Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Clif Builder's Bar Vanilla Almond

OK, so I’m not a builder. But since trying one of my dad’s Chocolate Mint Builder’s Bars, I’ve found that they’re not bad at all. They’re much better than the original Clif energy bar, they’re big enough to be satisfying, and they taste good too.

Well, at least the two flavors I’d tried before I went end-of-semester meal-point spending with my sister tasted good. And guess what they had at the convenience store we raided? That’s right, Builder’s Bars. Keeping in mind the number of bars I already had lined up to try (most of which I still have), I only picked one flavor: Vanilla Almond.

Yay for white coating!! Unfortunately you can see right through it because it’s so thin; I’d be more excited if it was thicker. But I’ve learned that thin coatings aren’t necessarily lacking in flavor.

This bar emits a nutty smell more than anything, but it’s a sweet one. I can tell right away that it’s almonds. They’re mixed in with the bottom crispy layer, rather than sprinkled on top of it, with the result that I’m not really sure what the top layer is supposed to be. Oh, wait, maybe vanilla?

The taste isn’t much of a surprise, as it just mimics the smell. It’s overwhelmingly almond, but there are generically sweet tones that I usually associate with vanilla protein bars. Vanilla is such a weird flavor to try and distinguish, because its appeal lies in not being able to distinguish it easily; that’s why it’s so often the base flavor for ice creams with mix-ins....but that’s another story. If I could pick two words to describe this bar, they would be sweet and almonds. The coating contributes to the sweetness, as always my favorite part of the bar. :)

The texture is similar to the other Builder’s Bars: crispy yet dense on the bottom, with a softer--in this case gummy--layer sitting atop the base. Here, though, there are added thuds from the almonds. I appreciate the textural variety, and they’re not super hard, just harder than the crisps. The softer layer gives a bit of a creamy feel, which is helped along by the way the white coating melts on your tongue and spreads its sweetness throughout each bite. There’s a very, very slight chalky feel when you’re done, but it doesn’t last long and is easily overlooked.

This bar is another success for the Builder’s line. Once again, it has all the components its name promises and not much of a proteiny taste. I continue to be impressed by the taste of these bars, even as I compare them nutritionally to my old favorites and wish they were a bit cleaner. But, for real “builders,” they might be just the thing. I’d definitely give this one a try.

Taste: 9--very nutty and sweet, overwhelmingly almond-flavored.
Texture: 9--the almonds add variety to the crispy layer, and the coating and top layer give it a creamy component.
Health: 8--it does have quite a bit of saturated fat (almost a quarter of your daily intake) and sugar, but the 20 grams of protein, along with a bunch of vitamins and minerals, are a plus. GoodGuide gives it a 6.7.
Eat Again? Yes.

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