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Mints

Monday, December 13, 2010

Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped Chocolates

Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped ChocolatesFor the past few months I’ve noticed this king sized bag of Russell Stover Assorted Fine Chocolates {individually wrapped} at CVS and RiteAid. It’s a rather simple looking bag and perhaps this photo doesn’t convey the massive size of it. It holds 20 ounces (1.4 pounds), so it’s kind of like picking up a gallon of milk.

The price wasn’t bad, both places were selling them for $9.99. But I didn’t really want them, so I didn’t buy them. Then I saw them on sale at Rite Aid for $7.88 and thought this was as good an opportunity as any ... especially when the price was down to a little more than $6 a pound for American made candy that uses real chocolate.

Inside unassuming bag are individually wrapped pieces of some of Russell Stover’s most popular “handcrafted in small batches” pieces of candy: Pecan Delight, Caramel, Mint Patty and Coconut. The wrappers are pretty subdued as well, just a plain white plastic with a picture of the candy and the name. They’re also a bit color coded, so it’s easy to pick them out.

Russell Stover Pecan Delight

The Pecan Delights really are delights. Sure they’re sweet and not terribly complex, but I get the impression that this package is all about comfort candies that satisfy a wide variety of people.

The milk chocolate coating is sweet but very smooth and has a good sticky milky quality. There caramel inside is stiff and chewy without being too hard or a danger to dental work. The pecans aren’t quite as dense as I would like, but they were fresh and crunchy.

I’ve tried the organic version of these before and thought they were good but not great. These were actually better as far as I was concerned than the DeMets Pecan Turtles, which I find sweet and lacking a strong toasted sugar flavor from the caramel.

Russell Stover Caramel

The Caramel is a small patty, with an appealing artisan look. The milk chocolate forms pleasing ripples on top and smells milky. The piece is about an inch and a half around.

The caramel is firm and has a good chew to it without being too tough or stiff. The flavor is salty and has adequate burnt sugar notes to it. It’s a nice size, about two bites for me, but I could eat it all at once if I wanted to. The caramel reminded me of Milk Duds, but of course with a much better, real chocolate coating.

Russell Stover Coconut

The Coconut piece is simple. If you’re a Mounds fan, this will be very familiar. A moist little log of sweet coconut covered in dark chocolate. It’s not as sweet or creamy as the Easter fare, which is fine with me. The coconut is chewy and not too sweet. The dark chocolate had just the lightest haze of bloom on it, but I find that’s not uncommon with coconut products because of the moisture/fat content. The flavor of the dark chocolate is good, it’s not as chalky and rough as Mounds though not completely decadent, it holds its own.

The pieces are small but easy to pop or savor slowly as two bites.
Russell Stover Mint Patty

My Mint Patty I photographed has a slight bloom on it. I opened three for the photos and found them all in a similar state. Then I started eating them for review and found the rest to be pristine - dark and glossy and nicely molded.

The chocolate takes the center stage here because of the proportions. There’s a lot of chocolate and it has a strong woodsy and smoky flavor. The mint center is smooth and a little runny but also a bit salty. The mint flavor is subtle and has an almost toothpaste combination of both peppermint and spearmint.

I have to say that doing Candy Blog has really made me look at brands like Russell Stover again. I don’t think that I was wrong about them back in the eighties, I just think they’re a bit better than they used to be, at least they taste fresher. It’s pure luck that this assortment has all of my favorite combinations. Half the pieces are dark, there are some good quality nuts in there and for the sale price, I thought these were a good value.

The packaging isn’t really sexy or nifty, but it gets the job done. They’re a step above the Hershey’s, Mars or DeMets, so expect to pay for that. This is an assortment I plan on sharing at the office - a little something for everyone.

Related Candies

  1. Haviland Dark Chocolate Covered Thin Mints
  2. Mounds
  3. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  4. Robitaille’s Presidential Inaugural Mints & Turtles
  5. Junior Mints Deluxe
  6. See’s Scotchmallow


Name: Assorted Chocolates Individually Wrapped
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $7.88 (on sale)
Size: 20.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Candy, Russell Stover, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Mints, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:13 pm     CandyReviewRussell StoverCaramelChocolateCoconutMintsNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite AidComments (3)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Minty MallowsTrader Joe’s always has wonderful seasonal sweets, some return year after year; but a sharp eye yields new finds. This year’s newest addition is Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows.

