Unadorned is the key word... from processing to appearance & taste. A bit of a swan ( Criollo pedigree) that turns, if not into an ugly duckling, a Plain Jane.
Appearance 3.6 / 5
rustic & dour
rustic & dour
|Color:||ash dark w/, oddly, a milky translucent cast & rust tint|
|Surface:||unspectacular but clean|
|Temper:||flat & dry|
|Snap:||strong low basso; sanded granite edge + flaming orange rust along break wall|
Aroma 7.8 / 10
mainly earth-clad (headwinds of tannic cocoa dust -> burly stick in the dirt -> fertilizer -> moss -> banana leaf -> almond skins -> musk) punctuated by sharp spices & fermented abiu (sapote), papaya, & helichrysum; oxidates tobacco leaf, vetiver, & cedar
Mouthfeel 10.7 / 15
|Texture:||full-bodied heavyweight; extremely dry; grit particulate & astringent grip (another facet of no butter added)|
Flavor 43.8 / 50
flashing reds amid choking dust... bitters out -> hard biscuit 'n cream -> sapote toward the bottom lower right palate -> desiccating cocoa followed-on by earth elements (ground soil, mushroom, blades of vetiver); yucca, almond, & cheese in the after-taste
Quality 16.7 / 20
1-dimensional / very even in demeanor & flavor... to the point of slight hollowness in the mid-palate. Marketed as a baking chocolate but relatively decent eating bar too for its 100% class thanks to its Criollo credentials. El Rey's usual indigenous approach magnified - semi lengthy ferment, firm roast, & light conche - leaving this bean starved & wanting for at least butter... & maybe sugar.