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Tân Phú Đông 65%

by Marou
Info Details
Country Vietnam   
Type Dark   (65%; Batch 0000571)
Strain Hybrid   (T Clonal Series)
Source Vietnam   (Mekong Delta; Tân Phú Đông)
Flavor Naked   (x Spices/Herbs)
Style Mainstream      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
Vertical taste-flights arrive few & far between in the chocolate universe.

Credit Pierrick Chouard of Vintage Plantations with introducing perhaps the first. In his wake came Coppeneur's Iara Ecuador range; Amma's modified flight version & Q Aquim's full one, both from Brazil; & the sundry islanders -- Corallo from Principe, Menakao out of Madagascar (in a narrower sense, Patric too), Adi in Fiji & Grenada Chocolate Company.

Marou now joins the club.

The trouble with some of these flights lies in how few of them hold the control variables constant (or even near constant) while testing the impact of the independent variable -- the sugar level. Too often barsmiths also vary other parameters (the roast, the conche, the mass-to-butter ratio, perhaps even the seed lot, the last which definitely crashes the whole notion behind a vertical flight).

They do so thinking that wholesale tweaks optimize each bar on the schedule. That very well could be but at the expense of the overall flight pattern which is supposed to reveal the effect of sugar on specific cocoa at different levels of sweetness.

Though they may veer off course, these packaged tours are as close as chocolatarians get to verticality in this parlor trip.

Besides, maybe genuine verticals are simply too much of an ask anyways for an alchemy -- viz., chocolate -- that often boils down to aleatory process & chance.

Read on to discover if Marou's vertical flight amounts to a crap-shoot between hi-altitude & a belly-flop of a crash landing...
Appearance   4.5 / 5
Color: sandy brown with a blush of iron oxide
Surface: just a few transit nicks away from perfect
Temper: quiet shine
Snap: huge for its percentage; smooth break wall
Aroma   7.8 / 10
the most "normalized" in Marou's Tân Phú series
reeks of ferment (vinegar) rather than the Viet's customary intoxicants
even so, quite unique: sour graham crackers
settles lightly into heady spices, infusing galbanum, not only for its musk but its green apple scent, later bound for hashish
Mouthfeel   12.3 / 15
Texture: forecast in the pre-taste rubdown -- the scratch 'n sniff of chocolate -- which felt some slick-powder (to be expected for the percentage)
Melt: globular action
Flavor   43.7 / 50
lights up hash brownies -> cream biscuit -> simple white spice (light candied ginger & canella) -> cashew -> tapioca
… with good cocoa throughout…
white pepper -> goes away with some dark thunder thru a star anise exit -> cocoa syrup & a thin scrim of pineapple in the aft-chamber
Quality   16.4 / 20
Who said whitey can't jump? (Probably the same guys who claim brotha can't swim… well, come to think of it… oh, skip it… alright, for every Cullen Jones there's 100 meters of pool filled with a bunch of Charles Barkley's sinking to the bottom). These guys from Marou got some vertical leap in 'em.

On the edge of a white-out for sure… any more sugar & this bar could furnish the candy giants with fodder to smear vanilla on for basic mass product without the nuances herein.

And yet despite the 35% sugar caning this bar absorbs, which galvanizes white lightening effects, it maintains a certain darkness in tone that, however diluted its CQ (or Chocolate Qquotient) which goes to undermine its Structure, attests to the forcefulness of this Delta cacáo.

With this 65%, Marou wraps up its vertical suite of Tân Phú Đông. Though marred by a compromised batch in the 85%, this & that, together with the 75%, showcase a ginger-inflected / oriented cocoa from top to bottom as sugar modulates the degree of strength & density of it over an underlying continuum along dough batter - cake - cookie - bread - biscuit.

Other than a hiccup in the 85%, overall a well-executed, sweet-spice expo.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed December 19, 2013

  

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