Inside the mind of Trifecta; The Mus story
Hello, everyone and welcome back to the Masonshishaware Blog!
Since the beginning of the company, Trifecta has been gaining more and more traction in the industry. It’s easily one of the most recognizable brands in recent years and for good reason. If you love blonde leaf tobaccos that are full flavored and low on nicotine or dark blends that can go hours without losing flavor, Trifecta surely has something for your taste buds. Today I had the opportunity to speak with him about the business and current state of the industry, so sit back, load a bowl, and see just for yourself what goes on in the mind of Mr. Trifecta himself.
R: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me and do this interview! Would you like to formally introduce yourself for those who may not know the great Huka Pro?
M: My name is Mus, 35, Spokane, WA
R: Before we dive into the company, let’s talk about you. How long have you been smoking and what were your early years like in the hobby?
M: It was in 2005, that was my first experience ever. I remember it well. I used to work with a Syrian coworker and he would invite all of us over for good Syrian food. Then as soon as we were done, he would make tea and set up hookahs.
For me it was a no no. I resisted it for months and would just hang out watching everyone puff and joke all night. One day I was pressured by everyone to try it and I fell for it hard. It was a big deal for me since I never smoked a cigarette or anything else for that matter. My first puff was Nakhla Double Apple. I loved it and so the journey begun.
R: Very humble beginnings and a great atmosphere. Just how anyone should be introduced. How did Trifecta start? Did you have a set vision about what you wanted to accomplish?
M: Well, a few months after I tried it, I looked into it and opened a hookah shop, then a lounge after. I was intrigued just like any hookah enthusiast about tobacco production and started to experiment at my apartment.
I had to pay 2k when I left that place. The walls were yellow, molasses and glycerin ruined the carpets… I got a little carried away.
Anyways, once I started figuring it out I started sharing my batches with regular customers and they loved it. It used to be blue strawberry and twice the ice at the beginning. Once I realized it was good, I started making more flavors just to impress my friends and regulars.
After a while I decided to apply for a license and waited over two years to be approved. Once I was approved I decided to launch. I remember thinking with how flooded the market was, I was never ever gonna be able to compete with the big names. But I still did it, because why not.
R: Genius is never clean and tidy! I, and the community are eternally grateful that you kept with it. The popularity alone shows it was the right thing to do. Let’s talk about the blonde line first. It is one of my, and many others, favorites. What flavors were part of your original plan? What flavor is your favorite or flavor you are most proud of?
M: Initially I wanted to do a dark blend using burley leaf… But the lack of a decent facility and stink made me go the safe route and do blonde, because it was easier to process.
My favorite flavor changes all the time. I smoke a flavor until I’m worn out and don’t revisit for a while. For blonde: Mediterranean Mint, Bohemian mix, and Twice the Ice are mostly what I smoke. For dark: Enigma was my jam for a while, then True Grape, The Twist, and of course Morning Glory.
Now I only enjoy my flavors when I’m smoking at lounges or different locations. It’s kinda hard to smoke them when I test so many batches.
R: We’ve all been there with flavors. What we enjoy for months on end can sometimes make us sick even thinking about. Except Pineapple Guava, Bohemian Mix, and TNT. We can always enjoy those 😉
We’ve talked about upcoming changes to blonde. Would you like to give the readers a tease about possible new or old flavors coming soon?
M: Not necessarily big changes but I just feel like dark blend’s huge demand made me feel like blonde has been neglected and needed more focus.
So, we brought back Cherry Berry, Huckleberry, and Mango Smoothie. We are also revamping Lemon Mint, and trying to make it more appealing to our customers by adding a tart and sweet lemon with a touch of herbal mint. I’m working on a couple other flavors for blonde too. We will see if they stick.
R: I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. That lemon mint sounds very enticing. Having recently tried the new Huckleberry, blonde has never been better. Before we switch topics, I must ask. Twice the Ice Extreme. Was that your plan to kill us all?
M: Lol. Not at all.
I used to do special batches per customer request. Some like the colder Twice the Ice and more people started to ask for it. They just wanted more peppermint. Others wanted it to be bearable. I then decided to have two versions.
