of the bowl slants. As with all hand made goods, there will be variations and yours may not have this issue. The bowl that I received slants to one side by a few degrees, and if the foil is not pulled absolutely tight, the foil will get sucked onto the spire. I plan to remedy this by sanding the spire down with a rotary tool.
Overall, this bowl will allow a single person to smoke far longer than John’s 60 minute claim. Nakhla Classic style tobacco is the only tobacco, that I have used, that smokes for about an hour. Since the original phunnel bowls were created to smoke Tangiers, I have been testing this bowl with multiple flavors of Tangiers tobacco. By using Eric’s packing methods outlined in one of John’s YouTube videos, and Chronic Hookah Natural coals, I have achieved multiple two hour long sessions. The smaller gauge neck did not make a noticeable difference during my sessions and the slimmer design still conducted enough heat for a long enjoyable session.
If you’re a fan of the original phunnel bowls, you will not be disappointed with this one. But keep in mind, because of subtle adjustments to the shape and design, as well as variations in craftsmanship, you might need to adjust your packing and foiling technique. So should you upgrade? Maybe. It’s going to be a matter of preference. If you find your current Alien Phunnel bowl wanting, you might find this updated version to be a mark improvement. But if you’re quite satisfied with your current Alien Phunnel bowl, you might want to wait until a drunken party guest knocks your bowl off the table. I think this is a great bowl.