With this bar, Slitti shows us where he truly shines. At 90%, the chocolate has no offensive irregularities and delivers a simple yet chocolaty flavor that demands no further elaboration to make it great. This is strong and commanding, similar to Super Novanta Tropicale, but less complex in flavor. Overall, Gran Cacao 90% stands tall amongst the lower ranks of Slitti’s line.
Alex Rast: 18-Aug-2007
As per Slitti usual, the chocolate looks very professional indeed, with a high-gloss sheen and very clean moulding. Colour is on the darker side, although not alarming black, and if there is anything to criticise it’s of a certain cool perfection: immaculate but austere.
The aroma is anything but cool, however, a virtual explosion of sense. Initially there’s a fruity, raspberry feel, overtaken by mild teak, and then hints of soft vanilla come to the fore along with grapefruit. Further aroma progression continues and one eventually ends up in brown sugar, a point completely different from the place of departure. Interestingly, one can clearly identify a Madagascar varietal in the blend, but there’s something else in there, something richer that makes the chocolate stronger and more masculine than the typical light Madagascans.
Flavour, likewise, is bold and powerful, starting on a perfect foot with chocolatey, then taking a surprising detour into blackcurrant. It stumbles a bit then, overtaken by a dominant coffee, and suggesting that Slitti could have gotten better results by going lighter on the roast, but still, it’s not a terrible misstep. Interesting peaty notes also come in at the finish, adding a very unusual flourish at the end of an unusual bar.
Texturally the bar is very good, smooth and creamy, although Slitti’s textural interpretation seems, like most of his other chocolates, somehow a bit stiffly formal and unyielding, with very crisp snap but not quite the truly unctious melt of some. Slitti seems to present a different facet of style or flavour throughout, and the result is a fascinating bar, one that will surely keep one’s interest. There is room for improvement: some tweaking of the roast might make it a better chocolate still. On the whole, though, this is a commendable effort and one of the few ultra-percentage chocolates that comes off as a real success.
Hans-Peter Rot: 11-Aug-2007
At 90%, the luminous bar appears forbiddingly dark but is saved from complete blackness by a brick red tint. There isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a single imperfection to be seen; Slitti has presented a beautiful bar that will also intimidate. The aroma, unlike the rest of the Gran Cacao range, is much more controlled and equally balanced, hitting you squarely in the jaw with a combination that works flawlessly. Onto the strong chocolaty backbone is the primary note of coconut, while fleeting raspberries flutter around in there somewhere. The intense chocolatiness, though, is what seals the deal, winning you over with power rather than complexity.
Taking cues from the aroma, the flavor gets right down to business. Coconut leads the profile and is peppered by surges of raspberries, but underneath all this is a beautiful chocolatiness that impresses as much as it satisfies. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fierce and powerful punch to the face, unlike the sluggish jab the 73% delivered. With so much momentum in its favor, the chocolate possibly canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fail, and sure enough it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. As the length continues, the strength mounts ever higher and finally culminates at the end with a sobering but pleasant jolt of bitterness and a lingering reminder of its presence. This chocolate cannot be easily forgotten, and indeed, it shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.
It is here, though, where the texture turns slightly (and I do mean slightly) dry, but for the most part Slitti has successfully delivered a thick yet creamy consistency, a pastiness usually associated with higher percentages. After striking out twice with the 73% and 82%, Slitti has finally hit a homerun. What we have here, then, is the pinnacle of this line, a chocolate that exhibits the greatest balance, an absence of offensive irregularities, and the strongest cacao intensity that needs no complexity to make the flavor awesome. It seems only a little sugar is needed to smoothen the flavor and that power is needed for this blend to work. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tempting to wonder, though, can too much power be overkill? Will the 100% reveal some nasty secrets the cacao is hiding?