2007年12月10日月曜日

another new chocolate

my mouth is dry again. it makes it really hard to taste astringency and sense texture (cause it's all weird on the inside). oh well.
sunny and nice


michel cluizel - mangaro (madagascar)
look -
a reddish-orange tinted rich lighter woody brown. some tiny bubbling.
smell - acidic berry and soil, roasted tree branches, vanilla and dry spice, green tropical fruit, fertilizer, 9-9.5
taste - a touch of nice liquer (brandy?), a hot chocolate taste, piney, darker roast, sweetness and acidity pburst, slight vanil, fruit emerging, soil, acidic trop fruit (mangosteen?), nutty butter richness, banana, tree-like vegetation, like some dessert with lots of fruit, peaches?, finish of fruity, sweet. 9+
balance - fairly sweet. a lot of acid to back it up. in general this just results in a higher intensity chocolate. 8.5
texture - very good. rich and clean melt. extremely fine texture

interpretation - a fruity sweet masterpiece. very interesting fruit running thru the whole thing, all the while maintaining it's chocolatey grounded-ness with soily and woody flavors. acidity is notable. this one is very clean (compared to some of his others) which tend to lean a bit to the smoky or heavy side (usually with the soily components). light(er) and easy to enjoy 9+
summary - sweet, amazing fruit variety, soil
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(need pic)
valrhona araguani (venezuela)
look -
a lighter orange-tinted brown. more opaque feeling. extremely smooth, no swirling
smell - flowery perfume, slight nutty, vanilla, orange peel, this hairspray, slight cocoa, frosting-y smell 8
taste - soft, sweet, powdery, nutty, smoky, candied orange peel, more smoky nut, low acid, bitterness of orange peel, slight touch of coffee, nuttyness (possibly hazelnut), 8.5 (lacks vigor)
balance - sweet. not much at all in terms of acid. nice base tho. 8
texture - nice, but slightly powdery feeling. 8.5

interpretation - a simple chocolate in a way. an interesting bitterness, with some extra "dark" tastes that i'm not used to (i cheated afterwards and looked at the label to find that there was brown sugar). pleasant flavors, but just don't seem to carry the life that i'm looking for. maybe it's the lack of acid. they also don't seem to be as clearly defined, as though there's some sort of averaging going on. not bad, but not that exciting. 8
summary - sweet, flat, smoky touch, orange, dark
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pralus - colombie
look -
black-leaning brown. fair amount of swirling
smell - impression of bread and crackers, buttery, wax (crayons), slight roasty, more crayon, slight base-y cocoa character
taste - appleskin (green),nuts, paint thinner, fruit, cocoa, roast, nutty, cocoa cookie, dryness, astringency, more cocoa cookie. 8
balance - a bit low on acid to match my preference. however wasn't too sweet. lots of base on this one, but astringency messes things up. 8.5
texture - powdery. not so great. 7.5

interpretation - some rather interesting non-chocolatey aromas (waxy stuff, green apples), but not very well "cared for". astringency and odd texture don't make it more pleasant. has a lot of character and uniqueness, but the fundamentals could use some fine tuning. 7.5-8
summary - wax, cocoa, powdery, astringent
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pralus tanzanie
look -
dark brown, slight purplish tinting, lots of bubbling
smell - low intensity fruit (red, skin), sake, cocoa, dried dates, grapefruit skin, dry stuff 8-8.5
taste - nutty, astringent, banana?, tea?, sweet wax, toasty, more astringent, base stuff, dry pasta. 8
balance - ok. all elements are present, but not in harmony. astringency disturbs balance
texture - ok. slight micro-grain feel


interpretation - in some ways this chocolate can be enjoyed for its astringency, because it's kind of centered around it (where as the last one it seemed to be just getting in the way). intersting low key-fruity things, sort of reminds me of a dry (non-californian) red wine. good when u want something to "straighten you up" rather than relax you or wow you. 8
summary - astringent, dry fruit, roasty
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kinda got this nasty feeling in my throat by the end. might ahve something to do with the dryness of the air. not sure, but i don't like it. hopefully it won't happen again

farewell to chuchuri

time to finish up a chocolate.
nice and sunny, dry, cool. typical tokyo winter weather. my mouth is a bit dry. a tiny bit overslept


amedei - toscano black 66%
look -
a nice muddy brown with good reddish orange hints. very smooth 9.5
smell - toasty spice cake, nuts, slight fermentacious, flower touch, bean smokiness, cherry, charred bread, dried mixed fruits, slight perfume. 9+
taste - bit of hazelnut? sweetness, some chestnut feel, sweet, chocolate, dried apricots, slight touch of barbecue, grahm cracker, more roasty nut, nutty mild cocoa finish, touch of coffee 9 (sesame paste lingers)
balance - sweet. low on acid. but not bad. still, could use a little more weight (by dropping sweet and connecting with acid)
texture - nice. possibly a tiny bit powdery

interpretation - a fairly rich choco with gently roasted nutty flavors. also some dried fruit action, possibly flowery. gentle, with a specific type of soft, "old" acid. rich feeling as well. 9
summary - nutty, dried fruit, sweet
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guittard chuchuri
look -
a dull cloudy brown, some gray hinting. also slight orange. smooth. 9
smell - BRIGHT cake frosting, vanilla, poppyseed paste, hazeltut?, piney, choco hidden beneath, (incredibly intense), green apple candy. 8.5 (intereting but overpowering)
taste - an apple hint to start, clovey, candy like, roasted, more apple, poppyseed paste with cinnamon, sweet sweet, very nice melt, odd... something green. more apple, a bit sickeningly sweet, more crazy apple, slight hint of cocoa at end. 7.5
balance - off. too sweet. nothing else. possibly some astringency rolling around in there. 7
texture - excellent. extremely smooth melt. rich. (sweetness screws up balance tho)

interpretation - this is a very wacky chocolate. very out of balance. extraordinarily intense atypical chocolate flavors (poppyseed, apple), but they're just too much. can't handle it. not to mention sweetness is thru the roof. very weird chocolate. more to come below. 7
summary - sweet candylike, poppyseed/apple, way out of balance
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pralus tanzanie
look -
a dark brown with purple-brown "stain". some bubbling. 8
smell - woody, dry, cedary, roasty, waxy, dried wine, cranberries 8.5 faint and a little weird
taste - dried pasta, coffee roast, dried cranberry, choco cake, more roasty, chocolatey finish. 8 sort of plain, dry
balance - interesting dry feel. kind of had acid but was more dominated by this slightly sweet base-dry feel. 8
texture - seemed ok, but was a little dry feeling. 8

interpretation - fruity yet fairly astringent and dry. decent amount of roast involved. sort of remindds me of madagascar but almost like a failed attempt. 8
summary - dry, roasty, fruity
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As i promised myself, anytime i finish a chocolate, i'll write a full review on it.


