Bullion Guatemala Lanquin 70% 88.5/100

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The beans for this bar are supplied by Cacao Verapaz an association who export beans for three smallholder farmers associations who grow cacao around Laguna Lachuá in the Alta Verapaz region of central Guatemala. 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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My experience with chocolate from Guatemala is again pretty limited, but so far it’s somewhat similar to my experience with coffee from this origin. In general it’s been of a complex fruity profile, with a medium acidity and the best offerings displaying a good sense of balance. I tend to think of Guatemala as the all-rounder in this sense, a bit like Grenada, but with a much lighter profile and a leaning towards soft fruit instead of spice. My expectations for this bar are limited though and only general, I’m just hoping the bar lives up to my general sense for all round balance. Opening the gold packaging reveals a lighter bar of an almost milky hue and some of the decent chocolate work I’ve come to expect now from Bullion. Breaking a piece off reveals some bright and sweet green notes of apple skin and gooseberry with a golden finish of hay and tobacco. Placing a piece in my mouth, there’s a juicy mouthfeel brought on by an appleskin tannin with just a touch of creaminess. To taste the bar is distinctly fruity with flavours of sharp green apple mixed with some soft peach and cherry notes with some gooseberry acidity. There’s an undercurrent of honeyed chrysanthemum that runs from the middle to the end before a dry appleskin tannin finish. There’s sufficient balance here and a decent length to carry the bar through with a firm enough structure to keep the flavours in place. It’s mostly what I would expect from Guatemala and offers a fairly all round balance of flavours, with the fruit and acidity always threatening slightly to take over. In the end it’s a distinctive bar with a particular set of flavours not common to other origins, fruity and bold, unmistakably Guatemalan. Best enjoyed along with cream tarts or washed rind cheeses.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Lighter milky brown
Texture: Light grain
Mould: 4×4 Oblong pieces
Snap: Warm, smooth
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte, consistent

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Green apple skin, gooseberry, golden hay, tobacco
Quality: Bright, sweet, fermented

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Juicy, firm, creamy
Quality: Bold, firm, consistent

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Green apple, gooseberry
Quality: Bright, rounded, sharp

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Apple syrup, honey, fruit sugar
Quality: Developed, uplifting

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet
Notes: Green apple, honey, hay, peach, cherry, gooseberry, apple skin, chrysanthemum
Quality: Bright, deep

Length 9/10

Flavours get longer as the melt proceeds, with sweetness and acidity extending out, long rounds come on peaks of sweet acidity

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Apple, honey, chrysanthemum, appleskin tannin
Quality: Notes of apple and honeyed chrysanthemum fill the end before a lightly dry finish of appleskin tannin that leaves a juicy sensation in the mouth

Balance 9/10

Beginning of the bar remains very balanced, with peaks of acidity in the middle taking the bar in an acidic, but complementary direction, firm structure helps to keep this bar stable and steady offering pleasant interactions

Overall 9.5/10

Bar has plenty of depth and a good degree of dimension, complexities are well managed and structure is firm and consistent, expression seems clear and honest with processing providing a balanced open profile for the cocoa to express itself

Bullion’s Tasting Notes: Floral, peach, espresso

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