Mamba Duos

These Mamba Duos were free samples that I snagged at Sweets and Snacks along with Monday’s Mamba Sours. From their Amazon listing, it looks like they were a limited edition Mamba flavor.

Fittingly enough, there were two flavors of Duos, and two flavors in each Duo. The wrappers were decorated with funny-looking Frankenstein fruits.

Like the regular Mambas, there were six individually wrapped candies per pack. The candies were softly chews that became quite sticky while being chewed.

Watermelon Apple was pink and yellow striped. It mostly tasted of that especially artificial Jolly Rancher candied watermelon flavor with a bit of apple juiciness to the finish.

Raspberry Peach was pink with a yellow swirl. It started off with a mild red fruit flavor and some raspberry seediness.

The flavor then evolved into the fuzzy sweet juiciness of a ripe peach. That peach flavor was delicious – it would make for a lovely Mamba flavor all on its own!

I enjoyed the texture and flavor intensity of these chews. The peach half of the raspberry-peach Duo was my favorite. An OM for the set.

Mamba Sour

Some people get extremely worked up about how buying Mambas can mean playing a lottery for which 3 out of the 4 flavors you get. Fortunately, when they gave out samples at Sweets and Snacks, they gave them out in single-flavor packs, so I was easily able to get one each of these Mamba Sours.

Like regular Mambas, they came in raspberry, strawberry, lemon, and orange. Each flavor pack contained 6 rectangles of the individually wrapped candies, which looked identical to the regular Mambas.

The candies were softly chewy and quite sticky. They melted away if I just held them in my mouth.

Orange yielded a juicy burst of orange flavor that was brightly sweet and quite tart. The bite of tartness lingered in the finish with just a hint of tongue-numbing.

Lemon was even brighter and even more sour than the orange. It really captured the puckery flavor of a real lemon. Here, too, the sourness made me salivate.

Strawberry had lovely floral undertones that I greatly enjoyed. It carried a slight tartness but wasn’t nearly as sour as the citrus flavors.

Finally, raspberry had the seediness of artificial raspberry candies that I usually find off-putting. In this case, however, that seediness was buried in enough generally fruity flavor and that I didn’t mind it. Here, like the in the strawberry, the sourness was noticeable but mild.

I really enjoyed the intensely bright, fruity flavors and tangy tartness of these chews. The citrus fruits were my favorite, but the other two were nice as well. OMG.

Mini Chewy SweeTarts

I used to love SweeTarts when I was a kid. My parents used to buy me a big roll of them to keep me quiet on long car rides and such, so I think about them with fondness.

Nestle was handing out free samples of these Mini Chewy SweeTarts at Sweets and Snacks. I don’t think they’re a new product, so I’m not sure why they were being given away, but I was happy to nab a bag.

The Mini Chewies were psychedelically colored pellets, each about the size of my pinky nail. They’re the same flavors as regular SweeTarts, just a different shape and size and texture.

They had a crunchy shell with a center chew that was grainy and bouncy. Its texture reminded of gumballs, only the Mini Chewies dissolved as I chewed them.

Red/pink was malty and sour. Artificial red fruit flavors all taste the same to me, so I’m just taking a stab and guessing that this was supposed to be artificial cherry.

Orange tasted of citrus zest with a mellow orange fruit flavor and a sour finish. Yellow was similarly zesty but tarter and lemony.

Green was an uber-sweet candied apple, and purple was a medicinal-tasting fake grape. If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of fake grape candy.

These weren’t bad, but I’ve definitely outgrown the super sweet and artificial nature of these guys. An O.

Wonka Kazoozles – Strawberry Melon

I got this bag of Wonka Kazoozles as a free sample from the Nestle booth at Sweets and Snacks. It was strawberry melon-flavored “delickoricious chewy candy”. Delickoricious is a ridickoricious word.

I’m not sure how close my sample was to the final packaging, as it said “sales sample – not labeled for retail sale”, and though it claimed that it contained “2 strawberry ropes with watermelon filling”, my bag had 4. The bag itself was crackly, and its inner surface was reflectively shiny, like mylar.

The Kazoozles looked like red and green versions of my beloved filled licorice pencils and smelled like a bag of red fruit snacks. Each was about 6 inch long and softly floppy, so that its top half slowly bent over when I held it upright. Ridickoricious.

The candied red outside was stiffly chewy, similar to a Twizzlers but softer and less stick-in-your-teeth-y. It tasted of sweet fake berry with just a smidge of plasticky undertone.

The green center was a finely grainy fondant with the texture of dried up frosting. I didn’t get any watermelon flavors, candied or otherwise; it just tasted generically sweet to me.

As the Kazoozle’s chew continued, that sweetness intensified and brightened near the end. It wasn’t a super classy or fancy candy, but I enjoyed it enough.

