Info Details
Country UK   
Type Dark   (70%)
Strain CCN-51   
Source Peru   (San Martin)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Neo-Modern      
'Peruvian 70' ain’t quite got the ring of Apotequil Peru 72, just the sound of that wants to party like it’s right before, well, 1970... when the Ancash Earthquake -- epicenter just southwest of San Martin where the cacáo in this bar grows -- rocked the whole place, tearing buildings down & sending houses tumbling like so much cheap jewelry in the ensuing mudslides. 45 nerve-rattling seconds later, tens of thousands lay dead in its tracks. So many that the Peruvian government forbids excavation of the damaged areas where victims perished & remain haphazardly buried, declaring it a national cemetery.

The catastrophe coincided with another earth-shattering development to roil the Peru countryside: the rise of Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path aka PCP for Partido Comunista del Perú), a band of Maoist guerrillas. They imprisoned captives to work the coca fields, financed a nationwide insurgency thru the fruits of that labor, & marauded across the land under their motto ‘We’ve a Right to Rebel’ in a deadly variant of the Beastie Boys’ You’ve Got to Fight for Your Right to Party... without music & alcohol naturally, or any celebrations whatsoever... all of which were severely restricted by this Mohammad-free Taliban.

In response, the central government, which could barely provide social services in good times let alone emergency relief during natural disasters, managed to unleash their own police thugs on the populous (Grupo Colina & the aptly named SIN for Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional) in a cyclical downward spiral of ruthless violence; ugly & hideous beyond disbelief. Favorite tactics included strangulation, slits throats & being cremated alive.

Meanwhile, indigenous cacáo groves around San Martin experienced their own kind of assault. The agricultural ministry with backing from int’l aid agencies, NGOs, & U.S. DEA officers conducted both eradication campaigns against narcotic plants & propagation programs of trade commodities (such as cocoa) to convert campesinos from growing one for the other. This counter-insurgent strategy called for sending in the clones – specifically a battalion of CCN-51 from, strangely, neighboring archrival Ecuador.

The ploy worked, up to a point. Drug trafficking still proves more lucrative than candy manufacturing but the clones have come to dominate the landscape. Estimates runs as high as 80%. Just as the Sendero have been largely suppressed, so too the original cacáo stands, replaced by CCN-51 – the reactionary force of the entire species.

Perhaps fitting & in keeping with San Martin... named after the Peruvian saint from Porres who cared for the sick, the poor, & the enslaved. Seeing how he himself was of mixed blood, St. Martin de Porres stood for interracial justice.

So have a heart for those in need, especially a misguided clone.
Appearance   4.1 / 5
Color: dark bark
Surface: chip off the old block: flakes, crumbs, whorls & swirls
Temper: semi-gloss in a semi-dull way
Snap: bullet proof
Aroma   7.8 / 10
strangely caramelized for Peru (with peanuts), under a wood pile -> curare & tobacco on the break
Mouthfeel   11.6 / 15
Texture: powder; dry cotton mouth
Melt: stiff fat / hard butter
Flavor   40.9 / 50
Aroma encapsulates the taste well: cocoa -> dirty red spot (raspberry to cocona) -> coffee -> bark -> licorice -> roasted peanut -> cardboard -> peters into some grains (rice / cassava) -> more peanuts & coffee -> ends on an Amazon grape drowned in muddy cocoa
Quality   14.7 / 20
Hi-brow start dashed by lowbrow finish. In between it’s all... well, predictably middlebrow.

Talk of every which processing method (convection oven or drum roaster, ball vs. roller mill, dry or wet conche, etc.) becomes meaningless unless the bean itself measures up.

Compromised seed stock = likewise chocolate.

This simply lacks character.

The wrapper waxes on in ironic English about “forgotten flavours”. Truly the land around San Martin suffers from amnesia. Following the river north to Marañón Canyon will help it to rediscover the memory of the chocolate gods where origin cacáo still resides.

The good Bromans (growers) in San Martin did their best. Ditto Willie. Chalk ‘em up as more CCN-51 victims.

Long standing reports continue to circulate – issued mainly from the mouths of the very geneticists in on the engineering -- of a “new & improved CCN”.

How long can one hold their breath before asphyxiation sets in?

ING: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, raw Cuban cane sugar

Reviewed July 12, 2011


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