Friday, January 6, 2012
It’s the time of year when I find myself turning to cough drops. Not so much this year because of any particular cold, but it makes me feel like it’s winter. There’s something about the flavors of cough drops that are as essential to the early months of the year as cinnamon and nutmeg is to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Spice and herbal flavors have all but disappeared from hard candy on the shelves at mass market retailers, so cough drops are a good place to find that. I picked up this classic looking box of Luden’s Honey Licorice Throat Drops just before I found the revived Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops. I was attracted to the name of the flavor, licorice and honey are both soothing and uncommon.
The box is simple and elegant and features a belt & suspenders form of freshness protection. The drops themselves are inside a thick waxed paper sleeve inside the box, which has a tab top closure. Then the whole thing was inside cellophane shrink wrap. I appreciate the inner waxed liner, because the plastic overwrap only protects the drops while they’re in the store, not after I’ve opened them.
There are 14 drops inside and because these are therapeutic items, they’re not considered food and taxable in California. They’re marked as Kosher, but have no weight listed or a full nutritional panel.
The drops are petite, with smooth rounded corners, they are about 3/4 of an inch long. The color is, well, rather dull, but at least it isn’t enhanced with artificial colors (or flavors). The dissolve is smooth and there aren’t any sharp voids in the boiled sugar base. The flavor is strong on the menthol, light on the honey and with only a touch of anise/licorice. It reminds me of a hard candy version of Fisherman’s Friend. The menthol is strong enough to give me that cool feeling in my sinuses, which are pretty clear at the moment.
I finished the box and now I’m inclined to try some other flavors, like Honey Lemon.
As a side note, the cough drop and candy connection really isn’t that surprising. William H. Luden, who made Luden’s Throat Drops, also created the 5th Avenue bar and made various other items like peppermint patties, chocolate covered raisins and peanuts plus hard candies. Though Hershey’s now owns the rights to the Luden’s candy products (though only makes the 5th Avenue now), Luden’s cough drop business is now owned by a company called Prestige Brands which makes products like Cloraseptic, Efferdent and Compound W. (Let’s hope they never combine the attributes of all three of those products.) The package I’ve reviewed, however, still said McNeill Consumer Healthcare, which sold off Luden’s in late 2010. So there may be some differences in packaging and more current products.
UPDATE 3/2/2012: The packaging has changed. I have to say that I’m a little disappointed, because they’ve looked the same as long as I can remember. But then again, the new boxes are quite nice as well.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I picked up these Skittles in Germany. They might not have the wide variety of flavors we have in the States (though they can get the imports), European Skittles come in boxes.
Also, the purple Skittles are blackcurrant flavored, not grape. See my previous review of UK Skittles.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I’ve been stopping by convenience stores more often lately, waiting for some new candies to come out on the shelves, so I noticed these Mamba gummis. I’ve already tried the regular packages, but these were Sour, so says the big green splat on the front.
The Mamba Sour Gummies end up being expensive at the 7-11, which is almost as bad as going to a concession stand at the movies. 1.5 ounces is $1.19. The package says that they’re made with real fruit juice (5%) and the calorie count per ounce (100) is actually pretty low for candy, with only 150 calories for the entire package.
The package says the flavors are: orange, banana, raspberry, pineapple and cherry.
The pieces are about one inch across and feature a sweet and sour sanding on them. They’re soft and pliable, like gummis.
The idea of Sour Banana isn’t exactly appealing. I don’t care for unripe bananas, though they’re not really sour, just not quite sweet yet and too firm. In this case the sour banana doesn’t taste like either a ripe or unripe banana. More like a lime soaked banana.
Pineapple was dreamy. It was floral and tingly and unlike the banana that started out sour, this started out sweet and got quite sour towards the end, all the way to the jaw tingling finish.
Watermelon was quite mild and really only about the sour. It had a good and reasonably authentic watermelon flavor, which means not much of a flavor at all.
Raspberry is a sour jam without much floral or much in the way of that seed flavor. It’s okay, not really one of the better raspberry gummies I’ve had, but it is at lease naturally flavored.
I didn’t get any orange in my package, nor it appears any cherry.
The gummi market is crowed, though there aren’t that many in sour available in little packets at the convenience stores, so I have to give credit to Mamba for being in that space. I think the biggest competition for these would be the Life Savers gummis. With the natural ingredients and 5% juice content in this version, I’d say a parent is much better off with these than Life Savers. The packaging and shapes don’t make it feel like it’s a compromise.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
While I revel in winter in Southern California, because I can buy, store and enjoy as much chocolate as I want, I turned my attention to an item I bought before Halloween. These Pink Lemonade Airheads.
Airheads were one of those candies that didn’t exist when I was a kid, and by the time they came out, it was past my sour candy phase and I didn’t pay much attention to them until I started Candy Blog. I gave them out for Halloween for the first time this year, and I was really shocked and pleased at how excited the kids were to get them. The one flavor in the mix that caught my attention was the Pink Lemonade, so I went back and purchased more after the holiday.
They’re small bars, a little over a half an ounce per packet. The little plank is about four inches long and a little over an inch wide.
Airheads are a strange candy, in a category really by themselves. They’re a chew, but not a full taffy. They’re a bit grainy, but have a smooth melt in the mouth.
The Pink Lemonade flavor is pink, but more on the salmon side than a light red. It smells like a tub of Country Time Lemonade Mix. The bite is a little tough, but the bar is flexible and easy to rip apart. It tears in a bit of a grainy fashion, instead of pulling smoothly like a taffy would.
The flavor is a straight lemonade - it even has a that slight powdery grain to it in the early part of the chew. The lemon is tart and sweet but not an authentic juice flavor and has only a light zest note to it. It is rather like a chew SweeTart.
I can’t see myself eating these a lot, but I like that the chew is clean, not sticky like a taffy or jelly candy can be. It’s somewhere between a SweeTart and a Starburst. It might be fun if there were smaller bites, so I could get more flavor variety. But then I imagine that all I’d want would be lemon anyway.
If your New Year’s resolution was to slow down on the sweets, they’re a pretty efficient little treat. There are only 60 calories in a bar, though it’s all sugar and no actual nutrition. They’re cheap, nearly indestructible, portable, Kosher and probably vegan if you’re the kind who eats unnatural things (they don’t say the source of the pink coloring). Made in a facility that processes wheat flour. No other statements about tree nuts, soy, dairy or peanuts.
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