The box says they’re Light and Fluffy Peppermint Marshmallows Drenched in Smooth, Dark Chocolate. They’re made in France and the box holds about 9 marshmallows (though the nutrition label says there are 10 in the package).

Which Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallow will Win?

Last week I reviewed the new Peeps Chocolate Covered Peppermint Marshmallows and several people mentioned that I should try the new Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows. Believe me, I was right there with them. The first set of Peeps I bought, which was before Thanksgiving, were $1 each (1 ounce), so when I saw the price for the Trader Joe’s version was $2.99 (for 7 ounces), it made these a great value in comparison. I’ve since purchased additional Peeps at only 50 cents each, that’s still more expensive per ounce than Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows

Inside the trapezoidal box is a silver mylar pouch. The dark chocolate covered marshmallows are just tossed in there. So you can imagine that on their voyage from France they’ve gotten quite scuffed and tumbled. Some were cracked but all were intact and there was surprisingly little chocolate dust at the bottom of the bag.

Each piece is about 1.5 inches square (they’re really more rectangular, so maybe a smidge more than 1.5 on one side than the other) and about an inch high. They feel a bit heavier than I would have expected for a chocolate covered marshmallow.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows

It’s not that the photo above is lacking detail for the marshmallow. They’re not light and foamy like Peeps. They’re dense and quite moist, more like a cross between aerated gelatin and a gummi bear.

The texture, though not as meringue-like as I’d expected is still quite smooth. It’s like memory foam latex, chewy and lightly minty.

The chocolate outside is smooth and maybe little chalky but has enough dark chocolate punch to stand up to the strong mint. At 55% cocoa solids (and no milkfat) its strongest flavor component is woodsy and though not as creamy as I would have hoped, it still has a very smooth melt that complements the marshmallow. The chocolate also adheres nicely to the marshmallow, so even though it cracks a bit when biting, it sticks to the marshmallow to prevent messes and deliver every possible morsel of chocolate with the marshmallow.

For the most part I found these odd. One is rather rib-stickingly satisfying, so a box of 9 or 10 of these goes a long way. I didn’t try melting them for S’mores or in Hot Chocolate. I don’t know if I’ll buy them again, but I found them far superior in ingredients, satisfaction and even presentation from the Just Born Peeps. I can see these being a fun product in the future with alternate versions with different flavored marshmallows (orange, strawberry, cinnamon, licorice). I might like to see them packaged in trays, in little fluted cups or something that keeps them from tumbling around, because I bet they’re stunning right off the confectionery line.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints
  2. Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar & Mint Dream
  3. Trader Joe’s Gummy Tummies
  4. Trader Joe’s French Truffles
  5. Bubu Lubu
  6. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  7. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Marshmallows
  8. Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels


Name: Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $2.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Marshmallow, Mints, 7-Worth It, France

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:44 pm     All NaturalCandyChristmasTrader Joe'sChocolateMarshmallowMints7-Worth ItFranceComments (10)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint MarshmallowJust Born introduced Chocolate Covered Peeps for Easter 2010. They also made an appearance in the pumpkin shape for Halloween. But the most interesting of their new chocolate covered version of the marshmallow shapes is the Christmas introduction of the Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Flavored Marshmallow.

The candies come individually wrapped and weigh 1 ounce exactly. (There’s also a milk chocolate version, but both that I bought were crushed & sticky so I’ll have to find more.) Like the other chocolate covered versions before, they’re not just a chocolate covered classic Peep, they lack the sugar crust so the chocolate is the cloak it gets instead of the grainy coating.

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow

The tree shaped minty Christmas Peep is just shy of three inches long and pretty tall at about an inch thick. The dark chocolate shell contains a bit of milkfat but is otherwise has a pleasing dark sheen and makes a convincing tree shape. The package says that they’re gluten free, but of course aren’t vegan (gelatin & milk) and may contain peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and coconut.

Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow

They actually smell more like sweet dark chocolate out of the package than mint, which I thought was a good sign after the overly sweet and underwhelming Easter and Halloween versions.

Biting into it, I found what I expected, which was a bright green, soft and moist marshmallow flavored with peppermint. The marshmallow is interesting, it’s fluffy without being foamy or latexy. The mint flavor is appropriately strong - strong enough to have a distinctive taste but not so strong to overwhelm the chocolate chip qualities of the dark coating. The smooth dissolve of the marshmallow is better than the slightly grainy and chalky chocolate.

I don’t generally get an aftertaste from green food colorings (blue & yellow), so my repulsion at the color was aesthetic, not technical. It did go far to convince me that this was something flavored like Creme de Menthe.

The product idea is sound, a flavored marshmallow in a festive, seasonal shape covered in chocolate. There aren’t any other mass-marketed candies like that. I still question the necessity of the strong food colorings (and maybe some sprinkles on there would serve a similar purpose of the tree “decoration.” I’m still not much of a marshmallow fan, so these don’t suit me, but I’m sure there are some fans who will enjoy these. They could benefit from higher quality chocolate and eschew the strong colors.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar & Mint Dream
  2. Chocolate Covered Peeps
  3. Pete’s Gourmet Confections: Marshmallows
  4. Christmas Mint Round Up
  5. Peeps Chocolate Mousse (Bears & Bunnies)
  6. Peeps inside a Milk Chocolate Egg
  7. Peppermint Peep Stars


Name: Peeps Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallow
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Vermonica)
Price: $.50
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Just Born, Chocolate, Marshmallow, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:23 pm     CandyPeepsReviewChristmasJust BornChocolateMarshmallowMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesRite AidComments (6)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brach’s Christmas Nougats

Brach's Christmas NougatsChristmas is filled with classic candies, many that simply aren’t found outside of these months.

Brach’s Christmas Nougats are classics. The disk shaped, mostly circular candies are wrapped in clear cellophane with green triangles on a red band at the edges where the wrappers are twisted. They’re about an inch and a half around. The style highlights the look of the candy, which features a green triangle (Christmas tree) in the center of the white chew. There are little red bands around the edge as well. To make the pattern, the candy is constructed like a giant burrito, the triangular green piece at the center, a little red piece for the “trunk” and then the mass of white nougat is wrapped around that with the strips of red added at the end. Then the whole thing is rolled out into a long rope and sliced to reveal the design.

Brach's Holiday Nougats

The base of the candy is called nougat and I admit that there is some egg white in there, but the texture isn’t quite nougat as far as I’m concerned. It’s not as chewy as a taffy, but not as fluffy as most nougats. So I’m just going to call it a chew.

They’re soft and easy to chew, not stringy or particularly sticky but could be considered clingy. They’re strongly flavored with peppermint, but it’s a clean flavor. The texture is mostly smooth, though there were some grainy bits of sugar now and then. They dissolve pretty quickly, so I found it easy to eat them one after the other. There’s a little hint of salt to keep them from tasting far too sweet. They’re fresh, most definitely, I’m sure that old ones get tacky and stiff.

I can see why these are a classic for the holidays. They’re a little on the bland side for me, not quite enough like true nougats and I didn’t care for the aftertaste from the artificial colors. They’re quite pretty and easy to share.

They also come in Wintergreen and Cinnamon (I haven’t found those in stores).

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Peppermint
  2. Nestle Toll House Mint Holiday Gems
  3. Whoppers Sno-Balls
  4. Peppermint Peep Stars
  5. Nougat de Montelimar


Name: Christmas Nougats
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Harbor City)
Price: $1.99 (on sale)
Size: 13 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Chews, Mints, 6-Tempting, Mexico, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:01 pm     CandyChristmasBrach'sFarley's & SathersChewsMints6-TemptingMexicoTargetComments (11)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces

Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate PiecesThe Wonka Exceptionals Line is brand new this year, so it’s a bit surprising that Nestle already has a holiday version of one of their sub-brands when it seems like it took them decades to make holiday Gobstoppers.

