It seems like the hardest reviews to write are the classic candy reviews. I've eaten so many Hot Tamales in my lifetime, but it's still hard to write about them. I would start by classifying them as an elongated cinnamon flavored jelly bean. They are chewy with the same consistency of a jelly bean with a wonderful cinnamon flavor. They are 60 years old this year (2010) and Just Born is celebrating with retro Hot Tamales boxes and custom displays at stores around the U.S.
Hot Tamales are one of my go-to candies for taking to the movies and for road trips. My wife is a big fan of cinnamon, so this is one of the candies we can share. According to the Just Born web site, Hot Tamales are the #1 chewy cinnamon candy in the U.S. This is a really specific statistic as I can't think of another chewy cinnamon candy that would compete against it...except maybe cinnamon bears.
If the classic and mild cinnamon Hot Tamales are not hot enough for you, Just Born has just the thing to help you "Get Fired Up". The Hot Tamales Fire are extra special cinnamon-y and they give regular Hot Tamales a real KICK. There were several times when I was sampling these that they went straight to my throat and caused a coughing spell. Did I stop eating them? Heck No! That's all part of the fun. Who doesn't like to make their forehead sweaty and palms clammy while eating candy? Not me. I love that feeling you get from the Hot Tamales Fire. It's cinnamon-charged candy with a turbo. I can't get enough of them, but my wife likes the more mellow classic Hot Tamales.
It's pretty easy to see the difference between these two candies if you were to combine them accidentally in one bowl. On the left is the Hot Tamales Fire, which is a deeper red color. On the right is the Hot Tamales Classic, which is a lighter red color. I'm sure the difference is more red dye as real cinnamon is brown...similar to how peppermint isn't really red and white striped. But red makes you think "fire" and the appearance and the idea that this candy is advertised as hot, with flames and a really cool mascot, makes red make sense.
One last photo of Hot Tamales in a cool new candy dish my family bought me. It is glass, but made to look like a plastic Ziploc bag. The Hot Tamales and Hot Tamales Fire look fantastic in it. Happy 60th Birthday Hot Tamales, I hope you are on the shelves for another 60 years. Of course, not the same box on the shelf, I don't want stale Hot Tamales, but I hope they keep stocking you for 60 more years.
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 20 pieces = 1 serving= 150 calories, 0g fat, 23g sugars
Price: $1.69 purchased at local grocery store
Just Born Hot Tamales Web Site
Hot Tamales Fire
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 20 pieces = 1 serving= 140 calories, 0g fat, 26g sugars
Price: $1.50 purchased at local grocery store
Just Born Hot Tamales Fire Web Site