It’s not quite the perfect replacement for licorice pencils – Kazoozle’s have a higher rope to fondant ratio than the fatly fondant-y pencils that I like – but it’s pretty good. An O. I’d give it an O+ if I could; it’s not quite at OM level.

Cybele from Candy Blog reviewed a different iteration of Kazoozles a few years ago. Hers look fatter and actually were 2 to a package.

Chimes Ginger Chews – Mango

This bag of mango flavored Chimes Ginger Chews were in my free swag bag at Sweets and Snacks. I didn’t visit their booth at the Expo because I don’t particularly care for ginger candy – they remind me too much of the herbal Asian remedies my mother forced me to eat/drink when I was a kid.

The chews were all individually wrapped. Inside, the actual candies were little chunks of chewy candies dusted in powdered sugar (or maybe tapioca starch, based on the ingredients list) that kept them from sticking to the wrapper. It looked like it was originally one long cylinder that had then been cut into inch-long pieces, as the ends were a bit sticky.

The candies were extremely sticky and chewy, like a cross between a caramel’s stickiness and a Starburst’s bounce. That powdered coating was a smart and necessary addition.

The first flavor that I got upon biting into the chews was that of a fresh, ripe mango. They did a great job of capturing that seedy sweet tinge that mangos have!

Unfortunately for me, the spicy burn of ginger then came through. It was a special kind of spicy – there was no heat; just a numbing, tingly sensation and the intense flavor of fresh ginger.

That gingeryness quickly became too strong for me to finish a whole chew, but I was able to notice that the mango flavor stayed through the finish and lingered a bit after, along with that numbing spiciness.

I am a total wimp when it comes to ginger candies. When I brought the rest of the bag to lab, however, the candies quickly disappeared, and ginger candy lovers gave these guys high marks.

I don’t think it’s fair for me to give these a true rating. I could tell that the flavors were genuine and tasty; I just couldn’t handle the spiciness. If you like ginger candies, I think you’ll like these, and if you don’t, you won’t.

Candy Blog’s reviewed the plain and orange flavors of Chimes and seemed to enjoy them.

Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes

Original Warheads hard candies made their splash on the U.S. market when I was a kid. My friends and I used to compete to see how many we could stand to hold in our mouths at once and – more importantly – how long we could keep them there as their sour coating burned holes into our mouths. Oh the joys of childhood!

These Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes were a new-to-me product that were being handed out as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. The sour meter on the back of the wrapper placed these at “sour”, a step above “tart” but below “super sour” and “extreme”.

They turned out to be little centimeter cubes in psychedelic, not-found-in-nature colors. Their texture was a cross between Starbursts and gummi/jelly candies – they had a long-lasting chew that sometimes got stuck in my teeth but had the softer, slightly grainy squish of gummi/jelly candies.

The sour sugar that coated the cube was mild, definitely far below what I’d expect from the Warheads brand. I’d call it tart, maybe, but it was really mostly just sweet. It added a little bit of sandy grit to the chew.

The package that I unwrapped had pink, orange, purple, and blue cubes. It looks like I missed out on green and red, which were depicted on the wrapper.

Pink was maybe watermelon, maybe strawberry? Lightly sweet and generically red-fruity tasting. Purple was grape, I suppose. Really it just tasted like a purple SweeTart.

Orange was orange and packed a surprisingly zesty punch with a spot-on orange soda flavor. And blue was who knows? Some mysterious artificial fruit flavor, maybe fruit punch or something.

Most of the cubes had a slightly bitter finish that was stronger in some colors than others. I’ll chalk that up to the artificial colors and flavors that these contained. Yummy!

These weren’t great, but they weren’t awful. Innocuous and not something that I’d spend money on. An O.

Shurms Caramel Apple Soft Candy Chews

One of my favorite Halloween candies are Tootsie’s Caramel Apple pops, so I gladly accepted the chance to review free samples of Shurms Caramel Apple Soft Candy Chews. They were definitely unlike anything I’ve ever had before.

The individually wrapped chews were gorgeous to behold, a thick, luscious looking layer of caramel atop a glowing green translucent square of apple chew. The apple chew sort of looked like Jell-o, but the texture was not at all gelatin-like.

Instead, it was like a fruit pate crossed with a Starburst. It was sticky, but it separated easily when I bit into it. The softness and squishiness of fruit pate was there, but fruit pate’s notable graininess was missing (these were slippery smooth).

It tasted of sweet, candied green apple, like an apple Jolly Rancher or the solid apple part of the Tootsie Caramel Apple pops.

The sweet brightness of the apple stood out nicely against the sticky caramel, which was sweet and buttery with a slightly sour tinge to the finish. I could feel a light graininess when I flattened the caramel against my tongue, but it otherwise was smoothly chewy.

