by Sir Hans Sloane
Info Details
Country UK   
Type Dark   (64%)
Strain Blend   (residual Nacional / Criollo)
Source (Ecuador/Venezuela)
Flavor Naked   (dried Fruits/Flowers)
Style Classic      
Hanging ‘n swinging fresh as monkey’s breath right after chewing down a lunch of figs & cacáo seeds.
Appearance   5 / 5
Color: magenta
Surface: fab bi-level mold gorgeously imprinted w/ cacáo petals & flowers; even the backside lollipop swirls captivate
Temper: glint to this mint
Snap: a knock-out; sounds sharper & bigger than its 64%; finely granulated cleave of a more orange tinge
Aroma   9.1 / 10
gauzy as a coastal breeze of papaya/melon, plantain, & cocoa supreme lined w/ a tobacco edging; aerates virtual Milk Choc
Mouthfeel   11.3 / 15
Texture: powderful start ultimately smooths out
Melt: stop ‘n go w/ some stick & slight astringent grip
Flavor   46.2 / 50
swings out the chocolate brown sugar -> deepens to cocoa -> grabs hold of fig... sequencing molasses -> carob -> wattleseed -> sticky dark stack of all the above unified by a grain component (corn/soy) -> Dark-Milk analogues -> light licorice toffee -> mild black tea -> overhanging Dutched cocoa
Quality   18.9 / 20
Seamlessly simple blend (seems almost Dutched) & in some ways simply great.

One of the darkest tasting semisweets on the market built with intense vertical integration to rival Hong Kong’s skyline.

Color of this bar & flavor shows Nacional in its pedigree & sure enough some of the Ecuador of yore is detectable, especially in that foundational chocolate flavor as well as regional Los Rios fig tones. This keeps deep in the pocket similar to SHS's Panama, indicating firm roast & lengthy vigorous conche (70+ hours, in conjunction with perhaps a lecithin granule or two too many, verges on acting against itself, hence the stick & grip in the texture) designed to offset high sugar load (probably muscovado contributing to that molasses moment).

Add to that some reserved Venezuela (rather Criollo in the broad sense of the term) & the work-up on this feels so highly calibrated that Bill McCarrick of SHS clearly understands his blend's DNA & it’d be revealing to see a 72% to 77% percent release.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cacáo butter, soy lecithin; CBS (Cocoa-Butter-Sugar) ~5:7:6

Reviewed Winter 2009-10


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