So here we go. Here's the tin:
Yup, that's an alligator texture on the label. This has to be the most fashion-forward fruitcake I've tried. That big sticky line marring the sticker came with the cake; that would have been pretty upsetting if I was buying this to give but I'm not so it's not a big deal (and knowing Neiman-Marcus I'm sure they would send me another one if it had been).
Here's the cake itself:
Cocoa. There's cocoa in the cake, something I don't believe I've ever seen unless the cake was tryng to be chocolately). The fruits: pineapple, cherries, oranges, dates, raisins. The nuts? Walnuts and pecans both. There is both rum and brandy in this cake, which you can definitely taste--I'm sure one was for soaking the fruit, the other for soaking the cake and/or in the batter. There's also honey in the mix--not sure if I can smell or taste it specifically but props to them for including it, I'm sure it adds to the flavor. There is shortening, including partially hydrogenated, in the mix, which isn't fabulous--I'd prefer butter. There are various preservatives, caramel color, and food colorings at the end of the list that don't thrill me--I'm guessing the colorings are from the fruit, but caramel coloring? Is this necessary?
Here's a photo of a slice:
The taste is sweet and pretty darn boozy, which is nice--we don't often see a boozy mass-produced. There are big chunks of moist fruit, no problem there--this cake is not dry. The flavor is a bit more complex than just sweet, there's slight bitterness from the orange peel and walnuts and definitely a caramel or dark fruitcake flavor. The cocoa does not add a "Hey--there's chocolate in here!" flavor, but adds to the overall dark spicy effect.
I think I've mentioned this in previous posts, but it's interesting how much my opinion is influenced by how hungry I am. "Well okay," you're thinking, "she's supposed to be a reviewer and she's telling me she's not 100% unbiased?" Yes, that's what I'm saying, but to my credit at least I'm self-aware enough to notice my bias. The first time I tried this was as a "breakfast dessert" after I'd eaten my breakfast. At that time I thought "meh." This last time I ate it AS my breakfast. I also let it warm up just the tiniest bit, which allows the flavors to deepen and expand a bit (like fine wine--I let my fruitcake "breath"). The second time around, this cake tasted much better--still perhaps not as fresh as a homemade fruitcake, but not quite as just straight-up sweet and sweet as the first time I tried it.
My conclusion on this cake? It's OK. At $32.32 plus shipping for 2 pounds, it's not a bad deal, the ingredients are not horrible, and it's certainly one of the prettier fruitcakes I've ordered from a large company. I think that the mass-produced fruitcakes have a new winner.
[NOTE: as of this writing the fruitcake is sold out; it obviously has a following!]