Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (70%; Lot #314162 + a 2nd un-numbered lot)
Strain Cuyagua   (Criollo group)
Source Venezuela   
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   
Style Mainstream      
Stoned again by Amano's granite-grinder. Short progression, no real chocolate bang, but shoots a fine supple plume – constant & caressing – including a moment of sheer grace (at least in the inaugural edition of this bar).

This an assertive alpha-male while still being feminine, wild but accessible. No evil Darth Vader here, just darkest truths spoken by the Gods of Cacáo.

Amano’s a contender acquiring more heft as it grows out of its shorts.

Amano y Mano - Art Pollard, the creative brain trust behind Amano Chocolate, stands in front of what appears to be an antique mahogany pipe-organ that in actuality plays a cacáo winnower to remove the husks or shells off the bean.
Appearance   3.6 / 5
Color: dry dirt brown; even a little pale toward milk
Surface: slick as its advertising mold
Temper: whorls, grease splatter & dandruff-lite micro-flakes
Snap: sharp w/ small voice... breaks right off the powder edge
Aroma   6.9 / 10
hefty foil wrapper great for containing aromatics w/o compromise... slow developer then tarts dripping wild ‘n weird juxtapose: blackened fruit enveloped in dust, must, roast, oak, tobacco, nut ‘n cheese + some dooky odium of butyric acid... worrisome until the arrival of underlying canned apricot & cocona juices, then guarana
Mouthfeel   11.8 / 15
Texture: don’t bite w/ front teeth…better snap w/ the molars or next month’s paycheck goes to the dentist; thick, muscular body; then mass & fat segregate for layered distribution
Melt: sluggish; unevenly staged in phases but good mouth dispersion
Flavor   44.7 / 50
forget aroma’s troubles – this fantastically defies & supplants them: pure Venzy lift-off, very red – strawberry deepening to cherry against mild chocolate-tannin backset which stalls in-flight (but who can fault it?) then furnishes supple interlining the whole way thru -> uncorks & pops open red wine currant -> soft whispers of blood orange at the center of the tongue -> flick of ash / fleck of clove -> porcini -> loses some interest as fine chalk-dust kicks-up (part of Amano’s stone-grinding character) w/o sinking entirely into boredom -> lands into a bog basin
Quality   17.9 / 20
Good technique, construction & control factor matches a wicked good fermentation. Softer yet darker tact than S-B’s blend called Cuyagua; less assertive & sharp; slightly hotter roast (though still in keeping with Amano’s medium tendencies), a combo of burning / conching off some acids & bringing up the nut tones. Plus, the use of Tahitian vanilla dramatically colors flavor, especially in the earlier release of this bar which boasted superior length including a dairy involvement that dips fruit into a floral drive: mysterious layer cake & a wan mash teaser (papaya, apricot, cherimoya) to spawn peach blossom, soaked in that Tahitian vanilla, & changes to cherry blossom... moments of sheer grace leading to an almond tail.

That an example of an inaugural bar benefitting from beginner's luck compared to this the seasoned player. Axiomatic, if only sometimes of 'the more one knows, the less one grows' & at odds with an Amano that's generally learning & maturing? Or choc it up to vintage / batch variability?

In any event, far clearer & superior to that other Cuyagua from Choklat & much in league with Pralus' version.

Reviewed Spring 2010


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