Chefs NEW Super Concentrate testing
Super huge thanks out to Leah @Chefs_Flavours for sending out these BRAND NEW Super Concentrates under the Chefs label. These are BRAND NEW, and no information was available, but their website suggests mixing rates of 0.2-0.5%. Going to mix these all at the higher end of 1.5%, after at least a 1.5 week steep to allow me to get through the recent new FA flavors on deck.
I had considered adding this entire run to the original Chef's Flavors Tasting Notes thread, but those flavors were being used at 20-30% ?? !!! Clearly these brand new flavors appear to be Super Concentrates, and hence their own, new area. All tested at 1.5%, 70/30, using the beloved SteamCrave RDTA v.1, with fresh cotton and burned coils between all tests.
MIXING NOW !!!!
**Apple (Toffee Apple) (CSC) 1.5% (6-11-21)** -- First one on deck from Chef's. My very first thoughts were, this was one of the better green/red apple flavors I have tried. Nicely acidic, with a perfect mix of sweet and tart. At 1.5% it felt really good, and in no way hitting the ceiling. The toffee was much lower in the mix, and some times almost avoided detection. You could tell it was there, as it was more complex than just a simple green apple. For my tastes, I would have preferred more toffee, but as it would, that portion of this flavor was fairly low in the overall mix. The apple continued to present as fresh till the end of the tank, and it never grew fatiguing. Even with the very low toffee notes, this one stayed interesting, fresh, and tasty. Take offs only for the low toffee notes. Felt really good and freshly green @ **8.1/10**.
**Biscuit (Speculoos) (CSC) 1.5% (6-12-21)** -- Living in the US, we have a much different meaning for "biscuit", than across the pond where it is more of a cookie. A Speculoos Biscuit is actually a spiced biscuit (cookie), and man was it good. Regardless on which side of the pond you reside, my tastebuds nailed this as an almost pumpkin spiced cookie, WITHOUT the pumpkin. The ingredients appear to vary from country to country, but seeing repeated mentions of *cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, ginger and clove,* yup, yup, yup. With this little gem floating in between an almost pumpkin spiced, to an almost gingerbread spiced cookie (biscuit), it was a TREAT. At 1.5% it was perfect, and was fairly complex with all of the spice elements floating around, with none taking center stage. You could EASILY push/pull this DIRECTLY into a full on pumpkin spiced, or a gingerbread by adding one or the other, but as it stood, a VERY good flavor. During the testing, I had to FIGHT the urge to run to the rack, and grab some FLV Frosting, or LA Cream Cheese Icing. Wow, if you like, want, or need a spiced cookie (biscuit), this one WILL get it done. Nothing off putting, and the fact that the spices continued to shift, and morph around, it stayed interesting throughout. I went into this flavor expecting a Bisquik type biscuit, but found a deliciously complex spiced cookie instead. Complex-edly set at a **9.8/10**.
**Blackberry (CSC) 0.25% (6-19-21)** -- OK, this one was STRONG. Started out at 1.5%, 0.75%, and 0.50% and it folded over on itself, and went full soapy. Reduced to 0.25%, re-steeped, and it can NOW be evaluated. Even at this much reduced weight, the blackberry was still present, and just at the very end, I will still getting that off, soapy note. VERY reduced, and almost undetectable but still there. The blackberry itself was a mid to dark berry, that had some nice sweetness and a tart bite at the end. An actual sparkly blackberry of sorts. Because I reduced to 0.25% and I was still getting a lil' soap, you will have to use caution when using this, and it will have to be used very low. As it stood, at the lower 0.25% rate, with the plusses and minuses, felt fair @ **5/10**.
**Blueberry Cheesecake (CSC) 1.5% (5-12-21)** -- Yum, yum, yum. I have a Blueberry Cheesecake as one of my ADV's, so any BBC will have a hard road to plow with me. This one was yummy right at the start. Creamy cheesecake, crust, and some blueberry. The cheesecake was velvety smooth, with no sharp cheese notes, and the graham cracker crust reminded me of TPA's CGC. The BB was more recessed in the mix, and harder to nail down, but the bits I got seemed to a a Wild/Fresh mix. You could easily push the BB with your BB of choice. At 1.5% it was full, and plenty creamy, and I could find nothing out of place. At almost mid-level sweetness, and only minor takeoffs for a slightly recessed blueberry, it was hard to fault this one. Solidly placing it at **9.2/10**.
