Black Thorn is one of the most in-demand and expensive durians in the market. It’s also known as Durian Ochee and Duri Hitam. I ate a Black Thorn durian back when it had first won an award in 2012 and it was delicious. I was looking for durians the other day when the durian seller offered me a Black Thorn for RM 40/kg. It was a small fruit and looks the part, but it was split at the end so I declined.
However, the durian seller counter-offered with RM 20 for the Black Thorn durian. It weighed just 1 kg (exactly) so I asked him to open it up. The flesh looked dry (not wet like old, split durians tend to look) and firm to the touch so I accepted it. It was only RM 20/kg after all and I wondered if a small fruit would taste better.
The Black Thorn I had when it just came out was from Penang and is a large fruit (around 2-3 kg). This particular Black Thorn hails from Raub, Pahang and is a smaller fruit. It didn’t have the characteristic partial drain/longkang running down the middle like the D160 Teka (Bamboo Leg/Chook Keok/Thraka) durian but maybe that’s coz it’s a small fruit. Otherwise, it had all the characteristics of a Black Thorn durian.
The flesh was a very appealing dark orange with a reddish hue and it was what caught my attention in the first place. I was very pleased and ate a few seeds only to find out that it tasted rather insipid – it had none of the intense flavors of the Black Thorn durian I first had. I’ve heard some people say Black Thorn isn’t worth the price due to its blandness and I was quite puzzled at their comments, until now.
Perhaps this was the durian that they had – Black Thorn from Pahang instead of the original from Penang. I’m not sure if all Black Thorns from Pahang are similarly mild-tasting and I even sent the photos to durian expert Lindsay to get a positive identification, just in case I was mistaken. She said it is a Black Thorn but it seems like it’s been around for quite a while so the flavor is lost to age.
The Black Thorn has a good texture though – the creaminess of the flesh is still very apparent and despite the lack of flavor, I did manage to eke out a bittersweet profile if I closed my eyes and concentrated real hard.
The Black Thorn durians I had from Penang were quite nice. They were going for around RM 60/kg when I was in Penang last week. This is the first time I’ve purchased a durian from this seller and I know he’s (in)famous for cheap and old durians. It wasn’t worth the RM 20/kg I paid for it (would rather get a nice D24 for the price) but that may be due to the fact that it’s past its prime.