In a previous blog posting (10/30/16), I wrote about chocolate makers who were using nibs aged in whisky (Bourbon) barrels and as flavoring in caramels. Since then I've encountered more chocolate makers producing whisky-inspired bars and bonbons. In these later tastings, Scotch was used rather than Bourbon. Zotter of Austria produces a dark milk bar which contains a peated Scotch caramel filling that is quite pleasing, but rather subdued. It is suitable even for consumers who may not like Scotch. But for a heady aromatic experience of peated Scotch, Chocolate Tree's 70% dark Whisky with Nibs bar really satisfies.
Scottish chocolate maker Alastair Gower soaks Marañon nibs in a peated Islay whisky and sets these crunchy wonders in a bar made from the same beans. Gower says that the alcohol is lost in the process, so don't look for a buzz beyond the sensory delights of aroma, taste and texture. A great Islay classic would not have been my first choice for treating nibs because it has medicinal and marine notes. There are peated whiskies that don't, so I might have recommended Connemara, for example. But the medicinal and island notes don't really show up in this bar. instead, the rich smoky aspects pour from the bar as it does from a dram.
If you are a fan of smoky peated Scotch, you will like this bar. Chocolate Tree also produces a caramel bonbon (praline) with a non-peated Scotch inclusion. The ultra-soft caramel center is a miracle of liquid suspension, a thick nectar sipping consistency. The Highland (Speyside) Scotch flavor is true, full and satisfying. Gower was fully transparent with me about the sources of his whisky. But unless the chocolate maker discloses on line, I won't name names. The reason is many whisky producers enter into non-disclosure agreements with those who simply age and/or bottle the "juice" their spirit and sell it under another label. Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume the same agreements may be in effect with chocolate makers.
Also from the UK is Hotel Chocolat. And they just opened a shop in NYC! A British chocolate maker that grows their cacao in St. Lucia, HC has a delightful range of spirit filled bonbons, not just whisky. They don't publish the source of their liquor. Even though I may discover their source, it's not my place to disclose.