**Cake (Sponge Cake) (CSC) 1.5% (6-13-21)** -- Classic sponge cake isn't overly complicated, with eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, and sugar, but I've found it harder to reproduce as a flavor. Chef's did a pretty good job doing it however. All of the profiles here combined to a pretty realistic sponge cake. At times I almost got a hint of AP, but, it was subdued and in no way detracted from the delicious cake. About mid level sweet, and tasting fine at 1.5%, this one was a blank slate with which you could easily push it up with some strawberry, and/or whip cream, and really let it shine. As it stood, pretty convincing with no off-notes, and as exciting as a sponge cake it, they pretty much nailed it. If you're needing a cake, that's spongy, this one should be on your rack. Easily **9/10**.
**Cereals (CSC) 1.5% (6-13-21)** -- A generic cereal base, would be what best sums this one up. Nothing fancy, nothing stand out, and fairly neutral cereal-ish base. Got a few of the same notes here from their Sponge Cake, but in far reduced amounts. Hints of AP, and no real grainy-ness to speak of. Didn't feel heavy @ 1.5%, and nothing off-putting to be found here. Could easily be used as a "baser" and tweaked as needed. Minor take-offs for some missing grains, but overall, was an effective cereal base. Felt good at **6.5/10**.
**Coconut Macaroons (CSC) 1.5% (6-13-21)** -- Many people don't actually even know what's IN a Coconut Macaroon, and they're not complicated. Coconut, sweetened condensed milk, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Did Chef's nail this flavor ?? YES !!! ---END of REVIEW----. Kidding. Wow, talk about an IMPACT from merely 1.5% of a flavor, this one has it, and it's great. I think many times, peoples tastes regarding coconuts vary wildly, so keep that in mind any time you read a review of coconut flavors. For my tastes, this one had a perfect pairing of both a creamy-ish coconut, and almost a raw coconut. A tick above mid-level sweet, with a super delicious sweetened creamy back end. The coconut had no "greasy-ees", or "oily-ees", and at the very end it finished with a nice astringent, acidic note, which really carried the entire flavor home. Had the coconut been purely creamy, this wouldn't have been there, and it WOULD have been missed. Tasting this flavor, really had a beginning, middle, and end. Quite interesting, and super delicious, and despite emptying two testers, I could find NO fault with this one. If you like coconut, this one might just end up on your short list. Unquestionably **9.8/10**.
**Crazy Rainbow (CSC) 1.5% (6-13-21)** -- As a general rule, I do not use any cooling agents, and despite trying them all, have never enjoyed them. This is a disclaimer, as this flavor HAS cooling in it, so please keep this in mind. It's a shame, because the flavor(s) are actually quite good, BUT, if you are an anti-cooler like me, the cooling can just get in the way. I would wish that Chef's would carry this exact flavor, but without the cooling as an option. As far AS the flavor/profiles, they're actually quite good, but somewhat obscured from me due to the aforementioned. I checked Chef's product page, and didn't see any mention of the cooling but they billed it as a Lemon, Black Currant, Red Fruit medley, and that sounds about right. The lemon, and red fruits are the two main profiles, with possibly some currant in there. The cooling is fairly prevalent and persistent throughout, and your like/dislike will obviously come into play here. The red fruit/lemon pairing is actually really good, and felt perfect at 1.5%, and with below mid level sweetness, was interesting, non-fatiguing, and damned fine tasting. It would be nice if Chef's stated the cooling on their page, and I'll contact them about that. As it stood, from a flavoring perspective, the pairings, were quite unique, fresh, and damned good, so I'll rate on that aspect of it. If you're a "no cooler" like me, stay away, but if you're not, and you're in need of an interestingly unique pairing of Lemon, Red Fruits, and a smidge (maybe) of currant, you should try this one. **9.1/10**.
**Creme Brulee (CSC) 1.5% (6-13-21)** -- A rich custard base, topped with a crisp, caramelized sugar, who wouldn't like that ?? !!! The first thing that struck me with this one, was how well Chef's did the caramelized sugar. Custards are plentiful, but a good caramelized sugar, almost burnt, but not bitter can be hard to get right, and they did. Underneath it, was a nice somewhat relaxed vanilla custard. Eggs and vanilla were present, but it wasn't overly eggy. The sugar topping was ALMOST the star of the show here, but not entirely. The custard held it's own, and worked flawlessly with the topping, and what a one-two punch it was. Above mid-level sweet, and it tasted nicely full at 1.5%. Nothing off-putting, just a great tasting experience. The overall creamy level was about a 6/10, so it was not a super dense creamy flavor, but honestly, after you start tasting it, that won't matter. Further testing revealed that the vanilla did take front seat from any egg notes, which was nice as opposed to a heavier egg-centric custard. Again, perfect pair between the custard and topping. More than rich enough to get your attention, but not oppressively so. All in, this might JUST be the best Creme Brule I've tasted. I could find NO faults with this one. Handily a **9.9/10**.
**Custard (CSC) 1.5% (6-14-21)** -- If anyone knows how to completely ignore DAAP concerns, and dive RIGHT into the Custard pool, head first, it's me. Matter of fact, I still need to try @woftam's Custard Slut now that I think about it !!!!! OK, what in the hell do we have here. Hero / Zero ?? I'm leaning towards HERO people !!!! Now, we don't have to re-hash all the "What type of custard do you like" conversations, as we ALL have different tastes. I've got hundreds of uses for Custards thus far, and I use a wide array of them. I prefer a LESS heavy eggy custard, most of the time. This one presented as a rich, semi dense, not overly eggy custard, paired with an almost delicious pudding, BUT, there was something else. What in the hell ?? It's almost like a lighter donut/fried dough profile. I thought I smelled donut when smelling the bottle, but wasn't sure. Yup, that's what I'm getting, BUT, at a much lower ratio, as opposed to the Custard/Pudding. At first I wasn't sure, but now, I think it just works. I stopped focusing soley on it, and the sum total of the profiles, and it just works. Simple, lighter, but still heavy enough to grab your attention. Nice and tasty at 1.5%, and at about mid level sweet, having a hard time finding issues with it. For you numbers people, it was like 40% Custard, 40% Van. Pudding, and 20% Donut, and that's what you get. If you like those three profiles, and ratios, you'll love this flavor. For MY palate/tastes, I can't go lower than **9.75/10**.
**Donut (CSC) 1.5% (6-16-21)** -- Of ALL the donuts I've tested over the years, it seems like there's really only THREE things that come into play. Yeasty, oily (fried dough), and frosting. It's much harder than it seems to get it right, or there'd be MORE good ones. Chef's donut seemed to lean more heavily to the fried dough side, as opposed to the yeasty side. Right there, that may define it as a hero or zero already, but that's for YOU to decide. The FROSTING on this one, was STELLAR, and really stood out during the testing. I did NOT get any Play-Doh which was a huge plus (Glazed Donut you know I'm talking about you), and I struggled to come up with a describe-able fried dough to yeasty ratio. It leaned so heavily towards a fried dough, that I barely got any yeast notes. Maybe 80 fried dough / 20 yeast, if even that, maybe even higher. Regardless of the exact ratio, suffice it to say that if you prefer a fried dough donut, you will like this one, if not, well, hehe, you know the deal. The frosting was almost really the star here, as it would appear that I prefer a more yeasty base, than a fried dough, BUT, those are MY tastes, not yours. At 1.5% it was very strong, and could PROBABLY be dropped to 1.0% with ease, at least for SFT, mixing weights will always vary depending on your goals, and supporting flavors. To try and sum up the THREE parts with this one, I would have to guess at 60% fried dough, 30% glazed/frosting and 10% yeast. Continued testing verified that to be pretty close. I did not get any off notes at this testing weight, and sweetness was above mid level, and the frosting/glazed and I became fast friends during this test. While preferring a more yeast based approach, this one was fairly convincing, and felt good at **8/10**.
