high power tasting

(i think my senses were fairly sharp today)
fairly hungry. cold, drank a bit of tea (some oolong that david gave me). cloudy and slightly rainy.
today is a good day for a favorite - amedei porcelana

amedei venezuela
look -
purply red tinted brown, slight swirling on back, no bubbling. 9
smell - 1st - fruits, grahm cracker, vanil, then light sweet spice, dark dried fruits, slight woody tone, vanilla and baked goods, touch of rubbery, pear, light and clean "soil", [break open], sharper burnt twigs, deeper spice (more towards cumin), onions (browned), powdered dried fruits (is the only thing i can come up with for that smell), maybe roasted tea. 9~9.5
taste - opens with a woody and vanilla tone, red berries, bitterness enteres, banana, slight coffee, sweetness strong, flowery cocoa combo, slightly grahm cracker, sweet and vanilla dominate, then kind of a "flower sandwich", plummy cocoa, woody with oast, slight peaty whisky, extremely "clean" cocoa, vanilla and flowers on finish, develops into sweet clean length. very long. 9.5
balance - sweetness is a bit strong, but everything is definitely harmonious. very solid yet un-heavy base. bitterness was pleasant (only really noticed it at start). acidity played a backstage role to sweetness, but it was definitely there. 9
texture - great, perhaps a very light powderyness. 9

interpretation - a very light but strongly flowery/vanilla-y chocolate. the headstrong sweetness seems to bring out those flavors even more in some sort of feedback loop. if it was that alone, it wouldn't be such an exciting chocolate, but the fruity/clean cocoa flavors (at times i felt like if i ignored the vanilla and other distractors, i could see the "essence" of pure cocoa at the center) really round it out and show off the fact that it's still chocolate. good for sweet moods. a very finessed chocolate. 9~9.5
summary - flowery cocoa, vanilla, sweet, clean and pretty

amedei porcelana
look -
a medium (chalky) brown, somewhat red touch. ultra smooth, no noticeable bubbles. 9
smell - grapes, tomato sauce, coffee, amazing savory aspect. this dark tomato/tobacco sense, roasted tea, mineral sense, fruit skins, amedei essence, [break open], powdery, dirt smell, somewhat like fertilizer on a lawn, cocoa soaked in good balsalmic. very complex. very deep. 9.5
taste - opens with savory, acidic, mushroom and tomato sauce feeling, moves to some pure cocoa, some deep dark fruit, pan fried something in butter, cocoa and undescribable herbal smell, vanilla creeps in for a moment, fades out, something very unique popped in (pine? savory?), black olives???, mature acid, coffee, depth, cocoa softening, amedei signature, balsalmic laced fruit cocoa on finish, goes on and on... 9.5
balance - very nice. really feel the "savory" aspects. weight/base of chocolate strongest, then acid, very slight astringency (after finish) seems to add to effect. 9~9.5
texture - very good. didn't really even notice it had "texture". 9

interpretation - this is a very different chocolate. most chocolates seem to have the taste of flavors "mixed in" with chocolate flavors. however, this one felt like these woody/balsalmic/savory tones were actually inherent to the chocolate flavors -- completele inseperable. it was like this was a special chocolate plant with different fundamental smells. this chocolate is definitely an experience. the way they suppress the fruity and flowery elements is commendable, because it really lets you understand how "savory" and atypical a chocolate can be. bringing out the true nature of it and not trying to hide it was a great move. amazing. 9.5
summary - savory (tomatosauce etc), deep, complex

pralus venezuela
look -
dark brown with orange hints. almost looks "roasty". some bubbling but smooth interior. 9
smell - buttery, cocoa, slightly minty or licorice, roasted almond, cocoa with a minty slant, chicken?, slight red fruit beneath. 9
taste - quick melt, cocoa, nutty, extreme roast, milk, vanilla, caramel candies, savory smells, pan sauteed chicken? (with garlic), more cocoa, silky melty texture, nice acid, cocoa with nutty hints, roast, metallic butter popcorn at end. caramelly length. very pleasant. 9~9.5
balance - excellent. great base, acid in the perfect spot (not shy but not bold), sweetness is held back, but texture seems to amplify a bit 9.5
texture - very buttery and rich feeling. possibly extra cocoa butter? very quick and easy melt, almost "luxurious". 9