E. Guittard - Chuchuri Bittersweet - 65%
(columbian trinitario)

First, the physical characteristics.
The look - This chocolate has a very pleasant lustrous brown-orange. It's extremely smooth - almost no bubbling visible on back or inside. Has the looks of something exciting (as though a lot of care was put into the texture)
The smell - On first whiff, I am immediately told of the incredible intensity of this chocolate. The most obvious is an extraordinarily intense/sharp aroma of something I've described as a combination nutmeg, (american) cake frosting, poppyseed paste and candied fruit. It really wakes me up. To be honest, it's a nice surprise (flavors I don't normally encounter), but it's way too intense for me to appreciate slowly. After getting past the first blast, I'm sometimes able to pick up aromas of vanilla, green apples, an artificial candy smell, lemon peel, cocoa and mild, sweet spice.
Just from the smell, I can tell that this chocolate will be a wild ride (and I'm not sure if I'm ready for it).
The taste - From the start, this chocolate comes on strong. Similar flavors that were in the aromas attack from the start. On top of that, the chocolate feels extremely sweet. Having eaten a 66% right before this (at least one tasting), I know that it has nothing to do with the percentage. The flavors almost exactly match the aromas, but in general (due to the high apparent sweetness), things have this "artificial candy" feel added on. It's a very weird experience. As the flavors develop (moving from high intensity nutmeg/apple/poppyseed to slightly more low key cocoa, apples and spice), I notice the excellent texture. It's extremely smooth, with a richness that's very pleasant (if it was in isolation). However, in context of the flavors, it's somewhat repulsive. Throughout a strange bitterness is also quite prominent, and an unpleasant astringency sweeps in at the end.
The finish brings relief - the intensity finally dies down. Faint cocoa flavors linger for a moment (floating above weird sweet/bitter aftertaste)
Balance and texture - Extremely sweet. The sweetness overwhelms everything and makes the chocolate somewhat nauseating. The texture is great. It's rich and extremely smooth. This chocolate is confusing.

My overall interpretation -
This chocolate is insane. It's just way too intense, with no sense of balance. Personally, i get a bit nauseous if I eat too much. I'd only recommend this chocolate to someone who's just being introduced to single origin chocolates because it has such a different profile than typical supermarket-dark. It really expresses the extremes that chocolates can go to. However, for someone looking for a serious, harmonious chocolate, this is about as far as you can get from what you want. The intensity, the aftertaste and the nauseating candy-sweetness are not recommended. Among the chocolates that I currently have in store that I picked up from Chocosphere, this is clearly the most unpleasant. (Not exactly a nice review, huh?)

2007年12月6日木曜日

amedei 5g square tour

cool sunny morning, tried to up my focus by staring at a yuzu for 20 minutes. i think it worked. haha
all are 5g squares today


amedei venezuela
look -
brick-tinted brown. swirly from molding. smooth.
smell - smoky vanilla fermentacious, red winey fruit, a flower, extremely faint rosemary, cocoa and flower (something kinda fruity but sweet), candle wax, maybe some apple skin,
taste - impresion of chocolate, sweet and watery, flower, cocoa dust, vanilla, beany winey thing, some kind of powder (like raw flour),ight clean cocoa, vanilla, liquory touch near end, burny cocoa savory and bean-like, long lasting tail of fresh and clean cocoa.
balance - on the sweeter side. slight acidity, but doesn't really match up. very satisfying base. not bad at all
texture - very nice. possibly some slight powdery feel

interpretation - a real voyage through mildness. mild cocoa, but sort of offset with this smoky thing that kind of acts as a natural balance. maybe a weight. keeps it from floating away. keeps the chcocolate feel. havent figuredout what that flower is, but it's very pleasant.
summary - light, clean, flower, smoky, cocoa
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amedei madagascar
look -
vibrant meaty orange tinted brown. swirling. smooth
smell - red wine's woody character, cocoa, slight cinnamon, vanilla, peachy, a planty spicy licorice, cake-like, a sharp herbal citrus smell
taste - milky chcoco memories, baked grahm craker, acidity (bright and clean), various fruits, baked?, rich cocoa, toasted almonds, more acid, cooked fruits, lingering finish of choco cake, nuts
balance - nice. very sharp, bright, clean acid. makes for great connection between sweet and base. a bit too bright at some points tho.
texture - very nice, similar to last one.

interpretation - a very "deep" chocolate, but without the usual "overdarkness" of a chocolate with this character. no bitter, just clean tastes. the bright acid wakes me up. really has a lot of action, but is extraordinarily "clean". round, full.
summary - deep, clean, grahm cracker, clean acid
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amedei chuao
look -
slightly cloudy orange meaty. amazingly free from any swirling or bubbles. copletely smooth.
smell - soft and sweet opening, dried pine needles, fresh bright green piney, citronella, slight grahm cracker, asphalty, vanilla, wooden pencil shavings
taste - round acid (low), candy taste, cranberry, slight bitter, raisin, tiny rubber, plummy fruit, richness, vanilla, cocoa, acid, matured toffee taste, wood and other fruits, grape skins, more fruit juice, slight beany cocoa, extremely pleasant cocoa aftertaste, mixed with fruit. like an icewine. yes. that's in there. riesling?
balance - very good. everything rounded into this nice clean bowl. harmonious. acid levels appropriate. very good
texture - nice. possibly powdery (like others)

interpretation - the clarity of the expression of the fruit was amazing. the candy-like tastes were also very surprising. where do they come from? maybe some of it was vanilla. the candy part was very sweet and pure, and the fruit was extraordinarily clear and expressive. really an adventure, this choco.
summary - detailed, fruits, sweet pure taste, balance. a lot of fun.
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amedei porcelana
look -
slightly puplish tinted milky brown. very smooth, bu 2 tiny ridges of swirling noticeable. still very minor.
smell - smoky, dried fruit, rosemary, powdered dates, herbal, some tea?, chlorinated pool (not unpleasant), slight fermentacious,
taste - beany dry paper, mapley, sweet, vanilla, flower, dried fruit, dried meats, pear skin, darker deep woody, cocoa, herbal, clean fried bread, woody, wine casks
balance - great. not noticeable. acid is present, nicely connected. harmonious
texture - nice, similar to others.

interpretation - a fairly "dark" interpretation. interesting tastes not often found in choco. a lot of papery and "dried" smells. the depth of the body of the chocolate was really something to appreciate. so solid yet so clean.
summary - dark (dried/herbal), deep, clean
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very revealing.

2007年12月4日火曜日

a very lively tasting

nice and sunny after a cloudy day. slightly overslept. decent focus. hungry.


pralus venezuela
look -
a fair brown with orange tinting. good smoothness, some small bubbling. 9
smell - nutty butter, slight vanilla, grahm cracker and slight fruit (berry), slight bay leaf, touch of raisin, maple. cedary touch. i feel like i'm smelling different things than usual. 9+
taste - sweet soft melt, roasty peanuts, cocoa, nice hot chocolate (all very early impressions), after the hot choco, some caramel-type burny, then metallic butter, amazing texture, roasty thing, tree bark, faint vanilla, smoky finish (possibly sometoasted sesame mixed in with pure cocoa) 9+
balance - very nice. sweetness is perceived strongly, but a fair amount of acid to back it up. base is nice. 9
texture - so rich. depending on your preference this can be good or bad. i really like it. so fine, so smooth. the richness really makes this chocolate stand out. 9.5

interpretation - a rich and pure chocolate. very expressive of pure cocoa tones. roasting is fairly strong. the way the richness and sweetness counterbalance the roast is 'masterful'. makes for an eye opening experience instead of being a one-sided roaster. really fun to eat. i need a truck full of this stuff. 9+
summary - rich, roasty, pure cocoa, buttery
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amano cuyagua
look -
very light brown - heavy red-orange hue-ing. smooth on the whole, some tiny bubbling
smell - sharp red lumber, tobacco, slight fermentacious, dried blackberries, incense, leather (another interpretation for the fresh tobacco smell), vanilly-potato, 'forest fresh' soap, peach? 9+ very exciting (a little bit off with fermentacious, but still ok)
taste - tomato plant, sharp geen leafy taste, different fruit, incense, black tea, cigar, fragrant... trop fruit, woody (fresh lumber), more tobacco heavy cocoa at finish. very faint astringency. 9
balance - quite nice. a bit on the sweet side, acid was not prominent enough to take attention away from sweetness. good base. 9
texture - very nice. smooth, slight rich feeling. clean and light in some ways. 9

