To`ak Andean Alder Aged 4 Years

Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate 81% Cacao

Appellation: Piedra de Plata

Variety: Heirloom Nacional

Fermentation: 6 days

Roast: Medium-Dark

Conch: 12 hours

Flavors: Mediterranean herbs, woody, raisins, tobacco

Ingredients: 81% organic cacao beans, 19% organic cane sugar

To`ak`s inaugural 2014 edition aged for 4 years with Andean Alder wood - their most delightfully eccentric dark chocolate bar thus far. Savory notes of rosemary, oregano, roasted beef, campfire, punctuated with cranberry and creamy spice.

The co-founder Carl Schweiser says:

This chocolate is for more experienced palates.

Shiny and homogeneous on the surface

Brown color *****

Aroma: Mediterranean herbs, woody, raisins, tobacco

Mouthfeel: warm

Texture: creamy

Snap: good

Structure/Hardness: ******

Texture: ******

Roundness: ******

Sweetness: *

Aromatic finesse: *****

Acidity: *

Astringency: ***

Bitterness: **

Intensity: *****

Complexity: *****

Length/Aftertaste: ******

Flavor profile: it is not sweet but neither overtly bitter, it is just delicate with a mellow leathery sensation and a very limited astringency on the palate. I am pretty crazy about the mature and sensible tasting experience that To`ak Chocolate offers us with this bar. The smoked-oak accent is extremely gentle, the rosemary and oregano Mediterranean herbs presence are tremendously glorious, the tobacco presence delivers vibrant energy, the raisin paste undertone brings a lively sweetness, the intermittent cranberry-like acidity with the creamy spices provide the greatest closure that I could ever imagine. In the aftertaste, there is a certain electrifying atmosphere that is almost as if I could actually have been near to a Campfire or at a fireplace embracing all its magic leaving a burning roasted beef long-lasting mouthfeel.

To me, the Andean Alder Aged To`ak dark chocolate is unique in its originality on the international fine chocolate panorama in combining the most floral Ecuadorian cocoa beans (100% Heirloom Nacional) and an estimated wood vessel with the consistency of pure pleasure for the taste buds and the almost "spinto" strength of the extremely remarkable tasting notes, prolonged back taste with an unrivaled firmness and sureness for the chocolate taster.

Nowadays, tasting chocolate and Avangard projects require openness of mind and heart.

Thank you James LeCompte for honoring me with this limited edition sample to review.

Pairing Recommendations:

This edition pairs well with a range of whiskeys, including Scotch (peated and un-peated alike), American (goes well with rye), Irish, and Japanese. It also pairs quite nicely with Anejo tequila. It is fairly versatile with cheeses, giving more flavor to mellow ones like Gruyere and Comte and standing up to more flavorful options like Roquefort. Smoked gouda, aged Cheddar, and Havarti are also interesting choices.

Values expressed in stars from 1 to 8. If the bar is extraordinarily close to perfection, I can go up to 10.