Info Details
Country France   
Type Semi-Dark   (66%)
Strain Hybrid   (moderate Nacional)
Source Ecuador   (Los Rios)
Flavor Naked   (backed in Fruits/Flowers)
Style Classic      
The alpaca represents Valrhona on the chocolate totem pole - that adorable creature who’s no beast of burden, just a preening show pet prized for its hair. As noted elsewhere, they’re gentle, elegant, inquisitive, intelligent, & observant. Their nature makes them vulnerable to predators however, so they’re vigilant, cautious, & nervous whenever feeling threatened (as Valrhona does with Cluizel). They like having their own space (Valrhona’s super-secret headquarters at Tain L’Hermitage) & dislike others getting close, especially from behind (RE: Amedei). They warn their herd about intruders by making sharp noises (dispatching mouth-pieces like Chloë Doutre-Roussel) & may attack smaller predators by spitting &/or kicking. Due to the soft pads on their feet, the impact is not as dangerous as that of a hoofed animal, yet their pointed nails can inflict cuts (reflecting the abrasive tartness in much of Valrhona’s chocolate).

And this bar is no different. It strikes right off with orange but true to the alpaca’s allergy to orange trees, it withers & weakens without dying... just drones on in a sweet cocoa hum.
Appearance   4.7 / 5
Color: fuchsia brown
Surface: Los Rios
Temper: soft buffed shine
Snap: sound wark ‘n clack against a strong break-wall
Aroma   8.1 / 10
a wooly florid-freak weirding marigold (especially its beer component; yes, sticky malted hops) + yopo flowers atop big cinnamon butter, neroli, & pineapple for a sour-mouth spit
Mouthfeel   12.5 / 15
Texture: slight stick & grip
Melt: patient
Flavor   43.2 / 50
orange crush -> chocolate rush -> sugar causes bar to stall, hitting a stasis on baseline cocoa stretching all the way to the finish -> saved by small petal in the back recess
Quality   16.8 / 20
Fussy. Valrhona, now striving to be the Miss Manners of chocolate who abhors the “loudness wars” – that music industry practice of destroying dynamic range in favor of greater & greater distortion in the red zone, in what Bob Dylan condemns as “no definition of nothing” – reaches for the ultra-refinements here, feminizing an otherwise bold macho strain. Keeping with the electronic music analogy, the ADSR sound envelope on this has tremendous & rapid Attack, but an equally abrupt Decay as too much sugar races in to roll off the high notes of the opening, isolating a rather one-note Sustain (hums well, just monotonous), almost never Releasing... just like that woman who wrote the etiquette manual: once in her clutches, she won’t let go. Ahhh, loyalty (or insecurity?).

ING: cocoa beans, sugar, cacáo butter, soy lecithin, vanilla


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