GSN Review: Mahia Fig & Aniseed Liquor

What I love about the world of spirits is that virtually every culture has their own particular expression.  Usually it’s based on whatever fermentable grain, fruit or starch-heavy vegetable is handy.  This is the first time I’ve come across a fig based spirit, and it immediately intrigued me.

Despite the North African flavor profile, Mahia is made in (of all places), Yonkers, NY.  The brainchild of Nahmias et Fils Owner Dorit Nahmias and master distiller David Nahmias, they utilize a custom-built copper column pot still to distill a blend of fermented figs, dates and herbs.  The result is unique and deserving of a broader audience in the spirit world.

Mahia (80 proof)
Visual: Perfectly crystal clear.
Nose: Intriguing, with the sweet richness of figs and high notes of aniseed.  There is a dark fruitiness similar to fruitcake or spicecake.
Taste: Instantly reminiscent of absinthe, it quickly evolves into something entirely different.  Less sugary, and drier with a mysterious  dark roasted quality.  There’s a bit of fire in here, similar to a grappa or a raki.  The overall effect is of a middle eastern moonshine.
Finish: A light licorice flavor tantalizes the tongue, ending with a quite dry finish.  Refreshing and unique.  The flavors unravel in a varied blanket of spices including cinnamon, white pepper, cumin and nutmeg notes.
Overall: This is a perfect spirit for shots.  In particular, this will go well with Greek Food as it works well with the acidity and bitterness found in grape leaves and olives.  As a cocktail ingredient, it has great possibilities, provided you go in an herbal direction.   I’m always on the lookout for something new that isn’t another fruit, honey or dessert based liquor.  This hits the mark with something entirely unique in the world of spirits.
GSN Rating: A-

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