Pralus Chuao 75%
A number of interpretations of the classic Chuao origin have come to the market recently which is surely a good thing for lovers of fine chocolate. This allows us all to see how the beans react to a variety of different stylistic treatments and here with Pralus we are of course dealing with, among other things, a very dark roast indeed.
The colour is instantly of note; the usual redish brown you might expect from this great origin makes way for the darker tones indicative of more extreme treatment in the roaster than is usually practiced by other producers. The finish in general is good with minimal defects outside of scuffs and blemishes due to transit.
On the nose this bar is very interesting. There is little of the usual blueberry, plumb and red fruits you might expect but instead it is a great deal more earthy, woody and neutral, showing all the hallmarks of the distinctly dark roast on offer here.
Moving onto the palette we start to see more of what Chuao has to offer. While the earthy, deeply roasted coffee elements persist there are now suggestions of blueberry and damp tobacco, each taking turns in the length. The finish is woody, earthy and faintly tannic with only suggestions of the intense fruitiness these beans can offer. The melt however is quite fantastic; silky smooth and not at all cloying.
There are some interesting and ultimately enjoyable flavours on offer in this take on Chuao and in the end it is all going to come down to taste. Here we have an example of the origin taken as close to the edge as it can go and as such we see more of the Pralus house style than we do the intrinsic qualities of the bean. If you favour a dark roast this is impressively handled and may well be the Chuao for you.
As an additional note I should add that there seems to be considerable difference between batches with this bar. The bar reviewed here has a best before date of 22/11/2011. The latest editions seem to be more notably fruity and of a lower roast. I will post a review of a later release when possible.