Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bar None Revived by Iconic Candy

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)The Bar None, originally made by Hershey’s, was a well-loved candy bar. It was launched nationally in 1987 (I believe I lived in the test market area in California in 1986 and became addicted to them early on). The bar was also introduced in Canada under the name of Temptation.

The candy bar boasted chocolate wafers with chocolate cream and then a layer of crushed peanuts all covered in real milk chocolate. It sounds like a giant KitKat, but the reality was a bit different. The wafers were more aerated, the cream layers were more chocolatey and the crushed nuts were, of course, never found on a KitKat. Later in 1992, in an attempt to overcome some manufacturing issues, the bar was changed from a single piece to twin sticks with the addition of caramel. The wrapper was also redesigned to predominantly yellow and sales fell until the bar was discontinued in the United States in 1997. (More about the bar here.)

Bar None Ad

The Iconic Candy Company of Carle Place, NY specializes in reviving extinct candies; they picked up the rights to the candy bar and are in the final stages of their planned reintroduction of Bar None. They previewed the Bar None at the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago last month.

Indulge me for a moment for a little more history, or don’t and skip ahead to the review down there where the candy bar photos start. In addition to one of the early ad campaigns for the bar (which included commercials and the tagline “Tame the Chocolate Beasty”)  I also found an intact wrapper online which revealed the original (circa 1990) ingredients for the 1.5 ounce bar (240 calories):

Milk chocolate (milk chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk, chocolate, soya lecithin and vanillin) Peanuts, refined palm kernel oil, sugar, wheat flour, nonfat milk, cocoa processed with alkali, dextrose, cornstarch, soy lecithin, baking soda, salt, TBHQ and citric acid

The new bar is 1.6 ounces and 240 calories:

Milk chocolate, dry roasted peanuts, chocolate cream wafer. Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk, chocolate liquor, soy lecithin, vanilla. Chocolate Creme Wafer: Sugar, enriched flour, dextrose, palm oil, canola oil, cocoa processed with alkali, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, salt, sodium bicarbonate, yellow #5, yellow #6, red #3, red #40, blue #1. May contain cornstarch. Contains milk, wheat, soy and peanuts.

The original bars were made by Hershey’s at their facility in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia (home of Reese’s Pieces). Iconic Candy is also making their bars in the United States.

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)

The bar looks good, though I have to say that it doesn’t look as angular as I remember it. I thought it was a little flatter back in the olden days, but I could be wrong. I rarely took the bar out of the wrapper, instead when I ate it, I opened the end and just pushed out enough of it to take a bite because it was a very messy bar - both the fact that it would melt on the fingers and the fact that biting into it would sometimes scatter bits of the thin chocolate coating. I remember the chocolate coating as a soft chocolate, prone to melting even though I lived in the never-actually-warm Northern California area at the time. The original bar was also fatty, as the calorie count was about 160 calories per ounce, which is very high for a wafer bar.

It smells good, like chocolate with just a hint of roasted peanuts. Again, I don’t remember the peanut element from the original, which was really all about the taste of the milk chocolate and the cream filling between the wafers. The peanuts were for crunch, not flavor.

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)

The bar has a gentle crunch to it. The chocolate gives way well without becoming a flaky mess. The wafers are crispy and light, quite aerated and different from the KitKat wafers, which are more dense. These are like an ice cream cone. Though I would want the wafers chocolate flavored, I think they’re rather flavorless, coming across a bit like malty foam.

The chocolate is sweet and creamy with a good milky flavor. The peanuts taste fresh and have a good crunch and consistent size. There’s a little note of salt, just on the crushed nuts. The wafer stack is good, though not as chocolatey as I would like.

There’s an alternate universe (if you subscribe to the multiverse theory) where Hershey’s didn’t pervert and destroy the original bar with the twin sticks with caramel. But in that universe, in which Hershey’s behaved otherwise identically, the bar would have fallen to the same pressures to use “safe and suitable vegetable fats” instead of cocoa butter like they did with the classic Mr. Goodbar which is no longer a good chocolate bar, or a chocolate bar at all. So even if there were a Bar None today, I doubt I would still like it. Hershey’s simply doesn’t make their products better over time, they just make the more efficiently. We’re lucky if that doesn’t effect the taste and nutritional profile of the product, but it usually does. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Good & Plenty are really their only remaining products that I still enjoy regularly.

So, in a way, I think it was a blessing that Bar None disappeared before it got bad. Because then people wanted it to come back. The new Iconic Candy version of it isn’t quite the same, but then again, the original had its issues. It often slid apart, because the creme between the layers wasn’t held together well enough by the chocolate coating. The sharper corners would get crushed. The chocolate would flake off. I don’t see those as issues with the revived bar. But it’s still lacking that fatty, slick chocolate texture that I remember. So, it may be an uphill battle with the die hard fans of the original. There’s also a case to be made that original fans may have had other qualities about the bar that they liked that are still served by this version.

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)Tasting this bar today, without the reference point of the original, it’s a very well done effort. It’s airy and light but still very satisfying. The peanuts are a nice crunchy touch that don’t veer off into peanut butter territory as a flavor. But my tastes have changed now, being exposed to fine and dark chocolate from around the world have made me demand more from my candy. Now I think I’d want this in a dark chocolate version over a milk one.

The cross section though did give me pause. It’s purple. Why are the wafers purple? Well, glance back up there at the list of ingredients and you’ll see five artificial colors. I’m not sure why it needed them, but they’re there.

I’ve emailed with Iconic Candy, and the bars aren’t in stores quite yet. I’ll have some more information on that, and of course they’ll have information at their website as they start shipping to wholesalers and stores. If you have a favorite spot for buying candy, you may want to mention to them that you’d like to try the bar so they’ll order it.

Here’s a newsletter from Hershey’s called Chocolate Town USA from back in 1990 that details the launch of the original chocolate bar.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies
  3. Crispy M&Ms
  4. Tunnock’s Caramel Milk Chocolate Wafer
  5. Ritter Sport Neapolitan Wafers
  6. Q.Bel Crispy Wafer Bars
  7. Candy Poll: Back from the Dead
  8. I Miss: Bar None


Name: Bar None
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Iconic Candy
Place Purchased: samples from Iconic Candy
Price: $1.50 retail (guess)
Size: 1.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:57 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewEasterChocolateCookiePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesNews

Comments
  1. Great review. I look forward to bringing these in to my customers, as well as research the Iconic Candy line. Thanks!

    Comment by Mr Snacktastic on 6/12/13 at 10:36 am #
  2. I mentioned this on the massive “I Miss Bar None” thread, but in 1976 Mars released “Banjo” in the UK, which is essentially the same as “Bar None”.  Banjo disappeared about the same time as Bar None was launched the other side of the pond.  Many people in the UK miss Banjo just as much as many in the US miss Bar None, so I anticipate some good export sales for Iconic Candy!

    Comment by mattysb on 6/12/13 at 12:33 pm #
  3. I’m thinking they were trying to dye the wafers to be chocolate colored and failed.  The original bars were very fine and had sharp angles and cocoa flavoring which made up for the milk chocolate shell.

    Alas, I’m thinking the dense chocolate from our youth just won’t be revived.

    Comment by Crissa on 6/12/13 at 1:12 pm #
  4. Bar None was my favorite candy bar. I must get some of these.

    Comment by Steve on 6/12/13 at 8:32 pm #
  5. A long-gone thing that I would love to see come back is the Nabisco Heyday Bar, which was always somewhere in between cookie and candy bar.

    It looks like this guy is trying, but I’m not sure if he’s going to get funded:

    http://www.gofundme.com/1q95us

    Comment by kayjayoh on 6/13/13 at 7:32 am #
  6. Well is it not obvious that a generation later the list of ingredients has actually gone down? So much for sustainability, natural, heathy and so forth.

    Comment by Jason on 6/13/13 at 8:25 am #
  7. The (relatively) huge amount of artificial coloring in these re-created bars is actually sort of mind-boggling . . . if what you’re trying to do is an artisan re-creation of an actual product, why would you jazz it up with ingredients that your target customers are likely to view with disdain?

    Comment by Nate on 6/13/13 at 10:28 am #
  8. My jaw about fell off when I saw the color of the wafers and then the ingredients list. What in the world?! It’s CHOCOLATE. It just baffles me why so many manufacturers feel the need to artificially color things that were perfectly fine as they were. I’m allergic to some specific food colors. I always read labels on something like gummy candies, but chocolate? I’d get caught completely unaware. UNIMPRESSED.

    Comment by Allergic to food dye on 6/14/13 at 12:50 pm #
  9. They really should have left the wafers as is and just depended on people to appreciate the natural color of them versus the dyed versions.  What were they thinking?!

    Also, I’m curious: what does the new wrapper look like?

    Comment by Paul on 6/14/13 at 3:18 pm #
  10. Hope this will be made available to UK too! Would love to try this USA bar, especially after reading comment number 2(mattysb)after he mentioned it is similar to Banjo chocolate bar.

    If anyone is interested please support a FB Petition called Bring Back Chocolate Bar & check out its Page!

    Comment by BringBackBanjoChocolateBar on 6/18/13 at 2:13 am #
  11. Let’s applaud the efforts of an independent candy maker who had the guts and wherewithal to bring this classic chocolate bar back to the market. I had the privilege of attending the candy expo in Chicago and tasted these BarNone bars. They were as good as I remembered them if not better. It was premium chocolate made with no artificial ingredients. There was a slight red tinge of color in the wafer only!

    If you look at almost all candy there is some artificial color or ingredients and that’s from the mega multi-national corporations.

    This Chocolate bar is not just good it is great. Give them a chance and try it before you knock it!

    Comment by Pete Willis on 6/18/13 at 1:36 pm #
  12. Bar None briefly showed up in the vending machine in my office building a few weeks ago—not sure if it was May or early June.

    My theory was “interdimensional time/space rift,” so I’m glad I was wrong and should start looking in actual stores. The vending machine got so few that it may have been a glitch in the supply system.

    Comment by eilonwy on 6/30/13 at 8:11 pm #
  13. The Bar None’s have been on my mind a lot lately. LOL When things are on my mind I randomly get online and check things out. To hear about the candy bars making a come back is well…..AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! Sign me up, where can I get me one?

    Comment by Daniell on 7/22/13 at 3:01 pm #
  14. They were my favorite candy bar also. From time to time I do a search on them for the heck of it, and this time I found your website. Thank you! I appreciate your review and information. I look forward to trying the new ones.

    Comment by Tim on 8/15/13 at 12:49 pm #
  15. Where can we buy these Bar None candy bars?  I can’t find them anywhere!

    Comment by Summer on 8/16/13 at 7:27 am #
  16. I’m a 80’s baby and I remember and miss bar none! Wish they would bring this candy bar back… Best candy bar ever

    Comment by Kim Dangerfield on 9/02/13 at 2:57 pm #
  17. I haven’t seen Barnone anywhere. My brother works at a vending company in Phila and he hasn’t seen them either.

    Where is Barnone?

    Comment by Tony on 1/31/14 at 7:49 pm #
  18. so where is this barnone candy bar?  i left massages with iconic only to get no reply at all.  whats up?  why tease!  sounds like the greatest cand hoax ever!

    Comment by barnone king on 4/04/14 at 3:23 pm #
  19. I received a message from them on their fb page saying that the manufacturer was having trouble with the making of the bars but they expect a proper version to be released within a couple months

    Comment by Whotony on 4/04/14 at 4:27 pm #

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