Traditional, Middle Eastern craft hashish is something very rare in the USA. There are only a handful of hashish connoisseurs who are even knowledgeable enough to produce traditional European/Middle Eastern style hashish. The commercial marketplace has quickly become a wasteland of high-priced “ice-water” finely powdered hash that enterprising dab-heads get super high on. More concentrated cannabis flavor and aromatics are apparent in each dab of powdered hash. It does nothing for me.
I much prefer the traditional hash of my travels around the globe throughout my life.
While working as a journalist who specializes in cannabis, I’ve tried to focus on reviewing Organic and Biodynamic cannabis flowers. I’ve always hoped that someday the arcane talent and knowledge to make European/Middle Eastern style hashish would come back into vogue.
Decades went by while I waited for traditional hash to arrive, the hash from my somewhat misguided teen years in the 1970’s. Hash was plentiful then, I remember coveting little chunks of black Nepalese hashish from a friend’s dad who brought it back from a pilgrimage to Nepal. Stamped in gold and oozing with sticky oil, this represented a smokable art form. One that I’ve finally found with Sitka.
I had some decent old-world style hash in Jamaica back in the 1990’s… They have a way of extracting hash oil that resembles the distillation of rum, but I digress.
Traditional hashish is part of global history. Study the history of hashish and you start to learn about the earth in a manner not taught in prep school. The early adventurers and explorers of the globe sailed to the furthest reaches known to man. With them, they took elixirs to make the long sea voyages a bit easier to take. Buccaneers for example were probably not smoking just tobacco in their pipes. I’d take a guess that it was weed! Maybe even hashish? After all their ropes to haul the sails were made from the fibers from hemp, I’m sure they didn’t just throw out the flowers if they were already smoking tobacco or distilling alcohol from sugar cane molasses. They like to get messed up to forget their pain.
As a former sailor I learned there are moments that stretch into weeks without wind or good humor. Discovering the globe comes with vices. Rum wasn’t the only thing that sailors partook on their long sea voyages. Hashish was and still is a commodity, like molasses, just a different set of rules. Some legal, others less than legal.
What binds the tradition together is time.
When I smoked Sitka for the first time it was like being a young man again, smoking history, experiencing, and deepening my nearly fifty year relationship with the plant.
Please allow me the pleasure of introducing you to Nick Saad.
Warren Bobrow=WB: Why hash over flower? Do you take a craft approach to the plant?
Nick Saad=NS: There isn’t a right answer, just a preference of what you’re looking for at the time.
This question to me is like asking why Wine over Beer, or Espresso over Coffee.
Hashish is basically a concentrated version of flower which makes it more potent in Cannabinoids. but also, more limited in flavor varieties as hashish’s flavor profile changes from bright and flowery to spicy and earthy. Overall hashish tends to have a much more mellow effect on the user, rarely bending into the Anxious/Paranoid realm. It also has a much fuller robust & spicy flavor than flower. Flower can come in all flavors of the rainbow, while hashish tends to always have a bit of a “hashy” flavor unique to itself, which can be a comforting and trusted flavor and consistent experience one can crave. So, strangely I’m concluding that Hashish while it can come in. many forms and slight variations it offers Potency, Consistency, & Reliability.
WB: Who was your mentor? Inspiration?
NS: I never had a mentor; I’ve been self-taught in almost everything I’ve done professionally. I have always looked at that as a disadvantage or some insecurity; namely, the fact that I didn’t have a chance to study under someone. Now I feel that was a blessing. The best way for me to have learned was to have had the freedom to learn, make mistakes, learn, & repeat. I’d say my inspirations have always been other self-taught makers and craftsmen. I can say I’ve drawn inspiration from family, coming from a line of self-taught makers and craftsmen from farming to plastics, to footwear, to toys. Anybody who can put his or her focus and creativity, make something out of nothing is incredibly inspiring to me.
WB: First time you smoked real hash? With whom?
