Michel Cluizel – Hacienda ‘Los Anconès’
  • Our rating: 90.2% (6 reviews)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 67%
  • Guide Price: £3.00, $5.50
  • Description by: Seventy%
  • Production: Produced directly from beans by maker
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • Cocoas
    • cane sugar
    • cacao butter
    • Bourbon vanilla pod

"On the island of Santo Domingo, in the heart of the Caribbean, I discovered the Hacienda "Los Ancones" – a remarkable plantation, splendidly surrounded by a verdant palm grove. Here, west of San Francisco de Marcoris, the Rizek family has been producing exquisite cocoa beans since 1903. After lengthy processing in my workshops, the beans are transformed into this wonderful dark chocolate exuding elegance, freshness, and a fine combination of aromas ; the first note is liquorice root, followed by berries and a drawn-out finish of green olive, currant and apricot."

Michel Cluizel – Hacienda ‘Los Anconès’Chocolate Review Rating: 90.2% out of 100 based on 6 reviews.

Michel Cluizel – Hacienda ‘Los Anconès’

Cluizel finally hit home with the third of their unique origin bars. This is an excellent offering with a wealth of interesting and well-balanced flavours that will please anyone, being at the same time truly a fine chocolate, but also fruity and not too bitter.

Reviews

Georg Bernardini: 6-Jan-2012

Posted: January 6, 2012 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
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The reputation of Michel Cluizel is now for many years great. In fact Michel Cluizel produce some great chocolates. But against that he also produce, in my opinion, a lot of products of avarage quality. Especially the pure chocolates whitch are not from the single plantation range are often of a poor quality.
But the Hacienda los Anconès is one of the top chocolates in the world and the masterpice of Michel Cluizel. This is a surprise, because normally I don’ t like single plantation chocolates added with vanilla.
I visited some plantation from Michel Cluizel’ s supplier of the beans, Rizek, and I can confirm the great work they do, especially Massimilano Wax, the manager from Rizek. The treatment of the cocoa beans is state of the art and I think in this professionalism in the world unique.

Look/snap
The bar from 2011 was changed to organic and away from 100g to 70g. I like this size and the thin chocolate. The chocolate is mittle dark brown and looks good, the snap nice.

Aroma
The aroma starts fruity with apricot and very light sour red berries than goes to liquorice and green olive to come back to the fruity notes. The added vanilla do not disturb and accompanied very, very light the chocolate. Only at the finish you can taste a little bit the vanilla.

Taste
The taste is mild and smooth. The aroma of fruits is well accompanied of the sweetness, but also from a certain bitterness. The balance of sugar and cocoa solid is very good.

Melt
Also Michel Cluizel add no lecithin, but cocoa butter to his chocolate. The melt is in this case not perfect, a little bit sticky.

Length
After tasting this chocolate you keep smiling.

Opinion
This chocolate is one of the best chocolates made from beans from Dominican Republic and from Caribbean beans. It would be great to taste this chocolate without added vanilla. I am curious to see if and how it would change the taste.

Alex Rast: 2-Jan-2012

Posted: January 2, 2012 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
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Michel Cluizel finally does what has been long expected and gets organic certification for his flagship bar. This follows the trend established by Pralus and is yet another encouraging sign that organic chocolate is now accepted not just as a viable alternative, but a positive choice among the very finest chocolates to be had in the world. Will a change of label bring about a change of flavour, though? This year’s (2011) edition proves that little changes, although it is perhaps marginally less satisfying in the length than previous years. However, this is simply a reminder, perhaps, that vintages change, and on the whole Cluizel is to be commended for being able to achieve such a record of consistent excellence, over many years, from the same single source. This reflects equally positively on the efforts of Rizek to produce consistent, excellent cacao; surely the best the Dominican Republic has to offer, which in a land already brimming with excellent cacaos, is likewise no mean feat.

