The other day I was given I was given a nice early Christmas gift: a box of chocolates by the famous Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini. The selection is called Rare Whiskies and Rums – it includes six different chocolates with a filling based on whisky and rum.
The starting idea is that liqueur-filled chocolates are always based on a nameless spirit, probably not the best one around, which is a shame when you’re working with top quality chocolate like Marcolini. This time, a lot of effort was put into matching a specific whisky / rum to a specific type of chocolate.
These are the whisky combinations:
- Aberlour / Ecuador & Java fondant ganache with Cuban chocolate coating
- Oban / Vanilla caramel ganache with Chuao chocolate coating
- Ardbeg / Piedmontese hazelnut praliné with Ecuador chocolate coating
- Yamazaki / Ecuador & Java fondant ganache with Mexican Porcelana coating
At this level, I think the actual expression should have been mentioned. We can assume Marcolini used Oban 14 Years and Ardbeg 10 Years, but for Aberlour and Yamazaki this is less clear. There’s a huge difference between Aberlour 10, Aberlour 16 or Aberlour a’bunadh for example.
The Aberlour and Yamazaki combinations are nothing special. I mean, you can’t fault the chocolate in itself, but the whiskies are probably too bland to stand out. For me, this is still a middle-of-the-road liqueur praline (something I don’t like in general, I should add). I know the whiskies and I wasn’t able to recognize them.
The Ardbeg combination with hazelnut praliné works well though. The smokiness stands out and overall it brings out more flavours than just vague alcohol. To a lesser extent this is also true for the Oban combination, which has a slightly salty touch, and salt + chocolate is always a winner.
The rum bonbons couldn’t win me over either. Overall I was disappointed, especially since I’m a fan of Marcolini in general. The box holds 16 small chocolates and is not worth € 50. My idea of pairing whisky with chocolate is still to have an actual glass of whisky and a quality bar of chocolate on the side.