As a straight shot extraordinarily syrupy and liqueur-like. The aroma is sweet and round with a musty ferment that reads as a sort of drunken/brandyish chocolate. In the small cup startlingly full-bodied and smoothly viscous with long-finishing, tight-knit complexity that ranges in suggestion from carnal melon to semi-sweet chocolate to sweet, pungent, molasses-toned tobacco to an earthy morel mushroom. Curiously, given its monumental body, fades and thins in milk, the chocolaty notes persisting but not blooming.
By Kenneth Davids
August 3rd, 2007
Sweet-toned aroma with a musty fruit that suggests bananas, dark chocolate and raisins. In the small cup syrupy but slightly rough mouthfeel, sweetly and richly pungent with a cedary semi-sweet chocolate that persists nicely into the finish. Impressive in milk: rich, with a sweet, mint-finishing dark chocolate.
Rich, balanced but subdued aroma: pruny fruit, nut, a hint of chocolate. In the small cup fullish in body with a slightly rough mouthfeel, aromatically simple but sweetly resonant in structure with hints of cedar and chocolate. Clean, sweet finish. Comes into its own in milk, where it blooms richly with a deep, malty chocolate.
As usual this famously refined espresso comes across either as elegantly refined or excessively delicate depending on taste, expectation and (despite Illy's rigorous quality assurance) slight variations in the blend itself. This time around I was impressed by the purity of the aroma and its floral, apple, lemon and milk chocolate notes. The mouthfeel certainly is not fat, but could be praised as silky. The cup could be criticized as a bit too sharp and simple, or valued (as I did) for its gentle tartness and hints of cedar, flowers and lemon. The finish could be praised for its floral and fruit persistence or criticized for a slight lean toward astringency. In short milk one could find it quietly sweet with a fine crisp chocolate (as I did) or lazy and wanting in power and fatness.
Lovely aroma: sweet-toned, gently pungent, with distinct floral and complex fruit (banana, plum, orange) notes. In the small cup medium-bodied with a lightly syrupy mouthfeel and crisp, cedary structure; the fruit turns darkly chocolate. Chocolate and orange carry into a slightly heavy finish. In milk balanced, crisp, though the fruit and chocolate doesn't completely soften and bloom.
Round, gently fruity in the aroma: raisin, nut, a hint of vanilla. In the small cup smooth mouthfeel on the cusp of syrupy and silky; low-toned and neutral in flavor, with cedar notes and the barest suggestion of raisin and nut. Carries with impressive resonance into a long finish. Good presence in milk, though the rich, nut-toned dark chocolate betrays a slight woody, salty side.
Rich, roundly pungent aroma: caramel, orange, hints of flowers and chocolate. Medium bodied, a touch rough in mouthfeel. The richly pungent, cedary character carries into the cup with continued orange, raisin and semi-sweet chocolate notes. The finish is rather astringent but rich, with good flavor persistence. The pungent character softens in milk with the orangy chocolate sweetening nicely.
Sweet-toned aroma with an orange-toned nut character. In the small cup smooth, syrupy mouthfeel, sweetly pungent through the finish with continued orange and woody nut nuance. In milk the nut and orange notes sweeten toward chocolate but never quite bloom.
Crisply sweet, deeply fruity aroma: cherry, sweet orange, milk chocolate. Slightly lean and sharp in the small cup, tartly sweet, with mild cedar and continuing citrusy and cherryish fruit notes. Moderately rich but simple, rather astringent finish. In milk blooms nicely with a cherryish dark chocolate. Slightly heavy finish.
Balanced, simple aroma with muted floral and temperate fruit notes. Rather lean bodied in the small cup, gently crisp, with cedar notes and a hint of semi-sweet chocolate. Surprisingly rich, clean finish. Thin in milk, though the chocolate notes fatten and sweeten.
Toast and banana-like fruit notes dominate in the aroma, hinting at a roasty chocolate. In the small cup medium-bodied but leanish and a bit astringent in mouthfeel, sharp in structure with dominating cedar notes and continued hints of a banana-like fruit and chocolate. Rich and rather sweet in the short finish, heavily astringent in the long. Simple but solid presence in milk with the muted fruit modestly blooming as semi-sweet chocolate.
Sweet, low-toned aroma: toast, banana-like fruit. In the small cup medium-bodied with a leanish, slightly rough mouthfeel and toast and gently scorched cedar notes. Simple, rich short finish with a heavy saltiness in the long. In milk simple, with little sweetness; the usual chocolate turns up dry and salty.