Info Details
Country France   
Type Semi-Dark   (65% bordering Dark)
Strain Chuao   (Criollo)
Source Venezuela   (Aragua Valley)
Flavor Crossover   (Naked x Fruits/Flowers)
Style Classic      
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Appearance   4.7 / 5
Color: ironic for an old bar even at 65%: fawn
Surface: proud armor: Val's art-deco coat of arms
Temper: sheer charisma
Snap: about right for a semi-sweet sitting in a storehouse for 5 years - low & muffled; fine-sanded edge
Aroma   8.3 / 10
the comeback kid jumping out of retirement; just blows the dust off cobwebs & dried lemon verbena right out of the wrapper w/ fresh blueberries & strawberries, recessed in simple chocolate & oaken vanilla; Val's senior scent ferment on the rubdown
Mouthfeel   12.8 / 15
Texture: fractious start; once it knocks the crust off, it melts historic silk
Melt: medium frame floats thru consistently
Flavor   44.9 / 50
immediately strikes the nerve, the acceleration of it just rips your leather pants off: sweet cocoa bang -> loses some sugar for purer chocolate momentum-> strawberry line-drives darken to blueberry jam -> heavier tannins come fore... molasses spreads the chocolate thunder -> spices & herbs (clove, lemon verbena, + banana leaf) -> banana & cream the lightning -> pert plum-pie sweetened w/ golden acacia honey & that flower's tree underneath for caramel overtones -> fades over green walnut hulls
Quality   17.7 / 20
Top-range / noble-grade. A big chocolate for a 65 if shy of Olympic-sized (some mod chocs have big body but no personality). Generous, dimensional, & pretty forgiving considering the time lapse. A chocolate diesel with cargo onboard (make no mistake - it's about the sustained chocolate all day... underlying, overlapping, or topping off the interlining vectors). A bit ready for a re-fresh – just a tad too lite to satiate, hence the desire for more. At 35% sugar count (which quells a fair amount of Chuao's trademark acidity), Valrhona must've sensed the end of the supply chain coming in its bidding war with Amedei for exclusive rights to license Chuao's crop in the early-naughts (circa 2003/04) & wanted to extend whatever it had on hand. This varietal can easily tolerate more of itself & less additives. The difference between Amedei's colossal achievement & this flirting-with-greatness lies in those 5 percentage points of cacáo-content (which no doubt account for more mass than butter) plus the Italian's verve for darker roast yielding blacker fruit profile (as well as perhaps other classified intangibles). Theirs being the Armani collection of chocolate while this sits in exile, a little Napoleon on Elba stirring in reveries of lost time & empire. Still, for a bar well past expiration, no small feat of high-hanging fruit that grows deep & deeper still.


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