Despite the new packaging and molding and unfortunately smaller tablet size, the appearance of the chocolate is as impressive as always. Valrhona has stayed on top of its game here yet seems to have changed gears in the aroma. Itâ€™s a collection of powerful yet complementary scents, strong and effervescent, similar to Domoriâ€™s Sambirano, emphasizing grapes and fermented cranberries, and also piquant and stout, throwing off alcohol and undertones of cedar and spice.
At first glance such a potently aggressive theme may seem uncommon for a Dominican chocolate but keep in mind that Domoriâ€™s Chacao line was similarly outfitted in its day. Although that line has been defunct for several years, Valrhona has a reasonable facsimile in its roster, unleashing a dark cranberry-cedar-sharp flavor but, comparatively, with a less-than-polished feel. Tainori is indeed rough around the edges, but itâ€™s also intensely chocolaty and aggressive yet delicately nuanced with apricot, soft spice, and even a bit of banana.
The end result is a chocolate that recalls the greatness of Chacao, so make no mistake, Valrhona has picked up where Domori left off, although with a less urbane feel but definitely in a promising direction if the bar can be fine-tuned over the years. Tainori is indeed a welcome addition to the somewhat limited vignette of Dominican chocolates, and it also shows that Valrhona still maintains a firm footing during its meanderings into the darker side of chocolate.