The different kinds of chewiness – the caramel stickiness plus the fruit pate/Starburst hybrid apple portion – was a new sensation that I’ve never before experienced.

I’d give these an O – I enjoyed them enough that I’d grab a few out of a bulk bin, if they were sold that way. Alas, they’re currently not available in stores outside of Michigan, but you can order them online at their website.

Au’some Giga Bites

Au’some was promoting these Giga Bites at their booth at Sweets and Snacks. I got free samples of one of each flavor to review.

Au’some is trying to market these as “Your social candy.” The back has a link to their Facebook page, and the name and flavors are techy-tinged.

All of the candies were little nuggets, like their fruit nuggets (which I love), but with the addition of a crunchy shell. The shell shattered upon first bite, and they then have a slightly grainy, non-sticky chew.

Banana Bandwidth was supposed to be “strawberry, banana & blackcurrant.” The first bite of the mustard yellow nuggets was strongly artificial banana-flavored with lots of floral, bubble-gummy notes.

The flavor then mellowed and sweetened, then gained a mild dark acidic note from the blackcurrant. I really hate artificial banana candies, but the rest of the flavors were decent.

Binary Berry was “blueberry, raspberry, & wild berry” with pink/purple nuggets. This one just tasted like artificial generic mixed berry, with deep red fruit flavors. It reminded me of a raspberry + cherry Popsicle.

I thought it a bit too sweet, and it had an unpleasant wheatiness or pasty starchiness to the finish. That general feel was in all the flavors, but it was most pronounced in this one.

Short Circuit Citrus was “lemon, orange, & apple” and was a rusty brownish-reddish-orange color. It started with a nice citrus sweetness before picking up a bright citrus tartness and ended with an apple juice finish.

These were my favorite of the bunch because I really like citrus-flavored things, but I think all of these Giga Bites paled in comparison to Au’some’s Florida’s Natural nuggets. The Florida’s Natural candies have brighter, more intense flavors that I found more enjoyable.

And really, I think they’re trying a little too hard to position these as “social media” candy, though I think the little robot mascot is cute. An O.

Starburst Flavor Morph

Starburst Flavor Morph is a new-ish addition to the Starburst line. Cybele covered them back in November, but I didn’t get mine until very recently, both as free samples from and from the press room at Sweets and Snacks.

Though they’ve been out for at least six months, my package still called them “New!” It also touted the candy’s “flavor changing beads!”, which made them sound all fancy and technologically advanced.

Those flavor changing beads were actually visible in the Starburst square. I could also sometimes feel them in the sticky chew of the Starburst as little hard pellets between my molars.

There were only two flavors in the pack. One was orange that morphed to orange strawberry, and the other was cherry that morphed to cherry lime. It seems like they don’t so much morph as gain a second flavor.

Orange to orange strawberry started off as a much more mild form of the usual orange Starburst flavor. It was not nearly as sour or bright or citrusy.

The strawberry flavor came in quickly and further mellowed the flavor, giving it a slightly plasticky floral edge that finished like strawberry Starburst (the pink ones).

Orange strawberry was a weird combination for me. I think I prefer those flavors separately to them together. An O.

Cherry to cherry lime was much better. It started off like a regular cherry Starburst, with a slight tartness to the start. The lime then came through in a few chews with a strong, limey bite of zestiness.

It was like a chewable form of a Sonic cherry limeade. Sort of Shirley Temple-esque, but tangier from the lime. The mix of sweet berry fruitiness and the zesty lime flavor was a winner for me. An OM.

Dorval Sour Power Straws – Pink Lemonade

These Dorval Sour Power Straws were a free sample of a new flavor: Pink Lemonade. The rest of their line-up includes blue raspberry, watermelon, strawberry, and green apple, which I’d tried before under their Sortz name.

I really enjoyed these Pink Lemonade straws. They didn’t have any of the stiff plastic taste or over-wheaty flavor that put me off the Sortz and that you get in Sour Punch Straws.

Instead, they were soft and pliable tubes, about 6-7 inches long, with an easy chew. They were much softer, and thus much more texturally pleasant, than Twizzlers. Also unlike Twizzlers, they didn’t get stuck in the cracks of my teeth.

The sour sugar sand on the surface of the straws was mostly sweet with a little tartness. The pink lemonade flavor of the actual straws was sweet with a light, mild citrus note.

There was no lemon zestiness, but a definite lemonade/lemon drop flavor persisted throughout the chew. The sour came through in the middle when the sour sand started melting on my tongue, and the final finish was just the sweet fruitiness of the straw.

I thought these were quite well done for a relatively simple treat. The texture was spot on, while the taste was sweet and sour – but not too sour – without any off notes. An OM.

Dorval will be at the Sweets and Snacks Expo. I plan to revisit the Sortz to see if my original batch was past its prime (though I did taste it before its best-by date).