Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts

Continuing with National Licorice Day, I have to admit that I’ve always been afraid of Licorice Allsorts. Let’s face it, they’re pretty, but there’s no real way of knowing what they are. Are those pink things the same flavor as Pepto Bismol? Are they cherry? Which would be better? Is blue ever a good idea? It’s one of those candies that’s been around so long, once I became an adult I was embarrassed to ask what they were.


The time had come to try them. All of them. This assortment came from CandyFavorites but is made by Bassett’s ... you know, the folks in England who are known for these. Aren’t they cute?

I started with the pieces that seemed the most familiar. The plain black licorice pieces were nice. Extra soft, with a good doughy consistency and strong molasses taste. They’re sweet, but not in a sugary way, more in that herbal way that licorice is.

Next I took on those sandwich looking things. They’re the ones that have scared me most over the years. The brown ones are chocolate flavored, but only in the lightest possible way. Mostly the molasses taste comes through but then as the chewing continues I realize that there’s COCONUT in here! How did that happen? The brown layer is more grainy and sugary than the licorice one and there are these flakes of coconut that give it a nice chewy texture and a good nutty pop. The white layered pieces are lemon and though I really liked the Lemon Lakritsi I had last year, these don’t quite rise to this level. Yes, the coconut gives it some extra dimension, but there are a lot of flavors going on here. Orange is orange and seems to be a little better on the balance than the white ones. I ate all of the orange and brown ones first. The pink ones were the scariest of all. I don’t know what flavor they are, we’ll just stick with “pink” because the color seems to give them a fruity flavor of some kind, perhaps cherry but also a bitter overtone. Blech. I needed to clear the taste of that! Luckily it was only a three decker instead of the five layer of the white one.

The little blue and pink buttons are so cute and I didn’t want to eat them at first. Inside is a firm jelly with a strong licorice/anise taste to it. Instead of being sickly sweet and grainy like a jelly bean, these were more like a gummi covered in nonpareils. I wish I could just buy these in bulk.

The little blue man was the only one of his kind in the mix, and I’m not sure what that kind of candy is called. He was like a licorice version of candy corn. Very sweet, a little grainy to start and then quite smooth.

The pink circles with the black dots scared me. After the bad experience with the pink layered thing, I was hesitant to try these. Luckily they weren’t flavored. They’re just colored pink but taste simply like coconut and licorice. After all that trepidation, the things I thought I’d hate, I actually liked and of the whole assortment, there’s really only one piece that I detested. Those are much better odds than most of the assorted candies I pick up.

Name: Bassett's Licorice Allsorts
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Lake ChamplainBassett's (Cadbury)
Place Purchased: sample from CandyFavorites
Price: $1.69
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: Licorice, Jelly, Coconut, United Kingdom, Cadbury

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:39 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Yeah, thanks to you I’m now mainlining Good & Plenty.

    Comment by Adrien on 4/12/06 at 8:20 am #
  2. I love it when you pass opinion on our humble British sweets. You always do them justice and give credit where it’s so rarely due unlike a lot of other critics.

    The little man is called “Bertie Bassett”. Liquorice Allsorts are one of my favourite sweets, and if you separate the layers of the sandwich ones, you’ll find the brown ones do have a very slight chocolate flavour. But the colour is mostly for the fun factor I think.

    You should give “Fruit Allsorts” a try. They’re exactly the same, but with no liquorice. Instead, it’s been replaced by ambiguously fruity flavoured “stuff” - There are some wacky colours too, Lime greens etc…

    Comment by GTO on 4/12/06 at 8:27 am #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    Mmm, Good & Plenty ... love those!

    Thanks GTO - I’ll keep my eye out for Fruit Allsorts. I ate all the brown allsorts too fast to take them apart.

    I was in London only once, and I was traveling with my mother, so I didn’t get to indulge my candy tooth quite as much as I wanted. Though that is the trip that I learned about Wine Gums (and of course had some excellent Indian food and fantastic crepes).

    I think another trip is in order!

    Comment by Cybele on 4/12/06 at 9:01 am #
  4. Absolutely.

    If you do make another trip, may I make some suggestions?

    Bagged sweet wise, keep an eye out for “Dolly Mixture” - A sort of…Small version of liquorice Allsorts, but made with a Fondant type affair and los of other random bits and pieces like Jelly etc…

    “Candy bars” - I would highly reccomend you keep an eye out for:

    Topic - A nice simple bar. Classic chocolate, Soft nougat and Caramel combo. But it’s trump card is Hazelnuts - It’s awesome.

    Drifter - Simply chocolate, caramel & wafer - It’s trump card is the ability to make Wafer chewy. It has to be tried - It’s sensational.

    Boost - Again, Chocolate, caramel, Nuts, wafer…It’s just…Unique - I think it’s the fact that they try and shape the wafer around everything else. I don’t know but you gotta try!

    Comment by GTO on 4/12/06 at 9:34 am #
  5. There’s a little British grocery in the town next to me, and they had the Basset’s licorice allsorts and the fruit allsorts.  I’m still considering buying the fruit allsorts (I hate licorice) but they’re FIVE DOLLARS for a little bag.  However, I think my curiosity is winning out over the price.

