Sloop-style nessomania loosely translates into ‘island hopper’: a few cacáo trees here, some coffee groves over there, let’s hit that port for the mango stand & this goes on & on... nothing stormy, no high rollers, just calm seas ahead... & a polaroid sunset.
Appearance 4.7 / 5
|Color:||multi-chromatic: forest brown w/ terra cotta shades of orange, red & even purple hues|
Aroma 7.6 / 10
nut woods & mocha, recessed & grounded in clay, lets out aerated sea palm & molasses mousse spiced w/ black currant, fennel, & peppermint
Mouthfeel 13.4 / 15
|Texture:||foamy & frothy wave crests|
Flavor 43.1 / 50
chocolate treacle forms keel & ballast for multiple coffee shots across the bow that run the length picking up caffeine-like speed w/ a light-as-bamboo hull coated in vanilla making for coccoloba (a/k/a ‘sea grape tree’ a la Armando Reveron’s pictorial exploration) -> nuts blending up mocha almondine bulkhead which rocks the boat w/ a forlorn bitter or 2 then onto a mizzen wind of black currant leading to dried fruit gusts on aft-deck (starboard apricot / portside mango) before reaching stern, & cappuccino in its wake
Quality 18.4 / 20
Maybe not Valrhona’s best bar but perhaps its greatest effort. Whenever manufacturers dial-in oddly precise percentages of cacáo content - such as 71%, 83.5% or, in this case, 66% - right away the needle on the bullshit meter rises but here’s an extremely well-navigated course in ferment (moderate), roast (deep by Valrhonic standards), highly compatible bean-blend, conche (reputedly 4 – 5 days) &, yes, evenly sugared.