By now, you’ve all become quite aware of my scrupulous taste for artificially flavored foods, snacks and beverages. You may think it’s silly, but it is important that these manufacturers get things right. I do not think it’s unfair to hold these companies to high standards, considering they play by different rules than the rest of society. You see, chefs, butchers and other handlers of nature’s bounty are not allowed to break the rules of nature itself. They cannot invent new flavors or colors. They can’t add “Green 3” to pale lettuce or “tapioca dextrin” to whatever one would add that to. If you get to break the rules and abuse science, then the product better be damn good.
All this to say, I’m sick of the candy gimmicks!
Why are there nine million different flavors of M&M’s? Why are there watermelon Sour Patch Kids? Why are they still making candy corn?
Look, I may sound like a purist, and maybe I am, but I think it’s important to crack down on the nonsense in the candy market. So, I decided to try some original candies from back in my heyday. Let’s get to it.
MIKE AND IKES
I expected these would be my favorites, but I was immediately disappointed. As I poured the candy out of the box and into a bowl, the candies stuck together and wouldn’t fall out of the box. I had to keep shaking the thing until they all slowly came out. It was disgusting. Look, I understand that these are roughly ten-thousand-percent sugar, but none of the other candies had this issue. This is unappetizing, and, frankly, upsetting. I don’t want to have to think about how gross the gross things I’m eating are before I even put them in my mouth. Nevertheless, I got the candies into the bowl and was ready to continue eating. Then it got worse.
They were mushy and stale. They weren’t chewy like Twizzlers or Airheads. They were just stale. Now, tell me why a wholly artificial candy with an expiration of August of next year should be stale? This is unprofessional, lousy workmanship. These have been in production for 78 years. It doesn’t show.
Now, these didn’t taste bad, in fact, they had the classic Mike and Ike flavor.. My favorite flavors ranked from best to worst are: red, pink, orange, yellow and green. (You may notice that I’m not a very big fan of lime flavored candy. Or lime in general for that matter).
Now, I know some of you might be thinking, “well if they taste good, isn’t that all that matters?” No. It’s not. This was a terrible experience. 4/10.
Another disappointment. However, this is probably my fault. I chose the “sour & sweet” box thinking that this would have the classic sour skittles and original skittles flavors. I was wrong.
Instead, we’ve got entirely new flavors. Red, pink, blue, orange, and green. Long story short: they all taste terrible. Now, of course if you swapped blue with purple, this would be the original color/flavor selection, except they made it all worse. First of all, no one wanted neon versions of the original Skittles. I’m eating candy, not strolling down the Vegas strip.
And don’t get me started on the flavors… Look, Skittles, if I wanted to be able to taste the chemical formula you used to make this, I would’ve just mixed together some Nyquil and Pepto Bismol.
Here we go. The classics. Swedish fish are the jazz standard of candy. You can find it anywhere, they’re constantly replicated and sometimes even tastefully so. And while they’re no longer on the top charts, everybody still knows and loves them.
They keep it simple. The yellow box has never changed and the fish themselves are always the same size with the same detailed scales on the side. There’s one flavor and it’s perfect every time. Of course, there are a few spinoffs that include different colored and flavored fish but I try to pretend these don’t exist.
I do think that they are a little bit too sweet and can get a little bit boring over time. There’s no extra “zing” that puts these over the top. Furthermore, they have a lasting aftertaste that can linger for a while, making the whole experience a bit monotonous.
These are an 8/10. Nice work.
This is a great candy. even the new flavors really are pretty good, though I do think the orange flavor is a bit suspect. Air heads have such a great flavor. They’re sweet with strength. Unlike Swedish Fish, which feel too sweet, these add a sour flare that pushes them over the edge.
They’re chewy but purposefully so. They’re not boring to eat and while they can be strenuous on the jaw, they seem intentionally tough, unlike the frustrating Mike and Ikes. They’ve been updated over the years, but even their additions, like grape and the mystery flavor have become acceptable regulars. Even the aforementioned orange is pretty decent.
Now, they do have some hit-or-miss options like the quite good Air Head Extremes and the new, not-so-great, bite-sized Air Heads. They’re not all bad, but they all pale in comparison to the original stick.
Plus, they’re even bringing back the old Air Head marketing where kids’ heads inflate, and they start floating. They’re creepy, but I’m excited to see one of these candy giants sticking to its roots.
10/10 best candy in the land.
So, as we saw here, we can surmise that either original candies are always better than their weird reboots or I’m just a curmudgeon with strange priorities. Either way, the results speak for themselves. It is important we treat out candy with respect and accountability. Remember: they don’t eat us, we eat them.