Smoke Monster Vanuatu

by Soma
Info Details
Country Canada   
Type Dark   
Strain Amazon   
Source Vanuatu   
Flavor Crossover   (Naked x Spices/Herbs x Fruits/Flowers)
Style Industrial      (neo-Industrial)
Very few barsmiths (like less than 2) who live outside of Oceania dare venture into it other than to the safe & over-exposed Madagascar or the Americans tromping around Hawai'i. The rest of the islands in the world's largest ocean might as well be submerged. Places like Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands. Or Vanuatu.

And perhaps for good reason.

Most of these atolls amount to just charnel houses -- gassed up, tainted cocoa on account of smoke-drying their cocoa nuts thru mechanical means in the post-harvest. The results: often catastrophic.
Appearance   3.8 / 5
Color: Poe's raven
Surface: alveoli all over
Temper: got its fappy shining morning face on
Snap: a crack head
Aroma   7.1 / 10
roasted pepper, grilled veg, & baked raisin bread -- damn intriguing (to use a term that might soon land on the C-spot's® LIst of Banned Word) until, check that, this bar rears its grisly breath on a burning tire of black raisin compounded with rubber which more typifies Vanuatu
Mouthfeel   12.9 / 15
Texture: sacrosanct relative to this bar's other features
Melt: temperate
Flavor   43.6 / 50
light-spiced chocolate (cinnamon-sassafras) -> Brazil nut onto clean rubber -> mild outgassing (creosote… the petrol equivalent of "green banana" euphemistically standing-in for astringency) -> herbaceous tone preceding more burnt character which smokes up the joint -> rare fruit play for the origin (papaya)... unawares or ignores the fire alarm to get out -> custard pudding -> streaming chocolate mixed in with kava -> "green banana"
Quality   16.4 / 20
David & Cynthia Castellan of Soma try their hand at what they affectionately dub The Smoke Monster. Similar to Fenway's Green Monster, it takes a helluva heave to jack one out of the park. This bar almost makes it all the way over but planks pretty hard against that fire wall known as Vanuatu cocoa. However, in a high-wire, tight-rope act it straddles the pitfalls as Soma tames the flames admirably.

The propane, wood, or whatever fuel the islanders use in the kilns receive some skilled processing that nearly pulls off a sleight-of hand maneuver to fold it into the Flavor as a trait rather than a taint. How? By resisting the impulse to roast the gas out which only compounds problems & instead kneading as much of it out as possible in the refining stage without sacrificing the positive volatiles. Valiant; yet nonetheless the petro-chems eventually obscure & then occlude flavor tags... but only after a sweet, unpolluted start.

As such, a Vanuatu of shockingly diverse range. When, for instance, was the last time anyone detected fruit notes in a chocolate from there? Forget that, when was the first time? Well, the very first & almost only time -- Pralus'. 'til now.

A noble save for Soma out of the bullpen.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed May 2, 2014


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