Lindy's Rating: 9.5 (previously ***)
Richard's Rating: 9.0 (previously ***)
This week Lindy and I tasted our third of the four bars made by independent chocolate maker Rogue. Sambirano was made from Venezuelan cacao trees that were planted in the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar. The best before date on the bar we tasted was December 2011. As with all of the Rogue bars we've reviewed so far, this one was simple with respect to both ingredients and presentation.
Sambirano had a medium dark brown color, smooth surface, and hard snap. The aromas it revealed were earthy (which didn't clarify into anything more specific) and fruity (which was obviously raisin, but also had a scent of citrus that occasionally gave hints of orange). We also noticed a sweetness.
The taste of this chocolate came forth in two distinct stages. The first was a strong citrus suggested by the aroma: a lime with some orange. That flavor transitioned into a lovely cherry for the second stage, in which the lime and orange faded to the background. A second taste confirmed this unusually distinct separation of flavors. We also tasted a roast and a hint of spice.
Lindy felt this chocolate was brittle as one bites it. The melt, however, was smooth. The flavor lasted about 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, leaving a slightly acidic finish.
Although disappointed by its length, we both found the flavor profile of this bar interesting enough to make up for that. Sambirano is another excellent chocolate from Rogue. Here's a link to all of our Rogue reviews, or you can just click on the label Rogue in the right column.
Overall, we both rated this bar a solid ***. Lindy placed this chocolate into her top 10 favorite bars (replacing another Rogue bar, the Piura, that she had at #10). I find the Piura to the better of the two (my current #7), and the Sambirano didn't quite break into my favorites, but it was close (my current #10 is still the Cluizel Maralumi 64% that won our blind chocolate tasting in December).