Re: Shooting Star Has Landed!
Thanks for the comments guys. It's great to see people taking an interest in the old school style stuff.
The place called Al Hamidiyah mentioned earlier is interesting in that it has had a very large Greek population when the Ottoman empire lost Crete and many Muslims were given refugee status by the Turkish rulers of Syria. A Christian family from there makes a bunch of essences that are used in the various Shooting Star products and I think that they nmake their own jurak as well.
Anyway, someone mentioned the cut and basically the reason that the moassel looks the way it does is that it has been packed so tightly into the box that it has been molded into what you see. Still, it's very moist and breaks apart easily. The string has also cut an pattern into the moassel which you can't see easily in the picture. Since this stuff is made from so many different types of tobacco you'll notice that several different cuts are present in it ranging from very fine to very coarsely chopped although far more of the former is present.
As to the batch size i know that 2,500 Kilos sounds like a lot but since it's a once a year thing what happens is that people go out and stock up on it and since the brand has a very loyal following in touch with the folks that make it a big portion of the various seasonal and specialty products are sold before they are released to the public. As a practical matter, Shooting Star is basically only sold in about 100 KM radius from where it's made which basically means that if you are not in the Tartus Governate you can't get it. Apparently, a good sized chunk of what they make gets exported to a handful of Arabs outside of Syria that are chums with the makers but I don't know how true that is.
As a practical matter, 2,500 kilos is enough to keep a few thousand people smoking for less then a year which explains why the stuff disapears in a couple of weeks.
The amounts produced are are basically a result of limited quantities of the various ingredients need to make the moassel and the fact that a small firm pays lots more for just about everything then a big producer like Salloum would. Also, a firm like Shooting Star doesn't have a factory per say but instead has it's production spread out over a series of homes and barns so it's not a company in the normal sense.
Very often I've come across brands that are a good deal smaller then Shooting Star which are made by a single cafe owner or family and quite literally they sell 100 kilos or less product per month. Often times it's a labour of love which time, money and materials conspire to reduce the output below what could be sold.
Last edited by Hajo Flettner; April 26th, 2009 at 01:03 PM.