I have been waiting for this. Papua New Guinea is sort of a favorite region for me. Each bar I have had using beans from this region never fails to produce something cool and drastically different from one bar to the next. I wouldn't say my experience with this region is vast by any means, but it's something I generally look forward to.
Solid packaging from the mast brothers. I like this wrapper and I think it's fitting for how this bar smells and tastes. That might sound strange, but wait until you read about the descriptions I picked up from this bar.
This is a different bar indeed using post fermentation smoking techniques.
After harvest, these beans are uniquely smoked. This post-fermentation process imparts incredible flavor; think hickory smoked bacon and aged scotch.
This is definitely a smoked bar of chocolate and one for the bacon lovers without having any actual bacon in it.
Papua New Guinea 71%
Type: Bittersweet, 71%
Bean Varietal: Unknown, probably Trinitario.
Ingredients: Cacao and cane sugar.
Sample Size: 2.5 oz
Batch #: 22081211
Appearance: Deep dark brown color, shiny top surface, simple non-monogrammed molding, scratches, nicks, and particle crumbs on the surface.
Snap: Nice snap, firm, crisp sound, clean break lines.
Aroma: Very big and bold aroma. Intense smoke, savory, hickory, bacon, tobacco, char, fruity, esters, potting soil, earthy, musty, dirt, pen ink, slightly astringent, and not to be influenced by the packaging, there is an aged scotch aroma.
Taste: Smoky, savory and bacon-y, pen ink, deeply rich and cocoa-y, fruity, fresh green tobacco, coffee notes, cereal grains, leather, tea flavors, robust and deeply bitter, acidic and mildly astringent, robust wood flavors, strange hints of kiwi.
Texture: Soft and creamy with a medium-fast melt time. Gritty grainy texture.
This bar was all over the place but really good! I opened this bar without realizing the beans were smoked after fermentation. It is every thing described on the package and more. Big huge smoke flavors, very savory and bacon-y. And then it sort of bounces around, fruity tart and astringent kiwi flavors, coffee, leather, grains, and tea flavors. It's very bold and bitter, and it does have that what is becoming a Mast Brothers signature hallmark of acidity and astringency. However, in this bar, those characteristics or flaws depending on how you look at it, don't really make this bar unpleasant. But it shouldn't be ignored that the Bro's really need to get on top of their game and refine these bars better. This bar just happens to have so much going on that certain flavors don't really interfere with one and other.
This is a vegan's dream right here. No meat in this bar at all, but the flavors have such a nice savory bacon flavor. The aroma has scotch on it, but it's not in the flavor. The Kiwi's, as odd as this may sound, almost lend to more of a mezcal flavor coupled with the smoked flavors.
Great snap on this bar, marred surface, but still a residual glossy shine on it's surface, and another mixed bag on the texture. I swear their bars didn't used to be as grainy as this. They are soft and melt great on the tongue, but the overly large particle sizes might be what is giving way to the astringency and acidity issues. Taza has this same problem but times ten. I have been at the factory and have had freshly made bars. I think once the bars are made they are smoother and less astringent. But once they have aged, they tend to sour a bit.
Whatever the technical flaws are on this bar, it doesn't manage to take away from how good and strongly flavored this bar is. Savory bacon and smoky mezcal makes for a big winner. This would pair awesome with beer. Rich deep and robust stouts or brown ales like a Munich Dunkel. But not smoked beers. Let the smoke on this infuse with the beer.
Final Score: 92.2