Monday, November 12, 2007

Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee

Russell Stover Private ReserveRussell Stover has been going all out to align itself with the idea of premium chocolate with the tagline Elegant. Rich. Beautiful. for their Private Reserve line.

First, the package. It’s a 3 ounce bar in a pretty tab-top box. The printing is elegant, with a matte-gold background with a little wallpaper pattern and an embossed gold logo for their new Private Reserve line. The bar inside is wrapped in gold foil.

The Vanilla Bean Brulee with 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate boasts on the front that it contains Madagascar Vanilla Beans. (On the back in far smaller print it mentions additional artificial flavor in the filling.)

Vanilla Bean Brulee

The bar consists of eight squares. It’s dark and shiny and really a stunningly lovely bar. It has a pleasant but not overwhelmingly sweet smell of chocolate, mostly the cherry fruit notes and some smoke with just a light wiff of bourbon once snapped in half.

Though the package shows the filling as being thick and rather yellow, it’s actually a creamy white and thin. The chocolate has a good snap and a creamy melt for a 70%. Not too bitter with mostly woodsy notes of sandalwood and smoke. Though not a lot of filling, the white chocolate and vanilla center is wonderfully buttery and smooth and does have a good vanilla note to it. It also has a little salt, which really makes it pop, giving each set of flavors and textures distinctiveness.

I was impressed! I ate the whole thing. The price is pretty good for something that you find a drug store. If faced with this and the more standard candy bar fare, I might dig deep for this more expensive bar. It still wouldn’t replace an exceptional chocolate bar, but as something to compete with Hershey’s Cacao Reserve or Ghirardelli, I think it holds its own. It also holds a distinct place, I don’t think anyone else makes a bar like this in this price range.

UPDATE: Since some others have commented about the little tasting squares, I’ve gotten a hold of some of those and have to agree, they’re not the same! They taste tired and weak and a little waxy.

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Name: Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee with 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
Price: $1.99
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, United States, Russell Stover

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:40 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Ugh…I have nothing against Russell Stover or this chocolate bar, but I find it really cheesy when products that you can buy at any 7-11, Walmart or grocery store are called “private reserve”.

    Yeah, Walmart customers are among the privileged few with access to this rare and valuable chocolate bar…

    Comment by Karen on 11/12/07 at 12:44 pm #
  2. I’ve been thinking about trying one of these.  I guess I’ll have to pick one up soon.  smile

    Comment by Alicia on 11/12/07 at 1:03 pm #
  3. Wow.  I made the mistake of buying a bag of these individually wrapped for Halloween.  I would not buy them again, EVER.  The chocolate quality seemed low and they had an overall artificial flavor.  Looking at the bar form you had, it looks like it had more of an actual filling.  The “filling” in my chocolate was either really dry or it was just blended in too much with the dark chocolate because there was no satisfying layer to bite through, just a solid piece of chocolate. 

    I also bought a bag of their Triple Chocolate Mousse.  I had such high hopes for them… I did not but any other halloween candy thinking I could splurge a little on this instead (and no trick-or-treaters).  I could not eat the Triple Chocolate Mousse.  I’ve had better tasting Palmer mockolate, which is just depressing.  If this is the best Russel Stover has to offer, I’ll stick to Hershey’s.

    Comment by jupitersnest on 11/12/07 at 2:46 pm #
  4. I too bought the individually wrapped chocolates in the Vanilla Brulee and Triple Chocolate Mousse, they were on sale and I had a coupon! Anyway, I haven’t tried the Triple Chocolate yet, but I was not impressed with the Vanilla. The filling must have leaked out of the seams because the squares I had, there were white blobs and streaks all over the sides and bottom of the square.

    Comment by Katie on 11/12/07 at 5:24 pm #
  5. I just bought some of these individually wrapped squares yesterday and was not impressed either.  Just as mentioned by others, the filling was streaky on the bottom, very thin inside, and was totally overwhelmed by the chocolate.

    Comment by Heather on 11/13/07 at 3:18 am #
  6. I nearly bought these for my chocolate party but didn’t, probably because it was shelved right next to the Lindt creme brulee bar that looked so much better.

    Comment by Rosa on 11/13/07 at 5:43 am #
  7. Like others have posted before me, I bought the individually wrapped squares (after Halloween clearance at Target) - and was severely disappointed. The package I got had clearly been mishandled: the chocolate had bloomed, and the filling had leaked out in spots and in others was so thin to be undetectable… And now your review showcases a very different experience. Hmm.

    Comment by Tricia on 11/15/07 at 4:39 am #
  8. I tried the full-size version of this bar (before reading everyone else’s comments!) and wasn’t impressed.  The chocolate was ok and the filling hadn’t leaked out, but I couldn’t taste anything from the filling.  Very disappointing- I should have gone with the Lindt.

    Comment by Stephanie on 11/15/07 at 2:49 pm #
  9. I just tried this based on your recommendation. Unfortunately something has gone wrong with the bar I purchased. The chocolate is grey and powdery, the filling seems to have dried up. I called Russell Stover and they are sending a replacement and issuing a refund. Excellent customer service and I can’t wait to try the quality product.

    Comment by Cheryl on 11/20/07 at 8:39 am #
  10. The thing about the private reserve line is that the fillings for these candies, in this instance the Vanilla Bean Brulee are not hand made like other RSC and Whitmans centers, 100% of the Private Reserve Centers are just melted down chocolate, with various colors and flavors added, they are mixed in large 3-5 hundred gallon agitated mixers, and left to spin sometimes over night, thus creating a sometimes stale taste, this candy is created using a huge machine a quarter the size of walmart, pumping them out at the rate of sometimes 100,000 peices a day. “Private Reserve” is just a marketing technique.  The better candy is the russell stover candy they have been making since the beginning, because it’s all made by individuals who take pride in there work not some giant machine!!!

    Something to look out for: A New Shape of peanut butter crunch is in the works straying from the rectangle shape to a new 10oz square shape!!!

    Comment by Unknown RSC Employee on 12/03/07 at 3:04 pm #
  11. Good idea, Cheryl - wish I’d thought of that!

    Comment by Tricia on 12/03/07 at 4:55 pm #
  12. I just got one of these at the grocery and (fortunately!) my experience was more in line with yours than others. It was pretty tasty, but I’m not sure I detected much vanilla…considering the thinness of the filling, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think I’ll spend the money again but at least it only cost me $1.79!

    Comment by Carrie on 1/08/08 at 11:25 am #
  13. We really love the Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee.

    Where can we buy it in northern Utah and in the Portland Oregon areas. A relative in oregon also loves it and wants some

    Comment by Bernice Smith on 10/14/12 at 4:06 pm #
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