THE PRECIOUS AND MUCH SOUGHT-AFTER RESIN FROM THE ISLAND OF CHIOS.
A stone's throw from the coast of Turkey, in the blue waters of the northern Aegean, lies the homeland of one of the most sought-after aromatic raw materials in history. It is the splendid Greek island of Chios, which has always been famed as the original (and perhaps only) harvesting location of the famous Greek mastic (also, appropriately, known as Chios mastic).
This pure resin with an opalescent appearance is produced by cutting into the trunk and limbs of a plant that is both endemic and abundant on the island.
The plant, known as the Lentisk, or Mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), is an evergreen shrub in the Anacardiacee family, and a prized variety grows on the island. The cuts (made during the summer season) slowly seep a sticky latex that congeals when exposed to atmospheric agents. The solidified drops, typically of a yellowish-green colour, are then harvested and undergo a washing process that removes impurities: this leaves the Mastic with its classic snow-white colour. Traditionally it is stored in wooden vats.
Greek mastic is an extremely valuable product that could be purchased in any bazaar in the ancient world. Besides perfumes, the best known and most popular use was to burn it (similarly to incense, and normally along with it) to benefit from the soothing and purifying qualities of the smoke it gives off. However, thanks to its beneficial effects for the oral cavity (as an antiseptic and a natural breath purifier), it was also used as a chewing gum.
Greek mastic is still used today as a prized raw material for top quality perfumes (which is in turn the use that for centuries has made it a highly sought-after product) and in the manufacture of chewing gum.
Sachet of 20g.
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