The line of upscale Wonka Exceptionals includes new chocolate pieces. They’re little rectangles that are individually wrapped and feature a little bit of a different take on the standard morsel. The first introductions were Scrumdiddlyumptious (cookie pieces in milk chocolate), Chocolate Waterfall (milk & white chocolate swirled) and Domed Dark Chocolate (milk & dark stack)  In addition, Wonka came up with Marvels and Fruit Jellies with all natural colors and flavors.

The holiday Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces come in a tall box like the Jellies and Marvels. (The previous Pieces I reviewed came in a purple hologram emblazoned bag.) Inside the slim box is a purple mylar pouch with the Wonka Ws all over it. The box only holds four ounces of the foil wrapped chocolates and at nearly $4 for the package, that’s a dollar an ounce. That’s about what I pay for See’s by the pound. (There are approximately 12 pieces in the box.)

Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces

So, Wonka is trucking along, reinventing the brand. They’re going for quality and recapturing the imagination that everyone loves so much in the Dahl books ... and then this Christmas candy comes along. The previous candies in this Exceptionals line have been good, a little expensive but they also have a unique selling position - they’re made with all natural flavors and colors. So I bite into one of these new milk chocolate pieces that have peppermint candy pieces and shortbread cookie morsels.

Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces

There are red bits in there. They’re bright red. They’re kind of minty but they’re also kind of bitter to me towards the end, there’s something slightly off about them. They have artificial colors in them. Why? They’re inside! Why would you put coloring in something that’s not even meant to be seen?

That aside, the milk chocolate pieces are creamy. They’re very sweet and don’t have a huge cocoa punch, it’s quite mild and overshadowed by the mint and a bit of the milky flavors. The candy pieces are crunchy and then there are little bits of shortbread sometimes - they’re a kind of sandy and crumbly cookie crunch that has a light salty note to it. But they’re really sandy sometimes, like cornmeal sandy.

The whole thing wasn’t working for me. It was too sweet and though most of the texture components were right (except for the lingering sand, like that stuff in your jeans pockets after going through the wash). I was irritated that I paid $4 for a box of candy I didn’t want to eat. They’ve already shown that they can do better, so I want Wonka to do better next time around.

I got a handful of these as a sample from Nestle at first, but I didn’t get the box or label with it, so that’s why I went out and bought them, so I could find out how expensive they were for myself and see that there Red #3, Red #40 and Blue #1 in there. Bah, humbug.

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Fruit Marvels
  2. Fannie May Mint Meltaway
  3. Dove Peppermint Bark
  4. Wonka Puckerooms
  5. Wonka Kazoozles: Cherry Punch & Pink Lemonade
  6. Wonka Golden Egg


Name: Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $3.99
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Nestle, Chocolate, Cookie, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Mints, 4-Benign, United States, Kmart

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:46 pm     CandyChristmasNestleChocolateCookieHard Candy & LollipopsMints4-BenignUnited StatesComments (3)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops

Candy Cane Tootsie Pop DropsA couple of years ago Tootsie brought back their classic Tootsie Pop Drops. The package heralds them as Tootsie Pops without the stick! but they’re actually a mini version of a hard candy with a little filling of chewy, chocolatey Tootsie Rolls.

It only makes sense that they’d do seasonal versions, such as the Candy Cane Tootsie Pop in this smaller, sharable format. I believe these hit the shelves last year, but I didn’t find them until this year.

The 3.5 ounce box holds a thick foil/plastic pouch with the candies inside. I’m never keen on this “bag inside a box” package, but I do admit that all of the candies came out looking great, no chips or broken ones and it wasn’t just a bag of sugar dust.

DSC_9863rb

I loved the look of them when I dumped them out of the bag. They’re thick and feel heavy and solid, like pieces of glass. The color of the candy is a very light and milky pink with red stripes. They’re smaller than a Starlight Mint but I find the size and shape excellent in the mouth.

