Bullion Chocolate Haiti Acul Du Nord 70% 90.5/100

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The beans for this bar are supplied by Roduits Des Iles SA (PISA) cooperative who work with small farmers in the Acul Du Nord region of Haiti. Once harvested they’re shipped to Sheffield where Max Scotford works to turn them into one of his golden pure bars of a precious substance.

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I’ve tried a limited amount of cocoa from Haiti – although Georgia Ramon’s Haiti bar is from the same region – and so far have found it to exhibit fairly earthy cocoa flavours, with dark sugar tones and occasionally some dark spice notes. It’s in many ways similar to some of its Caribbean neighbours in Cuba, Jamaica and Grenada, but surprisingly least like its island mate the Dominican Republic. That said, I’ve experienced some variance around the Caribbean and especially in terms of balance and refinement, often these earthy notes can lean towards bitter flavours of an unrefined nature. My hope for this bar is that it offers something balanced and that it’s not overwhelmingly dark or inaccessible. Opening the gold packaging reveals a fairly simple 4×4 moulding, but with some consistent and positive looking chocolate work. The dark colour is in line with cocoa I’ve seen from Haiti before, but isn’t necessarily indicative of a darker roast, breaking a piece off and revealing the aromas seems to confirm this. Sweet floral aromas with notes of bergamot and clementine peel, with just a hint of spice on the end are both fragrant and perfumed. Placing a piece in my mouth begins a smooth mouthfeel with buttery marzipan textures that begins to reveal developed but light sugar flavours with fruity notes of citrus and sour cherries. There’s an undercurrent of acidic and bitter spice that edges towards the finish helping to balance the sweetness and provide a slightly savoury edge to an otherwise sweet bar. The flavours are smooth and rounded with a fairly elegant balance to them and a highly consistent structure. This is a fairly approachable and timid bar that offers smooth soft flavours that lean towards the luxurious more than they do towards the earthy and powerful. All in all there’s some good development on display here and hints that the cocoa has been well handled to bring out its very best. Best enjoyed slowly, with honeyed whisky taking advantage of the long melt.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cocoa butter & cane sugar

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Darker brown
Texture: Smooth, light ridging
Mould: 4×4 Oblong pieces
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Sweet florals, bergamot, candied clementine peel, star anise
Quality: Sweet, fragrant, perfumed

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Smooth, marzipan
Quality: Smooth, consistent, refined

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 3
Notes: Citrus, sour cherry
Quality: Fruity, soft, bitter

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Caramel, light muscovado, marzipan
Quality: Developed, bright, smooth

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Dark sugars, mixed citrus, sour cherry, ginger, cinnamon, citrus peel, marzipan
Quality: Smooth, rounded

Length 9/10

Flavours have a deceptive length rounding with the waves of fruit

Finish 9/10

Notes: Caramel, citrus, sour cherry, marzipan, spice
Quality: Sweet caramels and citrus notes make their way towards the end with rounds of buttery marzipan and bitter spice notes all piling into the finish leaving a bright sunny sweetness to linger

Balance 9/10

Bar has a fairly elegant balance, attributes are complementary and levels are fairly well equalised, strong structure provides plenty of stability

Overall 9.5/10

Bar has good depth and decent dimension, complexities are well balanced and structure is stable and consistent, expression seems honest and true of cocoa with processing providing good development and a smooth mouthfeel

Bullion’s Tasting Notes: Dried fig, tart cherry, roasted nuts

 

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