by Sirene
Info Details
Country Canada   
Type Dark   (+ Brut; + Dark-Milk; + Flavored)
Strain Hybrid   (mainly)
Source Guatemala   (+ Bolivia; Ecuador; Tanzania; Madagascar)
Flavor Crossover   
Style Classic      (neo-Classic)
Vitality Air, a company in Canada (from where Sirene also operates), started out bottling Rocky Mountain air as a joke only to see its product fly off the shelves in... polluted China.

A can of the "fresh air" sells for around $12 -- about the same for these chocolate bars.

Whatever Sirene might be breathing or vaping -- O2 & otherwise -- something's in the air up there as this collection attests.

Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: dark stars except for 1 apricotta hue
Surface: glassine
Temper: hi-beam
Snap: thunderbolts
Aroma   8.7 / 10
florid generalized around some cold stone grinds
spice molasses stew (Guatemala)
floral (Bolivia)
white laurel, bamboo, & white fruit (Ecuador)
leatherback & horsetail caramel (Madagascar 100)
add granular yeast-beast with a drupe fruit... the list goes on...
Mouthfeel   12.2 / 15
Texture: stick 'em
Melt: steady
Flavor   46.4 / 50
73% cacáo-content; Batch 7
fudge brownie -> juice fruit inlay (Amazon grape + pomegranate) -> honey drop -> powdered flower backstop believe-it-or-not -> cardamom

Bewitching mix twixt the robust roast of cocoa & sweet succulence of near-candy proportions.

Ecuador 100%
Camino Verde, Balao; EET+; Batch 21
topsoil, semi-bitter -> fungi / mushroom paté, including black truffle & chanterelle -> black olive -> artichoke -> gamey liver element

Tolerant & palatable for the percentage. A condiment of the darkest order.
As with practically all Camino Verdes, quickly establishes & then maintains its equilibrium. The only foible: taut Texture which splinters early on into a sticky paste.

Esmeraldas; 73% cacáo-content
mild exquisite chocolate with just a brush of embered roast & a spiced touch -> pings off those woods in the Aroma, especially the laurel -> sublime cinnamon-rambutan -> floral imprint to finish (Sirene describes it as gardenia... count it) -> sacha inchi in the semi-stringent post-script

Esmeraldas in all her glorious finery. Sirene courts this beauty with aplomb.

Alto Verapaz, Lachua; IMC (?); 73% cacáo-content; Batch 25
similar start (fruited cocoa) to Bolivia (above) -> gets herbal & yeasty on a biscuit -> turns over guava verging on restrained passionfruit -> flush caramel finish

Easily the finest Lachua to date after some real beatdowns. A quantum jump in fact. Almost suspiciously good. Thanks to the likes of Sirene in concert apparently with post-harvesters on the ground, the gap between Guatemala & the rest of the premium cocoa world continues to narrow -- considerably.

Guatemala Dark-Milk
Ever heard of the Philly Cheesesteak? Well, inhale this Guat Cheese-pork... pulled pork specifically...
the taste streams in sweet & sour sauce -> candy corn -> malts into dark toffee -> tamarind shake -> goes out doughy

Respectable. More tugging than teasing as the flavor tags yank at each other in some off-alignments that nonetheless situate well enough if not quite settle down.

Kokoa Kamili; Kilombero Valley, Morogoro; Varietal Blend; 73% cacáo-content
quasi-alkalized cocoa cake for a few beats then hits on a swooning sweet-spot, express & wet, tamarind, marula, & apricot -> dries out some over stoned yeast -> proximate Vermouth -> flash almond

TZ with each & every release leaps & bounds to astound. Ranks favorably & right up there with Palette de Bine's rendering.

Madagascar 100%
Somia; Sambirano Valley; Batch 21
loads in bitter butter -> soils up a sprout or two of green savor, including green tomato -> mineral back action (some iron + a little magnesium) -> distant sap struggling for sweetness -> rear limstone -> faint (phantom?) caramel

Fairly restrained for both the percentage & especially the origin to suggest that maybe the cocoa broker (Åkesson) delivered either some of its off-season harvest or the less volatile varieties.

Dark-Milk Madagascar
the nose on this a cheese wheel more than a chocolate milk
once on the tongue, a Slo-Poke® / Milk Dud® dappled with candied fruit spots... a bushel basket / rainbow of 'em

65% cacáo-content often optimizes Madagascan cocoa without any milk.
In the formulation here, the lactose + cane sugars achieve the same while further enhancing the array via fun 'n sexy caramel action.
Rather than feeling & flavoring ponderously at this weight, Sirene keeps the craft buoyant, even aloft.
Such equipoise twixt the cocoa, the dairy & the sugar.
Joins the small pantheon of GREAT Dark-Milks utilizing this island origin.

Winter Warmer
aptly named... after its warm festive winter flavor.... a Dark-Milk utilizing Tanzania cocoa (above) spiced with a beguiling mix of clove, nutmeg & cinnamon so symmetrically balanced that none dominate or even lead but each seamlessly integrate into a gestalt blend which in turn condenses this cocoa's volatiles into fruitcake-worthy concentrations
Quality   18.1 / 20
Consistency throughout. Uniform hi-quality. Uplevel chocolate.

No miscues whatsoever. None perfect (who is?), all excellent though.

Each merits its own individual review really but the results would remain identical: on whatever scale -- 5-star / 5-pod / 0-100 / A-B-C -- super grade.

Bold yet finessed. Few dare, for instance, produce any unsweetened 100% cacáo-content bars let alone two of them! And so ably so. In the other bars, the point-to-point notes & colors dance then pool into rippling tessellations; electrified & ionized melt gastronomy.

Sirene's M.O. seems mid-point to the golden mean. Nothing overwrought or underdeveloped. Just centered at the optimum.

Among the Big 4 if not the top of Canada's craft chocolate barsmiths.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar (for Dark-Milks add milk; for Winter Warmer add milk + spices)

Reviewed February 2, 2017


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