September 15th: Hotel Chocolat Dark 72% Rabot Estate

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Having already reviewed the Hotel Chocolat 72% Dark Chocolate from the Dark Peepster Box, I was rather unsure to what degree this bar could really vary. This offering from 'The Purist' library collection differed in that it was supposed to offer a purer version of the original ... it ridded of both the vanilla and soya lecithin ingredients and was simply comprised of 'cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cane sugar'. The on-pack blurb informed me the cocoa came from Hotel Chocolat's own cocoa plantation in the volcanic soil of Rabot Estate in St Lucia, West Indies ... all very fancy but how did it fare in the Chocolate Mission stakes?

Last week in my opening review from the 'The Purist' range I raved about the presentation of the bar - and of course this was no different here. It was again beautifully presented in an informative and stylish cardboard sleeve, with inner foil packaging for freshness - stunning! Opening the foil package I immediately detected a massively impactful cocoa scent, the smell indicated that this was going to be one rich, deeply flavoured experience.

Placing the first piece on my tongue I was literally overwhelmed by the strength of flavour. It had a raw burnt initial taste that really shocked my taste buds, it wasn't all that pleasant if im honest. Thankfully the experience went all uphill from there ... by the third piece my taste buds seemed to adjust to the initial intense flavour, the taste not only started to mellow but also revealed it's true attributes. It was extremely cocoa rooted, and was heavily noted with coffee, nutty, earthy elements - this all made for a fantastically rich but smooth taste. The texture was sublime, it felt thicker in its melt than the original 72% bar and was extremely soft and smooth. The aftertaste seemed to last that bit longer with the added intensification of cocoa, it was an extremely satisfying, indulgent experience.

Overall this was yet another offering from Hotel Chocolat packed full of pure delicious flavours. The purer constituents of the bar simply increased the intensification of the cocoa, making the taste even more raw and longer in its duration. Truth be told, it could simply be too intense for some, the buffer of the sweetness from the vanilla has been taken away, people wary of dark chocolate should beware this is probably not a bar for them. This is yet another stunning and quite frankly delicious offering from Hotel Chocolat, who are simply starting to dominate the 'top rated bars' section ... changes are soon to be made ... suggestions are more than welcome!!

9.2 out of 10