Arak Haddad Mastic, produced in Jordan, is one of those liquors that stands out on its own. It does not fit in any of the typical categories of liquor so commonly found in retail locations; this is something that one will have to hunt for, or be lucky enough to live near an extremely well-stocked store.
The base of this liquor is most likely an Arak, which is made from either rice or palm flowers. That, however, is not what this product is about. The addition of Mastic adds a unique and unusual flavor. In fact, I am hard pressed to recognize any of the underlying Arak in the the taste.
Mastic, for those who have not experienced it, used to be a common base in chewing gum. In recent years it has been replaced with cheaper, less flavorful alternatives, but can still be found at some specialty stores particularly of Middle Eastern origin. It has a very distinct flavor somewhat akin to pine trees, but with a lingering quality all its own.
On the nose, the primary scent is that of the mastic. Completely unmistakable. There are some other less obvious scents underneath that, but it is almost impossible for me to qualify what exactly they are.
Taking a sip, I find a very pleasant light burn along with a heavy dose of mastic. I’m pretty certain that if anyone were to smell my breath, they could tell exactly what I had consumed. There’s a long-lingering hint of what almost feels like wintergreen; the aftertaste lasts unusually long but is very pleasant.
This liquor is certainly not for everyone as mastic has such a strong taste. It is likely to have as many detractors as it does fanatics. If you are someone who is open to trying new types of liquor, this is one that I highly recommend. If you are not someone who can tolerate a junipery gin, which is about the closest I can imagine in flavor profile though missing many subtleties of the taste, you may want to look elsewhere.