Whenever I go to the U.S. I like to pick up a bar of Mast Brothers chocolate if I can; I know Paul A Young stocks them in his London store but since I'm probably in America more than I am in London that's where I normally get mine from!
I do like my milk chocolate but when the mood strikes I am extremely partial to a good bar of high quality dark chocolate & this is exactly what Mast Brothers provide. I picked up the most interesting bar I could find on my travels - a Limited Reserve 71% Vanilla & Smoke bar with smoked cacao beans from Papua, New Guinea and Bourbon vanilla bean from Madagascar that is solely ground into the bar over a period of days. Even reading the description it sounds exquisite.
This bar is intense - you can definitely taste the smoky flavour; however not in the way I was expecting. I was kind of expecting a smoky bbq style flavour; not savoury but kind of more down that road. Instead this bar is much more of a strong tobacco style smoke flavour; as one of my family put it (who doesn't like dark chocolate) "it's like eating a piece of tobacco".
It's pretty robust starting with a strong tobacco/coffee flavour and has an extremely "masculine" style flavour reminiscent of cacao from Papua, New Guinea. This strong flavour hovers at the back of your throat whilst the fruitier, lighter vanilla flavours hover round the front of your palate on the tip of your tongue; meaning that although the bar is pretty strong it is well balanced in the sense that you do get some acidity from it.
As all of Mast Brothers bar they are elegant and unassuming in their appearance; sleek ornately designed packaging with a gorgeous foil wrapping that enrobes the chocolate bar. The bar has obviously been tempered and executed to a very high standard with a smooth shiny finish and a gorgeous snap.
My only problem was that to my personal preference this isn't the type of bar I would go far; I prefer lighter dark chocolate bars and this one was just too deep/intense for my liking.
Taste - 7.2/10- Deep, intense, strong tobacco flavours but well balanced from the lighter fruit flavours from the vanilla - however I still found it too deep.
Texture - 8.5/10 - Smooth good creamy melt.
Appearance - 8.9/10 - Elegant and sophisticated packaging.
Price - 6.5/10 - I paid around $10 for this bar; I kind of wish I'd bought a different one of theirs now.
Overall - 7.8/10 - A well executed bar but not to my liking.
WHO FOR?Deep, robust chocolate lovers.
WHERE TO BUY?
With this bar being Limited Reserve I'm not sure whether you'll still be able to buy it; but you can buy various other bars from Mast Brothers website or Paul A Young's shop in London.