An exceptional Forastero with minimal bitterness and a surprisingly medium body. Very basic flavor, agreeable to the palate, and overall easy to eat.
Alex Rast: 29-Nov-2005
An excellent chocolate with fine flavour characteristics although unfortunately a few flaws. Very complex presentation for a Forastero, and with lots of nuances to explore – it’s really too bad a few of these nuances are negative because otherwise this would be a great chocolate. As it is, it’s a bit like the eccentric but brilliant relative: always fascinating but occasionally embarrassing.
You can see the thin bar through the wrapper, very much a dark black with somewhat bubbly moulding. The finish, however, is excellent and glossy, exhibiting top-notch temper. Aroma is captivating and complex, starting with an earthy, cocoa body. Then an unexpected currant spike appears, after which brown sugar arrives to smooth out the aroma profile. Overall, it’s very pleasant and suggests good things to come.
Flavour starts out with a sharp raspberry fruitiness, mixed with melon, light and brisk. The centre of the chocolate flavour then quickly reveals pure, lovely chocolatey, which in spite of being the same flavour as, for instance, Cluizel’s 72%, is somehow more delicate. So far, so good, but then the taste savagely shifts to a bitter, ashy finish, with coffee and earthy components, a jarring end to what started out with such promise. It’s out of character and so completely untamed that it really pulls something away from the overall experience.
Texture is very good indeed, as expected from the appearance, very creamy and super-smooth. If there is the barest hint of imperfection here, it’s so slight few would ever notice. In spite of the problem with the flavour at the end, the bar impresses overall, and it must be said that it’s probably difficult to improve upon the flavour. Roasting more would simply kill the delicate fruity notes and probably not entirely mitigate the bitterness in the end. Like the aforementioned relative, it’s a chocolate where you just have to live with its flaws and appreciate the good parts.
Hans-Peter Rot: 24-Sep-2005
Peering through a cellophane wrapper, the thin slab is impressive visually, bearing no defects and a high glossed surface radiating brown, several shades lighter than anticipated for a Forastero. Some red mixes in, too, naturally from the bean, making for a relatively sexy appearance for an origin usually much darker and boding. Aroma is also toned down dramatically, basically lacking a decent intensity level typical of Forasteros. It has a mid-level chocolatiness with vanilla hiding floral nuances. Although warm and inviting it’s disturbing in a way, like a dog without its bark.
The flavor, then, offers no surprises, just simplicity in shades that may seem excessively soft and gentle for a bean and origin usually known for aggressiveness. Starting slow and developing steadily into something far more substantial, the chocolatiness is pretty much middle-of-the-road and not intense in the least. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s perhaps akin to Michel CluizelĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Noir de Cacao 72%, but with much more vanilla in fore and some strawberry notes fluttering around in the background.
Texture is probably just as you would expect for LĂ˘â‚¬â„˘artisan: smooth and creamy, but not without some dryness in the beginning. Fitting the LĂ˘â‚¬â„˘artisan style perhaps too cozily, this chocolate embodies exactly the opposite one might wish to find in a Forastero. More character would have been preferred here even if it meant breaking the congruity of stylistic orientation. Nonetheless, change is good, and this bar is indeed a different and obvious stylistic representation of an origin not many companies thrust in the single origin spotlight.