Shisha is also known as mu’assel, which is very close to molasses in its meaning of “honeyed.” Shisha is the syrupy tobacco mix that is consumed in a hookah, although in other parts of the world the term shisha (sheesha) can refer to the actual hookah itself. Most brands use molasses in the shisha…a few brands such as Starbuzz, use honey for the flavour base. It’s the sugar vapour and flavour that is being evaporated and inhaled when using a hookah.


One major difference between types of shisha is “washed” and “unwashed.” Washed shisha has gone through a process in which the majority of the nicotine content has been rinsed out of the tobacco. Unwashed shisha has not gone through such a process. The result is a difference of nicotine content, or “buzz factor,” between the two types. Washed shisha generally contains about .05% nicotine. Unwashed is typically .5%. Tangiers Noir flavours are about the highest content you can get at right around 1%.


Shisha or mu’assel contains only 25-30% tobacco by weight. The majority of the mixture is the molasses, glycerol and other liquid content. After all, without all the non-tobacco content our typical preparation of a hookah would not work. The tobacco is more of a carrier for the other products in shisha.

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