Spectacular, awesome chocolate vaults Neuhaus into the upper ranks of origin producers. A suspicious percentage would seem to imply Chocovic sourcing, but with a definitely different and much better flavour, Neuhaus has worked some magic here whatever the source. Is it as good as Domori’s Puertomar? It’s got to be close. Let us hope that Neuhaus does more chocolates like this one!
Hans-Peter Rot: 11-Nov-2006
NeuhausÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interesting packaging opens like a book, revealing a bar within an inner sleeve. Once removed from the foil, presented is an average sheen and lots of swirling and bubbles on the backside that make the bar look merely average. By contrast, the aroma is anything but average, releasing like a spring-loaded trap cherries and a dark woody undertone with a peak of molasses. Simple, yes, but the strength and sexy appeal exhibited here is almost deadly.
Mimicking the aroma, the flavor springs forward aggressively, but its nature is much more soothing and sensuous, perhaps more along the lines of decadent and rich, almost sinful. To start things off, it first ejects nuts and cream, then strawberries immediately thereafter, and finally a molasses peak that closes a somewhat limited but decently complex profile. In light of other Ocumares, though, it might seem too limited, and one might find the flavor as a whole deficient.
Texture is thick and smooth, creating a heavy and full-bodied effect that complements the luscious nature of the flavor. There is no true creaminess, per se, as one might expect from a Cluizel or Valrhona bar. Overall, this chocolate portrays the richness of a dessert and not particularly the sophistication of a single origin chocolate bar. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the lack of complexity that does it, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that the bar is so ridiculously easy to eat and devoid of the darker, more serious nature that characterizes most Ocumare bars. In a sense, then, Neuhaus has only created a good munching chocolate, nothing more.
Alex Rast: 1-Dec-2005
The interesting and actually quite useful wrapper conceals in its depths a beautiful-looking chocolate: medium red-brown, superbly finished, with little trace of unevenness or bubbling. Aroma is awe-inspiring, reminiscent of Los Ancones in its power, strongly cherry with a molasses background. Earthy hints add both a counterweight and a suggestion of real complexity. Here is one bar you will want to keep smelling for a while.
The flavour holds no disappointments and many new revelations. Initially, there’s a sweet vanilla/almond burst, then melon appears. Later the flavour evolves down the darkness scale, reaching earthy and cedar characteristics as if immersed in a wood, and finishing with coconut and cocoa hints that complete a very long flavour evolution. It’s an exploration that really reveals, one thinks, all dimensions of the bean. It’s also equally clear that this is the Ocumare 61 of Domori’s Puertomar, with similar flavours all the way, displayed in what is at least equal mastery. It’s always the ultimate delight to see a varietal cacao perfectly revealed and interpreted.
Perhaps we should give the nod to Domori just barely on the basis of texture, for while this one is good, with a super-smooth and nicely creamy melt, Domori’s is unimaginably perfect. But when one is down to texture in pronouncing a winner, you know you’ve got a case of splitting hairs! Neuhaus has had the reputation of mediocre chocolate bars, but this one is a 90 degree shift, a total step up in every way. With virtually nothing to criticise and an ideal exposition of the bean, this is a bar deserving repeated buys.