Bassetts Allsorts are an iconic candy in my life. They’re the one consistent sweet I’d see my Mom buy for my Dad, as he’s just crazy for them. He learned to enjoy them from his dad, so I guess it’s fitting for tradition that I learned to love them too. I’d always seen and enjoyed the black licorice variety, so when I saw these red licorice ones in an Irish market in Queens I could resist them. I never knew such a thing existed, and since I am a fan of red licorice too, I was eager to see how it compared to the traditional black kind.
Out of the box these are just stunning to look at. They’re so beautiful. For some reason, the red adds just that extra spark of color to them, so instead of feeling old fashioned and classic like the black licorice Allsorts, these has this funky, psychedelic vibe to them. It was such a pleasure to photograph them.
As far as flavor goes, they’re pretty similar to regular Allsorts. The sweet coating on the bits of licorice are lightly flavored of fruits: orange (orange), lemon (yellow), strawberry (red), blueberry (white) and currant (purple). The original Allsorts has coconut too, but alas that is omitted here. The texture of the coating is grainy, a little crumbly and greasy. It’s similar to shredded hard-packed coconut. The flavors were all pleasant and juicy and were very satisfying. But combined with the red licorice, they just stood out on their own. Or should I say, they were so flavorful that the red licorice, which tends to be mind in flavor to begin with, was just lost in the fray. I did take a piece apart to eat some of the red licorice on it’s own, and it’s very nice. Fragrant, bright, and juicy of berries and “red” flavor.
I prefer the black licorice Allsorts of these. The black licorice is strong enough to compete and balance out the flavors of the sweet coating, whereas with the red, it’s just lost. Then again, I eat Allsorts for the licorice, so if you eat them because you enjoy the coating, or aren’t a fan of black licorice, these are worth checking out.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Links Bassetts Webpage on Cadbury’s Website
Mason Crows are a classic/retro candy which, unlike most of genre, are actually pretty easy to find. You’d think I’d had tried them sooner because of this. Especially since I love black licorice. Sadly, you’re mistaken. I don’t know what took me so long to finally try these. They’ve been on my “to buy” list for such a long time, and I blame the fact that I mainly saw them in the large movie boxes in the 3-$3 bin in Walgreens. I didn’t have anything else I’d want to buy in the bunch though. I finally took the opportunity when the new Mike & Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand mix appeared in the bunch.
Crows have quite the history. They’ve been around since the late 19th century and were originally called “Black Rose”. A typo at the manufacturers change the name to “Crows” and has remained that way ever since. They appear black at first, but upon closer examination and the right lighting, they’re actually a very dark green. These licorice gumdrops are very similar to Dots, dome shaped and squishy.
Since Crows look so much like Dots, I was expecting them to be the same texture: so hard and chewy that I’d be picking them out of my teeth for the next couple of day (yes, I exaggerate…a little). So imagine my surprise when I bit into one and having it be terribly soft and supple. I must have gotten a really fresh box and lucked out. Chewing them is so luxurious: they deliver and chew that’s substantial yet so silky smooth. It’s heavenly. The flavor is sweet of molasses at first, then a subtle licorice and anise flavors comes through. But it’s never strong, as it’s a mild flavor and it’s really wonderful. The aftertaste is nice and herbal, like good licorice should be.
I honestly didn’t expect these to be so good. The theater sized box I had went really fast and I expect to be stocking up on them again really really soon.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Mason Crows Webpage
Just Born makes a lot of fun Easter candy, most notably the Marshmallow Peeps. They’re also the sweet masterminds behinds many jelly beans that I find around, like the Hot Tamale Spice Beans and ones that are sold as is, like the kind I am reviewing today.
I find that even though these beans aren’t associated with a specific brand, Just Born still makes the packaging appealing and festive. The rabbit tossing back a few beans in utter delight is a nice illustration and touch.
These jelly beans are lovely to look at. They’re the same size as the Hot Tamale beans: about the size of chubby peanuts. They have a beautiful sheen and the overall color scheme of the assortment is beautiful, festive and eye catching.
The texture is nice and chewy, and only slightly sticky. The beans last a good length of time in the mouth too, so they don’t dissolve too quickly, which is something I really appreciate.
Green Apple: Immediately tart with bright zesty notes and a rush of fruity flavor. It reads more like lime than apple to me. Very strange.
Cherry: Sweet, fruity and bitterly metallic. It tastes like a cough drop to me.
Pineapple: I’ve looked forward to this one so much! The flavor is very intense with sweet, juicy authentic flavors with that hint of pine.
Lemon: The flavor smacks you right away with a fresh lemon flavor. However, it lacks that zestiness I love in lemons. Instead it’s mild and sweet.
Orange: Like the lemon, this also lacks that zest I love in citrus fruits. It’s a smooth flavor with a mild presence.
Grape: This is very juicy, fake and metallic. It’s also strikingly sour.
Strawberry (pink): Very bright, fruity, and lightly perfumey. It reads as a delicate strawberry flavor, yet it wasn’t as jammy as I hoped.
Licorice (black): I love licorice beans and this one is no exception. It’ sweet with strong herbal and molasses notes to it.
What can I say, as odd as this mix may come off to some, it’s just perfect for me. It contains most of my favorite flavors and the texture is just spot on. This just might become my favorite Easter jelly bean mix.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Just Born Website
When I first laid eyes on this, I could hardly contain myself. Black Jack is an aniseed flavored chew bar, and until that moment I didn’t know such a thing existed. I was so excited! I love anise and the thought of it in a taffy just made my little heart skip a beat.
Unwrapping the taffy I was interested to find that it looks like a black/charcoal grey Airhead. It’s also about the same thickness, but the shape is a bit thinner and longer.
The texture is immediately extremely hard and sticky. I refrained from chewing to keep my teeth from being cemented together. Best method for consumption is to suck on it, or cut it.
The difficulty of eating this didn’t keep me from falling in love with it though. The flavor is where this candy sings. The taste is strongly of anise, with it’s licorice, spicy, woodsy, herbal flavors. It’s also, to my surprise, fruity as well. It has note of apple and pear in it. Delicious!
Another downside to this taffy I found out after eating it. It turned my tongue and mouth black. I felt like a giraffe. This was an unexpected side effect, to say the least. I didn’t realize it has happened until my boyfriend started laughing at me when I smiled at him.
Despite Black Jack’s oddities, I really, really liked it. I wish things like this were sold in the US, but a girl can keep dreaming, right?
Heksehyl is another licorice I found out about from Cybele over at CandyBlog. Isn’t it wonderful how even we candy bloggers can learn about new things from each other? I often turn to her website for licorice recommendations, because I’m really a novice. I just know that I like the stuff.
The Heksehyl was an extremely lucky find in a random gourmet shop in the Caesar’s Pier during a recent trip to Atlantic City. I immediately recognized it and grabbed a bag and tore it open once I was outside the store. I was that excited to find them, as interesting licorice is not an easy thing to come across in my area.
They look like little tubes, with a brown creamy center. Surrounding that is a layer of black licorice and then a dusting of granular sugar to finish it off. The pieces are a good size and can be one or two bites depending on what you felt like.
The flavor is more of the molasses center than the licorice. It’s sweet, woodsy and rich, complimented by the herbal anise-like flavors of the licorice. The sugar coating gives it a bit of a gritty texture, but it’s a very pleasant one. The overall flavor isn’t so bold that it’s overpowering, so it’s easy to down quite a few before realizing it.
This big bag was gone within a week. I wish I could find it near me so I could buy more.