I love Japanese Kit kats. Even though my review history hasn’t shown it, I do keep up with all the new flavors that are released, almost obsessively so. I have a pretty big backlog of these, I assure you. Getting a timely review of them up, considering the quantity of Kit kats that I have and the ones I’ve yet to taste, make it a very difficult endeavor. So I hope you don’t mind that when I review these flavors that some of them may be unavailable. Unless you look on eBay, of course.
So, all that aside, these were a release from this summer. They’re Kokuto “black sugar” flavor and they come in this giant bag filled with mini, two-fingered bars. Now, you may be wondering what “black sugar” is, and it’s an easy thing to not know about unless you’re into regional Japanese foods. Okinawa produces a special kind of sugar, the very black sugar that’s flavoring these Kit kats, and it’s similar to brown sugar. This black sugar contains lots of minerals and is considered a very healthy, and tasty, sugar to eat. You can easily find hard candies made from this special sugar, and I am ashamed to say I have not yet tried them.
The base of these Kit Kats are white chocolate, which I feel is a good decision since I don’t want heavy flavors to overpower what flavors the black sugar may impart. The bars are attractive as Kit kats always are.
As for the flavor? It tastes of molasses. Thick, blackstrap molasses. I’m a big fan of molasses, so I’m immediately addicted. The rest of the bar is the tried and true Kit kat, with crisp wafers and a nice balance of chocolate to wafer.
I love the flavor, and these are great with a nice cup of tea. I wish I had gotten more.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Japanese Kit Kat Webpage
Sometimes the strangest holiday candies are released. Most make sense like the mint flavors I’m seeing everywhere; Mint Truffle Kisses, Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe, Hershey’s Mint Miniatures, and the Mint M&Ms, just to name a few. Then I spot these two oddities: Holiday Edition Sugar Babies and Inside Out Junior Mints. I was perplexed right away, but since I hadn’t tried them, and are a fan of the originals, I picked them up.
From the outside of the box, the Holiday Sugar Babies don’t seem to be very different. The selling point is that they’re covered in a “candy shell” in holiday colors: white, red and green.
They look terrible. They’re matte and flat looking. Nothing about them feels inviting or attractive. Which leads me to ask, why color them to begin with? If you were going to put the in a bowl for guests or anything, so you can “see” them in there festive colors, why not make them look…nice.
The candy shell is indeed a shell as opposed to a soft, colored coating as I suspected. It actually cracks when I bite down and it softens from there, turning into a regular Sugar Baby. The taste is the same: intensely creamy, burnt caramel flavors with a sticky, grainy chewy texture. I don’t see a point to getting these over the regular ones…unless you have a thing for food coloring.
The Inside Out Junior Mints I was excited about. They’ve been a limited edition candy for years, yet I haven’t seen them until now. I did see the new edition of Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch that were released last year and I reviewed for CandyAddict.
These have white outside and a chocolate interior, just the opposite from the originals. Reading the description on the back where it calls the outside a “white topping”, I knew something was amiss. Uh oh. Mockolate.
The exterior is slightly hard and it “cracks” a little when you bite into it. The intense minty flavor we associate with Junior Mints is there, but it’s hard to say exactly where it’s coming from. I just sucked on one for a bit and I got no mint from the exterior. So my guess is the center is doing double duty here. Other than the appearance, I don’t really see the draw of these. Nothing says to me that these are any improvement or especially unique, so I don’t get the point.
Both these candies don’t do anything to improve or tweak the original enough for me to justify buying them. I just had to satisfy my curiosity. Learn from me and stick with the originals.
Rating: Not Worth It
Junior Mints Webpage
Sugar Babies Webpage
Tirol Choco is a classic Japanese candy. It’s well known as the cheapest chocolate you can buy, in the best ways possible, with each little square available at the store for 5 yen apiece. This makes it an easily accessible candy for many children and therefore it has a big nostalgic value for many people.
Like many Japanese companies, Tirol Choco releases flavors specific to the seasons. These Dango chocolates are meant for spring and represent a traditional Japanese sweet that’s eaten while viewing the cherry blossoms. I realize I’m reviewing them quite out out season, when spring is only a sliver in hope in one’s mind. Still, the flavors and attractiveness of these little squares is not diminished at all by the snow drifts outside my window. I do imagine that they’d taste better watching the sakura, though.
True to the Dango sweets, these come in flavors of strawberry, green tea and milk, with the colors representing the cherry blossoms and leaves. There’s also a small, chewy mochi (a rice dough) in the center.
