Puro is essentially the unsweetened version of Absolute 70%, and is even more feral and unadulterated than its counterpart. A bit rougher in flavor and acidity, this one may be harder to swallow.
The word “”Chacao”" stems from Mayan civilization and translates to “”warmth.”" The cacao is of Trinitario genotype and is grown on the Dominican Republic through the Conacado cocoa planters association. The cooperative consists of approximately 4,900 members with each consituent family managing 1-5 hectares of land.
Alex Rast: 13-Oct-2005
A disappointment, considering the greatness of Absolute 70%. Still, it might be the best unsweetened organic chocolate. This is a chocolate that’s rather borderline for straight eating compared to other, and better, unsweetened chocolates, and clearly could use some work in tuning ferment and blend. If you’re not committed completely to organic chocolates, Domori has better 100% chocolates which are preferable choices.
Upon unwrapping this bar has a decidedly rustic look. It’s somewhat unevenly moulded, with bubbles clearly in evidence, and with a dark, tree-bark brown colour that looks a little coarse and low-bred. However, the aroma raises the spirits: very complex and with very desirable characteristics. First comes a chocolatey and coffee feel, then hazelnuts and currants emerge, and the finish is a licorice twang. A lot of tannins here but a lot of body and character, certainly first-rate even if it intimates bitterness.
The flavour is on the whole rather mild, initially subdued blueberry, then creamy and melon. Certainly it’s not the power punch one expects from a 100%. As the taste progresses it turns to a nutty, smoky, very roasted character, ending with slight woody hints. The bitterness comes out a bit here but there’s never any associated intensity, rather, things are very held back, like a fireworks show with only a few bursts. At least the texture doesn’t disappoint, being as ultrasmooth and creamy as you expect, melting effortlessly in the mouth.
On the whole, the experience is somewhat deflating, especially in the wake of Absolute 70%. You expect spectacular flavour peaks and instead get a slightly rolling countryside. It’s pleasant in its own way, certainly not intolerable, but somewhat tedious and uninteresting. The chocolate needs something to liven it up, some spark of creativity. Domori has done well with previous 100% chocolates so there seems no reason they could not do so here. A chocolate that could definitely use some improvement – Domori, are you listening?
Hans-Peter Rot: 12-Sep-2005
The aroma is light on the nose, tart and vibrant, with upfront woody notes of green branches. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fresh scent, very woody and reminiscent of walking through an evergreen forest. In contrast to Absolute, the lack of sugar affects the aroma dramatically, as the cherries and alcohol twang are reduced considerably and thus hide in the background. The appearance is quite opaque Ã¢â‚¬â€œ dark rust with hints of red Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and marred by intense swirling and occasional cracking due to the lack of additional cocoa butter.
Immediately, the chocolate takes on a flavor identical to the aroma: strong woody notes of green branches, which gradually diminish as cheese spikes interrupt the budding red fruitiness. An acidity develops here as well, lending a mild tartness, but fortunately it doesn’t get out of hand and stays in the background. Domori’s typical fermented/alcohol tone then appears and looms in the foreground throughout the length; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dominant and strong, overpowering the red fruits, but a redness and plum-like character still manages to make itself noticeable. The length ends on a strong nutty note of hazelnuts with lingering tart red fruits. Puro melts thickly and smoothly, filling the mouth in the typical pasty consistency of DomoriÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unsweetened bars, which ultimately results in a fuller body that bears substantial weight on the palate.
In some respects, I would hesitate to call this “”chocolate,”" regardless of the technicalities that dictate otherwise. Puro is essentially cacao that has been minimally processed and molded into a bar. Although these techniques may define Domori’s stylistic leanings, Puro is transformed into an entirely different experience that could not be achieved through further refinement. The result is a flavor so indicative of its origins, so uniquely cacao, that any resemblance to the “”chocolate”" flavor most Westerners are accustomed to is only an unattainable anomaly not yet breached. Indeed, Puro is a “”chocolate”" so uniquely deviant from today’s norm that such a designation should be used with caution when describing it.
Overall, though, the lack of sugar showcases this cacao in its most “”raw”" form, one that has no sweetness to mask any of the inherent harshness or to further enhance underlying flavors that were allowed to fully develop in Absolute. As a result, the chocolate may not be the most palatable of all the unsweeteneds, and certainly nowhere near the level of greatness achieved by Absolute. For these reasons smaller quantities are more than sufficient and appropriate to first acclimate palates and to prevent jaded taste buds.