We feel the effects of 3.1% alcohol just by eating a pack of the new premium range of chocolate “twigs”.
Japanese chocolate manufacturer Morinaga has been producing its line of Koeda (lit. Small Tree Branch) chocolates since 1971. Now the company is upgrading the twig-shaped sweets with a limited-edition “Premium Range” designed for adult tastes, in a whisky-and-orange-peel flavour that packs a hefty punch with 3.1% alcohol content inside every box.
In Japan, it’s an offence to drive with a blood alcohol content level of .03 percent, so these chocolates come with a warning on the box to avoid consumption when driving.
The Koeda logo appears on the box, alongside “Fragrant Whiskey”, both printed in shiny gold to reflect the sophisticated sensibilities of the product.
Upon opening the box, we find the chocolates are hidden inside a shiny blue foil wrapping. After tearing the foil open, the little knobbly twigs appear, along with the heady scent of booze.
In Japan, cans of low-alcohol Chu-hi mixers, which typically include a small shot of distilled Jappanese liquor called shochu, contain three percent alcohol. Each of these nine morsels may be only as long as your little finger, but together they’re stronger than a low-alcohol Chu-hi and almost as strong as a 3.9 percent light beer.
▼ Why drink alcohol when you can eat it in the form of delicious chocolate?
Although we’re interested in trying out the alcoholic effects of the new sweet, we’re not total barbarians, so we take our time first, getting to know the chocolates.
▼ “Hello, how are you?”
Each piece contains a generous serving of dark chocolate ganache, with a bitter flavour that works well with the aromatic whisky. While the company doesn’t specify the type of whisky used, there’s no denying its presence, as the heat from the liquor, along with its distinctive spicy undertones, covers the tongue with each bite.
The whisky and chocolate flavours play well against the citrus sweetness provided by the subtle use of orange peel, pieces of which can be seen clearly inside the chocolate.
While Koeda are usually known for their crunchy texture, this premium variety is a lot softer, using a dense chocolate base that’s filled with flavour and, yes, alcohol. After eating the entire pack in a matter of minutes, there was a subtle rise in body temperature, a flushing of cheeks and a strange desire for just one more. The only thing missing was a roaring fireplace to cosy up to, as the package design enticingly suggests.
Available only at FamilyMart convenience stores in Japan, the Koeda Premium Aromatic Whisky chocolates retail for 298 yen (US$2.64) a pack. Perfect as an after-dinner treat for grown-ups, it’s a great way to relax and reward yourself after a long day.
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