Tabaku Shisha Tobacco was an idea conceived by a Sydney-based business called Izama. In Australia, tobacco products are heavily taxed by the Federal Government. Any tobacco product manufactured in Australia is subject to excise duty, and any tobacco product imported into Australia (known as excise equivalent goods or EEGs) is subject to customs duty at an equivalent rate to excise duty. In regard to imported tobacco products, the customs duty is determined by the weight of the product. This makes shisha tobacco extremely expensive to legally import since it has a much higher density than normal tobacco leaf due to the heavy weight of the molasses.
Armed with this knowledge, Izama set out to create a shisha tobacco for the Australian market that is superior quality, 100% legally imported. By separating the imported tobacco from the liquid molasses flavouring, Izama (and by extension its customers) only have to cover the exorbitant customs duties on the tobacco leaf, much the same as cigarette tobacco.
The quality of Tabaku was an area that Izama wasn't prepared to compromise on. Some of the finest tobacco leaf in the world is grown in a country on the opposite side of the world to Australia: Germany.
Tabaku only contains German flue-cured Virginia leaf tobacco processed under the strictest quality control measures, so you won't find any stems/stalks mixed in. Virginia leaf tobacco also has a high absorption of molasses, making it a perfect tobacco leaf for shisha.
You might still be wondering why Izama would go to all this trouble when you can find well-known imported shisha tobacco brands for a reasonable price in Australia.
Sadly, the majority of premixed shisha tobacco imported into Australia is done so illegally to avoid the prohibitive customs duties. These illegal tobacco products won't be sold in plain packaging or labelled with Government health warnings. If the price is too good to be true, you now know why. But the prices on imported shisha tobacco is steadily going up, as supply of the illegal imports becomes scarcer.
Buoyed by new laws introduced in 2019, the Australian Border Force is clamping down on illegal importers and seizing and destroying illegal shisha tobacco in record quantities. Soon the only premixed shisha tobacco you will find imported into Australia will be at the extremely high price it should be once custom duty has been charged.