Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (81%; Batch #11200511)
Strain Chuao   
Source Venezuela   (Chuao Valley)
Flavor Twang   (with Crossovers)
Style retro-American      
Nothing half-Mast nor in mourning after this drops victims dead in their tracks, floored by the heaviest – at 81% -- Chuao yet to hit the marketplace & Pals (for palates) everywhere.

Hoisting the flavor-flags high & just killing ‘em.

In Bros we trust.
Appearance   4.4 / 5
Color: light for the 80% class, though a rich mahogany
Surface: could use add’l vibration: subterranean bubbles all over it
Temper: varnished
Snap: thin mold / gentle conche yield a meek voice along a crumbled edge
Aroma   9.2 / 10
that Chuao multiplex... aromavision, not IMAX’d (light roast sees to that) just wide-screened: blue dried fruit -> musk (brown & sweaty) -> green vineyards (woods included) -> white pastry dough (cinnamon extra) to very lightly-toasted 'n bronzed bread crumbs to rekindle scents of Bonnat’s or Amedei’s Porcelana
Mouthfeel   12.3 / 15
Texture: greasy
Melt: evenly paced
Flavor   48.6 / 50
blueberry – chocolate - strawberry in rapid succession -> wooden counter both anchors the tannins & brightens the acidity of some considerable citric-tang -> a little tell-tale Chuao molasses checked in butter which also doubles up to curb overall volatiles -> gorgeous olive leaf, then purslane (Masts say ‘lemongrass’ & definitely some llanos savannah in here + guarana... think Araguany bark replete with quercitin for that bitter-sour tea) layered atop alcohol from all the now-vaporized citrus for a plum brandy dropped with slightly bitter apricot kernal & orange seed (stunning developments) -> goes down tonka (hay / almond / rum & vanilla all)
Quality   18.6 / 20
Chuao unshackled. The Bros so revere the intimadating reputation of this cultivar that it swallows their egos whole. Practically nowhere to be found, yet, paradoxically they’re all over it... as in everywhere.

Very light-handed technique (a flickering roast matched by a languid conche) leaves it up to the cacáo + a quintile of sugar. And very much in line with the new retro-American tradition; distilling so much spirit to draw parallels to Askinosie’s Tenede sourced from the other side of the globe... a pervading style that ironically narrows the gap between these two origins.

So while this becomes non-Chuao in some respects (or at a minimum unorthodox) & in keeping with the Mast's Chuao Suite (comprised also of the 76% and 70%), it stays rooted on account that Chuao stands in general for singularity. That heretofore unencountered back-stretch -- marked by the phenomenal progression from the olive leaf thru to the orange seed – once more guarantees its unique place among all cacáos & stamp this bar as the genuine article.

The Mast Bros own tasting notes are instructive here. The fact that they can be duplicated from batch-to-batch (no mean feat in artisan chocolate) point to a promising potential: seed consistency & technical proficiency, which would benefit both the label & the wider boutique niche.

Craft chocolate by its very nature encompasses variability (seasonal, seed lots, batches, etc.). The more venturesome embrace it, fully aware of the downside hazards. At least this development could reduce the maddening levels of erratic product.

Arguably the boldest of Chuaos.


ING: cocoa, sugar

Reviewed July 15, 2011


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