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Whittaker's uses rum in their rum raisin bar made with dark chocolate in New Zealand. It's New Zealand chocolate profiled at the chocolate republic with Doug of Doug's Republic. Philip Poole the Marketing Manager of Whittaker's loves it.

Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Whittaker's Rum & Raisin

Whittaker's Rum & Raisin  
Posted: 4 October 2010  Doug's Chocolate Republic  2.5 
Whittaker Rum Raisin Whittaker's Rum & Raisin is an atrocity. I am strongly considering filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague against this bar as a crime against humanity.
Avg price/gram: USD 0.018   Cocoa %: 47  Size: 250g  New Zealand chocolate 

No one can bat a home run every time.  Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth and Sammy Sosa struck out plenty.  Hollywood legends like Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis star in their share of turkeys.  Even a chocolate company producing well respected chocolate most of the time, like Whittaker's, is going to produce a dud now and again.

Whittaker's Rum & Raisin bar is an atrocity. I am strongly considering filing an application with the International Criminal Court in The Hague against this bar as a crime against humanity.

Whittaker's was a victim of their own success on this loser.   I had tried a number of their bars before I ever got my hands on this one and thought the world of their chocolates.  Aussie Dave mailed me a Cadbury Rum & Raisin later, which I loved, and when he found out Whittaker's also manufactured a rum & raisin of their own, he couldn't wait to post one out to me.  If Whittaker's hazelnut, cashew nut, and creamy milk could blow Cadbury's versions out of the water, imagine what Whittaker's rum & raisin could do. 

I'm still trying to imagine.  Aussie Dave tried it first, and he tempered his criticism when he wrote back to me from the hospital after having his stomach pumped.  "It wasn't what I expected," he said.  I went into Defcon 3 mode almost immediately.   When the bar finally arrived, and I bit into it, I went down to Defcon 2 and immediately flushed out my body with a saline enema. 

In my review of Cadbury's rum & raisin, I pointed out how inferior quality ingredients all around combined correctly, with the right amount of artificial flavors, can produce a bar greater than the sum of its parts.  It's also equally possible that superb quality ingredients all around, combined incorrectly, with the right amount of all-natural flavors, can taste horrid, as Whittaker's proves with this loser.  Whittaker's tosses in loads of rum-soaked raisins, and I'm sure the rum is of the highest caliber.  Cadbury's, on the other hand, may not even be using real rum or real raisins, yet Cadbury's bar is so much better balanced.  In Whittaker's version, the chunky raisins were too dominant and I couldn't taste the rum.  It was like eating above average bittersweet chocolate with chunks of raisins.  Unless raisins are your thing -- and normally, I abhor raisins in my chocolate -- you're going to be wincing. 

The bar is not called Whittaker's Bittersweet Raisin is it?  It's called Rum & Raisin.  I should taste the rum in every bite!  I felt swindled.  So irked was I, on August 15, I  drafted an e-mail to Whittaker's marketing  manager, whom we'll call Whitty, which I'll reproduce in excerpted form here.  I've left out the obscenities:


I'm the fellow who contacted you about 3 weeks ago to find out where in Australia to purchase various Whittaker's products.  Recently, my Down Under chocolate contact, Aussie Dave, mailed me a package of Australian and New Zealand chocolates.  Included in that parcel was a rum & raisin bar from Cadbury Australia and yours, both containing 1% rum.  Your cashew nut bars, your almond bars, your dark bars are, without doubt, superior to Cadbury Australia's. Your rum & raisin, however, fell far short of the Cadbury competition.   Forgive me for expecting my taste buds to be taken to new solar systems of discovery and they only wound up traveling 50 meters down the street. 

I am not alone in this opinion.   I force fed that rum & raisin bar to 6 people that I know, in the end at gunpoint.  All unanimously felt, with no prompting from myself, that the rum flavor came out front and center with the Cadbury, perfectly balancing out the raisins, but that your bar had too much raisin taste and not enough rum. The local lab technician said that for me to even pray of getting mildly drunk on your rum & raisin, I'd have to be eat 5,000 bars over the next hour. 

The rum & raisin bar does not live up to the quality of the Whittaker's name.  A smallish company in New Zealand should be able to manufacture, with its superior bean to bar techniques, a rum & raisin bar of better quality, richness, and flavor balance than one made by a corporate behemoth recently purchased by Kraft. 

Don't believe me.  Go out yourself to a local store, buy a Cadbury Rum & Raisin, take it out of its wrapper, and have some of your very own employees compare the two.  I'm sure they'll all know which chocolate is Whittaker's, and if you guys were sincerely making the better bar, EVERY SINGLE ONE should be able to say, with a straight face, that your NZ bar ranks supreme.  I don't believe you'll get a unanimous vote.  Indulge me.  Do one sampler competition at a few local grocery store.  How many prefer your rum & raisin to Cadbury's?   

This rum & raisin is an embarrassment to your name.  You can do better.  Much better.  Revamp this one ASAP.   I'm still wiping away the tears after eating this one.   It's literally a crying shame.

And Whitty's response 3 days later, right out of any business' standard handbook of how to flatter the always "right" customer before blowing him off:

Thank you for your e-mail.  We will look into your comments as we pride ourselves in the quality of our chocolate. You are obviously an expert in chocolate so we really appreciate you taking the time and trouble to contact us.

This is the kind of form letter response I would've expected from Cadbury, Hershey, or Nestle.  I didn't ask Whittaker's to believe me that the bar was inferior. I asked them to perform their own taste test comparison and hear what customers at the local New Zealand supermarkets thought.  If Whitty had any intention of actually doing that, one additional sentence Could've been included saying that a taste test was going to be held in the next week or two, and he'd be keeping me posted.  Seriously, folks.  How much work would it take for an intern at Whittaker's to get his or her ass down to a shopping mall, hand out free samples of Whittaker's and Cadbury's rum & raisin and ask people which one they liked better and why?

I chanted the Serenity Prayer a few times, modified appropriately to apply to chocolate:  "G-d, grant me the serenity:  to accept the chocolate bars I cannot change; courage to change the ones I can; and wisdom to know the difference."  Then I moved on.  You'd be wise to do the same.  Stay at least 100 meters away from this one to avoid any health risks.

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  Whittaker's uses rum in their rum & raisin bar made with dark chocolate in New Zealand. It's New Zealand chocolate profiled at the chocolate republic with Doug of Doug's Republic. Philip Poole backs Whittaker's.