Croatia’s Maraska, best known for its Slivovitz but also the producer of my #1 maraschino liqueur, has dropped a slightly odd new product which takes a distillate of macerated green walnuts and infuses it with natural chocolate. Nocelino Chocolate includes no artificial coloring or flavorings and can be used on its own or in place of another chocolate liqueur in your favorite cocktail. Maraska also suggests trying it in lieu of sugar syrup in cocktails like the Old Fashioned.
This is definitively a departure from traditional chocolate liqueurs, with a nose that evokes Dutch process cocoa, coffee beans, and a significant note of young walnut flesh. No toasty “roasted nut” character here; this smells (as promised) like fresh nuts pulled right off the tree.
Curiously, the palate showcases a considerably fruity quality that evokes a young red wine that’s been infused with Hershey’s syrup. Here the nutty elements take a back seat, letting a persistent note of strawberry and cherry do the heavier lifting, all draped in plenty of sweet chocolate. The finish is slightly bitter, which would be great except it clashes with the more forceful and ultimately slightly cloying fruit notes to make for a somewhat scattered conclusion to the experience.
While it’s largely inoffensive and can be fun in small quantities by itself, I’m struggling to find cocktailing uses where its odd collection of flavors don’t dominate the experience.
B / $24