After my recent weeks excursions looking at some of Hotel Chocolat's Halloween and Christmas ranges, I this week continued my look at 'The Purist' range with the 'Organic Dark 82%'. As with the '72% Peppercorn' and '100% organic' bars, this was a product of the Hacienda lara Plantation and was formed using National Arriba cocoa beans. Shall I bore you with more details or just get on with the review? ... lets get on with it :)
I don't have to tell you how much I rate the presentation quality of 'The Purist' range. The slab came beautifully packaged in a cardboard sleeve that as ever included some in-depth detail on the bean to bar (or slab) process . The chocolate itself had the usual Hotel Chocolat logo inscribed, the chocolate actually felt relatively soft in comparison to other bars from the range, handling the bar very briefly even left very evident fingerprints as you can see in the picture above. Once released from its inner foil packet the chocolate smelt absolutely divine, the cocoa smell was extremely forthcoming and really set my expectations high for what was to come.
At first glance this formulation may look only slightly different from the current Chocolate Mission leader the Hotel Chocolat 85% Dark Chocolate, however its organic nature meant it lacked the soya lecithin and vanilla ingredients, which did vary its taste slightly. The flavours were by and large very similar, with the cocoa unsurprisingly very prevalent and impactful. The strength of the cocoa intensified as the smooth melt progressed, with subtle notes of dark fruits and coffee intermittently detectable. The variance between this bar and the 85% slab came in the aftertaste of the bar. The vanilla in the 85% really rounds off the taste nicely, providing a minor sweet lingering flavour in the mouth. With the vanilla absent, the cocoa remained the dominant flavour throughout. Though the cocoa flavours were absolutely outstanding and clean tasting, they at times verged on the excessively intense (see 100% organic bar), ideally something would have been included to mellow the aftertaste
Overall this was a chocolate that came extremely close to being of the same standard as the current Chocolate Mission top rated bar, however just lacked the aftertaste to match. The dark chocolate was of a very high quality, combining a rich, full flavoured cocoa intensive taste that grew as the wonderfully smooth melt progressed. As I stated above the only thing this bar was missing was a friendly aftertaste ... a touch of vanilla and this bar would be nearing perfection. Very highly recommended for dark chocolate fans - there are very few better.
9.0 out of 10