**Lemon (CSC) 1.5% (6-18-21)** -- For me, lemons always fall into one (or more) of the basic three types Natural, Lemonade, or Candied. The lemonade style would be half way between natural and full candied. Chef's was a pretty interesting Lemon, because it seemed to straddle all three. At 1.5% it was fairly full, and didn't taste overflavored, so you won't have to worry about micro drops LOL. Sweetness and tartness were both on point with just enough of each, but not too much of either. Because it kind of straddled the fence on the three types, it was an interesting flavor, as sometimes it shifted around to more of one or another, but stayed true to all 3. Depending on your needs this one should prove to be very versatile, and allow for broad usage, as it wasn't pigeon holed into just one category or profile. It was actually surprisingly good, on it's own. All in, for a broad spectrum lemon this one was pretty good, with nothing out of place. Felt solid @ **9.2/10**.
**Marshmallow (CSC) 1.5% (6-19-21)** -- I was immediately struck by how good this one captured the powdered sugar on the outer layer of a marshmallow, maybe even better than most others. The vanilla twinged mallow followed behind that, with a fairly clean finish. I wouldn't say it was overly heavy in the mouthfeel dept., but still present. Fairly neutral except for some vanilla notes, and it leaned more towards the smaller "cereal" marshmallows than anything else. Tasted just fine at 1.5%, and COULD even be used a smidge higher if needed. It's sharp edges tempering will have to be checked when mixing obviously. All in, a very accurate, almost small, cereal type marshmallow that excelled at the outer, powdery finish more than anything else. No off notes, and was actually quite good as a solo. Powderly placed at **8/10**.
**Milk Fresh (CSC) 1.5% (6-20-21)** -- Milks, milks, milks, the bane of my testing hehe. Why ? Solo'd they can be fair non-descript, and their true power is in mixes wherein they temper/smooth/cream up recipes. Chef's as a solo was fairly non-descript, and almost presented as more an almost powdered milk. This aspect could be smelled more than tasted. Just at mid level sweet, it didn't feel overpowered at 1.5%. Semi creamy, with a slight mouthfeel, and did not have a strong dairy note like TPA's. All in, this was a relaxed Milk flavor, that had aspects of a powdered milk. **7.9/10**.
**Mint (Fresh (CSC) 1.5% (6-20-21)** -- Whew, we've got some cooling in this one (coming from a non-cooling guy). As far as a "fresh" mint, I didn't get an entirely "fresh" from this one, but also got more of a candied mint, or almost a Wriggley's Double Mint Gum mint. It presented as almost a 50/50 mix of the two. Initially the cooling was pretty intense, but as the test wore on, it subdued a bit. Sweetness was slightly above mid level, and that might be what helped pull the candied mint profile more forward. Tasted good at 1.5%, and nothing off-putting, and I was continually reminded of Wriggley's gum. Not a gum flavor, but the flavor profile(s). Minor take offs for the fresh/candy split, but it was good as it stood. **8.7/10**.
**Mojito (CSC) 1.5% (6-20-21)** -- Ironically while testing this Mojito, I was HAVING a Mojito, so this was going to be interesting. Having just tested Chef's Mint Fresh, I had assumed it would be in here, and it was. This flavor had the same nice mint, somewhat sweetened, paired with a great lime. Missing however was the Rum, unless it was so low in the mix as to be undetectable. It tasted perfect at 1.5%, and was above mid level sweet, and the pairing of the mint and lime were nicely done with neither overpowering the other. As a virgin Mojito, wasn't bad at all, and clearly you could spike up some rum if needed. Minor takeoffs for the missing rum, as the rest was very spot on. **9.1/10**.
