Yet another excellent chocolate from Neuhaus’ origin line. It might not be quite as accomplished as the other 2 bars in the series, but this is a testament to those other bars’ greatness, not in any way a knock against this one. This will be the Neuhaus bar for those who like it deep and pungent. Overall, a very nice way to round out the set.
Hans-Peter Rot: 9-Jun-2007
Within the confines of the book-like wrapper is a bar thatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s anything but glossy but pleasantly dark in color, reddish brown as usual for the origin. Taking in the aroma reveals strength in character, smoky overall with musty accents. Softer notes of vanilla do little to balance out this very one-dimensional scheme.
Here is a flavor that is always dark and bold, smoky at first but later characterized by a subtle presence of cherries as smoke silently drops to the background. Mildly acidic, too, thereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s quite a bit of depth and character to the chocolate (something usually lacking in most Sao Tome bars) yet no extremes either. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s probably slightly milder than the Sao Tome bars from Pralus or Cluizel but the flavor is just as good.
For the most part, the texture is smooth and very nice, but some dryness is evident towards the end, perhaps a result of not enough cocoa butter.
Smoky chocolate from this island seems to be the dernier cri nowadays, and the results I must admit are much more interesting than they once were. On the same token, however, all these separate chocolates tend to bleed into one another, making it difficult to differentiate among their unique subtleties. Although NeuhausĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ bar certainly has the same feel of both Pralus and CluizelĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s versions, itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s far less acidic and seems to place less emphasis on the fruitiness as a whole. The evolution is a bit more marked, which allows both flavors their due turns in the chocolateĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s profile.
Alex Rast: 8-Dec-2005
Opening this bar shows it to be typically Forastero, as expected. It’s very dark, purplish-brown, the darkest of Neuhaus’ bars as befits the carton. Finish is as good as the other bars, that is to say, superb, glossy and without defects.
The aroma seizes you right away, with a very sharp cherry. Equally sharp spikes of cinnamon and cedar poke out, and there is a hint of brown sugar in there as well. This is going to be one dominant chocolate. The main apprehension is that it may be just harsh and unmanageable.
Fortunately, the flavour isn’t unmanageable at all, even if it too has its powerful attributes. Pungency is the keynote. The initial flavour briefly hints at blackberry and grape, then an enveloping clove and molasses arrives. There is a rather bitter woody background, and that might detract a little, but it’s kept in check so that it never wipes out all other flavours. And just when you think it’s all over, a surprising almond comes along, for a bar with one of the longest evolutions of flavour on the market. It’s a winner – perhaps the best achievable with Sao Tome.
Texture is also well above-average, with excellent smoothness and a super creaminess. In this bar’s case, a gritty texture wouldn’t have been a big negative, but still for it to be good is nothing to shake a stick at. Meanwhile the bar overall stays very true to the description on the label – “”spicy-flavoured”", indeed, might be an understatement! Neuhaus is doing good things with varietals – let us hope that the success of this line encourages them to do more.