interpretation - a roast heavy, savory focused chocolate, with high-temp-pasteurized-milk/browned butter being strong components. texturally very exciting, something i don't see much of in any other chocolates. very rich. great balance (very close to my ideal). a great chocolate to eat (it really was good, but i'm almost "depressed" since i just had "the peak of unique chocolate" before this one) >9
summary - rich, roasty, buttery

pralus papousie
look -
dark brown with ever so slight deep purple hints. some bubbling on surface, interior looks ok. 8
smell - very faint. slight tea, slight red fruit, some plastic-y (pick up from something?), light cocoa, possibly some pineapple (really a stretch here). 7 - (no intensity, not getting much enjoyment from smell)
taste - cocoa, slgith astringency, wax, more cocoa, slight bacony smell, some vanilla at finish, more cocoa. slightly astringent length. 8.5~9
balance - good. everything was present, nothing present in excess. 9
texture - nice. less buttery and rich than the last, almost like they reigned it in for this one. very nice. 9

interpretation - a bit too unexpressive for my tastes. it was like it was too timid to step away from its comfort zone of soft cocoa. not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that it didn't excite me. nothing really stood out. very well poised, but very dull chocolate. 8.5~9
summary - quiet, unexpressive, cocoa

(quickie for finish)
pralus tanzanie
look -
a nearly black brown, chalky (not translucent). some bubbling, odd white chunks. 8
smell - cedary, berry, mint, wood, sllight cocoa. 8.5
taste - uncooked pasta (or maybe it's the pasta water...), roasts, dried cranberries or raisins, acid, off-astringency, vanil, more berry, then cocoa, roasty. astringent length
balance - decent, just thrown out of harmony by astringency. good base, decent acid, sweetness. something just isn't mixing. 8
texture - good, nothing special or too off. 8.5

interpretation - same as the usual (i was tasting a tiny piece at the end of a long-ish tasting so wasn't paying that much attention). 8
summary - roasty, astringent, pasta water

afterwards i ran thru a bunch of chocolates and had amazingly clear visions of each. hopefully i can record that into longer term memory. man, that porcelana is undeniably deep.

sunny and late

it's late. nice and sunny tho, and i'm pretty hungry. might be a bit rushed on this one since trying to get work done today. let's see what happens

domori sur del lago
look -
dull chalky brown, some orange hints, see some odd white speckles below surface, some bubbling
smell - a bit rubbery, some papery, ashy, nut, intersting creamy and woody overtone, smoky. 9
taste - fresh clean smell, slight astringency, roasty n ut, pepper (green?), very interesting woody combined with coffee smell, great txture, lowish acid, somewhat sweet, good base, slightlymaty?, continuation of soft cocoa character, intersting spice, cocoa strengthens on finish, a bit cola like in some way. long strong woody length. 9
balance - nice. a bit sweet, but base really helps to stabilize it. very slight but not strong acid. 8.5
texture - very nice. ultra smooth. a couple random chunks of something tho. minus points for that... 8.5

interpretation - a nice soft fresh and light choco. not a whole lot of weighty chocolatey flavors. particularly characteristic were the woody tastes. very unique. enjoyable overall 9
summary - light, clean smoky, fresh, sweet.

domori pueromar?
look -
lighter brown, slightly dirt looking. orange hints. bubbling.
smell - stewed meats, beans, fermenty, rich soil... kinda like a compost heap but cleaner, some sharp (plasticy) aroma, possibly some dark berries, deep tropical smell. overall a very deep, dark fermenty smell. somewhat fruity. 8.5 (a little sharp at times)
taste - fermenty woody opening, cocoa, soily notes (same fermentacious ones as in smell), really nce acid, amazing texture (ultrafine), good cocoa, some fruity hiding in back, tiny touch of smoky meaty, inexplicable delicous smell/taste combo, long finish of the woody fermentacious. >9
balance - very good. acid, weight, sweetness all in a very pleasant, lively combination, really showcasing the slightly "tart" acidity. 9.5
texture - amazing. one of the finest i've had. feels like eating a science experiment (in a good way). 9.5

interpretation - while strongly fermentacious, really brings out a lot of great "character". acid was really a good play here, and the texture really sells it. if the aromas were a little more delicate i'd be inclined to give it a higher score. however, it really makes u think about chocolate, and that it's a fermented product. kinda wild in a way. dark, extreme, but enjoyable. 9~9.5
summary - fermentacious, rich, balance, great texture

bonnat chuao
look -
rich brown with hints of red. little to no visual flaws
smell - fairly faint, soft light fruit, touch of clean smoky, maybe lemony, slightly citronellal? very very faint. maybe some tea. can't score it. too faint.
taste - ooh, very nice light fruit (fresh blueberries?), another sweet smell, drift to woody cocoa, light flowery natured flavors, nice texture, soft acid, more cocoa (clean and sweet), high toned sweet, slight beany, cinnamony flowery finish. very fresh and clean. lovely. lenght is of pleasant sweet aromas, cocoa. 9~9.5
balance - very good. slightly sweet, but gentle acid is present to give the overall image of a gentle chocolate (matches well wtih aromas). base is nice 9
texture - very nice. clean and fine. 9~9.5

interpretation - extremely faint on nose (i'm possibly a bit distracted), but tastes are delightful. light sweet character runnig around, makes for an interesting journey. good good. 9
summary - soft, faint, delicate, complex

pralus tanzanie
look -
deep dark brown, slightly orange tints. bubbling, odd chunky white things
smell - cedary/citronellal, berries, roasty, burnt woody, pancakes, roasty. 8.5~9
taste - bitter, astringent, sweet aroma (vanilla mixed with citronellal), woody deck (newly built), roasted almond (dark), uncooked dry pasta, dark roasty, vanil, sweet wood, astringent finish, vanilla and woody length. 8.5
balance - decent, a bit sweet, a bit acid. decent base. oddly out of balance tho. 8
texture - reasonable. a bit powdery feeling at times (possibly astringency) 8

interpretation - dark roast, but with some interesting bright spots of citronellal and cedar like wood. also uncooked pasta is very interesting. would like to see a reduction in astringency before rating higher. 8
summary - dark roast, citronellal, astringent

kinda rushed thru the last one. i really liked the domori, but i may not have been paying close enough attention to pick out faults. either way, great texture and balance. an exciting and slightly wild choco.


a new chocolate!!

today's conditions: very hungry, cool, cloudy. well slept and not overslept. focused.
i feel like opening a new choco. let's see what all the fuss is about. time to try amano's cuyagua

pralus papousie
look -
a dark, rich brown with red-orange hints.some bubbling. 9
smell - cherries, cranberries, pomegranites (one of those 3), slight browned butter, metallic, a bit more roast, blueberry, slight bit of woodiness, 9
taste - lsight berry, roasty, bitter, vanilla, woody, smooth cocoa flavor, roasty elements, slight fruitiness, silky melty texture, roast nut at finish. slight vanilla, length of vanilla and cocoa with a very slight bitter element. 9
balance - very nice. everything was aligned. almost don't even notice that it has "aspects" that could possibly be out of balance. however, slight bitter at finish throws things of a tad. 9
texture - excellent. rich, velvety, smooth. great melt

interpretation - a balance focused "pure" chocolate. really not a lot to it other than chocolatey and roasted elements, with very slight hints at fruit. the balance is really the star here. excellent. 9
summary - balanced, cocoa, gentle, great texture

amano cuyagua
look -
a light, almost milky brown. slight light orange tint. slight bubbling, texture appears to be quite fine. 9
smell - incredibly smoky, peaty, tobacco, sharp green planty, a bit of a stink... mushroom?, smoked cedar (smells like a smoke shop), vanilla, a nutty element (roasted sunflower?), perhaps a tomato sauce element. 9 (very intense)
taste - some light tobacco, tomato plant leaves,sharper tobacco, light vanilla, spices, acid and sweet very balanced, base slightly lacking, developing more into vanilla and softer flavors, cocoa, baked goods, vanilla, crissp acid, great finish (clean and bright tobacco, coffee, slight caramel, vanilla). sweet touch at the end. lingers, continuing to show of tobacco. 9~9.5
balance - very nice. perhaps a tiny bit lacking in the "base" elements, it's really matched in terms of acidity and sugar. justwhere i like it to be. woud like a tiny bit more weight to it, but certainly not bad. 9
texture - very good. didn't notice anything off (wasn't paying much attention). 9