interpretation - a strong, character-filled chocolate. really exciting plant-characteristics that makes one remember that chocolate comes from plants. in some ways it's one sided because the tobacco flavor dominates, but my perception of that flavor changed again and again thru the whole experience. definitely a chocolate to get you "pumped". very slight flaws (faint fermentacious, astringency), but easy to overlook because of the power and character of the choco. 9+
summary - powerful, tobacco, slight sweet, character-filled
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michel cluizel - maralumi
look -
a light, dull brown with orange hues. fairly smooth 5g square.
smell - sharp bright curry, raisins, vanilla. cumin and... red chile?, cinammon?, (it was like the sweet smelling curry powder i have), plums, roasted nut, light caramel toffee. 9+ very exciting
taste - dry roasted nut, smoky, peanut-sugar-rice-cracker, dried fruit, acid, caramel, more trees, cocoa, red tart fruit, savory (spicy) flavors at finish. 9 (intense)
balance - sweet as expected (for a 64%), but with a lot of mature acid to back things up, it really makes it feel rounded. base is kind of drawn out by acid and sweet, makes the whole experience intense. 9
texture - very very nice. fine, clean, smooth, rich. not as oily as venezuela (then again, not much is...) 9.5

interpretation - a fiery chocolate. a lot of sharp, spicy flavors mixed with fruits. just a lot of excitement. barely feels like chocolate. a very intense exploration of extra-fragrant cocoa. makes u feel the "tropical" nature of the cacao plant. 9
summary - spice, fruit, excitement, sweet, acid
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pralus - tanzanie
look -
a deep brown with slight purplish tinting. fair amount of bubbling
smell - faint fruit, light woody (cedar) smell, relatively faint (compared to others in this tasting), dry leaves, slight cocoa, mushroom? 8 (fairly faint, nothing that clean and exciting)
taste - donut, dried red fruit, very interesting tea smell, cocoa, tainted by astringency, plantiness, burnt leaves, more donut, choco, roast. dry finish. 8 (it's a shame that the astringency comes at the end since it skews my perception of it as a whole)
balance - decent. slight acid, sugar is felt but doesn't feel rounded, base is disconnected and astringent 7.5
texture - slightly grainy. 8

interpretation - sort of a 'drab' chocolate. shows some interesting character, but doesn't have life. like it's not really that "into it". lower the astringency (most impt) and step up the brightness or boldness of one of the flavor components, and it would be a very exciting chocolate (like the others) 8
summary - faint, asringent, slight fruit, tea, cedar
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a very lively tasting. the tanzanie at the end kinda threw cold water on the whole thing, but it was good because it helped put the excitement brought by the other 3 into perspective. they each bring their own excitement in very different ways. the pralus (ven) via texture and very powerful yet controlled roast, the amano with its wild-plant and tobacco smells, the cluizel with its spice and fruit and roast and acid. what an incredibly diverse world chocolate is...

2007年12月2日日曜日

100% domori single origins

special tasting! it's time to finish those domori 100% single origins i've had sitting around. it's a good day for it.
a bit cold, but good sleep level means an active mind. let's start
(start with one i know well in 70% form)

(pic of all 6)

domori - sur del lago clasificado
look -
dark and opaque. nice and smooth. 9
smell - strong. slight woody accent to fermentacious, cinnamon. a chocolate cake, vegetal. chalky type smells, slight roast, roast nuts (almonds?), hint of cumin. a touch of blackberry. 9 (strong yet not overpowering or nasty)
taste - drying taste yeah this is 100%.toasted woody. slgiht astringency?? maybe just no sugar. coffee tastes, donut, smooth and nutty.roasty and deep impact, extremely smooth. coffee at finish. 9 (this is not on the same scale as 70% darks)
balance - quite nice. heavy, but never too strong. acidity is low. a very weight-focused choco. it is 100% after all. 9
texture - very pleasing. ultrafine smooth. good rich thick mouthfeel. 9+

interpretation - heavy like a 100%, but the tastes are relatively clean. the plantyness of it can really be felt. cacao comes from a plant. yep. other than that, very much like the 70%, but it felt like everything was at 2~3x the amplitude. crazy. 9
summary - woody, dry, coffee, roast nut
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domori arriba 100%
look -
dark with heavy black tint, smooth, opaque. 9
smell - aged wood, mushroom, tobacco, dried green leafy plant, pink peppercorns, sharp eucalyptal smell. a cedary touch, some sweet cinnamon, dirt. 9 (again, very strong and exciting)
taste - some kind of cheese, wooden shavings, roasted almond, planty smell comes in strong, (what is that, something very specific that i sometimes smell. a green plant, fairly repulsive),rounding out that green smell, more roastiness, a spice, some kind of tahini taste, green citrus leaves!! (possibly connected to the weird smell), fried foods, more roasty nut, slight plasticy taste, middle eastern food, odd woody taste. 8 (a bit strong at the end)
balance - nice. no real acid to speak of, but the weightiness of the choco was very pure. 9
texture - good. rich, ultrafine. very heavy. 9

interpretation - a lively woody and planty choco. brings out a lot of thsoe elements. a nice touch on the roast. really feels like a walk outside (the kind where i go sniffing all the leaves and trees, haha). the "clarity" of these 100%s is amazing. it's like they sit you down and explain each little element about themselves to you. this is really fun. oh, but the end of the chocolate turned me off. plasticy and slightly offensive woody taste. other than that, a great ride. 8
summary - woody, roast, middle eastern, tobacco/green citrus leaves
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domori - sambirano 100%
look -
an opaque, light brown. odd. orange tinted. smooth. 9
smell - malt vinegar, dark berries, fermentacious, potent acidity hints, like yogurt that's been left out too long, compost pile, a little bready aspect. 8 (hard to get past acidic smells)
taste - mouth puckering acid, lactic possibly. tastes like yogurt i left out. dried fig, acid dominating taste, dates, medicinal, a bit of a plasticy, just can't taste anything... 5-8 (huge range. don't know if i like the acid or hate it)
balance - mind-blowing acidity. insane. like eating straight lactic acid. 4 (most extreme i've tasted)
texture - not bad. similar to otehrs. 9

interpretation - holy crap. acid acid acid. honestly found it extremely difficult to taste anything but that. there were some kind of dried fruity things, maybe some fairly woody and fermentacious tastes. that's really about it. what a mess! 5-8 (5 if u're a normal human, 8 if u love acidic chocolate)
summary - ACID.
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domori - apurimac 100%
look -
purple-tinted dark brown. not quite black. 9
smell - roasty nut, 'chalky', tree bark, softened black pepper, herbal element.. mint?, sweet perfumy smell, flowery soap, honey (the flowery part), depth, some cocoa. the sweet smell is interesting (reminds me of bitter almond, dried bay leaf, yuzu (uncut)... a lot of things) 9 (so pleasant, esp after that insane acidity!)
taste - wow, soft and pleasant sweetness, slight california oaky white wine, berries, light nutty flavor, element of eucalyptus sneaks in, a cheesy yogurty undertone (hidden), lumber, peppery green plant, musky flower, bitter kick at end, pleasant roasted nut comes in. (very faint off taste). 9.5 (relative ranking) - wow, this one is a big winner.
balance - very nice. again, low acid, but apparent sweetness is beautiful. especially after all the harsh ones. 20-80 ratio of sweet to pleasant "base". 9.5 (relative to others)
texture - very good. lighter than the rest, not so much heaviness. 9.5

