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Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (very Dark for 70%; Lot No. 3/4/69)
Strain Ocumare   
Source Venezuela   
Flavor Crossover   (Twang x Spices/Herbs)
Style Retro-American      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
Art Pollard of Amano is on a mission. Picking up where Gianluca Franzoni a/k/a Mack Domori left off in venturing farther afield, summoning the spirits of those risk-takers of yore - sea-farers & explorers.

He went to Bali - way off the grid – to seize Jembrana.

Now, like MLK mimicking Moses going to the mountain top in John Ford-style... Amano’s Wild Wild West adventure: a horseback ride-for-chocolate takes him away from his Monument Valley hideout in Mormon Utah to the coastal mountain redoubts of western Venezuela. The cocoa-gaucho playing gotcha-cacáo in that part of the world where ultimatums often come down to ‘gimme the gold or take the lead’. Amano demands brown-gold in the form of these beans instead, to be refined into a bucking bronco that just kicks it in the mouth.

Art keeps this up & he'll be able to list a new address for his permanent residence: horse saddle, where he packs nothing but Amano chocolate so he can snack his own work.
Appearance   4.2 / 5
humble
Color: buff mahagony
Surface: soft brush plate; minor pinholes, scruffs, scratches, & smudges; hoof prints on the back (could've been shaken out more)
Temper: semi-glazed look
Snap: bold & loud w/ some swagger... those hoofs now lucky horseshoes; strong granulated formation on the break wall
Aroma   8.6 / 10
drenched leather outback reeking in apricot, pineapple, & sticky soncoya -> clove wind in the back distance along w/ spice pack of cinnamon red–hots, big cardamommy, sarsaparilla, & verbena (beautiful) + a puff of hibisucs coming off shrublands from eastern Colombia -> ventilates balsam
Mouthfeel   12.4 / 15
Texture: thin-bodied cosmetic-grade emollience
Melt: 2-step: staggers out then melts to a flow w/ virtually no astringency
Flavor   43.5 / 50
trots out quick & early w/ dominance of souring soncoya (especially its wet mango-like acids) wraps thru girding chocolate -> ash flint flirting w/ the Marlboro Man –> breaks apart into bittering herbal (silage, clary sage, gentian root) showing its less cultivated / more wild side -> bump ups quinine & aspirin interspersed w/ almond meal -> persistent herbal gait -> steps over dairy dirt (grass-fed; clump of undersod too) on the way to plantain -> vanilla balsam; aftermath shows signs of spices in the aromatics, apricot kernals, marshmallow root (not to be confused w/ s’mores, kidz), & the 2nd coming of chocolate
Quality   17.2 / 20
Pueblo cacáo muled in from Ocumare de la Costa, the most westerly of Venezuela’s famed cacáo valleys (in line with Chuao, Puerto Cabello, Choroni, etc.). Amano’s 2nd regional bar from Venezuela, 3rd if counting its ‘regular’ Ocumare (the other being Cuyagua).

Both of Amano’s Ocumares share a common bitter-acid refrain. This, however, a different animal that hardly typifies Ocumare, quite remote from the clonal series. Given the name & taste, it might contain Theobroma gileri aka 'cacao de monte' (mountain cacáo) as much as Theobroma cacao. Packs a whallop at just 25% cocoa mass; Amano doing all it can to control this foot-clomping beast of burden by upping the butter to massage & assuage it. Sweet bitter, a good bitter, slightly unwelcome in its persistent transgression over a long length (that demos its feral nature) but short contour; & sparse variety in the way of range. Far from simple though... more like its complicated sense of place: oxidized from peak-to-peak, considering some altitude is involved in both ends of this chocolate’s processing, both where’s it’s grown in the coastal mountain range of the Venezuelan Cordillera (in all likelihood sub-Andean & probably at lower elevation than, say, the El Ceibo cooperative in the Altiplano of Bolivia from where De Vries sourced his 80%), & then ground in Orem, Utah USA.

Who knows exactly what effects rarefied air has on chocolate bar-smithing. The net tastes of deep fermented / still-wet beans; imperfectly winnowed, roasted just this side of ashdom-come; then conched on the gentle side producing a bucking bar... acids... bitters... everything but the thorns... finally smacked in vanilla (recalls that ‘pig with lipstick’) without which this may be too bumptious.

Simultaneously liberal & authoritarian, strong & fragile, robust with finesse – particularly that cream moment echoing a possible connection to Colombia cacáo toward Santa Marta, which forms an extension of Venezuela’s Andino Criollo.

No coward; good tone but the meat’s a little tough & nothing falls off the bone. Lots of haunting character though.

ING: cocoa mass, cane sugar, cacáo butter, whole vanilla; CBS (Cocoa Mass/Sugar/Butter ratio): ~2:4:3 (seems to be Amano's standard configuration from Venezuela to Indonesia & Madagascar)

  

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