A definite change from the Java of years past, this version sees more fruitiness and acidity, but each aspect is balanced wonderfully with Pralus’ characteristic smokiness.
Alex Rast: 6-Nov-2006
The unmistakeable colour of the Java chocolate – an almost milky terra-cotta, shows right away, and once out of the irritating plastic displays nice sheen. It’s pretty heavily bubbled, but otherwise in very good order. Aroma is certainly unmistakeable, but not necessarily in a magnificent way, if not in any way bad. It’s strongly tobacco and smoky, redolent of fine cigars. If there is a criticism it’s that it’s very one-sided, but it’s nonetheless satisfying and sweet.
Flavour is a genuine surprise, completely inverted from normal progressions. The initial impression is custardy and soothing – a comfort chocolate, one might say, with hints of vanilla. Then even more unexpectedly strawberries and blueberries appear – who threw *that* fruit? Finish is prolonged and smoky, reminding one again that this is a dark roast and restoring normalcy, not, however, that the unplanned detour was unpleasant. Quite the contrary, it’s like stumbling across a charming town, having taken a wrong exit off the highway.
Texture is smooth and satiny, sleek, one might say. It doesn’t have the effortless melt of, say, a Cluizel but it certainly satisfies. Good crisp snap is an additional plus. On the whole, Pralus has done very interesting things with this chocolate, making for a lovely chocolate, one also seemingly free of the sort of overbearing pretentiousness of flavour that many of the great chocolates seem to have. What Pralus has created is almost unique, a bar for casual munching that manages to be great at the same time.
Hans-Peter Rot: 2-Aug-2006
Pralus excels with visuals as always, but the color seems a bit dark for a Criollo-Trinitario blend, approaching brick red. Did Pralus overdo it this time? The aroma certainly thinks so. It’s dark and brooding in some respects, but satisfying and definitely curious in its own unusual way. Leather tops the nose, with musty accents and fruity highlights; it’s a “”damp”" aroma, much like what you’d expect in a moss covered forest following a rainstorm.
Any previous fears soon vanish, as the flavor is immediately fruity, delivering passion fruit and grapes, both of which are accented by a moderate acidity. Yet, thereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s also a darkness present which is common of all Pralus bars and a trait that’s enhanced by the assertive leather tone accompaning the fruit for the whole length. One can say, itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s a flavor marked by extreme opposites in a loud voice, but thereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s harmony and balance here that make the flavor beautiful. Helping it move along with more grace, though, is the smooth and creamy texture that ranks among the best that Pralus has delivered.
Indonesian cacao, a longtime staple in the production of milk chocolate, sees life in dark format, and proves to be much more interesting in the limelight than when sharing center stage with milk. Like PralusĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ other Indonesian bar, smokiness and acidity are the main attributes of Java, products of artificial drying. This bar, however, shows a much better balance between the two elements and an increased net intensity. This is a huge success in getting attention focused toward Indonesia as a viable origin for future makers since historically flavors such as those presented here have been shunned.