If you have ever read the word glycerin on the back of your hookah tobacco package and wondered why it is there, keep reading! In the food industry, glycerin is used as a sweetener and natural preservative. It’s everywhere you look, like honey, beer, wine, pudding, cake, and even processed fruits. Aside from this main use, in hookah tobacco, you may be surprised to hear about glycerin’s other benefits. But first off, let’s throw on our lab coats and dive into the science that surrounds it:

Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is a naturally occurring sugar-alcohol compound typically derived from vegetables such as soybeans or palm. Cheaper forms of glycerin do exist that include leftover animal fats, but we here at Shishawa abide by our animal friends and stick to vegetable-based compounds only! Glycerin’s function in hookah tobacco is to act as a humectant, which is a Familycy word for a substance that holds on to moisture by keeping around water molecules longer.

Now that you have soaked up all that basic glycerin knowledge (kind of like those hydrogen bonds), let’s move on to the 3 benefits it has with your session and hookah tobacco as a whole:

1. Glycerin provides heat resiliency to your hookah tobacco

Having hookah tobacco that bakes properly is all about keeping its moisture level perfect as it tolerates heat from the coals. The humectant property of glycerin, when used in hookah tobacco, is what makes this possible. Think of your session like baking a cake, the more heat you expose it to, the drier it gets, and no one likes a dry piece of cake (hot session). On the other hand, too little heat and the cake (your hookah tobacco, namely its flavor) can never be what it’s supposed to be. It’s a balancing act and glycerin is your heat resiliency partner in keeping that balance between flavor production and burning your tobacco rather than baking it. Moisture really is everything in the world of hookah tobacco!

2. Glycerin is responsible for producing those big clouds we all love

Another function of glycerin is to give you those sweet, dreamy clouds. It’s no secret that a huge part of the hookah experience is the clouds, and these clouds are all thanks to glycerin. In short, the droplets that glycerin creates are turned into vapor by the heat from your charcoal, giving you a one-way ticket to Cloud City with Lando Calrissian. Is there anything this humectant can’t do?

3. Glycerin enhances the flavor of hookah tobacco

The last property of this amazing liquid is flavor production. Like molasses, glycerin is added to hookah tobacco to enhance the sweetness of the flavor itself. Outside of hookah, glycerin is commonly used as a sweetener in things like icing and cookies, so it makes sense that this helps your hookah tobacco taste more like what the flavor is modeled after.

Not only does glycerin sweeten the tobacco, but it also enhances the flavor by holding in the other ingredients (molasses and the flavor extracts). Without glycerin, the molasses and flavor extracts would simply bake away before you ever had a chance to truly enjoy them.  It’s the ingredient that just keeps on giving.

We could write a total love letter about the stuff, but we’ll end it here. These were just a few of the many ways glycerin helps improve your hookah tobacco and give you the smoke of your dreams, but if you’re interested in learning more take a dive through your favorite search engine and keep this journey going!

Thank you for reading and until next time, smoke on!

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Jack Shadid
Hello, my name is Jack Shadid and I am the founder of Thomas Engineering Solutions which is my design studio and graphic design blog. I specialize in web design, and branding, and offer design services to businesses of all sizes around the world, ultimately improving their bottom line by crafting creative solutions to their business problems. Send me a quick email to see how I can help you! I hold a Bachelor of Visual Communication (Graphic Design Major) from The University of USF, Florida, and have over 10 years of experience in the field with multiple awards under my belt, I’m a digital nomad and I travel the world while freelancing & blogging (currently up to 60+ countries).