NS: Sheesh. It must have been around 1998 when A friend of mine showed up with a little brown chunk wrapped in aluminum foil and showed me hashish. back then we didn’t know crap about pot strains, and hashish was literally foreign to us as we’ve only ever experienced flower in the states. I remember being in awe as it bloomed when we kissed it with a lighter flame to soften it. Then we rolled it into a horrendous spliff that got us much higher than we expected. I loved the experience but wouldn’t get to meet hashish again till 16 years later when I created my own in Seattle!
WB: Please tell me about your company. Six and twelve month goals?
NS: We have smoking paraphernalia and other ancillary products in development to complement the famed Sitka dome, all of which are for sale on Sitkashop.com. That’s a really fun process, collaborating with craftsmen from the Pacific Northwest. We also find that some items can be made overseas. Part of the joy in making the journey abroad is to source products more affordably for our consumer. Plans for Sitka® long term? Continue expansion beyond Washington and California while always maintaining the quality of our output. Come check us out at the Hall of Flowers in Santa Rosa or Palm Springs this year and at sitkagold.com and Instagram etc.
WB: What is your passion?
NS: To be honest… Right now my 2 year old son is my passion.
Nick Saad, Biography:
You could say his dedication to making delightful quality products is a feature that is standard Nick, since he was practically assembled on the factory floor of his family’s plastics business – subsequently learning what it takes to build products with heart throughout most of his formative years. After four years of studying Fine Arts and Design Production, he immersed himself in Seattle’s design and art scene; maintaining an artist’s loft in Pioneer Square where he expanded his creative outlets (not to mention his mind for cannabis), all the while honing his motion graphics skills while working for numerous Emmy Award-winning design houses. After 15 years of topflight design work under his belt, a lingering itch to get back into product design & development, and the fortuitously-timed cannabis legalization bill in Washington -drew Nick in. He knew that this was JUST the opportunity he needed to invest in himself to dive hash-covered hands-first into the cannabis industry. So, along with a close friend and the support of an amazing wife, he formulated a plan to build a solid and honest Cannabis brand. Thus, Sitka® was born and over the past nine years grew into a thriving Hash House: a cannabis production facility dedicated to the study and creation of fine hashish in all its forms. Along the way, Nick became a father which helped him see his role in a greater light – not just as a business owner but as a guide, teacher, and torch-bearer. His strong focus on building quality products – be it crafted objects, motion graphics, or Sitka® Hashish – is something that Nick not only hopes would make his Lebanese ancestors proud but something to share with his own young son when the time comes from generation to generation and in between you’ll find Nick teaching his apprentices the art and science of hashish, making his own line of Nocino, and Nick palling around on his bike with his son. Oh, and did we mention that he’s an Eagle Scout too?
In 2012 on a rainy night in a dark dive bar in Seattle’s trendy Ballard neighborhood, Sitka™ co-founders Nick Saad and Shawn Richards decided they’ll pool their resources and knowhow to develop hash-infused smokable products true to old world tradition. Sitka Hash House’s™ fully cured handmade hash has the authentic, characteristically cakey texture found across the middle east and Europe. Sitka’s stated goal: Craft hash products with such care that the whole world finds wonder.
Today, Sitka’s products occupy 9 out of the top 10 hashish SKUs in Washington, and in April 2021, Sitka launched its storied Classic Line to serve California, a market also calling for the very best handcrafted, full spectrum, old-world Hashish. A few months later, Sitka’s unique products have sold into 165 California dispensaries.
Sitka™ mixes traditional Middle Eastern Artisanal hashish methodologies with local cannabis farm collaborations, undivided care, and exclusive recipe methods to create products that have incomparable flavor and a richer, brighter finish. The taste of Sitka’s terpene-full hashish has people talking. Taste Hash Mastery.
There was other one other person in the USA that I discovered crafting the real thing… Which is European/Middle Eastern style traditional hash and now he’s gone. RIP Frenchy.
Warren Bobrow has been a dishwasher, the owner of the first company to make fresh pasta in South Carolina , a television engineer and he even worked at Danceteria in NYC, then a trained chef which led to a twenty year career in private banking. A cannabis, wine and travel aficionado, Warren is a former rum judge and craft spirits national brand ambassador. He works full time in the cannabis business as an alchemist/journalist. Cocktailwhisperer.com Drinkklaus.com Instagram: warrenbobrow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Bobrow