Info Details
Country UK   
Type Dark-Milk   (74%; Lot No. 13081)
Strain Java   
Source Indonesia   (Java)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   (x Earthen)
Style New School      
Choc-talkers bloviate on how Dark-Milk equally satisfies Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate camps alike. It rarely succeeds with either & often alienates both.

This bar adds another crossover dimension, as a gender-blender.

Chocolate's core customer remains female, many of whom are attracted to bright citrus fruits, found especially in Madagascan cacáo. Java's intrinsic citrus comes with a smoked quality that appeals to stout masculine preferences.

At roughly three-quarters cacáo & one-tenth cow's milk, consider this Dark Lightening -- an invisible flash / sudden pulse of unexpectedly powerful radiation -- that rare phenomenon that occurs once every 1,000 or so visible lightening strikes.

Along with bright thunderbolts, thunderstorms unleash sprays of X-rays & intense bursts of gamma rays -- a form of radiation normally associated with nuclear explosions & cosmic spectacles such as collapsing stars. These invisible blasts carry a million times more energy than visible lightning but dissipate in all directions rather than lining a stiletto-like lightning bolt. This allows thunderstorms to vent electrical energy pent up inside their roiling interiors.

People struck by Dark Lightning rarely get hurt but they might receive in an instant the maximum safe dose.

Upon getting hit by this Dark-Milk, running for cover in Hotel Chocolat, though an instinctive reaction, only invites another strike.
Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: as expected, mocha-latte
Surface: clear print
Temper: reserved
Snap: quiet bend
Aroma   7.8 / 10
supple plex of a caramelized buttermilk-tang over smoking hay (all of it without vanilla)
Mouthfeel   12 / 15
Texture: thick paste ala some 100s
Melt: plods on longer than the actual Flavor's length
Flavor   45.4 / 50
malt the initial hit -> turns dusky as the smoke rises over cocoa -> special rice paddy herb (contains essential oil limonene + a tickling quality akin to the air after a summer thunderstorm) -> dammar gum resin (an etherealized lemon-ness) generates black mulberry (sweet tart) -> sweet spice 'n cream now (nutmeg) roll on to banana flambé -> dry bitter tannin on the exit (betel leaf & smoked drift wood [amboina / padauk] with cubeb pepper)
Quality   16.2 / 20
74% cacáo-content puts this among the light-heavyweights of Dark Chocolate let alone Dark Milks.

Tips the scales more than Slitti's walloping 70% & this with a far more dynamic cacáo tapped from Java's steaming smoke beds of wood-fired dryers. Exceeds even Santander's franken-freak Mayan (a sugar cane-free bar relying strictly on milk's own lactose-sugars).

Less revealing in some respects of the origin in & of itself, or compared to other lower percentage Milk Chocolates from here, this nonetheless is tempered with subliminal highlights.

At 12%, the dairy components do more than merely influence the progression. No innocent bystander, they galvanize a few heretofore unforeseen impressions in Java cacáo as well as reinforce several familiar ones.

The smoke, regarded by some a taint in the drying process of these seeds, occludes the notes for sure but also lends a character in creating others anew.

Malt obviously derives for the most part on the milk's interaction. And banana, a corollary of Java's inherent cream tones, never ring as true as here. But rice paddy herb &, to a lesser extent, betel leaf? Who knows whether this gossamer "greening" -- while maintaining the lemon scent that Java is noted for -- might be attributable, given Hotel Chocolate's stated Ethical Engagement policy, to grass-fed cows or not? Either that or just more chocolate alchemy (which it all boils down to anyhow, no?).

Dark Lightning indeed.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, whole milk & skimmed milk powders, cocoa butter, soy lecithin

Reviewed September 17, 2013


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