Michel Cluizel Dominican Republic Plantation Los Ancones 67% 84/100

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Created from trinitario cocoa beans from the Los Ancones plantation, on the island of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Damville in Normandy just west of Paris to Manufacture Cluizel to be turned into one of their single plantation chocolate bars.

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I’ve tried a lot of chocolate from the Dominican Republic over the years and my experience so far has been of a chocolate that expresses dark cocoa and earthy tones, but with a propensity for red berry notes when it’s at its best. Flavoursome maybe, but rarely refined or dimensioned. My hope is that this bar goes beyond smoothing out the experience with some additional cocoa butter and rather offers to encourage the expression of the beans. Opening the packaging and breaking off a piece reveals some simple and unrefined aromas, there’s some florals here, but otherwise it’s cocoa and a fresh milk tone that offer up their fragrance. Placing a piece in my mouth the bar has a fairly processed feel with syrupy almost Turkish delight textures that are firm and full having been pushed to be full. To taste the bar opens with hazelnut and cocoa, but quickly develops to become sweet, jammy and red, with notes of cherries, Turkish delight and red berries coming together to produce sweet jam and confectionary tones. There’s complementary and uplifting flavours here that elevate the bar, but they lack refinement and honest expression, there’s a touch of peaches and cream that help the bar towards its finish. The bar has some pleasant enough flavours, they just lack decent expression and they’re slightly overwhelmed by the processing, leading to muted or under developed flavour, what is intended to provide smoothness and accessibility ends up providing little in the way of balance or harmony. For an insight into somewhat typical expressions of Dominican cacao, this bar offers a window to those flavours.

Ingredients: Cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter, bourbon vanilla pod

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium brown, light purpling
Texture: Smooth milk fudge
Mould: 5×3 Michel Cluizel relief slab squares
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Cocoa, lightly floral, lightly metallic, alpine milk
Quality: Simple, unrefined

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Medium to long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Syrupy, Turkish delight, smooth
Quality: Firm, full, processed

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Cherries, red berries
Quality: Uplifting

Sweetness 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Turkish delight, berry jam
Quality: Complementary

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Hazelnut, cocoa, cherries, red berries, peach, cream
Quality: Sweet, fruity

Length 8.5/10

Flavours get longer as the melt goes on, with the round coming from the fruity acidity, but falls short of being long or rounded

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Cocoa, berries, cream
Quality: Cocoa, berries and cream all come together for the finish and linger on after

Balance 8.5/10

Bar is a little unstable, but within the confines of a slightly restricted and muted boundary, creaminess and medium structure provide the enforced balance

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has some depth, but lacks dimension in flavour, small amounts of complexity are somewhat balanced, medium structure is fairly consistent, expression is true of terroir, but slightly muted with processing enforcing an unharmonius balance


Michel Cluizel’s Tasting Notes: The Michel Cluizel Los Ancones, single origin chocolate bar is made with an exquisite blend of Trinitario cocoa, from the Los Ancones plantation, on the island of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean. This unique dark chocolate holds a deliciously complex assortment of fresh fruit flavours including apricot, peach and even green olive. The Los Ancones chocolate bar is one of seven, single estate dark chocolate bars created by Michel Cluizel.

 

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