October 13, 2009
A few topics below, you'll see my preliminary impressions of the Venezuela 72, which, to put in a nutshell, were critical. Now Willie has released a new series, and I started with the Indonesian 69.
The improvement over the early Venezuelan 72 is beyond belief. The aroma was beautiful, strawberry and milky with hints of caramel. Suggestions of molasses and wood also indicate this won't be a one-dimensional soft, sweet-tasting fruity bar. That is indeed how the
flavour plays out. It starts again with that strong strawberry before becoming sharper and sour - pink grapefruit. Then the taste shifts to woody and cocoa, finally ending with a nutty finish, a mixture of hazelnut and peanut. Texture as before, remains problematic, rough and dry, but as I expected, the textural quibbles matter little given the exceptional flavour.
It appears Willie has indeed backed off on the roast, a lot, and the results speak for themselves. This is a world-class chocolate that is in line with any dark chocolate from a top manufacturer. I'll put up a formal review, but I expect the total to be something around 8.4-8.5.
My feeling is that Willie has found the optimum process point on roasting. I think perhaps the conching could still be a bit better (that sour grapefruit was just a bit too aggressive), but on the whole this is chocolate of the level we have come to expect. It matches his results with the unsweetened chocolates. The conclusion? The UK finally has a quality bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer.