My first thoughts on this bar when I saw it on the shelf was: “Why 86%?” It seems a really random number to choose. I then looked at a contender for shelf space with Ghirardelli: Lindt; and saw that they have an 85% bar (which is really good by the way). Seems like Ghirardelli is trying to pull a one up on Lindt by making a bar with a higher cacao content to appeal to the dark chocolate devotees. It seems half-hearted that the “higher” percentage is only 1%.
The ingredients list reads: “Bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, (do they mean cocoa solids?) cocoa butter, sugar, soy lecithin, vanilla, natural flavor”. I’m happy to see the real vanilla, yet am annoyed with the “natural flavor” and am confused as to why the cocoa solids are called “unsweetened chocolate”. Not to mention that 86% is called “bittersweet”, cause that’s really “dark” in my book. Oh, semantics. Chocolate terminology needs to start having some guidelines here.
The chocolate is a nice and very dark color. It smells roasted with notes of raisins, cherries and cinnamon. The snap is strong with a clean break. I see no bubbles or anything in the chocolate, so obviously this bar was nicely tempered.
The flavor starts off dry and bland at first. The middle is where things start to get interesting where a dry, chalky, and musky flavor appears. It has a slight fruity notes of berries and a twang of citrus at the finish. The aftertaste is, surprise, dry and a little tannic with that musky flavor again. Overall this bar tastes very “green” to me since plants come to mind. The mouth feel is very slick and slippery feeling, and it’s very pleasurable because of it. That’s what lots of cocoa butter will do for you.
I was surprised by the lack of flavor and the intense dryness of this bar. Granted, higher percentages are hard to do well, but it seems this bar just decided to avoid acidity associated with dark chocolates by sacrificing flavor. A good try, but it’s lack of depth just stopped it dead to me. Why eat it if it doesn’t taste of chocolate? I plan to stick with the Lindt 85% bar if you really enjoy tasting chocolate.
Rating: Might Eat Again