San Joaquín Reserva Privada

by El Rey
Info Details
Country Venezuela   
Type Semi-Dark   (70%; Case No. 0961; 2012-13 Harvest)
Strain Hybrid   (Ocumare x IMC-67)
Source Venezuela   (Mérida)
Flavor Crossover   (Spices/Herbs [vanilla] x Earthen x Naked)
Style Classic      
Everything about it speaks 'gravitas'. Both on the face of it & within its own fate.

The size, dimensions, weight & the feel -- all intimidate. Housing to equal Steve Jobs-era Apple design, befitting sacred texts; perhaps a deciphered stelae recovered from a staircase in some ancient Mesoamerican metropolis. Or, as rising C-spotter Louis Burgh likens, a rune for the latest Stargate franchise. All shrink-wrapped of course for preservation.

Obtaining this required multiple back-channels & ultimately conferences up to headquarters in Venezuela. There the C-Suite (for CEO, CFO, COO, deliberated whether the C-spot® was some gringo site trying to pull rank. Rather than disabuse them of any such notions, negotiations proceeded peer-to-peer.

In too deep? show more »
Appearance   5.1 / 5

No way around it: extra bonus point
Color: frosty brown
Surface: massive tablet scored into 5 bullion bars
Temper: coved up by overgrowth; early onset bloom (El Rey, all this attention to detail needs to transfer to the storage too… take some self-advice -- "store in a cool dark place")
Snap: ball breaker
Aroma   7.4 / 10
Milk Chocolate Hershey's® Kiss without the curdled milk which only undersells this because a grand samam wood backs it all up
Mouthfeel   12.2 / 15
Texture: a paradox: crumbling jawbreaker
Melt: splinters but instead of dissolving it swells (lecithin-assisted)
Flavor   44 / 50
slams in on that wood -> VOG (Vanilla Oak Giant) -> biscuit basket -> soft nuts (the "vegetable ivory" of tangua) -> finer woods take over (now deep in the private reserves… the sugar-sugar pulp of Albizea saman; Ceratonia siliqua [carob]; Coussapoa pittieri [higuerote]) -> passing alfalfa / pitanga -> sweet avocado almost anticipating pear / guarana -> breadfruit -> biriba (think banana cream) -> white nuts: macs, blanched almonds, cashews -> delicate Dark-Milk -> light grip (stringency) -> final wooden finger
Quality   16.1 / 20
Bizarre but beautiful transmogrification.

What hints of a ramshackling mess at the beginning (Flavor & moreover Texture), quickly corrects & nicely evolves, discarding the extraneous to arrive at this hybrid's essence.

A descendant of Ocumare comprising about ⅔ Criollo germ plasm, these nuggets generate none of that cultivar's fruit bang. Torn by the deployment of vanilla. Literally.

It's possible though difficult to see thru & past the vanilla screen in the first half, the reflux reaction of 'Cadbury's' / 'Hershey's' emits a low chocolate signal-to-noise ratio. That contrasts so vividly to the second half which benefits in a performative way by the melt lifting the scrim-veil of vanilla (or at least relegated to the back drop) onto the cleaner virtues of this esteemed cacáo…. albeit momentarily, as the oaken aspects reassert for the finale. El Rey would do well to lose, or at a minimum ameliorate, the vanilla.

Clearly some Criollo endowments. The Quality score / mark most reflects this genetic attribute rather than the formulation & processing.

Whatever the particulars, San Joaquín deserves a studied reserve of insight to fully appreciate.

Lastly, having gone to such lengths in the packaging, El Rey could rethink the information provided which generally lacks hard data & facts. Hence, the C-spot® agency -- specifically, 2 honorary C-spotters on the ground in Venezuela affectionately dubbed "The Cacáo Sisters": Maria Fernanda di Giacobbe & Chloé Doutre-Roussel. They filed much of this report on behalf of chocolate hounds everywhere.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, lecithin; CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio): 3:4:3

Reviewed April 4, 2014


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