Info Details
Country Switzerland   
Type Semi-Dark   (68%)
Strain Beniano   (Cacáo Silvestre)
Source Bolivia   (Rio Bení; near Baures, Iténez Province)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   
Style Classic      

An incunabula of how it might have been, & possible vintage recovered from lost time. Unless you're the age of Methusaleh or old as diamonds you've probably had nothing like it.

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Appearance   5 / 5
Packaging rarely warrants this much attention. This is different. Sets a serious tone: a museum piece complete with dossier from the research library. Wrapped as fragile as a leaf in thin long strips, clothed in gold, with a feather mold. Wild treasure as ancient artifact; driving both anxiety & curiosity to lift the lid & open up antiquity. One peek reveals a jaw-dropping talisman; a closeted drama. Truly one of the jewels of the Chocolate Kingdom. Auctionable.
Color: omega brown w/ dark violet ray
Surface: immaculate surface flow of shimmering curtains
Temper: high sheen
Snap: musically percussive
Aroma   9.4 / 10
bottom notes: soft leather, dusky briar wood, bluestone, streamed coconut, & vanilla musk; midrange: mulberry/raison, prune tea; top note: cashew lifted in a chocolate fog
Mouthfeel   13.2 / 15
Texture: bit dry & dusty then astringent
Melt: had to fight for its melting point, prolonging the sensation & standing up lots of body & length
Flavor   47.9 / 50
slow developer that keeps growing: chocolate vanilla honey frames a series of pruned dialects: straight/ unaccented -> fresh picked, just off the boat [conjuring lemon-blueberry] -> 3rd generation dried [raisin-jujube adjunct] that keep bumping ever higher to a faint pineapple halo, then the careful mediation thru a low bitter nut blend w/ burlap (cashew/pistachio/almond); all taken together rises & juices up a celestial cider just before end times when it drops to a tiny bit of stone & lands very green; a rare find in taste whose chocolatarity comes mostly on the edges
Quality   19.3 / 20
Beyond estate-domain, primordial & providential; mistycal crystal & wildly tranquil. Perhaps the very descendent of what conquistadores esteemed as the best cacáo of all, even more valued than the vaunted Xoconochco (see True History of Chocolate, pg 211; or Fr. Francis Xavier Eder's account). Roasted low & slow in between a relatively short ferment &, by Felchlin standards, shorter conche (below its usual 72 hours). With such a gentle disposition, this bean's tolerance could handle more than the current 68% cacáo-content; perhaps well into the mid-to-upper 70 pecentile to crown it the greatest bar on Earth.

Reviewed Autumn 2005


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