What if a bong looked like contemporary art?

This seems the question the makers of Stündenglass asked themselves before creating a legitimately sophisticated, coffee table-worthy gravity bong. If the phrase “sophisticated table-top gravity bong” seems an oxymoron, that’s because gravity bongs are typically the least sophisticated way to consume cannabis. The Stündenglass Gravity Hookah, however, has taken what has always been the stoniest of pothead party favors and refined it into a smoking experience heady connoisseurs across the board can get into.

Gravity bongs and hookahs both have unique reputations as smoke utensils. What one lacks in sophistication the other lacks in efficacy; gravity bongs are typically made with repurposed garbage and hookahs are notorious weed wasters. Stündenglass has activated the most functional aspects of both smoke concepts via a kinetic device that’s equal parts compelling conversation piece, dynamic smoke device and extraordinary party-stoner flex.

Naturally, we had to give it a try.

What is it? The first gravity bong nearly every career stoner smoked out of was made with a chopped 2-liter soda bottle, a suspicious knot of aluminum foil and a dual-spout mop bucket. Naturally, when I told my (admittedly mature) squad I was bringing one over for a group audition, the response was lukewarm.

Their tune changed significantly when I arrived with the Stündenglass in it’s glossy, white, custom-padded trifold case.

The machine was easily assembled in only a couple minutes. Slim metal pipes are attached to the central housing, the first of the two pint-size glass goblets is screwed on, the chamber is filled with water, and the second goblet is attached. A mouthpiece dock, which can be used hands free or with a traditional hookah hose, and a bowl dock that can be used with a classic pull-stem bowl or a larger, double-chambered unit for shisha and charcoal, jut from the left and right hinges of housing. Once assembled, the device looks like an oversized, Prozac-shaped lava lamp.

Rotating the glass 180 degrees on the axis that connects it to the housing causes water to rush from one globe to the next, drawing thick, milky smoke from the shisha or cannabis. Another rotation forces the smoke out, and once a rhythm is found, hits can be easily passed from one person to the next, no mouth contact necessary.

The machine pulls apart easily for cleaning, and a comprehensive cleaning kit is included in the package.

How we used it: Once the unit was assembled, we got to choose either a shisha chamber or a traditional glass bowl. The Stündenglass shisha attachment is a thick metal cylinder that holds both shisha and coal and clicks into a tray that clicks into the side of the housing that holds the smoke material. The glass bowl meant for cannabis, on the other hand, drops directly into the housing, sliding bowl-style, no accessories or alternative heating methods required, save for the flash of a dollar-store BBQ lighter.

Opposite the landing for the bowl is the mouthpiece, which can be assembled in a variety of ways. Adding one metal pipe will create a stationary, contactless delivery where users can simply point their mouths at the jet and inhale. This option seems best for single users. We opted to use the included 3-foot hookah hose instead, and pass it around for a communal hookah effect.

The hose indeed gave good puff-puff-pass vibes, and we were all able to draw long, intense hits without having to wrap our lips around the nozzle—the force of the smoke being purged from the bong is powerful enough to deliver consistent smoke without requiring mouth-to-nozzle contact. It was reminiscent of sharing water from a powerful garden hose. We just had to point it at our faces, open our mouths, and deal with whatever happened after that.

The bowl holds about a soybean-sized pile of flower, preferably finely ground, which among us barrel-chested smokers shook out to about two full hits per bowl. By balancing the hourglass on its axis, smokers can control the flow of their smoke, but putting a thumb over the hose between tokes does the same job. One person was the designated attendant, alternately lighting the bowl, rotating the bong, pulling the bowl from the slide, and then keeping the hourglass action flowing so smokers could focus on their hits, which became increasingly potent as we fell into a smoke circle groove.

Did it work with a group? “That went straight into my brain” was one homie’s assessment of her first gentle inhale. The homie she passed it to next took a heroic full chamber hit and spent the next minute fighting for his life in a coughing fit. The next homie cleared a fresh chamber with ease, shook out her hair, and melted into her loveseat, wondering aloud if she should be coughing more and longing for a dab option. (A dab extension is available for an additional cost.) I took a hit, went full canna-tonic, and lay on the floor for a little while.

Even our buddy with the lowest tolerance was able to enjoy the milder hits that lingered after the denser draws, and when the hits became too much, placing a thumb over the house and passing it to the next person was, for the first time in over a year, a reasonable action.

A bong ejaculating potent smoke straight into your face invites double entendres, which, in our crew, was an appropriately crass segue into our weekly RuPaul’s Drag Race watch party. Typically, we smoke several joints each during these watch parties, but after our Stündenglass hits, I think we managed maybe a half-joint each.

After two hours of Aussie drag, we steeled ourselves for another round of bong hits. We found our rhythm a bit easier the second time around, and everyone got the right-sized hit for their personal capacity. I avoided succumbing to the floor, and was able to play bong porter with relative ease. Before we disbanded for the night, I asked everyone if they were cool with me bringing the Stündenglass back next week, and maybe making it a weekly thing. I was met with deeply stoned but enthusiastic yes replies all around.

Did it work with a single user? After the squad called it a night, I assembled the Stündenglass for a personal use session, and without the energy of the homies, focused on some points of interest I would have missed otherwise. The contactless inhale option has a therapeutic vibe during personal use sessions. It requires no fine dexterity aside from applying the initial fire to the bowl and pulling the slide, and the smoke can be consumed with gentle, natural inhales, as opposed to hearty, throat-rattling water pipe draws.

The hypnotizing flush of water back and forth was soothing in an ASMR way I hadn’t noticed before, and the attention paid to the rotation of the glass required a meditative focus I found just as relaxing as the thick-ass hits I was producing from my bowls. Though the Stündenglass has an undeniable party vibe, it also maintains a sophisticated single-user or everyday use sensibility. The streamlined design and clever functionality feel at home on an ornamental end table or in the center of a smoke circle.

Bottom Line

The Stündenglass retails for about $600, a price that excludes a considerable percentage of everyday stoners. But for consumers with gravity bong nostalgia, extensive disposable canna-toy income, and a predilection for cosmopolitan pothead parties (or someone with their own traveling party bong-dab business), I could see the Stündenglass becoming an all-time favorite tool, if not a popular addition to an already impressive menagerie.

Get it at: stundenglass.com