interpretation - feels like smoking a big fat (sweet) cigar. (not that i do that...). very intense. i was a bit worried that some of the sharper smells on the nose would interfere with the taste aspect, but they were much subtler when eating. the opening really speaks of tobacco and not much else, but in the middle, much softer elements seem to develop (somewhat strong on the vanilla). the finish was really excellent, a big explosion of sweet tobacco and other harmonious elements. a bit sweet, and very loud and showy, yet in a clean way i could really appreciate. there is a sense of purity that i like about it. maybe a point off here and there for too much vanilla, but on the right track. 9~9.5
summary - tobacco. great, harmonious finish. sweet.

amedei toscano black 70%
look -
a deep brown with ever so slight red tinting. tiny bubbling on interior. 9
smell - slightly smoky, very strongly tree-bark ish, soily, dark feel, scented wood, honey, red fruits lurk, clovey, cinammon?, acidic smells, balsalmic vinegary?, olives (the pickled kind, blACK), (refined and dark). 9
taste - reminds of middle eastern food, hummus, a woody and spicy feel, honey, very interesting "powdery" floral, very solid base, slight acid, sweet is stronger, like powdered dried red fruits (pomegranite), slight vanilla, nutty richness. exciting finish that switches from woody honey to a smoky cocoa, then lingers with vanilla and flowers (and cocoa). >9 (wow, amazingly long length)
balance - good. really enjoy the weight of this one. a very strong chocolatey presence. the sweetness slightly overpowered the acidity, but that's ok. still all within balance. perhaps u could say just a bit of a "sweeter" interpretation of the chocolate 9
texture - very nice, possibly a tiny bit "micrograiny". 8.5~9

interpretation - a really nice expression of dark with a lean towards woody and honey-like flavors. a sweetness prevents it from becoming too serious, and also helps to accentuate the honey aspects. tends to remind me of a california pinot with a "dark" lean. sweet, but with great complexity (although i guess you couldn't call this a fruit bomb). 9~9.5
summary - honey wood, dark, sweet (very long finish)

pralus tanzanie
look -
a fairly dark brown, hints of deep purple. lots of bubbling and swirling. 8
smell - cedary impact (citronellal?), lessens to some woody berries, a minty essence, lemony tartness, cocoa, a bit of roast, dryness (pasta), (wow, i've never smelled some of these before in this chocolate. maybe i'm a bit "creative" today) 8.5
taste - dried pasta, coffee?, papery or woody, bitter emerging, more pasta, somewhat vegetative, nutty, slight leafy (possibly citronellal), challah (jewish slightly eggy bread), dry finish, somewhat astringent. 8.5
balance - decent. astringent at finish seems to disturb my perception of a whole of it. however, i feel like it had strong base, and certainly an acidic element, but some how they didn't align properly. still, the weight was pleasing in that sense. too bad for the astringency. 8
texture - decent. powdery sensation. 8.5

interpretation - a dark and astringent chocolate, but much more rounded than something i might dislike. had good weight to it, plus acid which helped support weaknesses (like astringency). fairly cocoa oriented in flavor, but cedary and dried pasta smells accentuate. interesting, but not something you can fully "relax" to. 8
summary - dried pasta, cocoa, astringent

to go on a bit of a tangent, i kind of feel like (the good) pralus chocolates really put you "at ease". really relaxing, easy to approach, fairly rich, easy to understand flavors. on the other hand, amedei has this "tension" about their chocolates. this winey aspect that makes you pay attention. all of the characteristics tend to be sharper and more in focus. i suppose each is suitable for a particular mood.
today's new chocolate (amano) was very exciting. it was certainly far from perfection, but it really opened my eyes and caused me to perceive subsequent chocolates slightly differently. i've heard so much praise about it, in reaction i somewhat lowered my expectations intentionally, which actually made for a pleasant surprise. much more intense than i would have imagined, the nose almost turning me off to the chocolate. but the taste proved me wrong for judging too soon. very cool.