Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (70%)
Strain Rio Caribe   
Source Venezuela   (Paria Penisula, Sucre State)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Rustic      
Big bankers of the modern global economy – IMF/World Bank, USA/China govts, hedge fund speculators, vulture capitalists, et. al. – calculate humans in terms of units per labor cost; the cheaper the better. ‘Life for Rent’ to quote lyrical economist Ms. D. Armstrong, better known as Dido. She asks, now that life is for rent, who will buy theirs back or just continue to lease it out?

At such a young age Colin Gasko of Rogue is already taking full ownership & soul-possession of his art & craft, then sharing it with others, which in any era – whether marked by extreme poverty & financial collapse or not - amounts to essential worth, even when the results yield little interest & pay only minor dividends.
Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: opaque (butter indicator) tell-tale red-brick brown
Surface: perfection; super clean platter w/o a scratch or single vibrational flaw
Temper: luminous
Snap: brittle w/ some bend; sharp high-register castanets; finely sounded edge
Aroma   7.2 / 10
heavily bifurcated... an orchard in an oil field: cinnamon red hots w/ serrano pepper & vanilla bleed thru petro-fumes & mineral oil -> tar pits + Rogue's charcoal-wood bits -> amazingly aerates to candied sunburst grape then much later manure dooky but aslo toasted wheat germ & breadfruit
Mouthfeel   13 / 15
Texture: major poundage
Melt: evenly smooth to a gripping astringent finish
Flavor   39.4 / 50
flash chocolate -> then wheat germ & breadfruit lead the pack out w/ brazil nuts & roasted almonds, stays thick & dense until licorice appearance but petroleum fumes too - disguised as tobacco - further weighed down by vanilla & chicory -> coffee backflush -> buried cream in sand contrasts against stringent bromeliad -> tomato element of cocona -> neroli extract the after-FXs
Quality   15.1 / 20
Great beginnings... good enough ending. In between, in the mid-palate where it falls out of joint, anything but. The fright in the aroma confirmed by a dull & perpetually downward progression, the darkly claustrophic bent mitigated somewhat by that cream finish (attributable to the Ocumare in this hybrid), then the saving grace note of neroli (advertised as ‘blood orange’, everyone’s favorite flavor of the moment, though more hemoglobin here than citrus fruit).

Astringency suggests this bean failed to get proper fermentation (unless the vanilla aggravates or accounts for the situation), seemingly cut short then laid out to dry in the vicinity of petrol stations – just the opposite of El Rey’s Rio Caribe bar Macura – which means ‘select-grade’ is becoming as misleading as ‘Arriba’ nowadays (witness Salgado’s double misnomer Arriba Select).

On the plus side, very little bitterness thanks partially to a butter cloak seen in the color & felt in the preponderance weight of texture & flavor. Vanilla then steps in to largely mask & tip the balance.

New & young, Rogue sticks to its guns. Take the use of vanilla, for instance. The rage among didactic purists right now is to eschew it. Certain “cocoa-gurus” even phone up chocolate makers with dogma about abandoning it. Few varietals can benefit more from vanilla than Rio Caribe whose inherent chocolate dairy can mix with vanilla to create natural caramel. By employing the Tahitian variety of vanilla, recognized as its own strain, reinforces the All-American penchant for red-fruits since it possesses less vanillin but more heliotropin resulting in a sweeter floral pattern on the tongue that usually carries resident cherry-licorice tones. That hope gets dashed here; the net absent any "rio caramel", so to speak, as this vanilla clashes & clouds up chocolate for the most part, before latching onto the IMC component of Caribe whose acids were left underdeveloped in the fermentary, never having the chance to fully compliment one another except at the finale.

PS - according to the maker, these particular beans are "posing a challenge" & this bar was cut from an early prototype but batches are improving.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cacáo butter, Tahitian vanilla

Reviewed Summer 2009


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