Origin: Papua New Guinea
In the past years, I have described this origin as hickory smoked bacon, but this years crop is MUCH lighter on the smoke notes. In this particular crop this smoke aroma is almost non-existent.
Now, there is more to this than just smoke. There is a nice balance of piquant acidity and base notes. It is piquant like a good Mexican tomatillo sauce. Nothing really jumps out at you, but there is a good base of chocolate flavor layered with a little dried leather, a slight savoriness and just enough acidity to bring it all together. This bean is fully fermented, so you don‰۪t have to worry about under fermented acidity.
It is the traditional practice to fire dry the cocoa beans in Papua New Guinea, and when that is done, the beans can pick up a hint (or sometimes more than a hint) of smoke or peat flavor. A lot of people in the chocolate industry find this to be a flaw. I think if you smoke dry a bad bean to cover poor quality, that is one thing, but smoke for the sake of smoke is not in my opinion a flaw. There are smoked meats, and cheeses and what comes to mind for me ‰ÛÒ Scotch.
It roasts a lot like the Ghana Forastero, pretty hot and moderately long. Maybe 325 F for 20 minutes. I am not sure everyone will appreciate the piquant notes of this bean as a single origin chocolate, but it will blend in really well for another layer if you want to do a blend. I like it as a single origin, but like drinking Scotch, you don‰۪t drink pints. A couple pieces (or a tumbler) and that is that. But you go away content.