October 9, 2007

Amano – Cuyagua – review – Hans-Peter Rot

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Written by: Hans-Peter Rot

Cuyagua looks great in the visuals, bearing good sheen; a light auburn-red color; and lots of air bubbles as the only true “flaw.” An Amano logo on each section furthers a sense of refinement and identity to a cacao not often put in the spotlight but fashionably done so here. Moving on to the aroma, one can sense the spicy dominance with raisin overtones, recalling Amedei as a comparison; almond, cherry, and molasses underscore the scent, with a hint of tanginess for lightness. Clearly, this is a Cuyagua we’ve all not tasted before.

Reflecting the subtly nuanced aroma is a virtually identical flavor, starting with cream and cherries, and then a persistent tone of spice and raisins, the latter of which seems to be an obvious effect of the roast, not an inherent note. Increasing in intensity the more it melts, the chocolate hits an apex in chocolatiness, then shifts completely to roasted almonds and a mounting acidity that provides a subtle twang and lightness as a contrast to the raisin-like flavor. Despite all these great traits, though, Amano loses control in the finish, turning dry in the mouth and emphasizing the earthier nature, which although is not a bad thing is rather abrupt.

Except for that minor dryness towards the end, the texture is otherwise smooth and slightly thick, but perhaps not as refined as the Ocumare bar. Nonetheless, the bar as a whole is a strong ingress to the Amano roster and in fact to the chocolate world in general, delivering a complexity of flavor comparable to a blended bar, and more specifically, to Amedei for reference. Due to Cuyagua’s close proximity to Ocumare de la Costa, some similarity is inevitable, but this bar remains unique and to some degree more interesting, if not for flavor alone then for its individuality and singularity. Comparisons to Scharffen Berger’s Cuyagua are also unavoidable (due to limited production); Amano prefers less fruit, more spice and raisin; and more tanginess. No one approach is better, just different, and Amano again has proven that they mean business.

About the Author

Hans-Peter Rot


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