Amano, so long a company flirting with greatness but always it would seem at the brink, finally gets it entirely right with this chocolate from the heights of Venezuela. It doesn’t specify exact origin but one can deduce that it’s probably around Merida. In any case, this is the chocolate that finally delivers the depth as well as the complexity, the element that had always been missing from Amano in the past. Here is a big, bold chocolate with a whole range of flavours that will truly satisfy. If this bar is any indication of the future of Amano, it augurs very well indeed.
Stuart Robson: 10-Nov-2010
Recently Amano seem to be on something of a roll, producing some quite wonderful bars consistently improving upon previous batches, and from the outset here there seems to be no exception with this limited edition offering. The colour is a little dark but with an enticing red tint and there can be few complaints in terms of the finish; a well tempered sheen, clean snap and only a little swirling hinting at the omission of Soya Lecithin.
On the nose this bar is quite beautiful.¬† It is a little reserved at first with pronounced touches of vanilla and a certain grassy edge before lovely stone fruits reminiscent of nectarine, and red berries emerge. ¬†There is also an interestingly sweet and slightly spicy back note adding depth and balance.
Even with such an evocative aroma, it is on the palette that this bar really shines and from the outset the flavour sets out to mirror the nose. The initial delivery is rich in a mix of ripe, sweet nectarine, apricot and red fruit notes that seem to drift between glac√© cherry and, in time, slightly acidulous currants. The tannins are quite firm here which helps to stop the whole becoming too sweetly fruity or cloying. We begin to see some cedary qualities heading into the finish, in which the stone fruit returns alongside the tannins. ¬†The melt is good, quite silky with few sandy or fudgy qualities to speak of.
This is a highly accomplished and rather fruity outing from Amano and there are few criticisms one could raise here, aside from the vanilla being a little unnecessary given the bean‚Äôs naturally charming and complex character. The ideal roasting point seems to have been found and the beans allowed to express themselves freely with minimal detractions. In short this is a beautiful and rather individual Venezuelan, highly recommended.
Alex Rast: 5-Jun-2009
This bar looks a little darker out of its box than Amano’s usual – obviously the beans are very different in genetics. Not that this affects the finish which is still first-rate other than a bit of swirling on the back and a hint of scuffing in transit.
Aroma is rather mild: this does not look to be the boldest chocolate, with a spicy, cherry initial character and strong vanilla. Interesting hints of woody, treacle, and tea, however, lend complexity and interest and prevent the impression from being too generic.
The aroma does not hint in any way, though, at the extraordinary flavour which comes on with far greater strength. The immediate impression is fruity, cherry and redcurrant, before moving to creamy. Next comes a lighter, melon and apple hint before the flavour takes a turn into the deeper and richer, moving into winey with suggestions of chile. There is a lot going on here but it seems to progress evenly and predictably, and the strength really shines at every stage.
Texture is perhaps slightly below Amano’s usual standard, smooth and creamy but not amazing, rather similar to Amedei. Again, though, this can’t take anything away from a chocolate that maps out a completely new flavour terrain. Never has a chocolate managed to capture both bold and fresh notes so well or with such harmonised balance. Amano is starting to come into their own and we should all hope for more chocolates like this. It’s a demonstration of both origin and style, a chocolate that brings out the best both in the bean and in the manufacturer.