Region: Alto Beni - Walikeewa
Certifications: Certified Organic
What a difference time makes. We recently had were offering the 2018/19 crop and I was praising how delectable it was, so much so I had trouble keeping it on my desk. This one, not unlike the 18/19, is more restrained. There is of course no telling if it is the age or just a different drop with different fermentation or some combination, but the later is my vote.
The aroma starts with bold caramelized sweetness. After a first impression of chocolate, the whole flavor profile leans into woodiness. Lignin really is the best term for it. It is a very unmistakable flavor that lends the impression of bitterness and/or astringency. And yet again, I have a description for something that is clear to me but our language doesn't excel at. The chocolate has tons of brown flavors. It is related to both the very soft and muted acidity and the thick and sumptuous browned fruit flavors. The previous 18/19 crop I noted a creamy cherimoya flavor....here it is dried and slightly browned cherimoya. Rounding all this out and complimenting the lignin notes is toasted Brazil nut and a dry earthiness. Some chocolates I note as having a very pronounced inherent sweetness. This one does not have that and lead me to recommending it for chocolates on the more sweet side. It really sings in 60-70% chocolate and milk chocolates.
These are out of the Alto Beni region of Bolivia and much of the stock is from the same wild harvested tress. I find it terribly interesting how different the flavor profiles are given similar genetics but different cultivation and fermentation procedures.
As with many beans with Criollo stock, this cocoa will not blow you away with huge flavors. But very much like it's wild counterparts it is sure to wow you with it's character.