Appearance 4.2 / 5
Color: light brown / orange-tint
Surface: flaked, dusted & brushed
Temper: dull (by Pralus standards), shining by any others
Snap: very literal... sharp & clear... confident too
Aroma 9.1 / 10
Pudding indeed & nothing off-putting about it: sticky thick blues (poms, plums, purple grapes, berries [june & huckle], & chicory) cut across cocoa + gum arabic -> airs out tobacco
Mouthfeel 10.8 / 15
Melt: stiff; mechanized
Flavor 45.2 / 50
Wild Acacia honey + chocolate commingle with those Aroma blues -> swells to blackberry (very fine indeed) -> hugs in close to a brown sugar -> unexciting finish on coffee & bamboo beneath that earlier fruit tart which carries over -> sapodilla the aft-length with prune concentrate
Quality 17.3 / 20
Duane Dove works with Dr. Darin Sukha at CRU (Cocoa Research Unit) in Trinidad for genetic breeding apps. Together they’ve crossed 7 varieties which, given Trinidad’s cacáo heritage, can rightfully bear the name Trinitario. Among them are TSH 919 (Trinidad Select Hybrid) & the ICS series with its Criollo-germplasm generating fruit & floral notes. Cacáo seeds, surrounded by a mostly sweet-pulp, are treated to a 4–7 day ferment in wooden sweat boxes; then traditionally sun-dried.
From there the beans are shipped to the moody François Pralus in Roanne, France where Duane says he has come to “accept the Pralus-style” – deep roast / long conche (the latter 72 hours).
In a bit of a departure for Pralus, who customarily packs his bars at 75% cacáo-content, this lightens the load to 70%.
A dense & unassuming chocolate nonetheless that belies its middling scale & modest sexiness; the whole experience feeling a bit mechanical (especially in the Texture). The positives outweigh all that however: very pal-friendly (pal for palate)... virtually no bitterness nor astringent grip -- a sign of masterful post-harvest techniques & processing – presenting clean & well-defined flavor, in particular some upfront fruit.
So despite a taste that suggests possible lineage to Bolivia (honey), Ecuador (blackberry), Bali (bamboo) & just about everywhere (coffee), in the end a rather simple bar of sturdy core cocoa tags overlain by a sweet fruit spot that transports all Tobago.