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JAMAICA:
Bachelor's Hall
St. Thomas Parish

by Soma
Info Details
Country Canada   
Type Semi-Dark   (70%)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Jamaica   (St. Thomas Parish; Bachelor's Hall Estate)
Flavor Naked   (butter [Batch Hall; Fruits/Flowers [St. Thomas])
Style Mainstream      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
UPDATED / UPGRADED REVIEW: The following review features Soma's Bachelor Hall from 2014 & its St. Thomas Parish in 2016 (name change but the same Jamaican estate). Overall rating & metrics at upper right reflect most recent bar only.
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In 1936, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston studied the black arts of Obeah in Jamaica. There she attended numerous secret ceremonies.

Jamaicans believe that dupes (spirits of the dead) live mostly in trees, mainly silk cotton & almond trees (though Theobroma cacáo might also serve as habitat). For that reason neither tree should be planted too close to the house because the duppies who live in them will "throw heat" on the people as they come & go.

Duppies engage in mischief & often hurt the living such that medicinal cures (including "balm baths") must be sought from local healers who serve as both doctor & priest.

Hurston recounts a "9 night" ceremony (so named because it lasts 9 nights), which takes place after a person dies: "It all stems from the firm belief in survival after death. Or rather that there is no death. Activities are merely changed from one condition to the other. One old man smoking jackass rope tobacco said to me in explanation: 'One day you see a man walking the road, the next day you come to his yard & find him dead. Him don't walk, him don't talk again. He is still & silent & does none of the things that he used to do. But you look upon him & you see that he has all the parts that the living have. Why is it that he cannot do what the living do? It is because the thing that gave power to these parts is no longer there. That is the duppy... So we make nine night to force the duppy to stay in his grave.'"

The first of this duo bar set contains enough cocoa butter to suffer from what Jamaicans diagnose as Boasin Tone -- or a swollen scrotum syndrome (Triple S for short) -- to turn this chocolate into a fat duppy.

The second revives the poor slab & colors up a flaming redhead.
Appearance   3.9 / 5
Color: Bachelor's Hall: light purple hue
St. Thomas Parish: golden champagne-rosé
Surface: other than adhered bits, clean
Temper: recessed
Snap: deep plunk
Aroma   8.2 / 10
Bachelor's Hall
malted cereal meets cured prosciutto (extremely fine sliced)
intriguing peppermint dot
soils down into woods ear mushroom

St. Thomas Parish
peanut bush (so to speak), berry gush, & some 'durty' cocoa -> add jerk môlé for good measure
Mouthfeel   13.3 / 15
Texture: butta
Melt: slip slide
Flavor   44.8 / 50
Bachelor's Hall
(very) gradual developer
butter wax -> barley malt syrup -> cocoa -> sweetsop aka sugar-apple whose flesh approximates custard -> tapioca -> malted cereal grains leftover from the Aromatics as this hits mid stride -> side cut of that prosciutto -> wondrous juniper butter -> finishes with a reddish dirt berry (so much promise) -> canned peach syrup in the aft-linger

St. Thomas Parish
hot berry mess (rasp, huckle) over medium-strength cocoa bed -> turns to jam with pectin punch -> mellows (somewhat) on cashew -> brownies out
Quality   17.6 / 20
Bachelor's Hall

Underwhelming… on the verge of feeble & feckless.

Soma, usually on point with its tasting notes, insists "strong notes of ripe raspberries & wildflower honey" (click image upper right to enlarge). An overstatement as Jamaican cacáo rarely exerts such strength; just the opposite, it mostly reclines on the ultra-delicate side.

Though this bar acquires interest by the tail end, it requires patience during a lengthy meltdown larded with too much cocoa butter freight that obstruct Jamaica's ever-subtle flavor compounds. They're there… choked but short of an all-out strangulation since some of them peep thru every now & then. Repeat tastings are therefore advisable.

Cacáo fermented & solar-dried on site at Bachelor's Hall Estate.

St. Thomas Parish

Same estate & broman as the bar above. After there the twain diverge.... huge difference in flavor outcomes. A few years on & Soma ups its game further in really calibrating the cacáo herein. This as if brand new & super-improved.

Not since the days of Coppeneur's Trinidad has a red berry rung up a chocolate bar so hard. Pretty 2-dimensional but what dimensions.

Talk about a sweet-spot. Sharing this'll get you laid. And of the kind you'll most definitely want to lay.

Sensational in a pointed way.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed January 8, 2014
Revised August 25, 2016

  

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