Domori’s other Madagascan bar is a more diverse approach, yielding better balance and a manageable flavor. Here, though, one still gets a strongly characterized chocolate that emphasizes contrast through flavors that at times may seem monotonous and excessively dense. As a result, it may still generate a dichotomy of “love it or hate it.”
Alex Rast: 10-Nov-2007
Domori’s “”other”" Madagascar shows no sign of lesser breeding in its appearance, which once released from its unfortunate plastic prison looks very bright and light, typical Madagascar, and with a clean if forbidding finish only somewhat marred by bubble appearance. The aroma, though, overwhelms right away, an incredibly pungent, peppery smell like diving into a spice stall, with clove and licorice pushing at you full-force, even some hints of soy sauce. Well-modulated this would actually work well, but at the levels represented it does seem heavy-handed.
Belying the aroma, though, the flavour is quite light, with a very candy-strawberry initial taste that, it must be said, is better than the slightly more elite Sambirano. But then the chocolate’s perhaps slightly lesser breeding gets the better of it and it becomes excessively bitter woody mixed with coffee, with only some licorice hints to perk it up. It’s got interesting characteristics all right, but there’s no control here: a bar that desperately needs a fussier, more heavily manipulated treatment like Cluizel.
As usual Domori makes no mistakes on the texture, it being expertly smooth and with the characteristic pastiness Domori is famous for, so here at least there’s no further problems, but really the difficulty is in the Domori philosophical outlook: minimal processing in this case leads to an erratic outcome; we have a bean which requires a firm hand rather than a light touch. It’s an interesting flavour experiment but not one that really bears repeat testings.
Hans-Peter Rot: 1-Nov-2007
This is a beautiful slab of chocolate for Domori, displaying fewer irregularities their low impact philosophy tends to impart. For Madagascar, the color is typical: light and orange in shade, similar to rust. After a few minutes allowing the bar to breathe (DomoriĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s bars require some aeration), the scent echoes the balsamic orientation of the Sambirano bar but opts for a mix of wood and raisin primarily, then orange and bitter almonds later, softening the scent and imparting a tangy, softer, and much more balanced scheme than Sambirano.
Like most Madagascans DomoriĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s is highly fruity, but this one is unique. Its flavors are dense and concentrated, showing two exaggerated and very different themes that, like a Fauvist, scream contrast. The first hue is deeply red and delivered in various shades such as a low balsamic undertone, plums, and berries, all of which, however, sink into the background as orange and spurts of black pepper break the monotony and make the flavor softer, tangier, and more complex, mimicking buttermilk and orange, while bitter nuts add even more tangy flair.
Texturally, the bar could not be better. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s a polished and defined consistency that unlike the flavor remains steady and even, revealing only a nib fragment on occasion. The chocolate as a whole seems to have originated from the palette of Henri Matisse, created with such a bright density that it practically smothers with its concentrated flavors. It is indeed bold in a distinct way that like the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“wild beastsĂ˘â‚¬Âť emphasizes exaggeration of a representational form. This is not to say Domori has strayed in their wanderings but rather captured Madagascar in dynamic colors that are simultaneously deep and vibrant.