I get the feeling that I’m being a bit slow on these Lindt bars. They were released quite a while ago (in the summer) and some review sites seemed to do them all in the space of a week. I’ve spread them out though, and having done the Sumptuous Orange and Luscious Caramel 4-6 weeks ago, I’m onto the penultimate bar from Lindt’s new Creations range today: The Velvety Vanilla Almond.
They’ve been mixed so far. The Sumptuous Orange bar was very good and one of the better orange flavoured products I can remember tasting, whilst the Luscious Caramel was nowhere near as good and fairly disappointing by Lindt’s usual standards. So I have mixed opinions on their Creations range to date.
The Velvety Vanilla Almond is ‘deliciously crisp almond pieces in a vanilla flavoured truffle with a caramel layer, coated in dreamy milk chocolate’. Jeez Luiz- what a mouthful! Quick translation: a nut and vanilla truffle with a caramel coating and then all covered in milk chocolate.
This flowery and over the top language is rather ‘un-Lindt’ in my opinion; they are normally more of a no nonsense company, who deliver fairly good chocolate at very affordable prices relative to the other chocolate products on the mass market in the UK. But clearly somebody at Lindt thought that they needed to ‘ham’ things up a bit, so they’ve gone to the opposite end of the spectrum; before (in my experience) they were a company not too concerned with frills and instead concerned with the chocolate. This Creations range is so ludicrously OTT that it just doesn’t fit in with Lindt’s identity. I don’t want 50 adjectives to describe some caramel- just make it taste nice and you’ll have my money again and again.
The never ending product descriptions might be a bit silly, but Lindt’s packaging is spot on with this new range. It looks and feels superb and far better than most £1.99 products will do. Sturdy in the hand, double wrapped (first with the card box and then a foil inner) and genuinely classy aesthetics.
The milk chocolate was a pleasant colour; it appeared very light even by milk chocolate standards, and had a lovely gleam to it. Dark chocolate and white chocolate can taste nice, but I always think that the lightly brown hue of a good milk chocolate is more attractive than the lighter or darker chocolate equivalents. Dark and white chocolates are just more dull and uninteresting in my opinion.
Whilst it had a fabulous outer appearance, first from the box and then the chocolate itself, the Velvety Vanilla Almond smelt a bit nasty. It was just horribly sweet and sickly, exactly like the Luscious Caramel I reviewed before. There were toffee notes coming from the thin caramel layer and a slight nuttiness from the almond pieces, but the overriding scent was of the sugary and creamy milk chocolate alongside a slightly cloying vanilla.
It wasn’t absolutely gross, but I didn’t want to eat this really- I was getting déjà vu from the Luscious Caramel which wasn’t particularly impressive. But I’m a top bloke so I thought I had to try it…for you, my loveable readers. Well, that, and also I’d spent 2 squids on a chocolate bar so what else was I going to do with it?
Being straight from the start, my initial thoughts were partially correct. This was simply too sweet and the balance was totally off- it needed something to temper some of the very sugary component flavours, be it a little salt or a darker and more bitter chocolate.
The bottom layer here is the vanilla truffle with almond pieces. It’s damn intense and oh so sweet. Vanilla has to be handled carefully because it is a seriously powerful taste and a little vanilla tends to go a long way. Lindt slightly overdid it here, and whilst the truffle’s texture was smooth and silk, it wasn’t a great truffle. The nut pieces are left on your tongue after the truffle dissolved away, and are a little lacklustre really. They’re too soft and bland to be frank.
The strongest flavour of the lot is the relatively small portion of amber coloured caramel though. It was darker in colour than most caramels, and that came through in the flavour, with more emphasis on toffee and butterscotch; a slightly burnt caramel taste. It’s not bad but in combination with the vanilla, it’s a bad partnership.
And on top of the vanilla and the caramel, you finally get some milk chocolate flavour. It’s very standard here, and exactly what you’d expect from Lindt- light, milky and with more focus on sweetness than chocolate flavour.
The nuts are a big weakness here, but in general the Velvety Vanilla Almond’s problems aren’t any single component. The truffle is a tad strong on the vanilla front whilst the caramel needed a dash of salt to take the edge of the sweetness. Lindt’s milk chocolate is alright as ever.
My problem with the bar is the overall taste as a whole. The flavours don’t complement each other, they take each other on in a battle royale of sugariness. And it makes the taste too sickly to enjoy. Maybe the savoury almonds were supposed to be the balancing act…but they were lame and didn’t do that job in the slightest.
Lindt’s Velvety Vanilla Almond isn’t horrible, but it fell someway short of my expectations and I won’t buy it again. This is definitely a Lindt ‘miss’ for me.