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Oct 2015

Lebanon's noble drink- Lebanese arak

In Lebanon arak has been considered before the industrial revolution
as the noble drink and wine the popular one.
Indeed, the Lebanese masses could not afford the copper still to distill
arakwhile wine making did not require heavy investments.
The wealthy Lebanese who owned a still produced refined arak for their
families and friends according to secretly kept recipes and then the still
was lent to their subjects as a sign of generosity.

In Lebanon, before the brandmania,
owning a large arak still was a sign of success and sophistication

The story of an arak

EL Massaya means the dusk and in the Bekaa, the sky at dusk is the same dark blue that is found on our traditional Lebanese arak bottles.

El Massaya arak: "Obeidi" Grapes
We select exclusively the finest white juice-filled Obeidi grapes, the product of local indigenous vines, ideal for the making of arak.
The grapes are hand-harvested in September, mechanically destemed and gently crushed in a mechanized press to obtain the best Obeidi juice.

El Massaya arak: First, the Wine
The better the wine, the better the arak.
Our on-site oenologist conducts a fermentation of about 15 days, combining 21st century technology with traditional methods. The Obeidi juice is thus transformed into wine.

El Massaya arak: Triple Distillation
After a period of rest, the white wine is put into traditional Moorish lid copper stills for the distillation.
The heat for the slow distillation process is ensured by gentle vine wood embers.
The alcoholic vapors migrate through the copper pipe of the still, through a cooling device. Then, the alcohol from the wine condenses and drips into a vat.

The first distillation (eight hours) creates the gift of alcohol, the second (eight hours) removes impurities and leaves the "heart" of the alcohol or "coeur de chauffe", while the third (twenty four hours) gives the arak its purity and distinction.
We combine the third distillation with the maceration of the very best green organic aniseed from the village of Hineh on the Syrian slopes of Mount Hermon.

El Massaya arak: Ageing.
We then collect the non-aged arak in traditional clay amphorae specially commissioned from the potters of the Mount Lebanon village of Beit Chebab. These are just porous enough to absorb some of the liquid and allow it to breathe.

During this crucial resting period that lasts many months, a portion of the alcohol, part of angels, evaporates and the clay lends a faint golden clarity to the matured arak that will bear the name of "El Massaya Arak".

El Massaya Arak: Bottling
After the triple distillation and ageing, we then present the Traditional Arak from Lebanon, El Massaya, to the world in our distinctive blue bottles.


Massaya has an open door policy:

Any time you come to Massaya Lebanon, it is our duty
to show you the arak premises -distillery, ageing area, bottling area….
we firmly believe that transparency reinforces trust