April 13, 2011

Amano – Cuyagua 70%

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Written by: Stuart Robson

The latest bars by Amano all seem to be finished to a very high standard and the Cuyagua is no exception.   The temper is very fine giving a glossy, even finish and a sharp, clean snap.  The colour is fairly light but with a deep, umber-like hue.  Few blemishes are present with only the typical swirling consistent in all of Amano’s work to speak against it.

The aroma is soft and gently fruity with top notes of ripe apricot/nectarine, maraschino cherries and soft violet sitting alongside touches of mint, vanilla and melted marshmallow.  Quite reminiscent of Amano’s Montanya overall. There are also some spicy back-notes and just a faint hint of something slightly meaty which may indicate some problems with post-harvest processing.  It is incredibly subtle however and fails to detract with any significance from what is a beautiful and understated nose.

On the palette the comparisons with the Montanya are never far away. Defined stone fruit notes in the form of apricot, then hints of cherry, tangerine and a touch of fresh cream. Some of Amano’s typical floral tones arrive among the fruit, jasmine and a little rose perhaps.  In the mid palette the spices hinted at in the nose; clove and a light touch of cardamom begin to draw in and bring with them a very firm and, when set against such a soft profile, intrusively tannic grip. Heading towards the finish things are very woody indeed, all on cedar, pencil shavings and green tea with little of the fruity/floral complexities on show earlier in the melt.

The mouth-feel is very fine and as such, in line with Amano’s other recent releases; smooth and of medium speed but just a touch grainer than the likes of Cluizel or Bonnat.

An interesting bar that displays a level of complexity and a delicacy of touch that can now be considered characteristic of Amano. There are certainly some beautiful notes on show here but the intrusive tannins and woody, drying finish prevent the Cuyagua from reaching the heights of Amano’s broadly similar and well regarded Montanya. Well worth trying however and I wouldn’t be surprised if future batches surpass this one.

About the Author

Stuart Robson
Stuart Robson is a passionate foodie born in Scotland and based in Hertfordshire whose main expertise lies in the world of whisky and chocolate. He first began tasting fine chocolate in 2005 with Valrhona Manjari and has since developed a particular interest in single origin bars and a desire to highlight skilled cacao farmers and artisan producers all over the world. Stuart previously trained in Paris while working for a fine chocolatier, and has since become a reviewer for Seventypercent. He is still involved in freelance consultation for small companies working with bean-to-bar chocolate producers and chocolatiers.


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