Unique origin chocolate variety
Hans-Peter Rot: 4-Aug-2006
Upon unwrapping, itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s clear that Ocumare is unusually ugly. Bubbles and swirling summon comparisons to a tar pit, while a blackish red color looks unreasonably dark for a mere 70%. Turning to the aroma, ash and burnt notes prevail so strongly that one has to wonder if Chocovic roasted this bar beyond its limits. However, further probes reveal a complex fragrance that could be considered wonderful if not for the aforementioned burnt tone: coffee and raisins prevail over mild spice with an underlying fruitiness of currants.
Perhaps expectedly, the initial flavor is a bit overwhelming as it idles on the burnt side, with coffee dominating over all else. It’s strong and oppressive (even offensive in some respects) and to top it all off, the chocolate lies flat on the tongueĂ˘â‚¬â€ťno dimension, no depth; the flavor just isnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t round. Sweet spice can be detected underneath all this, though, but suddenly it displaces the coffee and sets up the length for an entirely different and milder tone. Curiously, a chocolate that storms in like a lion is now purring like a kitten. Sweet spice now prevails with subtle layers of raspberries and a spike of sweet molasses, and by this time the chocolate is near its end and thus closes with a mild resurgence of bitterness.
Texture is much the same as Guyave: problematic. It’s somewhat smooth, but it lumps together unevenly and approaches a fudge-like resemblance, an odd consistency for an odd flavor. Typical for Ocumare in some ways but not so much in others, Chocovic has created a bar that reaches across the Ocumare flavor spectrum in rather ungraceful ways. Although these flavors are common for this cacao, the transition is haphazard and abrupt, achieved not with uniformity but with irregularity. Chocovic may have over-roasted the beans either as a stylistic preference or a correction to abnormalities in the beans. Whatever the case, something is definitely wrong.
Alex Rast: 28-Oct-2005
One of the earliest of the single-bean bars – and to an extent it shows its experimental nature. A chocolate full of promise, but with rough spots, perhaps as much a product of blazing the trail as anything else. When this bar was introduced, precious little knowledge existed about the best way to show off a varietal. This bar exhibits the qualities of its namesake Ocumare quite well, but has since been overtaken by other Ocumares, perhaps more refined and with the benefit of more industry knowledge.
You know this bar is a Criollo as soon as you look at it. The colour is an unmistakeable red-brown, easily picked out in a lineup. Finish isn’t really the best, somewhat rough and with clear bubbles, yet that colour stays with you. But if the visuals are nice, the aroma blows you away. This is one of the most alluring aromas ever created, positively exploding with an array of components: tropical fruits, brown sugar, dark grape and wine, even a hint of some spice like cloves. It’s strong and invades every pore, immediately inviting tasting.
Unfortunately, the flavour doesn’t really live up to the great aroma. Instead of complexity, you get a simple, coffee and cocoa taste, with little depth. There’s also a strong bitter aftertaste – which is a feature of the Ocumare 67 varietal but here it’s pretty jarring. On the whole the chocolate seems somewhat overroasted, and perhaps the lack of vanilla prevents it from having roundness and depth. The flavour isn’t really bad, just keenly disappointing after what you expect with the aroma.
Texture, also, has issues, being more or less average in smoothness and definitely dry, somewhat like El Rey’s bars tend to be. The bar seems like a prototype, an experimental concept demonstration that Chocovic will go back and refine later. Tasting this bar side-by-side with Domori’s Puertofino, it’s fairly obvious that it’s the same bean, but Domori’s version is more thoroughly polished. If Chocovic spends some effort to look at this chocolate again, perhaps they could capture some of the incredible aroma in the flavour. If they manage to do this, they will have one of the great chocolates of the world on their hands.
Martin Christy: 2-Feb-2002
Mild but pleasant criollo, with the usual ‘pastiness’ that comes with this bean. More butter than citrus or cherry, a full flavour none-the-less – if a little musty. Hints of ginger spice and an occasional woosh of plum, maybe some almod.
Slight oiliness in an otherwise solid length. Some bubbling was present in the bar.