Before unwrapping Sambirano, itâ€™s easy to see that the bar looks much better than last year. The packaging has been updated with a more stylish motif, and the bar itself looks outstanding and dark purplish in color, similar to Arriba. To make things better, the aroma is ideal both in strength and in character. Itâ€™s powerful and sharp, redolent of cranberries and a deep chocolate intensity, revealing the stronger side of Madagascar most bars never approach.
Unfortunately, the chocolate falls apart at the seams. There is absolutely no harmony in what is arguably Malagasyâ€™s worst chocolate in their two-year run. First off, the texture is similar to Mora Mora and melts so smoothly that the flavor takes its sweet time to develop. Once it finally does, it tastes muffled yet sharply offensive, acting as if itâ€™s ashamed of the glaring ugliness it’s trying so desperately to hide.
Only a strong Dutched flavor can be detected here and none of the beautiful cranberries of last year. Itâ€™s also bitter and acrid, which normally can be favorable traits, but not here. The chocolate is just too chaotic and messy, failing to unify anything into a coherent picture to let us know that Malagasy at least tried to salvage the low quality beans they obviously acquired this year. Hopefully, next year we will see a return to form for Malagasy.