A very easy-to-eat 80%-class chocolate without the bitterness or flatness associated with most bars of this range. It’s a great introduction to this level as well, since the complexity is minimal and allows the taster to acclimate his palate to the intensity of this class.
Alex Rast: 10-Feb-2006
Endangered Species wisely corrects their palm-oil mistake and produces a pure cocoa butter bar. This one isn’t bad, but on the whole it’s fairly standard. So no real excitement, no big surprises, fairly basic flavour. But also, no major mistakes. “”Black Panther”" is appropriate for this chocolate, with a very dark style indeed reflecting a leaning towards chocolate whose flavour reflects the roast more than the beans.
Unwrapping the chocolate reveals a nicely shiny bar, with a few ripples and some clear unevenness and bubbles. It’s got an unusually neutral brown colour, making it very hard on surface to develop any expectations. Aroma is where it becomes clear where the bar is headed. The overall impression is black, black, black. Coffee prevails along with coconut, along with a slightly cardboardy earthiness, nothing severe or alarming, though. Every now and then a hint of something woody emerges, but it’s the trace of a wood long ago turned to charcoal. Black.
Flavour, likewise, is a flood of black, momentarily fruity right at the start, but only for a fleeting instant, and at the limits of detectability to identify which fruit. Blueberry? Blackberry? Certainly something dark, and not sour. Quickly a chocolatey interlude follows, the most pleasant moment of the bar, unfortunately far too brief, as very soon thereafter the coffee darkness crushes everything, again accompanied by coconut and traces of slightly bitter, tannic woods. Needless to say with what clearly is a dark roast indeed this is not a lingering chocolate: the flavour dies quickly and suddenly.
The bar doesn’t achieve anything great on the texture front. It’s pretty average in smoothness, and it’s dry, slightly chalky – although they’re using pure cocoa butter they might be advised to use a little more. With a roast this dark it wouldn’t hurt, for the darkness totally wipes out individual bean character – it’s anyone’s guess what the blend origins are – in favour of basic and unconfusing chocolate flavours. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but if this bar is good at everything it’s great at nothing.
Hans-Peter Rot: 18-Jan-2006
This should be renamed Ugly Duckling since the bar is anything but attractive, reflecting the nature of a turbulent tar pit, both on the surface and in the deep black color. However, the aroma is quite good, though a bit ordinary, showing off cinnamon and wood, with some ashy notes as well. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s a dark, roasted scent, pitch black in nature, and in some ways very ominous.
Intense and chocolaty in a Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“blackĂ˘â‚¬Âť way, yet redolent of Dutching, the flavor is a mixed bag, making an ultimate opinion strictly reliant on the basis of personal preference. Some grapes and cinnamon show up reluctantly later on, perhaps traces of flavor not removed by Dutching, which is more like a painful reminder than a positive reinforcement.
Thick, pasty, and nicely smooth, here is something the bar should be proud of, since even on its own the texture is exactly what this level should deliver. However, the bar as a whole is really quite deficient and suggestive of processing techniques that could be considered cutting corners. Keeping that in mind, itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s hard to compare it to other bars, since technically speaking, the chocolate has flavor altering chemicals that normally donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t end up in chocolate.