Amano - Ocumare

Amano – Ocumare

A very different interpretation of the Ocumare bean from the more usual earthy versions. This one is light and fruity, and it makes for a refreshing change. Impeccable execution all round – but might this bar be slightly soulless? It seems a bit typical. Nonetheless a fine effort from a new arrival on the chocolate scene.


Reviews

Hans-Peter Rot: 4-Jul-2007

Posted: July 4, 2007 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 8 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 9 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 84.25 100%
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Amano offers no room for complaints. The bar is slick and lustrous, while the color is beautiful, reflecting the light red theme of its box, complete with a dark brown background instead of black. As for aroma, expect dark fruits like Amedei or Pralus sometimes convey. Cherries and raspberries are dominant, but tobacco and wood add depth and much needed contrast to complete a wonderful and familiar fragrance that cannot be faulted.

The flavor keeps on track with the aroma and for the most part the characteristics of the bean, since it seems to contain key traits from the 61 hybrid. The profile is pretty much fruity all the time, conveying a vague caramelized tone of black cherries or perhaps currants with a raisin edge that suggests a roast of the darker persuasion. The tone meanwhile is decisively dark and bold, offering a contrast to the fruitiness yet also a depth that seems to be inherent of the cacao. Some woodiness comes out towards the end, and the finish is definitely a mix of fruity and earthy, yet the earthiness never fully materializes as an actual flavor during the length.

Texture is by far an improvement over the Madagascar but is similarly thick. It has a creamy gait that’s prolonged considerably due to the thickness, so one truly feels a sense of refinement with this bar. Yet it’s difficult to escape the impression that the bar, though excellent, lacks any idiosyncrasies to set it apart from not only the competition but also from the Madagascar under their own banner. Nonetheless, this is simply one variation of a great theme, which in most instances needs no elaboration to make it great. It’s clear Amano has a competent handle on what they’re doing, and they’re quickly proving they can hold their own against the big boys.

Alex Rast: 2-Jul-2007

Posted: July 2, 2007 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 8 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 9 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 84.25 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:
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As noted with the Madagascar, Amano doesn’t conceal who they would compete against with their packaging, and once inside the impression of quality is definitely there. The chocolate has a good smooth medium-red colour and good temper. Some unevenness says artisanal, but in a good way. The aroma, interestingly, is very good but not particularly unique, cherry and raspberry fruitiness prevailing in the early going, giving way to molasses and wood in the finish. It’s a classic aroma although definitely atypical for Ocumare, which usually has a more earthy cast. But certainly no difficulties yet.

At the very start there is a slight surprise in the taste – it comes on as a woody, cedar presence with suggestions of cherry, almost more like a Cuba. However, it then immediately shifts into the dominant fruity mode of the aroma, with currant taking the lead. Towards the finish more usual Ocumare flavours: cocoa and earth, make an appearance but on the whole the bar stays firmly in the fruity corner, quite a departure from what one usually finds in an Ocumare. Amano has seized upon an unique interpretation here.

The bar is commendably smooth and superbly creamy, lending the bar a high polish of refinement. But in combination with the flavour this may be its one weakness. There are no technical flaws but despite its taste being quite different from normal Ocumare, it really isn’t that different from a thousand other fruity bars, and bears rather strong resemblances to Valrhona, especially Araguani. Nothing wrong with this, but somehow there’s nothing to delight in either, sort of like hearing a Bach piece played by a great technical virtuoso. Effortless performance but just slightly sterile. Nonetheless, would that all newcomers to chocolate manufacture had these problems! Amano is definitely putting themselves in an elite class.



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