Bullion Bolivia Alto Beni 70% 88.5/100

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These wild and trinitario beans are supplied by Alto Beni Cacao Co, a partnership between Invalsa a Bolivian exporter and Taza Chocolate representing around 500 smallholder growers of cacao in the northwestern Palos Blancos region of Bolivia. 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 only tried a limited amount of Bolivian cocoa before, but it was pretty distinctive. Sweet flavours of yellow fruit with a tendency towards floral and tea notes, smooth and soft. It’s a big country, but the cocoa I’ve tried was from the same region, so I’m inclined to think this bar might be similar. My hopes are that this bar manages to offer something both distinctive and refined. Opening the gold paper reveals a slightly darker colour that I’d expected, but the same decent chocolate work as the last bar from Bullion. Breaking off a piece reveals some intense aromas of fruity florals and tropical fruit with soft peach and tea notes on the end. Placing a piece in my mouth starts a buttery mouthfeel that’s soft, but full, smoothly revealing its flavours. To taste this bar is distinctly fruity, yellow and soft pink fruit notes dominate the opening with peach, mango, nectarine all flashing past before a buttery turn towards sweet florals and a tea like finish. The bar is more fruity than it is acidic, but a soft and slightly sharp acidity makes its presence known in its length, lasting a way after the finish. It’s reminiscent of a good soft peach juice in terms of its flavour, being balanced out in large parts by the light tea like tannins towards the finish. The bar could do with a little more structure to give additional stability and to provide more certain boundaries for the acidity, but otherwise it remains fairly balanced due to its soft nature. In the end this is a pretty distinctive bar, not many origins have such a particular flavour and this bar stands out as being pretty individual, it’s well developed, but a little more restraint might offer something even better. Best enjoyed alongside sunny days for a refreshingly sunny feel.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker roasted brown
Texture: Smooth, fudgey
Mould: 4×4 Oblong pieces
Snap: Warm, smooth
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Fruity florals, tropical fruit, peach, green tea
Quality: Vibrant, bright

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Fairly even, loosens a little
Texture: Buttery, soft fruit pulp, foam
Quality: Smooth, full

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Peach, tropical fruit
Quality: Fruity, bright, soft, sharp

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Natural fruit sugar, peach juice, sweetened iced tea
Quality: Soft, rounding, natural

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet
Notes: Peach, tropical and stonefruit, butter, chrysanthemum, iced tea
Quality: Bright, deep, distinctive

Length 9/10

Flavours are soft, but bright and long rounding on the waves and peaks of sweetness

Finish 9/10

Notes: Peach, chrysanthemum, iced tea
Quality: Fruit flavours and acidity make their way towards the end with a floral chrysanthemum undertone, before ice tea flavours make their way into the finish giving a light tannin counterbalance, before a lingering soft acidity

Balance 8.5/10

Fruity notes and acidity threaten to upend the balance, but soft nature allows bar to stay within bounds, the switch from soft fruit to soft tannin helps to provide good counterbalance, but lighter structure could provide more stability

Overall 9/10

Bar has a lot of depth and a good amount of dimension, small amount of complexities are counterbalanced, structure is a little weak, but consistent, expression feels honest and bold with processing providing buttery mouthfeel, but lacking a more definite structure


Bullion’s Tasting Notes: Malt, green olive, soft fruit

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