In my first year of college, I dropped hints to my parents about how my roommates were getting great care packages from home, with things like homemade cookies and knitted hats and other fun treats.
Eventually, my hints worked – sort of. I got a package from my parents that was full of cough drops and a note: “Rosa, Do not have too much fun. Dad.”
Recently, I received a similar package, but this time, I was expecting it: a box full of Luden’s throat drops that were free samples from the manufacturer.
They’re throat drops, not cough drops, which means they have no medication in them. Their new orange flavor, however, is also a Vitamin C supplement.
I got four flavors: wild cherry, orange, honey lemon, and honey licorice. They came in single-flavored bags of individually wrapped drops. All were oval hard candies stamped with “Luden’s”, and all had perfectly smooth melts.
Wild cherry had a deep red sweetness. There was no tartness or brightness to the flavor, but there was also no medicinal tinge, which sometimes plagues cherry-flavored candies. Red candy flavors have never been my thing, but these were nice enough.
Orange is the new addition to their lineup and boasts real orange juice and your daily dose of Vitamin C. It started with a light undertone of orange zest with just an edge of pithy bitterness.
It did get a bit tarter as I held it in my mouth, but I prefer my orange candies brighter and tangier.
Honey lemon was the most familiar cough-droppy tasting one. Its initial quick lemon citrus hit became immediately displaced by a strong menthol sensation.
The menthol was not too intense – it didn’t reach my sinuses, but it did cool my mouth every time I inhaled. The acid lemon flavor was light, as was the sweetness of the honey, though the lemon did get a bit tarter as time went on.
Honey licorice had bitey, herbal, grassy notes of classic licorice. I really hate licorice, so these were definitely not my thing, and I had to spit them out. I am a terrible licorice reviewer.
I wouldn’t buy these as a candy replacement, but they’re good for their candy-as-medicine class. I’ll happily keep the rest of my samples handy for my next cough or sore throat. Actually, based on how people have been sounding around campus, I should bring them to lab with me and hand them out.
I give Os to the wild cherry, orange, and honey lemon. In the honey licorice case, I abstain.