Dick Taylor 72% Madagascar Black Fig 88/100


Located in the north west of Madagascar, the Sambirano Valley is responsible for producing some of the fruitiest chocolate that you’re likely to taste with these particular beans coming from one of Bertil Akesson’s plantation. Once harvested these beans are shipped to a small factory in Eureka, California, where two wooden boat builders, Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor take three weeks to turn them into one of their chocolate bars.


I’m expecting an intense amount of fruit here, with fruity Madagascan chocolate being paired with an equally fruity if not slightly darker and richer Black Mission Fig. After trying Dick Taylor’s Belize bar I’m also expecting so high quality chocolate work and some smooth textures. My main hope is that the flavours complement each other, with both main flavour sets being fruity. Opening the bar, I’m a little surprised to find the fig as more of a topping than an inclusion, but this does help to keep the front of the bar looking slick. Breaking off a piece reveals aromas of dark fig unsurprisingly, alongside honey and apricots, placing the piece in my mouth there’s an unusual textural experience, the chocolate is smooth and refined, but the fig inclusion is not, it’s uneven and at odds with the chocolate. I’m a little confused by this bar, the chocolate is really nice, as a single origin I’m sure I would have thoroughly enjoyed the Madagascan. The Black Mission Figs also taste good with black leathery treacle flavours, highlighted by the fizz of the inner dried fruit. I’m just not overly sure why they were paired together or the thoughts that went into the texture of the bar. The flavours have some parallels and aren’t a world apart, but neither product is bettered by the other. For me there’s an off kilter feel to the bar where the dark sugars of the inclusion don’t match up well with the bright and sweet nature of the chocolate. There’s also a textural issue, the chocolate is great, but the large and unrefined inclusions make the melt awkward and the alternative of chewing the bar doesn’t yield any additional benefit either. The best way I could manage to enjoy this bar way to let a piece half melt on the chocolate side, before then chewing to make the most of the figs. I want to like this bar, because there is much about it to like, especially the honest and dimensioned flavours from both the chocolate and the inclusion I just can’t help feeling that they weren’t exactly made for each other, at least not in this configuration. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of great flavour here, my main criticisms are with the curation and presentation of this flavour, if you’re a fan of bold textures and unusual combinations then this is probably the bar for you, but if you’re about smooth and seamless flavours and textures then this bar might present a challenge. Best enjoyed when you’re looking for something a bit outside the chocolate box.

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, black mission figs

Appearance 9.5/10

Colour: Medium to light brown, strong purpling
Texture: Smooth, cream, with inclusion
Dick Taylor relief slab
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte, highly consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Dark Fig, honey, apricot
Quality: Honest, sweet, acidic

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Creamy, smooth (inclusion is more of a topping than an incorporation)
Quality: Chocolate = smooth/refined 9.5 Bar = uneven/confusing 8

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Sour cherry
Quality: Bright

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Notes: Treacle, fig syrup
Quality: Complex, rich

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Type: Bitter, Sweet
Notes: Hazelnut, sour cherry, dried fig, cream
Quality: Dimensioned, honest

Length 8.5/10

Flavours take a while to build, but get longer, a sort of maltyness gets in the way of the round

Finish 9/10

Notes: Sour cherry, cream, fig fizz, savoury tar
Quality: Sour cherry acidity makes its way to the end before cream begins to take over and the fig inclusions fizz over the chew, a savoury tar lingers like liquorice or peaty whiskey

Balance 8.5/10

Levels are fairly well equalised, but feels a bit uneven, its dark with a fairly solid structure, but doesn’t manage harmony, there’s a slightly off kilter feel about the bright and sweet flavours trying to come through

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth in its dark tones and the flavour has plenty of dimension, the complexities of the flavour and combination of inclusion aren’t well balanced and feel awkward, structure is consistent, expression feels honest of both terroir and inclusion and processing of the chocolate is refined and honest

Dick Taylor Tasting Notes: Dark, rich California black mission figs paired with our 72% Madagascar


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