A slightly moist blend of Bright Leaf and Burley tobaccos, cased with an extract made from the gum of the mastic shrub grown on the Greek Island of Chios, to give this snuff a sharp, piney, bitter-sweet scent.
Mastic has been used as medicine since antiquity and is still part of traditional folk remedies in the Middle East to treat bronchitis, digestive problems and improve conditions of the blood. During the Ottoman rule of Chios, mastic gum was worth its weight in gold and every year the finest crop was sent to the Sultan's harem in Istanbul. The penalty for stealing mastic gum was execution by order of the Sultan.
Mastic is harvested from July to October by making incisions in the bark of the shrub to release the resin and as these clear droplets sparkle in the sunlight, they are known as the 'Tears of Chios'.
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Once upon a time, a newly made wandering-Gypsy-craftsman buddy of mine produced a bag of finely ground, dry as dust, smoked salmon jerky powder for us to consume from tiny birch bark spoons we made for the occasion. The flavor was salty, smokey, a bit vinegary. Not fishy at all. Pure deliciousness.
This snuff is that but for my nose. I even tasted it and if it was food I’d eat it. Not sweet at all. Salty. Smokey. Vinegary. With a finessed touch of what I can only guess is the mastic, which is earthy and smells like you are cutting the shrub and smelling the wood and the resin, but so well blended as to be almost indiscernible. The complexity of the scent makes it a thing all its own. It is not the sum of its parts. It’s a masterpiece.
I would snuff this all day every day if I wasn’t scared to death I’ll never see it in stock again. I’m going all in on every 50g tin of SWS I can get and then I’ll do it again and again until my freezer is full and I’m sure to never run out. I bought 45g of this before it went out of stock. I’d buy 500g today.
Tear of Chios was the first of the SWS snuffs I tried; I loved it then and I love it now. It's a dry snuff, which I like, although it's quite easy to take. The mastic scent is a bit hard to describe precisely, but is reminiscent of a pine grove in the forest or a Christmas tree farm (NOT a pine air freshener). It's a pleasant aroma. Additionally, there is an earthy quality to the scent of this snuff that is not present in other dry SWS snuffs - at least not in the same way - and this I attribute to the mastic gum as well. All in all it's quite subtle compared to other scents (even those from SWS) but it's lovely. While not as powerful as some of the other SWS snuffs, it has that womderful SWS kick. All in all, I can't recommend this one more to anyone who's a fan of trying something new, and I expect fans of German snuff and schmalzer will enjoy it as well.
I was excited to try this one, as I love Chios Mastic... However I was rather disappointed to get zero mastic aroma in the blend. The grind is a perfect Walter Scott, slighlty moist medium grain and it does have a sweet and pleasing burley aroma but not what I was expecting.