Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (65%)
Strain Ocumare   
Source Venezuela   (Aragua; Ocumare de la Costa Valley)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   
Style Mainstream      
Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: a pale-rouge shade of brown
Surface: solid molding
Temper: softly glistening crystals
Snap: thick pour = big break
Aroma   9.4 / 10
light gauge but indelible: peaches & cherry amidst a cocoa-peat bog (far from the typical PNG-style smoked-peat... more leguminous / live vines / wet llanos concentrated in a hairy chupa chupa containing sweet-musk pulp) -> guarana & araguany-bark tea
Mouthfeel   11 / 15
Texture: scrawny / unformed
Melt: discombobulates further
Flavor   40.6 / 50
straight to it as a hand-grenade without a pin: vanilla hard on the heels of chocolate -> pillows up marshmallow / hibiscus -> jute fibers -> the Aroma’s peat bog + bark tea scatters flavor though it manages the more fruited scents as well, albeit cursorily backed in anise -> shakes the doldrums & saves the best for last: crenshaw & honey-melon -> classic Venzy nuts to close
Quality   15.4 / 20
Varietally incorrect & atypical for the origin on several fronts. Right in Guittard’s semi-sweet wheelhouse; in fact, the lowest cacáo-content to date (excluding the Milk choc versions) from preternaturally-kind Ocumare - the more so the more sugar, at least theoretically - whose very character spells f-r-a-g-i-l-i-t-y.

No getting around the largely dark tone, unusual profile & ragged contour as well. Flavor struggles at first with that hard vanilla (a Guiitard staple), & well into the marshmallows feels unsettled. Those jute fibers raise storage concerns while these beans sat in their sacks, forcing this chocolate to skirt danger in the midsection & stage a nice recovery by the end. Long time coming... but it finally arrives, though the brightness of this cultivar gets recessed.

Finally, questionable schematics: Guittard recently edged up the percentages thru parts of its portfolio so the 65% here signals that the house felt unconfident about the quality of this particular Ocumare & tries to cover with more sugaring. Ditto the firm roast, which tastes counterproductive; light-handed heat suits the ever-prone Ocumare lest its delicate highs burn away.

What’s spared can be attributed to Ocumare’s generally gifted nature & probably a medium conche which combine for that ending.

One that favorably grows in the memory bank as it inversely shrinks on the taste-buds.

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

Reviewed January 2011


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