We were lucky to get a sample of this bar, which was made in only a very limited production run to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the founding of Scharffen Berger in 1997. Even Scharffen Berger had run out of stock, but one of our forum members, ‘zoischa’ had her own private stockpile and very graciously sent us a bar for review.
This is an intense and strong Porcelana, not as light as some of the other examples, but rather a full bodied experience with an emphasis on the darker tones. We know you can no longer get this chocolate, but we wanted to include it for reference, and who knows, maybe Scharffen Berger will make another batch for their tenth anniversary!
Alex Rast: 6-Oct-2005
Is this pure Porcelana? It seems a little doubtful. Here is a bar with most of the characteristics of fine Porcelana, but overlain upon an alarming harsher background – as though some other bean had been mixed in. Nevertheless, a quality effort from Scharffen Berger and one of their best bars to date.
This bar looks quite dark on surface – a deep, uniform brown of strongly tanned leather. Finish is mirror-smooth, the very sharp, crisp style Scharffen Berger is notable for. In some ways it reminds one of its namesake, suggesting fine porcelain. One is a little afraid of breaking this bar. Aroma is also archetypal Scharffen Berger: very fruity, a mix of cherry and currant in the main. However, hints of cream and cocoa reveal a different chocolate, and indeed all these aromas are very representative of Porcelana.
The flavour initially is textbook Porcelana as well, creamy and light, shifting to a sweet, mild cherry. But lurking behind this cherry facade is an earthy, almost brooding, element – like a sullen alter ego unwilling to step out of the shadows. And in the finish there’s a high, pointed bitter almond hit, decidedly on the sharp side and perhaps one might say harsh.
Texture is, as expected from the appearance, crisp and smooth, not, perhaps, the creamiest but very elegant nonetheless, urbane in its presentation. Yet this sophistication fails to silence the doubts in the flavour. Yes, all the right components were there, but that earthy piece is troubling, out of place. It’s as if the chocolate were a noble with a peasant grandmother he’s trying to hide. Noble chocolate indeed, yet with a slightly shaky pedigree.
Martin Christy: 14-Nov-2003
The sample we had was a little brittle with a slight bloom, which is not surprising given that the chocolate was no longer in production when we received it and was fairly well travelled, so this review might not do the chocolate full justice! The bar does have though the typical sheen and light brown caramel colour of Porcelana, with a very sharp snap and an almost invisible grain.
The aroma is fresh and sweet, with caramel and light hay and a refreshing strawberry note. Once on the tongue strong tobacco/aniseed flavours are present, which seem to be the trademark flavours of all Scharffen Berger chocolate. These fade a little and combine with nutty, milky caramel notes and a dark fruit overtone, ending on thick, perfumed liquorice on the tongue. The melt is thick and really coats the mouth, and is intense rather than smooth.
The length is intense, and with a strong ‘buzz’. The flavours are steady, but gradually die down to a dry tobacco, leaving a little waxiness.