Dark Blend

by Friis Holm
Info Details
Country Denmark   
Type Dark   (65%)
Strain Blend   (Chuno; Nicaliso; Rugoso)
Source Nicaragua   
Flavor Earthen   
Style Rustic      
Mikkel Friis Holm jettisons his B-side fillers (Barba, Johe, Medagla) & compiles his A-list (Chuno, Nicaliso, & Rugoso) into this greatest hits release.

Whether played fast (chew) or slow (melt), this is one loudmouth chocolate even as the original master tracks (the constituent cultivars) still kick more 'A' as solos artists than as a blended trio.
Appearance   4.4 / 5
Color: ruby pastel
Surface: smudged like a lipstick kiss
Temper: matte make-up quality
Snap: quiet ballad
Aroma   8 / 10
old-school library leather & wood with a puff of tobacco in the corner (the Nicaliso component)
lactic acid for some cream-cheese topped by cinnamon (Rugoso)
diffuses fruit bouquet (Chuno)
manifold destiny? see Flavor below
Mouthfeel   12.3 / 15
Texture: dry batter
Melt: even keeled
Flavor   40.1 / 50
immediate choc cake digs down into brownies -> white pepper / cassava -> chalks caramel -> bromeliad (nary the fruit, just the terpene compounds) -> green picholine olive leaf -> transitions to the the licorice distillates of basil / the molasses of tarragon -> grappling astringency (euphemistically 'citrus') -> cement with background black walnut
Quality   15 / 20
Blends arrive few & far between in the new chocolate scene of the "single origin" fetish. They tend to exhibit somewhat greater consistency from batch-to-batch than single seed bars.

Another power blend that falls short of expectation, dashed in the execution, to add to what slowly piles up a graveyard of them. None necessarily 'bad'; in fact all taste pretty good except, again, less than anticipated... Felchlin's Centenario & Domori's IL100%Criollo the prime exemplars. The individual forces, in these power blends at least, perform a canceling act, neutralizing each other's greatness, instead of fusing for synergistic interest.

In this case, the 3 amigos (Chuno, Nicaliso, & Rugoso), each a crossbreed of their own, elide the pedigreed portion of their hybridized germplasms, leaving behind mostly the foundational material of Amelonado (responsibile for core cocoa flavor, yet a bit skittish here other than the strong opening).

Further, the inordinate stringency from the midsection onward suggests processing parameters that missed one of the 3 principles seed types -- probably the Nicaliso -- failing to account, on the verge of carelessness, for differentials in either size &/or post-harvest treatment. A rather novel ferment cycle equilibrated to the pulp's initial pH level & that of the eventual thermal mass might be the causative factor. Its effect seemingly dominates the latter stages of the progression to this bar's detriment. People enamored with licking sidewalk pavement will cherish it though.

With such an all-star cast, the choice of 35% sugar reveals as much; it signals that rather than customizing the roasting & refining for each varietal, then waiting til the end stages to combine, they were lumped together early on & equalized in sugar. As such, interference from underdeveloped compounds makes this taste less sweet than actuality.

Maybe the grand genotypes want their star to shine on its own without sharing the spotlight.

Yes, certain cacáos display diva-ready egos.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed July 29, 2013


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