R: I love it. It’s like your inner mad scientist was let loose on the peppermint extract, but damn it if I didn’t die my first puff.
On to the topic of dark blend, my personal favorite on the market. What was the goal behind this line? Were there any flavors you initially thought of for blonde that were better suited for dark?
M: I had to go through a lot of testing and wanted to cover all of the profiles. Fruity, savory, herbal, minty. But yes, to answer your question, I had to make sure everything worked for dark.
R: Simple enough yet you brought us the best product you could!
Myself and others have reached out to you regarding the overall quality of this line as of late. You’ve been so gracious with answering everyone who asked and took the issue on relentlessly. To finally set the record straight, what exactly happened to the leaves for the people who don’t know?
M: Pretty much the tobacco we received was way too strong. Due to the lack of readily available supply… I had to work with what I had.
I got the tobacco to the point where it wasn’t harsh but the tobacco notes were impossible to mask. Before packaging things seemed fine and I assumed if customers get tobacco notes, they might actually like it better and sent it out. I started reading emails that it was really heat sensitive and decided to open random packs. I tested them out and realized once packaged within a few days it was really strong and sensitive.
We stopped using that tobacco and looked into different places to get the same leaves and now things are back to normal. It’s too bad that there was already a decent sized batch already sold to vendors and distributors.
I realized how damaging issues like that can be. Our customers get frustrated and it sucks. If we ever encounter this issue again, we will put everything on hold and not risk production of these leaves.
R: It’s unfortunate that this had to happen, speaking with you about it a while back you were heartbroken to hear about the customers experiences. I’m currently smoking the newest Ventura Peach and you are back with a vengeance. This stuff is gold.
What can we expect to see for the rest of 2017 for dark blend? Anything you care to divulge?
M: We should launch Lime, Raspberry, and Grapefruit at the expo as well as the blonde Lemon mint.
R: Wow. I cannot wait for any of those. If TNT is any indication about how good your grapefruit is mixed, I can’t even imagine how great it will be in dark by itself. That raspberry is going to be awesome.
Switching gears, what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry? Are there any products you are excited for?
M: Honestly, there are many products that I appreciate. However, being overwhelmed with work, I don’t stay in the loop like I used to. I like that there is a variety of hookahs and tobacco to choose from that offer different takes on flavors.
R: I imagine keeping up with demand has you extremely busy. Come expo time you’ll be able to get your hands on some with the relaxed atmosphere.
A subject we consumers try to keep at the back of our minds is the FDA regulations. No doubt they wear heavy on owners like yourself. Have they halted any current production or future ideas?
M: As of today, not really. The FDA is gathering paperwork and reports from manufacturers to determine what the next steps are. We shall see.
R: That makes me both happy for the present but scared for the future. Let’s hope for the best.
Finally, what are the future plans for Trifecta? Will we see an empire of Trifecta brand pipes, bowls, maybe even some charcoal?
M: I don’t think we will… I stick to what I know. If I ever think I can make a better bowl or hookah, why not?
I would rather support brands that have the experience in the field and that already have established products on the market. It’s just not my plan to use the name on other products I won’t be making myself.
But you never know.
R: I greatly respect that. As long as you keep making the goodness that is Trifecta I can sleep soundly at night. Though I do love the cliffhanger, you’re master of the tease.
Any last words for our readers out there?
M: I wanna thank everyone for helping Trifecta grow to where it’s at today and I also apologize for the glitch the past two to three months. I will make sure it won’t happen again. I also want to thank you for doing the interview with me on my birthday!
R: We all appreciate what you do my man. Thank you for taking the time to do this with me, on your birthday of all days. Trifecta never stops, does it? On behalf of me and Masonshishaware, the biggest of happy birthdays are in order!
M: Thanks buddy. Hope to see you at the expo!
Thanks for stopping by the blog! This was a blast to do so let us know what other brands you may want to see interviewed in a comment below. Now go load up some Trifecta in honor of this amazing guy’s birthday!