So how does this vintage break down in detail? The first, noticeable change is a format tweak – gone are the thick 100g bars with the Cluizel signature; in are thinner 70g bars with a cocoa bean logo. It will be conceded that this doesn’t give the awesome, sleek appearance the old bars did, and the new, less chunky format is marginally less convenient to eat and break into pieces, but the downsizing reflects a more realistic perspective on an appropriate size for one; 50g would be even better. Colour seems alarmingly darkish, but certainly not out of line.

The aroma is if anything even more impressive than ever, with an awesome, bold note of prune and cherry wood which conveys instant nobility. Brighter hints of cedar and balsamic assure that the bar won’t be one-sidededly heavy, either, an impression immediately confirmed by the extraordinary delicacy of the opening flavour: pure strawberries and cream. Suddenly a much more powerful wave of woody and chocolatey surges through – so this bar has both strength and grace. In a bit of a disappointment, it then tapers off into rather flatter earthy with blackberry hints – a more balanced sustain here would be appreciated.

Texture is per Cluizel normal, that is to say virtually flawless, the definition of smoothness and silkiness. In this batch Cluizel has again wrung out probably everything there is to reveal in an already impressive origin. The finish flatness is a bit disconcerting, and on this it must be said that older vintages really came into their own with respect to length, but there is nothing here to indicate that this is some sort of a long-term problem, rather, the suspicion is that this is just inevitable batch variation. Cluizel continues to have a worthy chocolate to lead his line.

Stuart Robson: 13-Jan-2011

Posted: January 13, 2011 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
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Batch num:
Source:
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It has been some time since I last tasted Cluziel’s Los Ancones and, aside from a new mould layout, little seems to have changed. The bar is perfectly tempered and immaculately finished with an enticing red hue.

The aroma is instantly recognizable with black olive dominating proceedings and for a moment being a little difficult to see past. Once you become accustomed to the olive you find some interesting; notes of fresh cherries, lime, tobacco leaf, mixed herbs and cream all sitting in harmony and with a level of refinement so often a characteristic of Cluizel.

The arrival is a little more acidic than might be expected but the flavours mirror the nose at the outset. The black olive sits at the fore with the cherries and lime adding complexity. Things start to take a different route from the mid-palette however and as the flavour builds it brings with it a more brooding depth, somewhat pruney, nutty and honeyed in equal measure. The finish is of medium length and adds cedar, fresh tobacco and contrasting winey suggestions along with faint tannins.

Texturally this bar is something of a shock, the melt is even and smooth but exhibits a number of undissolved particles. This is sometimes  seen with other producers but tends to be confined to a small area of the bar; here however it seems to be a factor in every bite which is highly unusual where this producer is concerned.

Notwithstanding the defects of the melt, which must be considered an exception to the rule, and instead focusing on aroma and flavour; this is a wonderful batch of what is a consistently high quality offering from Cluizel.  Los Ancones offers considerable complexity with an unusual set of flavours finding an intriguing balance.

Hans-Peter Rot: 7-Sep-2005

Posted: September 7, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
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Right out of the box the bar looks glossed and molded to perfection, and shows a bright magenta and medium brown color. Aroma is also impressive if a bit strange, emitting olives primarily and then tobacco and cherries underneath with suggestions of a mild acidity in the flavor. Overall, it might seem unusual and bizarre but it works beautifully and interestingly enough to keep your nose attached for a good while.

But move on to the flavor because here is where this chocolate truly excels. It’s chocolaty and deep, bolder than one might expect from the Caribbean, and definitely unusual with olives in the fore. It’s also slightly acidic, perhaps even tangy, but then berries and cherries take over and fizzle into cherry cordial, which in turn turns into apricot and nuts in the finish, but not once does the incredible chocolatiness ever subside.

Texture is also perfect, melting smoothly with some thickness as well which complements the full-bodied feel of the chocolate. Overall, then, Los Ancones is nothing short of excellent, a remarkable achievement and definitely one of the world’s greatest chocolates. If words could describe just how awesome this chocolate really is, then I would gladly put them here. But since they remain elusive, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Alex Rast: 28-May-2005

Posted: May 28, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
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Source:
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This is a chocolate that builds excitement from the moment you lay eyes upon it. The finish is immaculate – mirror-smooth, with no detectable faults. Colour is gorgeous – a mix of dark red and soft tan, like looking at a fine Italian leather sofa. It’s a look that speaks both of indulgence and sophistication.