interpretation - best of the series so far. so much more finessed and delicate. it's very close to ideal, but there are some slight over-fermented cheesy/yogurty tastes that quietly develop below the surface. but, the lightness and the sweetness of this 100% choco really is surprising and pleasant. excellent. 9.5 (relative)
summary - light, slightly sweet, flowery, soft pepper
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domori - carnero superior 100%
look -
dark, opaque brown with black tinting. 9
smell - spice (more towards the turmeric sense), wood and fermentacious. ash. hard rubbery/plasticy smell. roasty fish skin, yogurty, slight berry (rasp?), pleasant spice cake. 8 (fermentacious is a bit strong)
taste - eucalyptal (no... something similar), slgiht sweetness, acid, like eating a tree (this one crazy planty smell... crushed leaves of something u don't normally smell.. can almost identify it... damn it), very pleasant weight on tongue, sharper fermentacious riding on top, fade out to slight roasty. 8
balance - perhaps the most rounded of all the chocos so far. had a light sense of acidity that gave it a sense of completeness without being overpowering. light sweetness as well. 9.5 (rel)
texture - very nice. possibly the best so far. had a good weight, but a very pleasant "satisfaction" feeling. 9.5 (rel0

interpretation - very nice, but a bit heavy on the fermentacious and plasticy smells. good balance and texture. this one was the winner so far in those aspects, but taste-wise it just doesn't compare to the previous. goddamn it, the idiot down the hall's cologne smells like industrial-strength mosquito reppelant. or herbicide. absolutely disgusting. where was i? eucalyptal and other planty flavors are strong. shows character. 8
summary - balanced, planty/eucalyptus, fermentacious
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domori - rio caribe superior 100%
look -
deep dark brown, opaque, slight bubbles. 9
smell - strong fermentacious, dirt, tar, pencil, asphalt, hidden berry, yogurty lactic acid, an adhesive smell, baked sticks. (a sweetness slowly emerges, kinda cocoa like) 7.5 (fairly strong on the fermentacious)
taste - tree bark, slight mushroom, minty feeling of fermentacious, faint sweet, slight acid, moist dirt, strong plasticy, bitter, roasted coffee comes into play at end. bitter lingers a bit. 7.5-8
balance - decent. faint sweetness and slight acidity make for a balanced feel, although both are too weak to really play a significant part in balancing the heavy-handed "base". 8.5
texture - nice, similar to apurimac. 9

interpretation - again, another fermentacious. this one probably stronger than the previous. the previous had some fairly strong herbal/planty character, but this one really has a bit "too much" fermentacious, and not a lot of anything else. pretty much just like sitting in a big pile of compost, somewhere near the bottom. could have used more diversity. 7.5-8
summary - fermentacious, soil, slight sweet/acid.
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wow, perhaps one of the most revealing tastings ever. chocolate in its true form. not to mention this was extremely fun. way outdid my expectations.
reaffirmed my conviction that i must get involved with chocolate somehow.
(btw the clear winner was apurimac. soft and subtle, showed that 100% chocolate can be elegant too. i'd like to get a try of the 70% version)
wow, just for kicks, i tasted some pralus afer that. jesus, that stuff is candy. just candy. COMPLETELY different. god. jeez.
i really am excited. this really really woke me up. chocolate has a brand new feel to it. wowowow.

another quick(er) tasting

a little cold, but decently focused. a little bit rushed for time again.


bonnat chuao
look -
a lighter woodry brown, decent clarity, dark orange hinting. extremely fine looking texture. 9.5
smell - fragrant wood, acidity, coffee dregs, beany element and tequila?, berries?, pineapple, (fruity, complex, light) 9+
taste - dry cocoa smell (opening)slight astringency, flower scented candles, meaty aspect, a lot of cocoa centering, sligt dried blueberries?, a bit of smoke, clean toasted coconut at finish. 8.5-9
balance - slightly leaning towards sweet. acidity is present but low. solid base, but feels slightly hollow. this is in part due to astringency which lingers thru entire taste.
texture - decent, but astringency gives it a perceived roughness 8.5

interpretation - in ways, a simple chocolate. simple enough that it allows for expression of very subtle flavors that aren't picked up normally when u have a strong roast or lots of vanilla. definitely an exploration. the astringency was disappointing tho, and really got in the way of full enjoyment. too bad. 8.5
summary - subtle, cocoa, wood, subtle fruit, astringency
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pralus papousie
look -
(see previous entries)
smell - paper, soft cocoa, faint vanilla, sweet wood, slight sweet spice, coffee? (faint, but clean) 9
taste - round and full taste, toasted nut then cocoa, kind of a savory herby soup, strong cocoa, some roast, peanut shells, herbal touch, smoky, but realy a lot of "deep" cocoa. 9+
balance - very nice. had a rich fullness to it. acid was right where i like it -- playing a slight background role to the "base", connecting the sweetness. 9.5
texture - good. very fine texture, slightly oily but not unctious. feels like eating "true" chocolate. 9

interpretation - powerful simplicity. deep cocoa is the theme, but u get these variants spiralling off of it (the savory things, peanut shells). texture and balance are really well executed, so it makes it easy to enjoy and explore the other parts. not necessarily phenomenal flavors, just clean. 9+
summary - clean, pure choco, balanced, savory hint
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pralus colombie
look -
(see earlier)
smell - waxy sharp crayon, slightly browned butter, (the waxy is very strong), faint vanilla sweetness, dried minty smell (faint). 9 (the waxy is strong, but it excites)
taste - powdery texture, toasted corn tortillas?, vegetative, apple skin (green), potato pancakes?, slight smoky, waxyness, plasticy coffee, dry, powdery, roasty eucalyptus?? at finish. 8
balance - fairly good. a touch of acid, sweetness is a bit more noticeable. 8.5
texture - pretty bad. powdery. dry. needs work. 6.5

interpretation - a really interesting chocolate. gives a lot of variety mixed in with its roastyness. a lot of non-typical "savory" (non-sweet/fruity) flavors. enjoyed that part. somewhat eccentric. it's just, texture - really needs improvement. this could really be up there if it wasn't so awful in that area. too bad. 8
summary - various planty smells, wax, bad texture, roasty
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pralus tanzanie
look -
(see prev.)
smell - a spiced soup (cumin etc), grapey, lavendar, cedar, lemon, sharp berry smell, simple donut, touch of dirt. 8.5 (interesting, but not 100% pleasing)
taste - opens with so-so cocoa, sharp astringent kick, blueberry jam, raisins, fried taste, dried leaves, whiff of vanilla, touch of coffee, dry pasta powder taste, dry woody flavor, astringency and coffee at finish. 8
balance - ok. astringency skews things, but seemed to have decent acid present. just didn't "connect" with the base. sweetness not overpowering. 8.5
texture - again, interference from astringency. not the finest texture, but certainly passable. 8.5

interpretation - a fairly "wild" and expressive choco, untamed. astringency puts a big damper on things. i would say that the flavors are far from harmonious, but each is interesting in its own respect. hardly "chocolatey", which i think is good cause it makes u think. 8
summary - woody (cedar), fried tastes, jammy fruit, astringency
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adventures with pralus

it's been a little while. had an amedei 4 square tasing but didn't take notes, just tried to commit to memory. worked ok i think. today i'm not that hungry, but a bit pressured for time. we'll see how it turns out.
conditions: semi-sunny, warm (for winter)
let's do a pralus tasting.