The hard candy is smooth and has very few voids. The dissolve is good with a good mint flavor that has a few pops and sparkles of extra flavor on occasion. At the center is a small piece of a Tootsie Roll. I found the ratio to be a bit off, I’d like more Tootsie Roll, but still the chew of it is good. The flavor of the Tootsie Roll itself is always a bit disappointing, mostly because the chocolate flavor is often a bit musty and watery instead of woodsy and cocoa-ish. In this case there’s a hint of rum and less of the cardboard taste, probably because of the essence of Peppermint at play here.

There’s only the one flavor in the package, just like the old days when I would buy a roll of just Orange or Grape Tootsie Pop Drops. It would be fun to see these wrapped individually in wax paper and sold in rolls at least for the nostalgia value at Christmas. But the addition of seasonal flavors is a great touch that I hope Tootsie continues.

The new packaging advises that the Tootsie facility that made these is peanut free, gluten free, egg free and tree nut free. (It does contain milk ingredients and soy.)

Related Candies

  1. Candy Cane Tootsie Pops
  2. Tootsie Pop Drops
  3. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  4. Chocolate Filled Candy Canes
  5. Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Candy Canes
  6. The Mint Kisses: Chocolate Mint & Candy Cane


Name: Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Noe Valley - San Francisco)
Price: $1.50
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Tootsie, Chews, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Kosher, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:26 pm     CandyChristmasTootsieChewsHard Candy & LollipopsKosherMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (6)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate MintsTrader Joe’s has tried a few new things in the past two years or so with their single portions of candy that they sell near the checkout with the house label. First it was a gourmet version of candy bars with their Lumpy Bumpy Bar and PB&J (with potato chips). Earlier this year I tried Trader Joe’s take on consumer candies with their Classic Chocolate Bars.

The three new items are somewhere in between. Yesterday I covered the Dark Chocolate Tahitian Caramels. Today I have the Dark Chocolate Mints. (Later this week will be the Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee.)

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Mints

If this looks a little familiar to you as a Trader Joe’s shopper, you may have tried the previous incarnation of the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mints which were sold in a little tin.

I can’t say that my feelings on these have changed at all. They’re a firm, crumbly fondant center flavored with peppermint, then coated in a thin shell of dark (50%) chocolate with a crunchy candy shell to seal it all up.

The mint is mild and goes well with the sweet fondant and crackly shell. The chocolate isn’t a powerful element, but still it’s a good semisweet variety that sadly has butter in it otherwise this would be vegan. I could eat oodles of these.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Mints

This tin used to cost $2.99 and held 2.45 ounces. The new bag isn’t quite as cute or appropriate as a stocking stuffer, but it’s a far better deal at only $1.49 for 2 ounces. (And if you still have that tin, you can refill.)

The Dark Chocolate Caramels I reviewed yesterday were interesting because they filled a hole in the world. We really needed something that’s better quality than Milk Duds or Junior Caramels. But Dutch Mints aren’t that hard to find and I can’t say these are much better (or a better value) than Junior Mints or York Peppermint Patties. Still, sometimes I really want this kind of mint and for a Holland Mint (or whatever the generic name of this style of mint is) and being able to pick them up in a single portion size is something new.

The package says no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It’s also gluten free. May contain traces of peanuts or tree nuts (and of course has dairy and soy ingredients).

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  2. Marich All Natural Holland Mints & Chocolate Jordan Almonds
  3. Hershey’s York Pieces
  4. Trader Joe’s Mint Joe Joe’s versus Mint Oreos
  5. Mint Chocolate M&Ms
  6. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar


Name: Dark Chocolate Mints
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.49
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Mints, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:16 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateMints8-TastyUnited StatesComments (1)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life Savers Pep-O-Mint & Wint-O-Green

LifeSavers PepOMint WintOGreen Throwback PackagingLife Savers were introduced in 1912 by Clarence Crane. They came in one flavor, Pep-O-Mint. Crane made chocolate most of the year but wanted a candy product that could withstand the summer heat and have a long shelf life. So he innovated the Life Saver. At first he was just trying to create a mint disk, similar to a Necco Wafer. But the pill maker he took his contract to had trouble making a plain, thick disk that didn’t fall apart. So they put a little hole in the center to stabilize the production. The look of the little white hoop of candy reminded Crane of the life saver found on boats, so that’s what he named the mint.

