Alright! Got my sample bars in my order today. Immediately took to the Hazelnut Coffee V16.
Note: I’ve never eaten a Plennybar before, so had no idea what to expect. Here’s a “first” first impression.
Smell: Allbeit faint, the slight coffee/cocao-ish smell is pretty ok. A bit bitter and reminded me of wet coffee grounds from yesterday.
Texture: I was surprised by the toughtness of the bar and the amount of effort it took to bite/break off a piece. Not a problem once I got used to it and the crunchy chewing experience was pleasant!
Taste: Again, never having tasted Plennybars before the only experience I could relate to was the regular store bought muesli bars or protein bars. The flavor quite strongly hit me and the aforementioned “wet coffee grounds from yesterday” hit my tastebuds. Took quite some time for me to get used to it, and the ashy bitter undertones were always present, much like the “cigarette smoke” taste OP described. The last few bites in I wasn’t quite as bothered by it anymore but I will admit that this would not be the first bar I’d order. (tall claim by someone who hasn’t tasted the others yet )
Value: Though I received the samples for free, I wanted to reflect on this a bit. A full (light) meal in a bar with a well tuned nutrient profile, for the price of about 2€ per bar. I think this doesn’t get much better. If you’re making a choice to eat these, you’re most likely in it for other reasons than the taste and for that purpose they are fantastic. Myself I enjoy the convenience of the Plennyshakes more as I can just pour 'em down my throat, but even on the basis of this bar which I did not enjoy that much, I might start throwing in a few Plennybars on my orders next time.
Will report back after I’ve gone through the Almond & Fig ones.