Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (81%)
Strain Criollo   (some in its gene pool)
Source Venezuela   (Patanemo)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   (Earthen too)
Style Classic      
The Mast Bros vibe with a certain raditude hanging in the Federally-occupied zone of Brooklyn USA, in a spot called Williamsburg... just a few ‘hoods away from Spike Lee’s Bed-Stuy 4-Acres-&-a-Mule joint. A deceptively lazy operation tucked amidst the unassuming but posh-shops of North 3rd Street. Congruent if not exactly like a Venzy neighborhood known around Caracas as 23 de Enero, a barrio whose name refers to January 23, 1958 -- the date that commemorates the toppling of military dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez.

UC Berkeley’s Ciccariello-Maher calls 23 de Enero a bastion of “alternative sovereignty” beyond the control of the state. “The neighborhood & movements it nurtures represent both the laboratory & spearhead of the Bolivarian Revolution ... It is in 23 de Enero that the most radical forces are located.” show more »
Appearance   3.7 / 5
Color: just a shade lighter than dark brown
Surface: flawlessly clean fingerprint blotter on the front but Rick & Mike Mast booked for grease splatter on the back
Temper: cold-wax polish
Snap: splinky
Aroma   7.9 / 10
sounds unappetizing but nicely rhymes together: shellaced wood-plaque in a jute sack tied by leather straps -> dooky + sour milk at the bottom -> sends up spices ‘n herbs along the breakwall -> bubble-butter yum w/ only a side glance of cocoa
Mouthfeel   12.6 / 15
Texture: dry, then fat
Melt: labors as long as a Chavez lecture... ultimately voluptuous (how’d he do that?)
Flavor   46.8 / 50
chocolate bang w/ cinnamon shadowing the entire length -> dissipates cocoa-powdered macadamias & settles into a cream faction w/ under-riding bitter from some palm nuts in potted soil -> rich savored compound (wood [Albizea saman] / mushroom [black truffle] / fruit [abiu]) -> light braziered brownie-fudge mix w/ almond -> goes down chocolate-flavored soft serve
Quality   17.4 / 20
Masts going Rogue / Zotter-like – off the grid. Sourced from 3 old farms in Patanemo, the most western of Venezuela’s famed northern coastal valleys (Chuao, Choroni, Cuyagua, et. al.) under the influence of Puerto Cabello before the topography shifts toward the Lake Maracaibo region still farther to the west. An area that shapes up as the Wisconsin or Vermont of cacáo – a dairyland of analogue flavors. Throw in some characteristic nut-notes & this reflects Cabello’s reputation of an ice-cream cone dipped in chopped-nuts.

Also 3 distinct peaks (beginning, middle & end) & in between each a little bit melancholic overall; not depressed per se, just worrisome & dejected, the life force dimmed into meekness & humbled. None of the flounce of Bonnat’s lighter 75% from the same general area. In character with the Mast Bros themselves: unflappable if unexcitable too. But what peaks. And all’s well by the finish line as it confidently wraps on that soft-whipped ice cream. Similarly the Texture, which miraculously self-corrects & swells to an addled lecithin-dimension - though without any added emulsifier - as cacáo’s natural fat packs on the pounds.

Yet one of the leanest Mast’s to date, without any makeup, just cocoa & sugar. The profile partially developed in a DeVriesian mode via aging (for a few weeks to a couple months, plus whatever duration it sits on the store shelf) & the balance during a 5 or so day ferment then touching it fairly hot on the roast.

The Bros pitch this at just about the right percentage. Any higher would threaten the even-calm, & potentially unhinge the inherent bitterness lurking about, to sink this into the abyss.

A welcome member of the 80% class.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar

Reviewed December 2010


Pin It on Pinterest