Ichigo: (strawberry)bright carton pink color and immediately smells strongly of strawberry with a tart yogurty tang. This tastes of melted strawberry ice cream. The strawberry flavor is so fresh and real I can’t believe it. I really just feel like i ate a spoonful of Breyer’s Grand. YUM!
Matcha: (green tea) Dark green and very grassy looking. Smells lightly of tea. Flavor is of matcha, so it’s grassy and bitter at first, then it sweetens and you get some milky flavors.
Sweet Milk: White chocolate with vanilla bean flecks. It smells so strongly of vanilla. The flavor tastes of vanilla ice cream. It’s amazing. The mochi center is nice and chewy.
These were delightful little morsels and they went great with a cup of green tea. I am interested now in trying the other flavors in Tirol’s Choco line.
Rating: Will Eat Again.
Tirol Choco Website
I first tasted the Hot Cocoa Kisses back at the 2006 All Candy Expo. I wasn’t impressed with from what I remember, but at the same time I was experiencing flavor fatigued from all the samples I had tasting prior to visiting the Hershey’s booth. They first appeared in stores as a holiday limited edition last year and I made sure to ignore them. This year I decided to go back and give them as shot.
These are similar to the Truffle Kisses, as there’s not an easily detectable filling. It’s more a smooth texture you feel in your mouth as opposed to anything you see. The center is cool on the tongue, a little greasy and very slippery.
I was expecting the flavor to be like the Truffle Kiss; basically an intensely smooth, sweet chocolate flavor. The Cocoa Kisses are not like that. Yes, they do have an intense chocolate taste, but there’s something sweeter and more buttery about this these. Thankfully, it’s not an intense fake buttery flavor like the Candy Corn Kisses. I’m instantly reminded of cupcake frosting: sweet, buttery, creamy, a little tangy with a dash of salt.
I don’t get “hot cocoa” from this at all, it’s really more like frosting. They’re tasty and I like them better than the fudge center ones.
Be forewarned as these are very, very sweet. By the time I was on my fourth Kiss I started to get a throat burn. That didn’t stop me from polishing off more than a serving or two in one sitting. Oops.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Hershey’s Kisses Website
See’s Candies is a confectionery giant out in the West coast. They’ve an impressive history and have been making candies since 1921 following traditional recipes and using quality ingredients. With such quality products, it’s really hard to go wrong. It’s a shame that I’m in the East Cost, which has a sad lack of See’s products. I hope to work my way though their products as time goes on. But I can say that from what I have already tasted, they make pretty stellar stuff.
This past summer I was lucky enough to visit a See’s store while on vacation in Los Angeles. Like a kid in a candy stores, I couldn’t decide on exactly what I needed to buy, as so many of their confections could be considered a “must try”. I did decide on some of their Root Beer lollypops, as I have a big weak spot for all things root beer. They were only a small part of the purchases I made there.
After bringing my See’s swag home, I discovered that the Root Beer lollipop was a summer limited edition. I was lucky enough to catch it in stores. It’s the same format as their other lollypops, a thick rectangular mass that smells sweet with notes of wintergreen and spice.
The Root Beer lollipop was a summer limited edition and I was lucky enough to catch it in stores. It’s the same format as their other lollypops, a thick rectangular mass that smells sweet with notes of wintergreen and spice.
The flavor is awesome, it’s like a single brew, old fashioned draft root beer. The different flavor components are very separate and easily distinguishable. First there’s the creamy sweetness, followed by a wintergreen peppery hit, rounded out with sharp, spicy woodsy notes. It’s so lovely. My favorite “hard” candy root beer flavor to date, as other varieties I find are usually too heavy on the herbal flavors in Root Beer. This one is just right.
Like the Root Beer, the Cinnamon lollipop is a limited edition flavor for this holiday season. They come in attractive bright red wrappers and they call to you immediately from the shelf.
The lollipop is opaque and doesn’t resemble a hard candy at all. It smells creamy and milk, but there’s also a strong cinnamon scent that’s very “hot”.
The flavor is really interesting. It’s cinnamon, and it burns a little, yet it’s very smooth and creamy. It’s a nice mix of both worlds. I get a little mouth burn with it, but it’s very mild and it reminds me of a red hot. The creamy flavors cool off the burn and I’d imagine it being like drinking a steamed milk with cinnamon syrup.
It’s a shame that both of these are available for only a limited time. They’re so tasty! I can’t help but wonder if their short shelf lifespan is part of their appeal though.
Rating: Root Beer: Hoard
Cinnamon: Will Buy Again