columbia
look -
dark somewhat cloudy brown, slight orange. surface is smooth on this piece. 9
smell - cocoa with a subdued minty, caramel, possibly banana, a lot of roast, some hidden fruityness, tea leaves 8.5
taste - 1st impresssion is roast, tomato pasta sauce, slight honey over coffee roast, full toasty effect, fair acidity, slightly odd element (coincides with roast), soy milk, green fruits, toasted leaves (some similarities to madagascar), some astringency and planty elements at finish. 8.5
balance - quite decent. a bit on the hollow-sweet side, but still some acid to make connections. astringency is a minus. 8.5
texture - not so great. kinda micro-powdery. 7.5

interpretation - a fairly plant-like chocolate that explores a bit in the fruity area. roast is very strong. astringency doesn't help. yeah, it's nice it's just nothing special. nothing i'd buy again. 8~8.5
summary - roasty, planty, astringent, powdery
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pralus venezuela
look -
a lighter brown with more orange hues. some bubbling. 8.5
smell - bready and vanilla, butter (sligty stinky), cocoa, red fruit (cranberry) juice, 9
taste - opening of rich melty cocoa, caramel hint, smooth vanilla, pecan roast, charred fish skin, roasty and rich, nice acid, burnt popcorn. coffee caramel (clean) lingers on length. 9
balance - very ncie. on the acid side. acid is somewhat sharp and fresh. very good weight to it. 9
texture - really good. rich and creamy and melty. almost too rich! 9~9.5

interpretation - a true enjoyment/luxuriation chocolate. so rich, so smooth, so satisfying. yet acid keeps it from being overly heavy by really giving it this bright kick. a keeper for sure. 9+
summary - rich, burnt roast, acid, smooth melt
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pralus papousie
look -
a reddish brown with good shine. somewhere in between the first 2. ugly bubbling. 8
smell - chocolate, sweet aroma (caramel?), powdery milk?, raspberry, more simple cocoa, faint vanilla (very faint) 9
taste - tea-like feeling at start, sweet, some macaroni butter thing, cocoa powder, high oned sweetness, not very distinct, very slight buttery, slight tree bark, tiny hint of cinnamon, waffles, straight and pure cocoa. 9
balance - on the sweet side, lacking "strong" acid, but still hidden in there. good weight 9
texture - quite nice. smooth, fairly rich, less so than venezuela but very satisfying. 9~9.5

interpretation - a good, simple, "pure" chocolate. really pleasant. its simplicity is the appeal. the purity and cleanliness of the chocolate taste is almost an exploration in what i think of when i tihnk of "plain chocolate". a tad sweet, but very pleasant. 9
summary - pure cocoa, clean, simple, nice texture, sweet-heavy balance
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pralus tanzanie
look -
closest in color to columbia. this piece is fairly smooth. 9
smell - waxy crayon, roasty smell, cocoa butter, slightly berry, touch of caramel sweet, 8.5-9
taste - sweet, dry peppery (without the pepper taste), slight cinnamon, a bit of apple, roasted walnuts, slightly odd texture, roasty fish, astringent finish, some chocolatey aspects. 8.5
balance - so so. kinda sweet with a hole in the middle. some acid but didn't "connect" sweet with base. 8
texture - not great. very slightly powdery. 8

interpretation - waxy, a bit of spice, fruit, some tannin, this thing is kinda all over the place. a bit discombobulated. i'd like to see it have more focus. still, it's interesting. astringency kills any hopes of making it a decent chocolate tho. 8
summary - wide flavor variety, roasty, astringent, slightly powdery texture
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not bad for a quick tasting. got to get to know the praluses in my stock right now.

an old friend returns

(apparently i had nothing to say about this tasting)

domori sur del lago
look -
a dark muddy brown, slight reddish hints. back a bit swirly, extremely tiny bubbling inside.
smell - cocoa, light spice, slight ferment (clean), almond biscuit, light sweet coffee, roasty tea, charred wood, sweet burnt soy, chalk 9 (light and clean)
taste - coffee up front, cocoa biscuit, slight roast, something fresh and lively, creamy, slight/faint cinammon spice, roasty and then coffee on finish. cuts off somewhat quickly. 8.5-9
balance - sweet, but not overpoweringly. very low acid levels, makes for a light and creamy choco. 8.5 (good balance for somehthing so lacking in acid)
texture - very nice. ultrafine powderfeel. 9

interpretation - a light "floaty" chocolate. even with all the coffee and roasty aromas, this one really feels like it just floats up there in the high/sweet/creamy regions of taste. a very light one in that sense. clean and simple. a nice expression of chocolate. 9
summary - light, creamy, floaty, coffee
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michel cluizel - vila gracinda (sao tome)
look -
a red/purple hinted clear and strong brown, some tiny swirling, 9
smell - sharp wood-like, fermenty, hidden vanilla, soil, slight wax, very strong with fermenty/wood, a little stinky (like fertilizer or like bay laurel), licorice?, a rich nut paste emerges, hidden spice (clove), reminds of horses, 9 - exciting and bright (now picking up woody mushrooms)
taste - pan-fried chicken, vanilla, slight touch of caramel, sweet, milky sweetness, acid begins to come in and make sweetness richer, heavy dry soil notes emerge, slightly mushroomy wood, pecans, cheeseburger, cocoa liquor, hazelnut, more fermenty, slight coffee emerges on finish, cuts out somewhat quickly. 9
balance - sweet, yet balanced with equally strong acid. the acid was a lighter, fresher type. very bright in those 2 areas. 9 (despite sweetness)
texture - so fine it feels like a liquid. melt is excellent. sweetness contributes to liquid feeling, but very fluid and maybe the finest in terms of powder texture. 9.5

interpretation - a very exciting, fluid chocolate. aromas are very intense, really heightens expecations. not that they're necessarily 100% pleasing or delicate, but they really seem to show that this chocolate has action. once actually tasting the chocolate, it probably has 4 key phases. the opening (a slight fermenty wood/meat + sweet), early (emergence of acid, transition to woody tastes), mid (change from woody to pecan/cheeseburger), end - clearing, slight coffee, remnants of fermentacious. 9
summary - exciting, fermenty, soily, cheeseburger, sweet/acid
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(no picture, it was an old one)
pralus madagascar, old
look -
dark brown. rather old so can't judge well
smell - burnt coffee, licorice, caramel, dried cherries, incense, slight cedary aspect. 9 - very exciting roast
taste - vegetal tastes, bitter, coffee emerging, whoa - really interesting intense herbal, roasted... leaves?, acid really high yet mature, inexplicable roasted yet acidic feeling, mre towards bread, bitter and smoky cocoa. very exciting. >9
balance - nice. acid was a big big player. outsines sweetness. bitter was a really good touch here. no astringency, so it really makes for a great accent. very exciting. 9
texture - good. hard to evaluate since sample was so old.

interpretation - an extremely unique chocolate. the roast is extreme, but somehow captures some very "characteristic" elements of the beans. the powerful acid, the slight dried fruit, the minty or licorice accent. the cleanliness of the whole thing after such a roast is impressive. very little noise. it's like a new smell was created; a lot of blending of roast and leaves and some fruit. exciting. >9
summary - acid, expressive roast, fruit
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pralus papousie
look -
fairly deep brown, decent clarity, slight orange hinting. some bubbling and swirling 8.5
smell - tea, light cocoa, light sweet spices, slight metallic roast, leafy roast, cookies 8 - light and clean, but not very expressive
taste - leafy, slight wateryness, faint roast, hazelnut comes in and out, a lot of cocoa, more leafyness, good texture, slight nutty, bready, more cocoa, slight white-wine oaky at end. 8.5 simple.
balance - very nice. close to ideal. each aspect was subtle. very harmonious. 9.5
texture - very good. rich but not oily. smooth. >9

interpretation - a simple choco in terms of flavors, but very refined and balanced. a lot of work seems to have gone into balance. all in all a very subtle and simple chocolate. all aspects of it represent a very low key, clean and pure chocolate. nice. 9
summary - balanced, subtle, soft.
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a little post-drinking chocolate

a little cold but nice and sunny. excited about today. did some drinking yesterday


