Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hot Tamales Black Licorice Jelly Beans

Hot Tamales Licorice Flavored Jelly BeansI was a little confused that this package says “new” since I saw them on sale last year, but the freshness date says best by 06/2010. I was also confused when I tried to find these via the Just Born website and it said they were carried by a handful of Albertson’s markets in Southern California ... but then I stumbled across them at the 99 Cent Only Store near my office. They also had the all-cinnamon Hot Tamales Jelly Beans and the Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans.

Before gourmet jelly beans came along, the only jelly bean I knew of that was sold as a single flavor was licorice. (It ranks among Jelly Belly’s top sellers.) I often felt like the beans were being segregated, like they didn’t belong in the regular mix of beans. I certainly had friends and family members that would sort them out of their mixes (and give them to me).  But in this case, the Hot Tamales Spice Beans don’t actually include licorice, they are definitely sold separately.

The packaging is rather unusual. Though as far as I can tell the Hot Tamales beans are only sold around Easter, but they’re packaged as if they’re an all-year round item. No pastels, eggs, bunnies or baby animals on this package. It’s black and gray with the red Hot Tamales logo & fireball mascot.

Licorice Hot Tamales Jelly Beans

The beans are attractive and very black. They’re rather tall and narrow - the same length & width of a Jelly Belly but much taller and boxier.

The bag smells a bit like licorice spice tea, but mostly like sweet beeswax (not unpleasant).

The beans are soft, they can easily be squished between my fingers (Jelly Belly tend to be firmer). The shell isn’t very thick so there’s not much grain to these beans.

The licorice notes are high on the anise side with a clean and sweet lingering aftertaste. It’s missing a lot of the darker woodsy notes that a licorice whip has but they’re definitely beans that I have no trouble eating, no sickly feeling of consuming too much sugar like those Bunny Basket Eggs can do.

Though the ingredients list pectin, they’re not a true pectin bean - they utilize modified food starch as the primary thickener. That said, it is a smooth flavor that’s not too sweet.

There’s a fair bit of food coloring in here, which meant that after a handful my tongue was greenish/blue. Licorice twists tend to be black because of the molasses ... it seems to me that licorice jelly beans sold separately could simply be uncolored and we could skip all that Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1.

These may be Kosher, it’s hard to tell. It’s not mentioned on the package, but the Just Born website says that only their Peeps products are not Kosher. They are gluten free! (And made in the USA.)

Related Candies

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Name: Hot Tamales Licorice Flavored Jelly Beans
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Jelly, Licorice, United States, Just Born, Kosher, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:46 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Sera's avatar


    Comment by Sera on 3/19/09 at 2:49 pm #
  2. I LOVE black licorice jelly beans!!!

    Comment by castocreations on 3/20/09 at 5:43 am #
  3. It’s great to be a black jelly bean lover at Halloween—you get lots of extra candy from your friends!  This also applies to those peanut butter taffies in the black and orange wrappers…dang I love those things.

    Comment by JJR on 3/20/09 at 11:10 am #
  4. Harpo Marx, in his autobiography, told about how in his childhood a regular penny bag of jelly beans only ever had ONE black one at most;  he described his bliss when he, a middle-aged married man, on the way to a movie with his wife and George and Gracie Burns, found a candy store—“the ultra-modern kind that sells old-fashioned candies in glass apothecary jars”—where he could buy THIRTY DOLLARS’ WORTH of black jelly beans.  He went to the movies with his wife and the Burnses and “a bag of jelly beans the size of a peck of potatoes”, and ate himself into a coma.

    Comment by Cactus Wren on 3/21/09 at 11:30 pm #
  5. I loved these things, but the name is a little confusing. As far as jelly beans go, these are in my top three.

    Comment by Jeanna on 3/22/09 at 8:03 am #
  6. I was getting a licorice bean from Stop n Shop, the Brand was Luxor Licorice, but they stopped carrying them last year and I have not found them anywhere since. They were the best in flavor and texture that I ever came across, does anyone know where I can find them again?

    Comment by Brenda on 3/23/09 at 12:58 pm #
  7. For those of you searching for your lost or favorite candy (my personal fav was Kit Kat Dark)there are a few websites that can help you. I can’t remember them, but they’re listed in the back of Steve Almonds book “Candy Freak.”

    Comment by Issa on 1/24/10 at 7:44 pm #
  8. this candy can no longer be gotten at the 99 cent store in oxnard. does anyone know where they can be boughten now. This tastes like licorice when i was small in the 40s and 50s. Please email me and tell me a good location near oxnard ventura or santa barbara.  thanks Dan

    Comment by dan Hollowell on 7/02/10 at 6:07 pm #
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