Lindy's Rating: 5.5
Richard's Rating: 6.0
High-End 96% was certified organic and fair trade. Zotter revealed on the packaging and on their website that the formulation for this particular chocolate included 34 hours of conching.
Labooko products each contain two 32.5 gram bars wrapped in gold foil-sided wax paper. Those wrapped bars are glued into the folds of a heavy outer paper. Because the glue must be strong enough to hold the bars in place, it is also so adhesive that it is often difficult to remove the bars from the packaging without tearing the foil and sometimes breaking the bars. The glue also complicates rewrapping a bar if you do not finish it. The packaging is far from ideal.
The best before date on the bars reviewed here was October 8, 2014. Zotter indicated that the bars have a 14-month shelf life, so they were produced in August, 2013.
Each bar had a "zotter" relief and imprints of "Labooko" and cacao pods. Their color was a medium brown Dark Brown (PANTONE 19-1012). The bars had a hard snap.
Scents of earth, roast, and fruit were present, along with an unusual astringency. The roast contained some smoke, and the fruit included citrus and a berry scent that Lindy identified as cherry.
High-End 96% tasted of earth, roast, nut, and bitterness. I also found it sour, but Lindy didn't experience that. For her, the roast and nut flavors were noticeably stronger than the earthiness.
The melt was nicely smooth (almost more smooth). The chocolate flavor lasted 30 to 35 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a medium length. The final after-taste was bitter, somewhat acidic, and slightly sour.
Overall, other than the astringent aroma, this was a good chocolate. However, I found their Labooko Peru 100% much better than this High-End 96% from the same origin.
You can purchase Labooko High-End 96% online for 3,35€ directly from Zotter or for $7.49 from NewLeaf.