Info Details
Country Ecuador   
Type Semi-Dark   (60%)
Strain Esmeraldas   
Source Ecuador   
Flavor Twang   (in a weird Crossover)
Style Rustic      
The stuff songs are written about. Just swap out Desperado for Esmeraldas - the phrasing fits the lyric to the syllable. No queen of hearts here with this desert bandit, which for the most part flees away from core chocolate flavor... losing all the highs & lows foxtrotting with the devil.
Appearance   3.7 / 5
overall humility
Color: bit of a departure for an Esma: dense red-brick brown
Surface: clean slate up front; major drapes & paisley out back
Temper: softly uneven shellac
Snap: plunk as a limp tootsie roll; splintery unfinished edge
Aroma   7.8 / 10
freak noseful of malted hops & sourdough from a distance; dry white wood (laurel / bamboo) & cactus (dragon fruit, agave, peyote, & pear) on the deeper inhale; + Esmeraldas spice pinch; generally desert action (strange considering Esmeraldas nickname: the "Green Province" of Ecuador) except for banana & wild honey on the rubdown; all testament to a highly unprocessed bar
Mouthfeel   13.1 / 15
Texture: soft, fudge-like; full-bodied... packs on the love-handles w/ great reach-around; so unctuous it feels more of oil than of sunflower lecithin
Melt: unlike M&Ms, starts melting instantly in the hands; hyper-smooth & round
Flavor   33.6 / 50
bangs right out banana against a relatively unrefined, almost raw cocoa damaging itself w/ aggressive tannins underneath -> agave syrup the spur to semi-sweet spice counter (mace / nutmeg) -> spicey fig & its pips, where things start getting a little prickly... porcupine... armadillo... lightly distilled alcohol vapor-rub on a faint white flower (tuberose & tagetes) outlining an even dimmer red fruit (dragon fruit & cactus pear) -> peppery haul to the finish
Quality   15.3 / 20
Deprived & dysfunctional. Puzzling how most in-country manufacturers elect high-sugar content with Esmeraldas, despite benign genetics & credentials (witness Domori's similarly 'low-impact processing' at 75%), perhaps mistaking that its resident spice notes will grate on the gringo. Given Pacari's rather unprocessed approach (its name aptly means 'natural' in Quechua), more sugar is warranted however. At least Gianluca Franzoni (aka Mack Domori) roasts (however minimally) & moderates the ferments by balancing out the flavor mainly thru conching. Pacari, conversely, prefers closer to midpoint ferment, hardly any roast at all, a lo-light conche (albeit of some duration more than non-conching TAZA), then relies on sunflower lecithin to provide textural body weight for what might be dubbed Indigenous Processing (IP).

Credit Pacari for thinking outside the bar - by breaking it... & still this holds up surprisingly well & shows just what a rose-in-the-ghetto Esmeraldas could be.


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