Mastrogiannis Mastiha Production
So what is Mastiha?
It's a very aromatic resin that derives from the lentish tree and it is only grown and sold from the island of Chios Greece. The resin itself is very valuable, it is used to make chewing gum (probably the first chewing gum in history was that of Mastiha), flavor food, and of course spirits.
Mastiha production has shaped the island’s life and culture. Mastiha producing trees grow around the Mastihohoria (Mastic villages) in southern Chios, an area of 24 settlements with a population of about 5000 whose livelihood is directly linked to the resin. Mastiha production is done between the months of July to October, the resin is extracted just before dawn, in which harvesters gently score the bark for a week then wait for the sap to trickle down, in long tears.
Raw Mastiha Before Soaking
The production of our Mastiha distillate is also unique, we import the precious Mastic tears from the island of Chios in Greece, which we then soak in un-aged grape brandy for a period of 3-5 months. This means that we use 100% Mastiha in its raw format, with no additions of essential oils after distillation, a pure mastiha distillate.
During that time the Mastiha naturally melts and releases all of its aromatic properties into the grape brandy, giving it a slightly yellow tint and a beautiful aroma, it's really a pleasure when we open the tank after a few months the smell takes over the distillery.
Raw Mastiha After Soaking in high proof spirit for months
The final step to producing our product is, of course, a second distillation. We pump that high proof spirit into our pot still and distill it one more time, capturing truly the essence the Mastiha distillate. We only collect the hearts of the distillate or 1/3 of that original volume ending which ends up on the tank in preparation for bottling
Zero Sugar & Distilled from Grapes
After the distillation usually Mastiha spirits that are produced or imported from Greece all have sugar added as a sweeting agent and most of the time Mastiha essential oil to enhance the aroma, this is where our production adds another point of separation in quality.
We wanted a spirit that can really stand on its own, layered with flavors upon flavors without the addition of sugar or any other additives.
We really love raw unadulterated Mastiha, so the thought of adding sugar on something so unique and beautiful did not work with our ethos!
The decision was to bottle our Mastiha at a higher alcohol of 43% ABV, and with no sugar added. It's a decision that I'm really proud to stand behind and really showcase this unique tree that only grows on the island of Chios.
Mastiha a PDO product
One final aspect of our production that I wanted to address is the fact that Mastiha itself is a PDO - Protected Designation of Origin product, which essentially means it has to come from Chios, Greece. And our Mastiha does, in fact, get purchased from the official Co-Op of Mastiha Growers located in Chios Greece, its properly imported and added into our spirits here in the US, making the only true Mastiha Spirit that is produced and bottled in the United States.
Born and raised in Greece, our approach to crafting these spirits is super simple. Make the best spirits by paying tribute to our roots and Greek heritage. When I approached making our Mastiha for the first time, I really thought what some of the famous Greek notables like Herodotus and Hippocrates would think if I craft a Mastiha that had sugar? With that respect and philosophy in mind, we crafted truly a unique product that without hesitation it would have made our Greek ancestors proud.
Meraki into everything we do!