Info Details
Country Canada   
Type Dark   (76%; Lot #10424 SLB)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Dominican Republic   
Flavor Crossover   
Style Old School      
This bar sticks out like a sore thumb, in an otherwise average line-up from Olivia, because tasters are sucking all its goodness hard off their finger tips.

Better to get licked that way than, say, Psalms 72: they that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before; & enemies shall lick the dust
Appearance   4 / 5
Color: tan veering on opaque
Surface: in Olivia's finest tradition -- dusted, flaked, chipped, cracked
Temper: polished coat
Snap: 76% weakling
Aroma   8.5 / 10
evolves right under the nose: lean, even serene, nut mass (weaker than a pea / stronger than a mac... works out nicely) -> jute sack (storage?) -> slightly soured cocoa lets off cherry cordial & lite tobacco -> black olive
Mouthfeel   11.9 / 15
Texture: soft 'n dry butter pad
Melt: powdered dissolve that lecithin fails to congeal
Flavor   47.1 / 50
cocoa dust -> dried mango starts to interline it -> tobac-smoked olive (intriguing) -> builds savory bits against a sour counterpoint (granadilla) -> gentle-rocking back bitter (think 'sea buckthorn' or bitter apricot) -> rum (Bacardi 151) -> terrific gestalt of móle forces from all the preceding -> minor malting -> charcoal &, alas, some chalk (stemming from that jute in the Aromatics) -> hay & tonka (vanilla's influence on these seeds) round out the balance & return to a cocoa ending
Quality   18.2 / 20
What a difference 10% additional sugar makes for Olivia's 86% flatliner from the same seed lot.

Indeed, nothing in this barsmith's short career -- still under development -- prepares one for, or explains, it. An achievement that surpasses anything Olivia has done to date to harken back to early Bessone when that label released the unexpected & shockingly great Ceylon. That bar, a Milk Chocolate, actually made some sense since Bessone came to chocolate from the confectionary world. This relatively high percentage Dark affair plays in an altogether different league from, again, Olivia's 86% or its 76%-Raw.

Bizarre. Maybe just beginner’s luck... so ride it while it’s hot.

A not-so-classic out 'n back twister. But, oh, what a ride.

Big, bold & beautiful. Very dark in tone... some deep umami notes, with only trace acidic offsets. All of them well harmonized (even the chalking almost rises to the level of a grace note).

Apt parallels to Rogue's Hispaniola, especially as savory móles / fraternal twins. Only the density patterns distinguish them. Less condensed here & with a more elliptical A-B-C-A progression (opening & closing cocoa sandwiches sweet fruits / savory compounds / spice racks) compared to the unbound nature of the Rogue.

The only real detraction / distraction: subpar Texture; a chocolate rather short in the conch (in contrast to the 86% which feels over-conched & therefore stripped) perhaps to compensate for a warmer roast.

Whatever the exact cause, Olivia produces a winner from these pods that hang several branches above the rest of the field (including that of its own line; in all fairness some of it handicapped by being "raw"). Doubly impressive from a fledgling label.

Truly a grand ornament in this or any collection. A bar to build on.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla

Reviewed March 15, 2012


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