In spite of continued effort and commitment, and in spite of even higher pedigree than the Sambirano, Domori continues to grope somewhat with the Madagascar bean. It’s mysterious, for Domori’s style and Madagascar should go hand-in-glove as a perfect match, yet, once again, here is a bar that just seems a bit heavy-handed. Interesting flavours, but not quite pure Madagascar, and with a pungency that goes too far for a bean that should be light and effortless.
Alex Rast: 19-Jan-2008
As with all the Chateau line, Domori really pulls out all the stops to make the bar visually appealing: a glossy finish, fine light colour, virtually no trace of mould imperfections. The aroma is similarly captivating: starting with bright cherry and spice, mixing cinnamon with clove, and then proceeding to characteristic citrus and even more sour hints of balsamic. The impact of Domori’s minimal conch makes itself known right away to great effect. Might Domori have at last come up with a Madagascan winner?
Disappointingly, in the flavour the answer is – not quite. Things start out very mild with a creamy note – where is the citrus? and then fall into a slightly flat cocoa and cinnamon. There’s some pick-up in the finish, with bright suggestions of balsamic and cherry, and beautiful strawberry right at the end. but the feeling is of a chocolate that never really gets off the ground. Bizarrely, it also seems rather overbearing: after the light cream in the beginning, the flavours smother and oppress somewhat, seeming to suffocate characteristics that might otherwise be interesting. Obviously the breeding is there in the beans, but something went awry in the processing.
At least Domori comes through with superb texture, both super-smooth and super-creamy, just as a good Madagascar should be. Still, the flavours are decidedly uncharacteristic, and following on an aroma that seems to get almost everything right come as a decided let-down. Domori ought to be able to produce the definitive Madagascar: a bean eminently suited for a minimal processing style. Why they seem not to be able to do so is mystifying. Is it a case of trying too hard? Whatever the reason, they need to keep experimenting and solve the puzzle.