amedei toscano black 63%
look -
a light cloudy brown. very very slight orange hinting, extremely smooth 9
smell - grahm crackers, berry jam, slight touch of coffee, some caramel. smoky wood chips, mashed strawberries, slight bay laurel hint, vanilla. like the air fresheners people put in cars (the paper ones), 9 (delicious smelling, somewhat simple)
taste - a bit smoky, sweetness, tree bark, smoky cocoa, fruity elements, kind of tart-honey. slight acid comes in, grahm cracker with roasty bean element, purer "cocoa" with vanilla, some sort of custard, fruit jam, fruity and vanilla aftertaste quite strong, though fades somewhat quickly. 9
balance - sweet, but not overly so. (63%) pretty impressive for that cocoa level. acid is secondary, but supportive. base is present in solid amt. 9
texture - good, if not slightly powdery. 9

interpretation - this is a solid 9 chocolate. very good in every respect. simple, clean, fruity. expresses the excitement of good cocoa and vanilla. easy to understand. 9
summary - fruity, vanilla, smoky wood
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amano cuyagua
look -
a very "clear" orange-brown. quite light. very good back, some slight bubbles inside 9
smell - dry peppery (nutmeg?) tobacco, skunk, clove, vanilla, dried citrus skin, 9 (excitement)
taste - smoky tobacco, some clean bitter, vanilla coasting in, sweet perception, more tobacco, vegetative, spice (clove etc), a sim. smell from sharffenberger jamaica (the crunchy one), medicinal plant, slight astringency (was lurking thru the whole thing) appears at end, more tobacco and woody flavors. 9
balance - quite good. not so aware of acidity, but certainly inside the range of "well balanced". somewhat sweet feeling at times, possibly amplified by vanilla. 9
texture - very nice. rich yet not oily, and still has a foundation of cocoa to "feel". 9~9.5

interpretation - a very interesting and plant-feeling chocolate. a lot of tobacco, smokyness, vegetative and spice flavors. quite exciting. a little dampened by astringency at finish, but otherwise a great time. very bright and expressive of flavors. 9
summary - tobacco, spice, planty, slight sweet
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pralus papousie
look -
average brown, slightly dull in color but good shine, fair amt of bubbling. 8.5
smell - peaches, dried citrus skin/peppery aspect, papery, glue-cocoa, very faint 9
taste - cocoa and minty expession, more cocoa ( a bit "impure"?), banana, roasted nut, slight bitter, roasted elements, cocoa and the odd pralus herbal tea sheen. that lingers on fiinish. 8.5
balance - nice, everything's in check. acid present in slight amts, base very fulfilling, sweetness never overpowers or comes into spotlight.
texture - good, a good balance between rich and weighted super-fine powder. 9

interpretation - definitely a very "cocoa" chocolate. it just seems that the pralus roast overcompensates in some cases, and tnds to stretch flavors in directions they weren't intended to be sent in. little "blips" appearing here and there that are really more a result of roasted cacao than they are a result of the individuality of the chocolate. it also seems to give it these little "sharp edges" (that's what i see in my head anyways) regardless, this chocolate was enjoyable, just simple. 8.5
summary - simple cocoa, subtl, soft roast
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pralus colombie
look -
dark brown, slight ashyness. no noticeable bubbling. 9
smell - white pepper (not sharp), dried meats, waxy crayon, toasted bun, herbal (oregano?), woody aspect, very slight yuzu, something savory. nice, interesting, exciting. 9
taste - off pwderyness, astringency, a candylike nutmeg, mcdonalds hamburger, more spices, toastyness, spice (nutmeg), vanilla spice and roast combination at finish. 8
balance - a bit hollow feeling. sweet and base present (with astringency) but no acid to give it more life. 8
texture - grainy-powdery. 7

interpretation - again, an interesting attempt. aromas were very enticing, but texture and balance just couldn't follow thru. spices and savory elements really made for a "different" kind of chocolte, but unfortunately the rest wasn't up to par.8
summary - unique white pepper, spice, bad texture, balance a bit off.
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the 5 choco tasting

fairly cool morning. it's the day after a long bike ride, so i have that layer of sleepiness on top of everything. not bad tho


amedei ecuador
look -
medium brown with purple-red slight hints. a tiny bubble on the back of the 5g square. 9
smell - cranberry juice and fermenty, meatloafy, wood and spice, vanilla, incense, slight cocoa, more vanilla 9
taste - vanilla, cocoa, raisins, more dried fruit development, touch of sweet spice like clove, slight dried ornge peel, more raisiny and vanilla, slight coffee emerging, some bitter showing, soft in general, more earthy flavors developing, cocoa powder and caramel on finish. 9
balance - quite good. acid doesn't come to foreground, but plays key role in connecting base to sweetness. sweetness is also not very apparent 9
texture - good, but maybe a bit of powderyness

interpretation - a simple chcolate with an elegant finish. the flavors individually are not that intense or exotic, mostly sticking to dried fruit, soft sweet spice, vanilla and cocoa powder. but there is this "elegant touch" that makes everything feel light and sweet. indeed, a very long finish. 9
summary - soft, simple, dried fruit cocoa
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amedei grenada
look -
red-purple meaty brown. ultra smooth. 9
smell - very sweet vanilla, slight hidden savory soup smell, planty tobacco, stronger... coffee?, a sort of plasticy smell, 8.5
taste - odd kinda astringent, dry woody flavor, astringence with sweetness, vanilla comes in, plummy fruit, dried leaves, browned onions??, cocoa powder (cheap kind), sharp bean, cocoa like finish 8.5
balance - a bit on the sweet side. low acidity, but most conspicuous is the astringency. uncommon for amedei. 8
texture - nice. 9

interpretation - a bit out of character for amedei. astringency being the biggest off-putting element. lack of finesse is also quite obvious. a simple sweetness is present (vanilla, plums) but it's really all about a rather "common" cocoa powder taste, along with odd wood-like and plant like flavors. despite similar coloring, completely different from soft and gentle ecuador. 8
summary - basic cocoa, vanilla, sweet, astringency
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pralus papousie
look -
a blackish brown with slight hint of dark red. small bubbling. 9
smell - buttery caramel, fruit, sligth vanilla, woody essence, fruit is kinda red-berry like, a bit of oolong tea, -- in general a faint, light sweet aroma profile. 9
taste - roasty cocoa powder, fried crumbs from a japanese croqette, dark roast almond, savory butter element, slight caramel, nice bitter touch (just a touch), nice simple cocoa, like the croissant from accrs the street, baked breads, wood fire, roasty elements on finish. pleasant and roasty. 9
balance - good. sweet acid and base all aligned well, (sometimes noticing the 'mature' acid's intensity) plus a touch of pleasant bitterness. no astringency keeps this one happy. 9
texture - very nice. rich but not overpowering. a balance between ultrafine cocoa and rich butteryness. 9

interpretation - a simple roast chocolate, but very "fine tuned". balance is great, flavors are all soft and of the same intensity. never offensive. a slight bitter touch really matches well with the slight roasty elements. a happy simple roaster. 9
summary - balanced, roasty, clean cocoa, faint fruit hint.
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michel cluizel - maralumi
look -
a lighter brown, almost milky looking with orange hints. some small bubbling. 9
smell - ground beef wtih scezwan spice, cinnamon, roasty elements, pecans, burnt soy, roast pumpkin. (extremely intense and bright flavors), heavily toasted bread, pie crust, repetition of earlier aromas. 9 (this one has some life!!)
taste - sweet, burnt soy, some mushrooms, other roasty elements, some sweeter aspects (vanil, fruit), slight nut paste, strong acidity, somewhat sharp, roasted fish (the burning fat), more roasty elements, slight coffee hidden behind burnt soy. in general a repetition of teh aromas with high sweetness and acidity. 9
balance - on the sweet side, but matched by equally strong acidity. acidity is slightly sharp. 8.5
texture - very good. ultra smooth yet not oily. 9.5