**Oats (CSC) 1.5% (6-20-21)** -- I think it's safe to say I was COMPLETELY unprepared for this flavor. Not a lot of oats out there, because it's HARD to get right. I assumed this would be some general bakery with grains, passed off as a "kinda close" flavor. Boy was I wrong. FULL on, OATS !!!! No puffed wheat, not corn, not AP, OATS !!!! It made me immediately think of Quaker Oats, no questions, no hesitations. Below mid level sweet, and the best part, it wasn't FLAVORED. Blank slate, spot on oats. That's it, that's all. Was delicious at 1.5%, and man, the opportunities to use this one will be endless, and you could tweak to your hearts content. This, ladies and gentlemen is an impressive flavor, and I'm glad I added this one to the list. If you want some spot on oats, nicely sweetened, this is the one you should get. Full stop. **10/10**.
**Peanut Butter (CSC) 1.5% (6-22-21)** -- Good Peanut Butters are out there, but they can be hard to find. Typically PBs fall into two categories, Dry and Salty, or Creamy and Sweet. Chef's seems to have figured out how to MERGE the two !!! Yes, an almost perfect combination of a creamy, sweet, salty, peanut butter with some dryness which added to the complexity. At 1.5% it was full, present, and delicious, with nothing out of place. It was about mid-level sweet, and leaned slightly towards the creamy sweet, but only slightly. No bitterness could be found, and there was a certain earthy-ness that kept it grounded. Soup to Nuts might just be applicable here, as this one covered a lot of bases, and checked most of the boxes. I think it could be best summed up like a Creamy Jif peanut butter paired with crunchy salted nuts. With it's authenticity, complexity, and dual personalities I could see many uses for this one. Easily **9.75/10**.
**Vanilla Ice Cream (CSC) 1.5% (6-24-21)** -- 2nd to last on deck in this huge series of Chef's new SC's. My initial reaction to this was, "This might be the BEST Vanilla Ice Cream" I have ever tried. 10ml later, that hasn't changed, and that's kind of a big deal. At 1.5% this one was a real show stopper, which had all the notes needed to convince you of it's namesake. Missing were some of the commonly found dairy notes in some flavors, that were dairy, but not really Ice Cream. Chefs did a really bang up job on this one. Incredible mouthfeel for an ice cream, and while not "buttery" like another well known VIC, it didn't need it, you didn't miss it, and actually you didn't even WANT it. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one, but needless to say, all the players were here, creamy, rich, present, but not overbearing vanilla, and loads of mouthfeel. A few ticks above mid sweet, and no pepper, no off notes, no nonsense present. For a great, clean vanilla ice cream that truly captured all aspects of a VIC, this one should be on your rack. For anyone else, it should be on YOUR rack too !!!! I would rate it at 10.1/10, but I promised I'd never do that again. Easily, **10/10**.
**Waffle (CSC) 1.5% (6-27-21) --** With this Waffle, this massive first run of flavors from Chefs will be completed. I have tested more than a few Waffles, and when I smelled this one, it immediately reminded me of a now discontinued INW Waffle-YC. Having never solo'd INW's I can't do a direct A/B comparison, but suffice it to say this one was very good. Missing were some of the almost cake-y notes that some waffles have, and in turn this one had some great mid and dark tones to it. It was more like a whole wheat waffle than a lighter one. No overt wheat, but the grainy notes, and slightly thicker, darker-ness was easily observed, AND enjoyed. No sharp edges, or off notes, and was a little below mid level sweet. No overt butter or syrup, and that left it as a deliciously blank waffle canvas to work with. I really enjoyed the darker richness of this one. At 1.5% it almost felt like it could use a smidge more, but was in no was lacking. All in, this one presented as a great, somewhat darker, almost whole wheat waffle with some smoother, lighter notes. High points given for no obvious butter or syrup, leaving it ready to work. Easily a **9.5/10**.
Wow, after completing this series, I have to say I was impressed, and there were quite a few unique flavors, some of which I could think of no direct comparison. Thanks again out to @Timwis for alerting that Chefs was releasing this, their own line of Super Concentrates, @lukeloop for figuring out realistic testing percentages, and of course thanks out to Leah @Chefs_Flavours, for sending these out for review.
Very impressive lineup, and some real winners. If you've made it this far down, then I thank you for hanging in there for this entire series. With the run that I tested, I think I can highly recommend hopping over to Chefs and picking up some for your racks.