The finish of this example has clearly seen better days. There are a number of shipping scuffs and marks that mar what seems to have been a typically well handled finish from Amano, with only the expected swirling and a couple of tiny bubbles to speak against it. The colour is fairly light, medium brown and has mildly bloomed in places. The snap however is still reassuringly clean and sharp.
Any worries that this bar may have been past best are completely dispelled by the aroma, which is hugely characterful and instantly recognisable with a surge of juicy, ripe and sweet citrus. Others have mentioned Bergamot and while that certainly can’t be argued with, I would add papaya and a whole range of sweet oranges like clementines or tangerines. There are floral back notes reminiscent of jasmine, something I often associate with Amano, alongside some soft nutmeg and cardamom. I have never come across a chocolate with such a powerful and distinctive aroma as this.
The palette largely mirrors the nose with the orangey citrus notes being prominent, alongside a greater floral presence than might have been expected; the jasmine now being joined by a little violet and a delicate hint of clover honey/orange blossom tea. The mid palette sees the spices return in the form of more nutmeg but with the citrus continuing to dominate the overall profile. Into the finish things take a turn into firm tannins and unexpected nutty suggestions reminiscent of cashew but the sweet orange is still ever-present in the considerable length. The melt is a little below Amano’s best, a touch chalky and slightly grainy but far from poor considering the delicacy of production needed to harness the flavours on offer here.
After identifying beans that could lead to such a powerfully distinct set of aromatics it must have been a considerable challenge to then to draw out those flavours in the final chocolate. The result is a bar of rare individuality that re-defines the idea of a demonstrative note in fine chocolate and shows just how complex and interesting certain beans, fermented in a certain way, can be. It could be said that this bar is a little unbalanced but that would, I think, be missing the point of creating such a chocolate.