    Comment by Alex on 4/12/06 at 4:26 pm #
  6. Licorice….hmmm, a touchy subject with me.  Might have to give these a whirl though, thanks for the heads up.  Normally, I would have seen the licorice label and kept on a walking.  Now, I’ll do a double take. surprised

    Comment by Carver on 4/13/06 at 12:57 am #
  7. You definately should. Like Cybelle said, it’s not like the liquorice in a Good n’ Plenty or Liquorice Torpedo. Allsorts’ liquorice is very soft and doughy.

    Comment by GTO on 4/13/06 at 4:06 am #
  8. I have a friend who grew up in Lebanon and another who grew up in Canada. They both love Allsorts, in a very nostalgic sort of way. So I’ve bought Allsorts to send to them (they’re married now), but never tried them myself - because I don’t like licorice. Maybe i’ll reconsider.

    Comment by Tricia on 4/13/06 at 8:18 am #
  9. Man, I love these. Alex, I don’t know where you live, but around here (Southern California), most grocery stores carry them. They’re not too expensive there.

    Cost Plus carries them, and also carries an Australian version that uses red licorice instead of black. I love red licorice, but that particular mixture is gross!

    Dolly mixture reminds me of tea parties when I was little (my English mother always had it on hand), but it’s far too sweet for me nowadays. Nice memories, though…

    Comment by Lesley on 4/13/06 at 9:15 am #
  10. a certain store I know has a big scoop-your-own jelly belly setup, and they have a very nice (tho not identical) version of this licorice mix. i’ve noted it seems slightly fresher and chewier

    Comment by tg on 4/16/06 at 4:45 pm #
  11. Cybele's avatar

    tg - you tease me with the Super Target ... we don’t have those in SoCal. I have seen the jelly belly versions in the bulk candy mix stores, but of course they’re usually more expensive there.

    GTO - thanks for the list, I’ll keep my eye out, I think I saw a Boost at the British market I’ve been to, but I wasn’t quite ready for it.

    Alex - hold out for some stuff on sale or when you find some in a candy jar at someone’s house. No need getting buyer’s remorse if you’re not a licorice fan.

    Tricia - I think I have the same nostalgia about allsorts, I’ve seen them all my life, but they always reminded me of those Murano glass candies that old ladies keep in dishes just to tease little kids.

    Lesley - I’m not a huge fan of Red Licorice, but a red version of allsorts might require evaluation!

    Comment by Cybele on 4/17/06 at 7:00 am #
  12. We have a British Sweet Shop in Chilliwack British Columbia Canada called Dickens Sweets and we carry the jelly buttons in bulk!!! they are the ones in the liquorice allsorts description that are round and filled with jelly. We also have over 100 jars of other British sweets (including Dutch liquorice) and lots of British groceries. You can check us out at

    Comment by Trudi on 6/02/06 at 4:17 am #
  13. Two other locations for British Sweets are



    White Rock:

    Comment by Steve McVittie on 7/16/06 at 8:59 am #
  14. The small blue and pink aniseedy ones are called Spogs and you can find them here:

    They were always my favourite grin

    I recently tried some raspberry fondant filled liquorice sticks - scrummy!

    Comment by Alexandra on 7/26/06 at 6:07 am #
  15. the ones you called ‘Spogs’ were originally called ‘Jelly Buttons’ I believe. (I have been wrong before but that is the name we grew up with)

    Comment by Trudi on 7/27/06 at 4:08 am #
  16. i love bassetts, but unfortunately, the round pink ones with the black center-never enough in the bag. i just opened a bag and only found 2!!!
    also the rectangular pink and black checked ones-only 1 of them!! it’s a real shame. who can i call to complain?

    Comment by joanne on 10/23/06 at 9:27 am #
  17. I’ve always like these, but not many people seem to. You can’t eat too much though, too sweet.

    Comment by yanina on 12/07/06 at 10:53 am #
  18. Here is the real manufacturer’s link. The Lake Champlain link is likely a distributor or repackager.

    And these are one of my all-time favorite candies. The English have always made great sweets, IMO

    Comment by Mike on 12/07/06 at 8:20 pm #

    Comment by Mike on 12/07/06 at 8:21 pm #
  20. BUMMER ... back in October I was told a Gift Certificate was being mailed to me because I commentted on your Bassett Licorice NOT having the little Blue fellow in MOST packages.

    Well - it is Christmas - and it didn’t even come with Santa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Still NOT happy with this Company.

    Comment by Carole on 12/25/06 at 1:52 pm #
  21. Cybele's avatar

    Carole - who was supposed to send you a gift certificate? Did you comment here ... I don’t see any notes from you in this post?

    Comment by Cybele on 12/25/06 at 2:02 pm #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Next entry: Happy Passover!

Previous entry: Dutch Licorice
















  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Here are some frequently asked questions emailed to me you might want to read first.


    For a daily update of Candy Blog reviews, enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner






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





Facebook IconTwitter IconTumblr IconRSS Feed IconEmail Icon


Candy Season Ends

-415 days

Read previous coverage



Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter




These candies will be reviewed shortly: