Last year Gimbal’s Candy introduced Cherry Lovers, a fanciful assortment of nine different cherry flavored jelly candies in the shape of hearts. It wasn’t my kind of thing and I wished that there was a citrus version. Gimbal’s went far more inventive than that and created Honey Lovers which features 16 different honey infused flavors of jelly beans.
Gimbal’s makes a wide array of panned candies and licorice but the big selling point for them is that they operate in a low-allergen facility. No peanuts, no tree nuts, no gluten, no dairy, no eggs and no soy. Honey isn’t just a flavoring here, the third ingredient on the list is actually honey. (The first two are sugar and corn syrup.)
The Honey Lovers come in either a 10 ounce bag or a 38 ounce resealable tub. Each of the hearts is colored and patterned to match their flavor. They also feature 25% of the RDA of vitamin C. On top of that, Gimbal’s is donating 5% of their sales to honey bee research at the University of California at Davis (which is just 100 miles or so away).
Golden Honey a wonderful and simple little jelly bean heart. It’s not a bright sweetness, it’s more of a concentrated honey with a little sugary grain from the shell ... which mimicked crystallized honey or honeycomb. The flavor was just a little different from the Jelly Belly Honey Bean, not quite as caramelized but still authentic.
Peaches and Honey tastes like peach fuzz and honey, kind of strange but true. Honey and peach have similar syrupy notes, so these go together well, kind of like a peach cobbler flavor.
Tangy Orange Honey starts our like a plain juicy orange jelly bean then becomes a deep honey flavored and smooth chew.
Buttered Honey Popcorn was the one I avoided. I detest fake butter flavor and this one had that “old movie theater” flavor. It was a little on the toffee side because of the honey, but still my least favorite of the bunch. (I’m sure some folks will be in love with it.)
Meyer Lemon Honey is kind of like a cough drop without the menthol. The lemon is light and only slightly zesty but no sign of tartness. The honey note is defined but separated from the lemon-ness, like the lemon is on the shell and the honey is in the center.
Cinnamon Honey wasn’t terribly strong but mostly cinnamon. I didn’t catch much honey on the end of it. Not as blazing as Gimbal’s stellar Lava Balls, but still fun and quite a change up from the rest of the primarily fruity bunch in this mix.
Black Cherry Honey has a little tartness at the front and was a very well balanced heart. The cherry flavors weren’t exceptionally strong, but still lasted well into the emergence of the honey flavors.
Honey Mocha Toffee (not pictured because I thought it was Black Cherry Honey) is just dreadful, there’s that fake butter flavor that I guess is supposed to be toffee and then a faint whiff of instant coffee. It’s like a bad hazelnut coffee creamer.
Coconut Honey is terribly sweet and with a strong tropical vibe. The coconut is strong on this one and since it’s easily confused with the vanilla, I ate it by mistake a few times. As long as you’re looking for something really coconutty, this is a great little heart.
Honey Vanilla this was my absolute favorite, I kept searching the bags for this one. It’s like a jelly bean version of the marshmallow in a See’s Scotchmallow. Fragrant and soft vanilla with the deep sweetness of honey.
Honey Raspberry is deep red and jammy sweet with just the right touch of honey at the end. The floral berry notes lingered long after the chew was gone.
Honey Dipped Strawberry is sweet and has that great summer taste to it, the honey isn’t a strong as the others, but then again, I didn’t need it to be with the great toasted sugar notes of the strawberry there.
Huckleberry Honey is kind of a mystery to me. I don’t know huckleberries that well, but can definitely say that the light berry and summer fruit notes have a tangy bite and a sweet finish.
Pomegranate Honey is a nondescript tart berry flavor where the honey takes over pretty quickly.
Blueberry Honey is like the other berry and fruit flavors, quite mild and mellow. I caught a faint bit of blueberry flavor to it, but mostly it tasted like a very honey-laden iced tea. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Orchard Pear ‘n Honey tastes rather green in the best way possible. It doesn’t have the same crunchy grain of a real pear, but the deep malty flavors of the honey go well with the grassy notes.
Overall this was a very inventive mix. Of the 16 flavors there were only two that I picked out and refused to eat (Mocha Toffee and Popcorn), and another three that I picked around but didn’t toss back in there if I got by accident. But the ones I liked, I thought were stellar (Vanilla Honey, Honey, Meyer Lemon, Strawberry). Even if I didn’t like some, there were others whom I shared these with who did, so they are a real crowd pleaser. The only suggestion I’d have would be to have a smaller flavor mix (with 5-8 flavors in a more limited color palette) that might do better for themed buffets and folks who simply buy candy for the colors.
- Eat with your Eyes: 100% Honey
- Jelly Belly Honey Beans
- Cool Honey Altoids
- Puffy Candy Corn
- Boules de Miel (balls of honey)
- Melville Candy Company Honey Spoons