Peru Marañón

by Brasstown
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Semi-Dark   (75%)
Strain Nacional   
Source Peru   (Marañón Canyon)
Flavor Twang   
Style retro-American      
A Daily Chocolate Trifecta -- 3 reviews in 1. In this case, an object lesson in the incremental steps involved in optimizing a particular seed lot over the course of 3 separate batches. Aspiring barsmiths… here's a flavor of what it takes:


Novelist, deep thinker, professor, & one-time supporter (R.I.P.) of this site, David Foster Wallace hated overmuch the monstrous maelstrom inside himself. Just read his Consider The Lobster to understand he was already boiled well done to death before he tied the noose around his neck. See what happens… after shopping for a lover, who's at home painting fingernails, at one supermarket too many.

Only months before his final exit, he talked about the hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation of the grocery’s check-out as not only meaningful, but sacred & on fire with the same force that makes the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.

This, he submitted, is the freedom of real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning & what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship – be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the 4 Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles – is that pretty much anything else one worships will eat you alive. If you worship money & things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. Worship the body & beauty & sexual allure & you’ll always feel ugly. And when time & age start showing, you die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, everyone knows this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story.

Moral of this story: worshipping chocolate consumes its consumer. Eats it alive. This site bears witness.
Appearance   3.1 / 5
Color: BATCH A: cool pink
BATCH B: light apricot
BATCH C: pink-red eye (illuminating)
Surface: gee, look what Scruffy the dog brought in
Temper: surly
Snap: a barker
Aroma   7.2 / 10
sap of both tree & sticky drupe fruit
that prevalent almost ubiquitous treacle pervading recent vintages from Northern Peru
fronds & flowers

besotted citrus & sticky resin
whiskey-beer ferment

ATTN Athletes (re: non-poseurs in athleisure wear): Stick-em for Sale… ideal for NFL wide receivers & MLB batters (NBA shooting guards beware -- ball may never get out of your hands)
sticky drupes + treacle resin -> hops flower buds -> fabric (sisal / twine / sweatsocks)
Mouthfeel   12.6 / 15
Texture: smooth with a lone Nib frag
Melt: quickens measurably thru the progression
Flavor   43.2 / 50
direct X-fer of Batch 'A' Aromatics (above) but heavier & tannic in wooden features without the benefits of much floral action (though some to be sure) -> warms & caramelizes to a stem-winding close -> unwelcome strafing astringency on the way down

flittering treacle -> lays some good wood on drupe fruits (apricots / nectarines) -> fuchsia -> dries out granadilla / Vermouth -> background cream -> vanilla -> white-laurel cocoa end

drops down a sisal rope -> bleeds sour treacle -> bletted necs (for nectarines) -> apricot kernels, mineralizes toward dry Vermouth -> modest chocolate vein down the shaft
Quality   15.7 / 20
Rom Still of Brasstown conveys that, for him at least, this is a challenger cacáo. He doesn't think much of his results. He deceives himself, beating himself up too much (OK, maybe Batch A deserves punishment; ditto Batch C). Then, again, the man & his partner in chocolate fanaticism, Barbara Price, strive for perfection.

This Marañón may never satisfy or be to his complete liking because as a cacáo it falls shy of the full Flavor spectrum he crafts to incorporate. So too with almost all cacáos from everywhere / anywhere except for the few like Chuao which Rom absolutely annihilated into chocolate nirvana.

That light roast in Batch A requires deeper refining / conching to curb the bristling volatiles. As is, generally thin, anemic, & limited in all facets of scope / range / depth.

Batch B also presents thin but dynamic, almost sharp top-end material; precious little bottom base in a rather closed-circuit range. In a word, a 'twanger'. Virtually zero CQ or core basal cocoa notes until the very tail. As such, some will find it austere.

Treacle notes so pervasive in several Peruvian-sourced bars (the bane, for instance, of The Chocolate Tree's rendition) threaten here too but instead of dominating & cloying as they often do, Batch B holds its composure, recovers its footing, then moves along to better grazing grounds in the style & profile of Ritual's take on this varietal.

Batch C… pretty unforgiving & a regression of type. The challenges of Peru Nac'l can be manifold beginning with the fermentation of a high ratio of white seeds to purple ones, & extending all the way thru to the aging of the finished chocolate block.

This batch demonstrates the vagaries of micro-processing in gen'l & the mercurial nature of this varietal in particular. Maybe shelving it for 6 months will round it out. As is, very young with rough edges; green & yellow notes. Hi-key & imbalanced.

While short of greatness, these bars nonetheless spotlight a special character cacáo.

Let's hope Rom & Barbara are well-adjusted thru all the toil & that it doesn't eat them alive because, after all, it's the chocolate that should be eaten.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed March 18, 2014


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