• Our rating: 80.8% (1 review)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 65%
  • Guide Price: £5.00
  • Description by: Alex Rast
  • Production: Maker sourced beans, chocolate made elsewhere
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • Cocoa solids (cocoa mass), sugar, emulsifier: soya lecithin

A quick and intense flavour burst slowly opens up to reveal multilayered notes of raisins, figs, oaked wine, tobacco, honey, and grapefruit. There's a hint of wildness about this chocolate, retained with the 96 hour long conch. The 120 hour version is more mellow.

Hotel Chocolat – Island Growers St Lucia 65% 96-Hour Conch—Chocolate Review Rating: 80.8% out of 100 based on 1 reviews.

Hotel Chocolat – Island Growers St Lucia 65% 96-Hour Conch

A bar that seems to require just about the maximum number of qualifiers in order to identify it uniquely among a group of related ones from Hotel Chocolat. This gives something of a feel of indecisiveness on HC’s part – as if they’re experimenting with different subtle adjustments of the same basic chocolate to see which one turns out the best. However, it also means it’s one of the easiest bars to end up buying inadvertently. For this reason alone, the net effect is to place a far greater urgency on unique qualities – for if this bar doesn’t deliver something definitely different even from chocolates only slightly different in origin or process, what is it for?


Alex Rast: 20-Oct-2010

Posted: October 20, 2010 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
Best before:
Batch num:
Supplied by:

A bar for those determined to try every possible chocolate, this one, while good, contributes little beyond what the perhaps more definitive Rabot Estate 65% chocolate provides. Whether a 96-hour conche can really be considered a major difference over 120 hours is somewhat debatable; both are long conching times indeed. One might expect more character out of, say, a 36 hour or even less conche. Here, you get what you expect: a a fairly typical fruity chocolate, which is by no means a bad thing, but does mean you really have to think hard to justify the steep expense on this bar.

Out of the wrapper, the chocolate looks promising: distinctly light in colour, nicely finished although with a few surface bubbles showing and some swirling on the reverse. But the finish is excellent and nothing seems terribly out of place. Likewise so it goes with the aroma, a distinctly “warm” mix of cherry and woods, with cinnamon and chocolatey. Light suggestions of citrus do appear as hinted at on the wrapper, but these are faint. The overall impression is clearly soothing.

Flavour is at least more aggressive, starting with blackberries and cream, before turning very assertively woody. Hints of peanut and citrus are a bit jarring, and make one wish that perhaps the roast had been just that bit more insistent. Mostly, though, it’s an entirely typical red-fruit taste such as one sees in many fine chocolates, a taste that now feels a bit neutral and generic. Obviously not bad, just unexciting.

Melt, too, is rather unexciting, with average smoothness and moderate creaminess, nothing too different from any other chocolate. It leaves the chocolate, really with little original to say: a bar with fine but unexciting flavour leading a fairly pedestrian existence as just another quality chocolate here. There is a big danger – with products such as this appearing, it’s easy to get jaded about fine chocolate, so that only the bizarre or miraculous can really inspire. By this route a lot of fine bars would get condemned as uninteresting, and this cheapens the intrinsic value of the chocolate itself as well as ignoring all too easily the tremendous efforts of the producer in getting it it to a state of high quality. Such should not be the fate of this Island Growers, perhaps! But from here the buyer should not be expecting anything fundamentally different; rather, he should expect an excellent basic chocolate bar.

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