Peru Nacional

by Ritual
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Semi-Dark   (72%; Batch 001)
Strain Nacional   
Source Peru   (Marañón Canyon)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   
Style Neo-Modern      
The David Foster Wallace equivalent of "Chocolate as Religious Experience” in line with his “Federer Moment” -- the phrase Wallace coined to inscribe Fed’s improbable & sublime shots that “the jaw drops & eyes protrude & sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re O.K.” It also signified that Wallace embodied a sensuality in his pre-afterlife by rhapsodizing that Federer shows how the "speed & strength of today’s game are merely its skeleton, not its flesh”.

Notwithstanding that the power game has now squashed finesse with a revolution in technology that even Federer cannot reverse, the dear novelist remains on this side of the impending Trans-Human divide.

Robbie & Anna of Ritual perform a little reverse-tech in exposing the true flesh & nature of this venerable cacáo from Marañón Canyon, Peru.

A serial thriller chocolate with which many will wish to scatter their ashes.
Appearance   4.1 / 5
Color: tumbleweed
Surface: slightly distressed
Temper: semi-gloss
Snap: on pitch both along the the scored lines & right at the heart of the bar
Aroma   9 / 10
incredibly clear & better yet clean
drupey fruits (sapote / nectarine / apricots)… as much the pit as the flesh
then early fruit blossoms that crossover from white to red (peony / cherry -> geranium / rose)
Mouthfeel   13.2 / 15
Texture: ultra-soft pad; tender classic velour
Melt: relatively urgent
Flavor   46.7 / 50
fruit splay / floral spray (dried papaya, apricot blossom marmalade, cocona / hibiscus, rosehips), florals wither while the fruits stay on it -> light back strap treacle -> forest honey drop -> juicy expeller that almost reaches for high end moraberry & feijoa but stays true to the drupes listed above -> slight metallic streak -> the vanilla-orchid likeness in balsam of Peru & the rosiness to Palo Santo / Holy Wood -> mite spice at the very tail (Mexican tarragon)
Quality   18 / 20
Finally this much ballyhooed (& occasionally booed) Peru Nac'l comes to full fruition. A fruit bomb that turns into a juice hose with persistence / constance.

The best to date & in some respects the only one worth its cacáo.

That treacle tone now so evident in recent vintages from Marañón Canyon but well-mannered here, never over-cloying the upper-middle register from where all the nectar in this strain's empyrean seemingly flows down.

It revivifies the early promise of this cultivar, yet with greater refinement, by Steve De Vries' inaugural release which wooed audiences at The Smithsonian during its original unveiling years ago that soon became Fortunato No. 4.

Beyond that & beyond the boundaries of Marañón Canyon, & over the borders of Peru, few chocolates anywhere come this juicy-fruit packed -- Madagascar of course, the episodic Caribbean (mainly D.R.s or Trinidadians), a Venezuelan or Hawaiian here & there, & that outlier of them all, Cyrila's in Belize -- though none with such flower power to encompass a super-fragile structure that all blossoms together. So express the flavor tags that they're hard to miss, even by the taste-blind.

Ritual clearly dials back the settings in giving these beauties the spa treatment massage of micro-batch processors.

The length a little sacrificed (the melt yields so freely, true to this cacáo's track record, despite a rather high intrinsic butter weight) but the after-linger lasts for a near eternity. Paradoxical too that the bar spreads a little bit thin & light across the palate. Ditto virtually zero core cocoa flavor. But, no matter, free at last, Fortunato has finally met its maker... or makers really: Anna & Robbie at Ritual.

An auto-hit that joins Soma's Stratus & Patrick's 67% from neighboring Piura in Peru as triumvirate bars-of-the-year. Toss in Balao by Rogue & foursquare the center of gravity for premium chocolate has officially shifted from Europe to North America as the New World reclaims its chocolate birthright.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar

Reviewed Novemebr 18, 2013


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