A mastiha tree is carefully tended to by local families for 50 years before it reaches maturity. The Growers perform the ‘kentos’ (mastiha harvest) during the warm summer months by making small incisions to the tree trunks and branches, to allow resin droplets, or “mastiha tears”, to slowly seep out and dry to form translucent golden crystals. The crystals are then collected, washed in spring water and separated from impurities by hand throughout the winter.
The authentic mastiha liqueurs, Kentos and Enosis, are expertly crafted in Chios by the local farmers of the Chios Mastiha Growers’ Association (or the ‘Union’) using the mastiha tears distillate of mastiha resin and the finest quality agricultural alcohol and crystal sugar. The essential mastiha extract gives the liqueurs a spectacular taste that is completely unique to mastiha, with a complex sweetness of herbaceous tones and woody essences.
As the representative body of the 24 ‘Mastiha Villages’ in southern Chios, the Association is the leading producer and seller of mastiha worldwide, and among the largest organisations in the North Aegean periphery. It also oversees all legal regulation for mastiha production, and is holder of the EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product certificate that names mastiha as the ultimate Chian terroir. The millennia-old tradition of mastiha production has been passed down from generation to generation among the Growers of the Association, whose expertise and skill has been recognised by UNESCO as one of the unique worldwide elements of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH).