Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (71%; Batch 260412)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Papua New Guinea   
Flavor Earthen   
Style Industrial      
This the parental driver to that collision course of a bar called Mast Bros Vanilla & Smoke.

Huh, the Masts driving in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn USA? The only thing more reprehensible in the land of vegans & bike paths would be a food truck selling piglets on a stick.

Yep, 2 Bros & one Guinea pig of cocoa in a spit-roast.
Appearance   3.2 / 5
Color: singed maroon
Surface: distressed & weary (flakes, chips, bubbling, skid marks)
Temper: volatile
Snap: downcast
Aroma   5.9 / 10
foodies & nubies get ready to salivate: "yummilicious, smoked bacon"

seasoned translation: burning tire tread on cement pavement (a hi-speed blowout, a necktie lynching of a pig or, now that OWS has been evicted, just Occupy Chocolat?)
Mouthfeel   7 / 15
Texture: weirding -- swine never felt so powderful except for the tail where it turns toward thick 'n chewy pig-anus
Melt: gum / tar, as if granny yanked the dentures out with lots of adhesive still sticking to the gum-line
Flavor   42.7 / 50
that petrochem bath in the Aroma lights up some incense (patchouli), then brief fruit (champedak) covered over in heavy leather -> fuming peat & pine cones & the smoke-out is officially 'on' -> ham with mushrooms -> the flickering aforementioned fruit sinks into an ash-phalt tar-pit -> coffee & more mol-ash-es
Quality   12.5 / 20
A smoked Guinea pig.

PNG suffers from generally damp climate conditions, less than ideal for removing moisture from just-fermented cacáo seeds. So instead of being laid out to dry in the open air sun, these endured forced mechanical smoke drying (& apparently uncontrolled at that).

A similar problem plagued Amano's Morobe. Much to his credit, Art Pollard of Amano carefully gauges his cocoa nuts, however prone they may be, to pinpoint their optimal flavor tags. Once he fully understood the futility of his efforts with respect to this allotment from PNG, he could've, facetiously speaking, put them up for reverse auction & paid any opportunistic barsmith to take them off his hands.

So how do the Masts make the best of a fraught situation?

With their Vanilla & Smoke bar (also from PNG), the Bros attempted to cover-up the crime-scene with vanilla spice. Some choconnoisseurs believe that here the Masts go for the instant scratch lotto. They give it the bare minimum in processing (basically pre-roasted in PNG so no need for much more of that at the factory; Texture indicates a quick conch-job; just slap on a crooked label with equal haste to kick 'em out the door -- click image at upper right to enlarge).

Generations ago, Hershey's® reacted to one round after another of spiraling commodity costs that put pressure on the nickel candy bar by shrinking the size of the product until it got so small that the board of directors wondered aloud whether it'd be possible to sell a wrapper with nothing inside. Mars® proved this could be partially accomplished when it managed to maintain the size if not the weight of the Milk Way® by pumping air into it. Hershey's® however shrank from going all-in, resisting the temptation to test the economics of charging for emptiness.

The Masts might trump them both because bars like this stand for little but pretty retro-wallpaper wrappers. Let's do the math: at roughly $10 a square foot per bar, such paper suits the luxury market fine compared to what can be had for a lot less from Martha Stewart @ Staples. Profit margins indeed that Hershey's® & Mars® could drivel & drool over.

In addition to selling wallpaper, the Bros can dance figure-8s with PR. From their liner notes: "incredible flavor: think hickory-smoked bacon and aged scotch". (Reading between the lines: a leaky propane tank fixed with Scotch Tape® [see Mouthfeel above]).

Technical flaws aside, this bar tastes OK -- really, especially for the unsuspecting -- if for all the wrong reasons. (Alright, apologists enamored with the Bros are either in denial or ignorant.)

And that's what makes it all so precious, not to mention emotionally conflictive.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa, sugar

Reviewed June 11, 2012


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