Not as calm as Surabaya but more flavorful and acidic; not as aggressive as Asfarth but more refreshing and better balanced. Java is light on the palate and has a flavor that’s easier to distinguish with a more jovial and agreeable personality. It’s a wonderful milk chocolate that, at times, doesn’t taste too much like one at all, but the actual milk flavor does pop up here and there to remind us what we’re still tasting.
Alex Rast: 7-Feb-2006
One of Bonnat’s entries into the named-origin milk chocolate market, this one from a classic source. Java chocolates have been commonly associated with milk, and this one does little to damage the source’s high reputation. Nonetheless, it falls somewhat short of perfection, especially at the high percentage it represents. What’s lacking here is impact – the bar has fine characteristics but delivers little in the way of power, which may please some looking for milk chocolate that is mild, but once you get to this strength and source, you should get something that tastes more of chocolate than of milk.
Bonnat’s chocolates have never been the best in finish, and this one is likewise not precisely perfect. It’s a bit non-uniform, lacking precision in moulding. A light colour is also something of a surprise at this high percentage, where one would expect a decidedly dark shade. Of more serious concern is the aroma, which is indeed a little off-putting in its sharpness. Much of it is that of sharp cheese, and there is also a lot of cedar. Even a few hints of vinegar show up, and so on the whole the impression is of a sour bean blended with sour milk. Dangerous.
Fortunately, the flavour isn’t nearly so bad, being mostly more mellow and nutty. It’s really an exploration of mixed nuts: walnut in the start, coconut in the middle, hazelnut in the end. A bit of cocoa appears to complement the hazelnut, and the bar winds down with a completely unexpected flavour of currant, similar to Ribena, adding pleasant length to the bar. It’s very enjoyable, just not very strong. All the flavours are strongly muted and the impression is of a milk dominance, in spite of the percentage. What you have is something of a standard milk chocolate with characteristics.
Bonnat is never the best on texture, here again delivering a bar which is slightly above average at best in smoothness, even if it is very creamy as befits a milk chocolate. And slightly above average rather describes the overall impression – the bar leaves one deflated a bit, in the sense that it builds high expectations but then proceeds to act like an ordinary milk chocolate. A very fine ordinary milk chocolate, to be sure, but not really a special varietal or a high-intensity bar.
Hans-Peter Rot: 8-Oct-2005
Java looks particularly impressive out of the wrapper–better than many of Bonnat’s bars–bearing a lovely gloss and lack of molding imperfections even if the bar looks sterile and plain by virtue of no decorative scoring. The color is exceedingly light considering the 65% constituency of the bar, resembling pine, but whatever concerns were evoked here are partially reinforced by the aroma. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s powerful and strong, with upfront notes of leather and tobacco but not without a strong milky body to remind us of the barĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s position. At 65%, though, could Bonnat have done something to mollify this?
The addition of milk is present in obvious attire, but it quickly disappears as an actual note and becomes noticeable in its softening effects on the flavor. Smoke and leather loom overheard but gracefully so and never in aggressive bouts like in Asfarth. There seems to be control and stateliness here, a better balance among the chocolateĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s components. Meanwhile, mild citrus notes are in the background but the acidity eventually accumulates and emphasizes the citrus, conveying an overall sensation akin to lemon flavored chocolate mousse, with an especially satisfying chocolaty finish.
Something about the texture heightens this experienceĂ˘â‚¬â€ťprobably its smooth consistency that melts like solidified cream, and the remarkably cool effect that chocolate always incurs on the mouth certainly plays a role, too. Simply put, Java is a refreshing and delightful chocolate that isnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t too heavy or assertive both in flavor and in texture. The chocolate as a whole just seems elegant and is essentially a joy to taste. Admittedly, though, intensity at this level would be ideal but the balance displayed here is much more obvious and provides no contrast of milk versus cacao like Asfarth. Smoky cacao is still a noticeable ingredient, but one that seems less brusque and perhaps more acceptable due to the gentile nature of the chocolate. If youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re looking to experiment with milk and smoke, then this is the bar to try.