Dry, earthy, unique origin chocolate from El Rey with some interesting fruit tones – the strongest of the range from Carenero Superior beans. Makes an interesting variation from European style fine chocolate, though some may find it lacking in smoothness.
Alex Rast: 13-Oct-2005
El Rey’s alternative 70%-class chocolate, not as memorable as Gran Saman because it doesn’t deliver the ICBM-like impact. A study in contrasts, delicate in some ways, sturdy in others. Not the most complex chocolate around, and perhaps in that sense squandering the potential of the Carenero Superior bean. Those who are put off by overly forward fruity flavours, however, will be happy.
This bar appears somewhat rustic out of the wrapper, a bit uneven, and with chocolate dust in evidence. Temper might not be perfect, inasmuch as the chocolate possesses a medium-brown, matte finish with a hint of red. The setup doesn’t exactly promise an elite chocolate.
The aroma has characteristic Carenero fruitiness in the beginning, cherry scents taking the lead, before it softens into vanilla and caramel. One might almost be convinced this were a dark milk bar. In the flavour, the cherries come on again, but it’s a subtle, smooth movement, not the massive explosion of Gran Saman. Very quickly thereafter the dominant flavour asserts itself and doesn’t let go, rich earthy, like good topsoil. A very slight hint of brown sugar might be present, however, this might simply be variants on the earthy theme. You feel as though you’re eating a bar dug out of the ground.
Texture is definitely an improvement over Gran Saman, but it’s not great, merely average in smoothness and a bit waxy as one would expect with the high cocoa butter content. It’s that feature that exerts the restraint on the flavour as well, and gives it that strongly earthy nature, smoothing out higher flavour notes so that only the deep ones survive. On the whole the impression is of a chocolate subdued, unlike Gran Saman which presents the same chocolate in its wild form. It’s the “”domesticated”" Carenero.
Martin Christy: 26-May-2003
With its gritty, dry, earthy sweetness this is very different to fine chocolate produced in Europe, lacking the high Ă˘â‚¬ËśacidĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ overtones prevalent in chocolate from companies like Valrhona.
A deep burnt umber in colour – glowing with reds from Criollo Ă˘â‚¬â€ś with an even, gritty texture. The aroma is a mild basic chocolate one with floral hints – the effect is rather like walking into a (good) chocolate shop. The melt is smooth, though with a definite sense of grit in the texture. The flavour is of light citrus, dried mango, the odd flash of banana and milky malt, always with a damp, earthy Ă˘â‚¬ËśoffĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ undertone. There are also spice hints (cinnamon) and perhaps ash and cigar smoke. Length is clean if waxy, the chocolate flavours dying away quite quickly, leaving just a faint trace of lime that lingers on the palette.
May not appeal to those unsure about ‘strong’ chocolate, but is actually dry rather than too bitter, and very munchable with interesting flavour notes.