Lindy's Rating: 7.0
Richard's Rating: 7.0
Michel Cluizel made their Grand Noir 85% with a blend of cacao from South America, Africa, and Java. As its name suggests, it is made with 85% cocoa solids (cocoa beans and cocoa butter), with the addition of cane sugar and Bourbon vanilla pod. The 30 gram bar we reviewed came wrapped in foil, with the standard small bar Michel Cluizel imprint over a background that was half smooth, half matte. The wrapper was stamped with a best before date of 8 October 2011.
Grand Noir 85% had a medium brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015) color. The bar had a medium hard snap.
This chocolate had a strong floral aroma that also included a cocoa roast, earth, and a nut that Lindy identified as almond. I also smelled a hint of spice. The floral aroma reminded me of Ecuador cacao.
The taste of Grand Noir 85% had flavors of roast, nut and floral. It also tasted somewhat chalky to me. There was a hint of sweet, dried fruit as well, probably closest to fig. Overall, Lindy described it as "not much to the taste".
The melt was more smooth. The flavor lasted 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving it a short length. The final aftertaste was very slightly bitter. The finish also tasted very slightly sour to me.
This chocolate won a Bronze at the Academy of Chocolate's 2011 Awards.
You can purchase a 70 gram bar of Michel Cluizel Grand Noir 85% online for $5.65 in the U.S. from Chocosphere, or for £3.95 in the U.K. from Chocolate Trading Co.