This Chuno High West Whiskey Cacao Bar combines rich Nicaraguan chocolate with the smokiness of aged whiskey. The complex and unique flavor of this bar are sure to please any chocolate lover.
Chocolate Tasting Success!
Posted by Nicholas Terry on 5th Feb 2017
Man, was I excited about this bar! Don't worry, it took even my high expectations by surprise!
Here are my notes from my tasting, following my standard format:
Appearance- Slightly rough matte bottom, otherwise similar to the "pure" Chuno bar. Again, this bar, despite its higher percentage (78%) than the Ecuador (70%), is MUCH lighter in color, most likely since Arriba is one of the darker Forasteros (which have purple beans before fermentation) and Chuno is a Trinitario (hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, so the unfermented beans aren't Criollo white but rather a pleasant shade of lavender).
Snap- Solid pop.
Texture- Several bubbles, actually... The grain looked a bit rough, though not as much as the "pure" bar.
Aroma- Wow, there is a LOT going on here! The aging gives it a smell that is more like bourbon than rye (sweet, not spicy) and in this case, the chocolate likely came by its oak notes directly from the staves. Rose and rosemary, saffron, guava, lavender, citron, jasmine, and whipped cream notes also suggest bourbon to me: they are floral and lightly fruity! Eventually, a rich mixture of peach, dulce de leche, vanilla, and honey predominates.
Melt- There is a slight dryness to this chocolate, yet the melt is still thick and smooth. Again, this chocolate bends easily when melting but does not break unless severely tested.
Flavor- Remember how much was going on in the aroma? Yeah, this chocolate delivers on its promises, with an extra hint of smoke to boot. I wish I had some left so that I could try pairing it with different whiskeys!
Again, I am convinced that the staves this chocolate was aged with once housed a light and floral bourbon with a hint of spice. Also, there is a slight tartness reminiscent of orange air freshener, but not the overpowering spray straight out of a can, the mellow and subtle note that might remain on a pillow after the owner of a subtly perfumed head graced you with their presence.
Finish- Actually, I think this ended up tasting like an orange creamsicle. Surprising, given the rest of the flavors in this bar, but very nice!
Although all of the bars in my tasting were remarkably good, I'm very glad that I saved this one for last! While the other bars were definitely better than most fine chocolate, this bar is probably the best flavored chocolate bar I've ever had and among my top 10 (out of at least 200 fine chocolate bars) overall!