interpretation - a very exciting chocolate. vibrant flavors of burnt soy really persist. explores lots of roasty elements (without being excessively dark), nuts, breads. but sharp acidity keeps it from ever becoming a dull tour of the "same old roasty" stuff. gives it a fruity aspect despite lack of any real fruit elements. exciting and lively, but lacks a delicateness or elegance to its flavors. 9
summary - bright, acid, roasty, nutty, burnt soy.
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pralus tanzanie
look -
dark brown with blackish purple hints, small bubbling, random chunkiness. 8
smell - lemony cedary smel, donut (the lemon one from across the street), slight fruity element, kind of tea like, heaver stinky cocoa, light spice 9
taste - dried pasta water, caramelly roast, more roasty elements, berry, donut, a roasty tree like cocoa, cocoa, dark fruit elements, astringency, faint vanilla, coffee then astringent finish. more donut. fairly astringent at end. slightly medicinal. 8
balance - not bad until finish. acid present in fair amt, no heavy sweetness. however finish releases a lot of astringency and skews my perception of the chcooate as a whole. 7.5-8
texture - ok, slightly powdery. 8-8.5

interpretation - i was having a great time until the finish. nice roasty elements, a strong parallel to the lemon donut, some darker cocoa, possibly some red fruit. then all of a sudden the astringency sweeps in and ruins it. too bad. 8
summary - roasty, donut, ASTRINGENCY
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not bad for a tasting of 5! i felt like i really got to get a solid grip on who is who in this tasting. hopefully i'll still remember tomorrow...

a faster session

conditions: a little bit tired (possibly overslept? or just that i slept late), nice and sunny


pralus tanzanie
look -
dark dull brown, fair amt of swirling. some bubbles. 8.5
smell - a clean, woody smell, a bit of roast, buttery smell, slight cedary smell, slight planty smell. reminds me of astringent (possibly my association with the smell is directly connected to the taste now), 8.5
taste - astringent, papery, roasty, buttery, jammy, roast cocoa, coffee,a sweetness, a toasted white bread smell, acidity rolls in, nuttyness withastringent bckgd, coffee and dry pasta water finish, stronger roast comes in at end, strong finish, astringency. 8
balance - can't help but say it's a bit strange. esp due to astringency. appropriate levels of acid, sweet and base. just don't match up for somereason 8
texture - good, no big noticeable problems, just seems a bit powdery. 8.5

interpretation - a powerful chocolate in someways, but strange in others. strong roast and astringency really dominate at times, making it seem like a "blindingly" dark chocolte. but at the same time, there are interesting tastes of jam, bread, pasta, etc that don't really seem to match the previously mentioned aspect of the choco. could use some more cohesiveness. 8
summary - roast, astringent, jammy, woody
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domori sur del lago
look -
heavily orange tinted. lots of tiny bubbling.
smell - aromatic spice dry exotic (completely my own terms...), deep cocoa, fresh and sharp green note - like leaves of... something, touch of orange liquer, some slight coffee, baked bread, a bit of nuttyness, some slight fermentacious. something that reminds me of cream. 8.5
taste - sweet, gentle, creamy to open, high sweet tones, clear cocoa, roast of coffee, slight breadiness, then this thing.... no what is it...? reminds of coconut but isn't. some astringency comes thru, strawberry?, gentle roasted nut (almond?), strong cocoa finish, cream feeling persists. texture is great. 9
balance - good, i experienced a little acid at the end that really kind of rounded things out. otherwise it as a bit on the sweet side. 8.5
texture - very nice. very "heavy" cocoa sense, but extremely smooth. not like pralus venez that feels a bit unctious. this one is all about the microscopic cocoa. 9

interpretation - a chocolate that's rather "true" to chocolate, but is very light and creamy. texture is great, sweetness is a bit high, but i could be influenced by the presence of a large amt of "sweet" aromas. a little bit of coffee, a little bit of bread, but really felt like rich smooth cocoa wth these somewhat un-identifyable sweet tones. nice. 9
summary - creamy, sweet, cocoa, pure
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valrhona - manjari
look -
a cloudy red-orange tinted brown. some tiny bubbling
smell - raspberry, coffee, california pinot, some smoky aspects, something slightly sharp - maybe a fermentacious note, peppery, dried orange peel, sweet vanilla touch. 8.5 (the sharpness dropped the score a bit)
taste - very tart, slight tomato leaf/tobacco, more towards a smoky taste, a characteristic smell of caramelly hard dessert candies, berries and coffee, minty business, sweet, a bit rough ocoa, roasty crackers, slight citrus smell?, hummus, sweet flavors of vanilla and berry and acidic cocoa come thru at end, some "air freshener" sense lingering. 9
balance - sweet. but it is only 63%, so that's to be expected. it's balanced decently for a 60s class choco - a lot of acid to back it up. the base seems to be a bit lacking, but again this might be because of the relatively low cacao percentage. 8
texture - nice. a bit powdery though. 8

interpretation - a bright, action-packed choco. in some areas i feel like there's some "rounding" and mellowing of certain flavors going on, and that some lesser quality elements also sneak in (sort of like this choco was a big "overview" of a couple individual flavor profiles). regardless, the end result is nice, vibrant, and a pleasure to eat in general. 8.5-9
summary - bright acid, bright fruit, smoky, action packed
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theo ivory coast
look -
a dull brown, slight reddish purplish tinting, smooth, very little if any bubbling 9
smell - "dry" chalky, sweet cocoa, sharper but low intensity tobacco, sweet and light coffee-ish, reminds a bit of some soap smells, apple skins or soemthing. 8.5
taste - sweet, cocoa essence, savory nutmeg, toasty bread w/slight cinammon?, more light and sweet woody/spice tones, fairly "high pitched", astringency begins to show, getting stronger, soily, cocoa, cinam, astringent finish. dry woody sweet cocoa flavor persists. 8
balance - sweet. barely anything in terms of acid. would have been nice wth a touch of acid, a large drop in astringency and a slight boost in "base". felt somewhat "flat" and sweet. 7
texture - fine powdery sensation. not terrible, but still powdery. 8

interpretation - a sweet and simple chocolate, appealing to the very basic taste of forastero. similar to the domori in some ways, but nowhere near as elegant. astringency, lack of acid, lack of depth keep it from being a much better chocolate. somewhat one-sided in the sweet-spice-woody cocoa flavors. would be nice to have some flavor "twists" in there. 7.5
summary - astringent, sweet, simple cocoa
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tht was a bit of a rushed tasting, but it turned out well. in some ways the time pressure forces me to focus more rather than get absorbed in sniffing something and trying to get every last little aroma out of it. as a "treat", i'm giving myself some pralus venez.

return of the sun

nice and sunny after a few rainy days. a little chilly, but no problem. very ready for a good tasting.