Within a could of years Crane sold the company and rights to Life Savers to Edward John Noble who saw the great potential of the candy. They were sold in little cardboard tubes, he streamlined things and packaged them like they’re sold today, in a roll wrapped in waxed paper and foil with a little paper label.

1934.10.15 Time Magazine P057

Noble was an excellent salesman and introduced techniques to his clients, such as telling them to make sure that customers always had at least one nickel in their change and to display the rolls on the counter by the cash register. Life Savers were positioned as an impulse buy. Early packages were all one flavor and consisted of the standard mints (wintergreen & spearmint), cinnamon, violet and even licorice. It wasn’t until 1935 that Life Savers in the Five Flavor roll came out.

In the late 1968s Noble sold the company to E.R. Squibb Corporation (yes, the drug people that later became Bristol-Meyers Squibb who make Plavix and Coumadin) and then they sold to Nabisco Brands Inc in 1981. Nabisco in turn was taken over by Kraft in 2000 and Kraft sold their candy interests including Life Savers off to Wrigley’s in 2004. Wrigley’s was acquired by Mars in 2008.

LifeSavers Pep-O-Mint

Life Savers Pep-O-Mint themselves are simple. A little loop of compressed sugar with some strong peppermint flavoring. It’s all held together with a dash of stearic acid. There are 14 in the standard rolls these days.

Instead of the smoothness of a boiled candy mint, these have a little bit of a chalky texture to them. They’re not as grainy as Altoids (and not as strong) but they’re not as airy and melt-in-your-mouth as Buttermints or After Dinner Mints.

It’s quite a simple little candy. I like to crunch them, but they also dissolve slowly if you’re patient. I’m not patient and can crunch through a whole roll on a drive home from work.

Lifesavers - New & Old  DSC_9443rbJust as Life Savers have gone through plenty of owners, the wrappers have been designed, redesigned and undesigned time and again. The packages I’ve featured in this review are from the new “throwback” release of the Pep-O-Mint and Wint-O-Green rolls that are available in convenience stores. (Here’s one article about the most recent redesign shortly before Mars acquired Wrigley’s.) Here are some more photos of the different designs & flavors of Life Savers over the years.

I like the classic look of these packages, but really it’s the size and shape that probably compels me. It’s the one consistent item no matter what year it is.

LifeSavers WintOGreen Throwback Package

Wint-O-Green Life Savers were introduced in 1919. They’re probably best know because of the cool feature that you can create a luminescent spark when crunching a Wint-O-Green Life Saver. (I can’t capture it with a camera, but here’s a guy who has.)

The flavor is strong and smells therapeutic, like Ben Gay or denture cream ... not like the milder Teaberry Gum or Canada Mints.

They’re smooth but quite aromatic. After eating about half a roll I tend to get a strange numbness, like Cepacol or other topical anesthetics can cause. It’s not all about medicine and therapy though, it reminds me of classic Bazooka Bubble Gum and Root Beer soda.

I don’t really like the smell of wintergreen that much, because of some of the more unpleasant associations with pain relieving rubs, but I do like the strange tingly flavor and how different it is from the standard peppermint or spearmint.

Both flavors are classics and still made in the classic way, though now in Canada where sugar is cheaper. I’m glad Wrigley’s hasn’t mucked around with anything aside from the packaging.

Related Candies

  1. Choward’s Spearmint & Lemon
  2. Musk Beechies Chewing Gum
  3. All Natural Necco Wafers
  4. Canada Wintergreen
  5. VerMints
  6. Lifesaver Musk
  7. Choward’s Violet


Name: Pep-O-Mint
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: Circle K (Koreatown)
Price: $1.10
Size: .84 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Wrigley's, Mints, 7-Worth It, Canada


Name: Wint-O-Green
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Wrigley’s
Place Purchased: Circle K (Koreatown)
Price: $1.10
Size: .84 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: Candy, Wrigley's, Mints, 7-Worth It, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:31 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewWrigley'sMints7-Worth ItCanadaComments (4)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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