It’s hard, however, to focus on appearance, for the mighty aroma sweeps you up as soon as you unwrap it. It’s the smell of prunes and of fresh cherry wood, penetrating and deep, rich yet exciting. You feel like you could lose yourself simply in the smell. Indeed, it’s worth several minutes just to take in the fine aroma before even taking a bite. The flavour itself just keeps on developing, initially a most unusual mix of strawberries and cocoa, next turning to cherry cordial and cream, ending in that pruny depth which was the hallmark of its aroma. What’s most remarkable is how Cluizel has managed to retain a fruitiness throughout the length and a more earthy, grounded note.

With both aroma and flavour so elegant and deep, anything but a perfect texture would inevitably distract, but fortunately this is Cluizel: texture is impeccable, both beautifully smooth and ideally creamy. It’s the only way one could do justice to the bar and is the final seal of a bar perfected. Bravo Michel! You have given us a 1er Cru that justifies the appellation.

Anne Bramley: 28-May-2005

Posted: May 28, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:

I love to love Michel Cluizel’s ‘Los Anconès’. This single-plantation Caribbean origin bar truly epitomizes the idea of a complex and sophisticated chocolate. While I think it’s the sort of bar that would appeal to connoisseurs of other intriguing and multifaceted foods – Tête de Moine cheese, a perfectly ripe mango, or something Fat Duck like smoked bacon and egg ice cream – its lack of bitterness one associates with a fine chocolate makes it the ideal bar for chocolate novices and those who think they don’t like dark chocolate. This is perhaps in part because of the cocoa butter content slightly below 70%, but that just the tip of the cocoa nib. There’s much more to this story.

First there’s the disjunction between appearance and “”mouthfeel””: a sandier coloring belies this bar’s smooth texture and thick melt. Next, comes the surprising tastes and smells. Scents of hay and artichoke anticipate the delightful green olive taste the manufacturer describes on the package – but a delightfully fresh Picholine, not a hackneyed cocktail Manzanilla. Rather than seeking other flavors in place of the olive, I simply reveled in it. Even on my fifth go-round with this bar, the initial scent was so wonderfully different from other chocolate bars that I found myself exclaiming aloud about it.

This bar is really one of my favorites for the complexity of taste and the smoothness of the texture. To appropriate the language of wine, this bar is a refreshing Viognier to the usual run of 70% Zins and Cabs. And in the whisky world it is the Island malt in a sea of Highlanders. Which is to say, if you love a challenging crisp white wine or 10-year-old Talisker, this is also the chocolate for you. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Martin Christy: 11-Jul-2003

Posted: July 11, 2003 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:

This is slightly more sandy in colour than the usual Cluizel Brown/Red, and a little less translucent than their other unique origin offerings. The grain looks pleasing on breaking – slightly fudge-like but not too coarse, though perhaps a few too many air bubbles appeared in the sample we tried.

Aroma is quite fine with a balanced three-note chord of light liquorice, refreshing and spicy high fruit notes (lime and berries) and dark earth undertones, which are not at all ‘off’. There is a certain ‘cleanness’ about the aroma of this chocolate, while still being thick and interesting, that makes it one of the best we’ve tried.

Soon after the melt begins sweet liquorice flavours emerge followed by a burst of hazelnuts then spicy hints, which Michel Cluizel calls green olive, but we felt was closer to ginger, with an effect on the tongue reminiscent of a slight chilli burn. Towards the end a pleasant fruitiness emerges, with lime and mango carrying on into the length.

After eating the flavour is long and steady and just keeps on going, though there is a slight sour stage and it gets a little waxy, but none-the-less you can still taste chocolate-lime loveliness after many minutes.

This is a great chocolate to explore, with many flavours to be found – almost every bite turns up some new nuance and we’ve struggled to fit them all into this review. But don’t be put off, despite it’s pedigree this is still a great chocolate for the novice and connoisseur alike.

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