bonnat chuao
look -
a reddish waxy tinted brown. very smooth, negligible bubbling 9
smell - slightly fermenty but sweet aromas, maybe berry like, acidity, beans, spice (sweet like clove), like some srt of leather, a very high toned sweet, like fresh fruit, slight nut butter, faint touch of coffee, woody (clean) notes 9 (fairly light)
taste - rocky soil flavor,roast comes next, black tea, fruit jam (dark and red), cocoa begins to expres. failry clean but with some woody tones. berries with solid cocoa backdrop, mild and maple-y, some very soft coffee drifts in, back to woody cocoa, very light astringency. length of very honest cocoa
balance - nice. acid nicely complements sweet so that neither stands out too much, good satisfying amt of base. astringency at finish somewhat disappointing. 8.5-9
texture - excellent. sometimes a slightly "powdery" sensation. 9

interpretation - a soft and subtle choco that really expresses simple cocoa flavors in many ways. berries and tea kind of drift in and out, but woody cocoa tends to be the backdrop for the whole experience. well rounded, but so subtle it's prob best enjoyed when in a more sensitive mood. 9
summary - soft, woody cocoa, faint fruityness.
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amano cuyagua
look -
also light and waxy, slightly more of an orange brown. very smooth texture. 9
smell - smoky, herbal, smoked meats?, a nutty fermentacious with dark soil, oregano, a toasted bready, tobacco, almost a plastic smell, a dark jam, smoke. >9
taste - tomato leaf, sweetness, vanilla, cocoa emerging, turns to acid and slight bitter, fine cigar, old wooden chest, more cocoa, a slight fermentacious hinted tobacco with a very interesting tongue sensation. sort of a mix of acid and tannin and spice. wood and spice and pecan. fades quickly, leaves a bit of astringency/dryness (could be residual from prev choco). soft vanilla drifts in on finish, also some tobacco >9 (excitement factor)
balance - very nice, a pleasant, rounded/mature acidity to match the savory tobacco, and to prevent the choco from feeling at all sweet. great base. 9
texture - also very good. not ultra creamy, but clean cut. 9

interpretation - a really strong and exciting chocolate. very powerful. smoky tobacco, complemented subtly by vanilla, lots of woody and even some fermentacious which seem to lean more towards "complete" fermentation (like a very mature compost heap). just exciting all around. lots of intsensity. there are of course areas to improve (making vanilla more subtle etc), but really fun to eat. lively. >9
summary - lively, tobacco, woody, vanilla
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amedei toscano black 70%
look -
a fairly "pure" brown, darker than the prev 2, smooth. 9
smell - black and smoky wood, spice, ground sesame, grain, slight waxy, slight fermentacious honey, flowers, wood (esp wooden model airplanes), slight bitof spice, some bread. somewhat rem. of jamaica (amedei), sweet tone. >9
taste - honey spice, pure cocoa, savory bean, sauteed smells, more of the honey spce, back to cocoa again, a good aciddity, nicely scented wood, roasted nut, soupiness, wood and spice seem to close it off. deeper chocolate and faint red fruits on finish, continues. also a slight astringent feeling. more dry and woody than astringent. (again, could be passed on from earlier) >9
balance - similar to last one in that it has a lot of "mature" acid and not a lot of "sharp/cleansing" acid. really helps to merge the tastes of the base and the sweet. very good balance levels. 9.5
texture - good. i might have detected a little powderyness. 8.5-9

interpretation - a dark, yet clean and honey like chocolate. kind of reminds me of acidic honey with a bit of spice, cocoa. the "depth" of flavor/body is really what makes this chocolate. connectivity of the acid/base/sugar makes it very much a "sophisticated" seeming choco. excellent. 9~9.5
summary - balanced, dark, honey, spice
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pralus colombie
look -
a dark and dull brown, very slightly purple-red tint. on this piece, surface looks good 9
smell - buttery, slightly caramel,fresh fruit, yogurt (on melted part), interesting herbal or dried grain, some interesting fruit (mixed in with yogurt), slight vanil, pencil, cocoa 8.5-9 (yogurt slightly strange)
taste - begin with cocoa, go to roast, astringency kicks in, delicious nutty roast, grain, crunchy crystalline texture (odd),roast and cocoa develop, slightly sweet, plain donut, cocoa with interesting fruity kick, kind of a spice or something, very interseting. roast really shows on length. 8.5-9
balance - nice, but a bit lacking in that mature acid that i had grown accustomed to in the prev 2. also a bit on the sweet side. base was there but wasn't fully "connected" due to low acid 8
texture - not good. the crunchy "microcrystal" feeling was not pleasant. had to try not to think about it to enjoy the choco. 7

interpretation - a roaster with a twist. these interesting butter/grain/unique fruit (kinda feels like a dried tropical one) smells keep the interest high. the roast is as always, quite pleasant. fixing the balance and the texture on this one would make into something very enjoyable, esp with that flavor profile. 8
summary - roast, butter, interesting fruit, sandy texture
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i think i might like chocolate. yes, it's certain.
not much to say about the tasting that i haven't already said. each chocolate really fits a particular mood. this chocolate stuff really is its own little universe.

the beginning of winter

cold an rainy. i can really feel "the winter" coming. i'm actually wearing a shirt today!
i'm excited, and i wanna taste some newer chocolates. this is bad though. it means that i won't have many "new" and exciting treats to look forward to (if i've already tried everything...)


domori sur del lago
look -
a dull deep brown. slight swirling, but good internal texture. 9
smell - light smoky, somewhat fermentacious, roasty nuts, chalky smell, somewhat perfumy, cocoa, dried coffee, 8.5
taste - slight bitter element, cocoa opening, begins to give off creaminess, sweet smelling coffee, sweetness, nuttyness, a fermenty (cleanish) taste, toasty bread, cocoa and coffee finish. a sweetness thru the whole thing. 8,5
balance - ok. a bit on the sweet side, with not much acid to round it out. base was present, so no problems there. 8
texture - very nice. (except for a random crunchy nib-bit) 9

interpretation - a mild one for domori. no outrageous smells. a lot of clean and sweet. some coffee, maybe nut. a very fresh feeling chocolate. sweet as well. kind of cream-like in a sense. easy eating. 8.5
summary - cream-like, sweet, coffee, fresh
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pralus colombie
look -
a deep blackish brown. very slight swirling. no noticeable bubbling. 9
smell - faint, slightly citrus peel, tea-like, butter, tangerine, slight twiggy smell. 9
taste - powdery, fresh citrus, develop into nuttier cocoa, very interesting fruit (can't name it), interesting sweetness, toasted tortilla, vanilla, fresh fruity cocoa, roast lingering in back, slight astringency, more sweet flavors at finish, 8.5
balance - ok, a bit on the sweet side as well. not so much in terms of acid, fairly "open" (not so much base feeling) 8
texture - powdery. no doubt. very distracting. had a "watery" feeling as well where things weren't really holding together well. 7

interpretation - fruity and bright, but texture and balance are disappointing. had some very interesting, unique flavors i haven't seen before, but it was just overshadowed by the wateryness, the sweetness and especially the powderyness. i don't remember this from the last time i had it. too bad. 7.5~8
summary - fruity, fresh, sweet, powdery, watery
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amano cuyagua
look -
a very light brown, some whitish tinting. very smooth looking. 9
smell - tobacco, fermentacious, rem of scharffen berger (the chunky one), smoky, rubbery, birdseed, styrofoam packing "s", hardware store. honestly a bit odd... 8.5
taste - sweet liquer aroma, eases into slightyl fermenty tobacco, vanilla, more tobacco, kind of savory essensce, black tea, more tobacco on finish. 9
balance - quite nice. i'm perceiving the sweet strongly today, but there was a subtle acidity that supported the choco. 9
texture - very nice. 9

interpretation - a very character-filled choco. a lot of tobacco, some "fermentacious". really interesting. would like to explore momre with larger piece. 9
summary - tobacco, fermenty, character
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pralus tanzanie
look -
dark blackish brown with purple hinting. some odd white chunkyness... 8
smell - slight woody, baked spice cookie, cocoa, astringency hint, orange, 8.5
taste - the pasta, tea, astringency, raisiny-wine character, no, more like a sticky balsalmic, flat cocoa, milky oddness, astringency. 8
balance - not bad, but astringent and somewhat disconnected. 8
texture - reasonable. 8.5

interpretation - another interesting one. a lot of uniqueness, but lacks any sort of finesse or harmony. needs work to be "good". 7.5-8
summary - astringent, fruit, spice, woody, pasta
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today was problably one of my worst days for focus, so i wouldn't recommend taking any of the reviews i did today very seriously.