MIke and Ike Fruit Twists

Mike and Ike Fruit Twists Strawberry Mike and Ike Fruit Twists Green Apple and Watermelon

Mike and Ike Fruit Twist Blue Raspberry with Strawberry

My son found this candy when we were on our way out of Walgreens. He tells the story like his little eagle eyes are sooooo great and he spotted them from a mile away. Pffttt....I say. They put candy at little kid's eye level and give it big bright colors with sparkles, because we all know sparkles attract attention to candy more than writing "new" or "improved" right? Okay, I'm bitter. I'm supposed to be the guy with the candy hobby who should be able to spot new candy a mile away and I was bested by a six year old!

I wasn't aware that this candy would be out this year and I met with the Just Born representatives for a long time at the Sweets and Snacks EXPO last year.  Why didn't they mention it?  This candy is manufactured and distributed under license by CandyRific. This candy was made in Spain and it has the CandyRific logo on it. CandyRific is a company that makes lots of different novelty candy under license from other companies. I wouldn't consider this candy "novelty", but it is different from what Just Born normally makes.

One thing you need to know about me is that I LOVE novelty candy. I think it's fun to see how many different kinds of candy companies can make. Add batteries, lights, fans, bobble heads, I love it all. Most of the time the candy stinks, but I still like the marketing spin to all of it. Earlier I said that I didn't think this candy could be classified as "novelty" candy. I guess I associate novelty candy with the bizarre add-ons I listed above. This candy seems like a new variety or direction for Mike and Ike, similar to the Mike and Ike Cotton Candy I've already reviewed.

If you look at the picture below you'll see that this candy looks just like licorice. In fact, it looks just like Filled Twizzlers from this review. This is definitely a licorice-like product, and it does use wheat flour just like licorice. I like to use the candy industry lingo and call it extruded candy. I love that name, E-X-T-R-U-D-E-D, it's so fun to say. I would say these have the same chew and consistency as a Twizzler licorice. Our packages were extremely fresh and the licorice was nice and soft. I left a few of these out of the package for a few days to firm them up a bit. I like a chewier licorice and not a "melts easily in your mouth" kind of licorice. It was a little better that way.

I don't understand the flavors and different sizes of this candy. One of the king size 3.3oz packages was Strawberry licorice with strawberry filling. The other king size package was green apple and watermelon mixed in the same package (see photo below). Then there was a 1.15oz ten inches long package that was a mixture of blue raspberry licorice with strawberry filling. HUH? It took me a few minutes to figure out if I had all the the flavors they offered or not. I kept thinking there was another mixed pack or mixed flavors somewhere, but there wasn't.


Oh, how did it taste?  It was good if you like Twizzler-type licorice. It didn't taste at all like Mike and Ike candy, so I'm not sure why it's licensed from Just Born except for the instant name recognition. I also don't see how this candy is called a "twist" unless you think of it as twisted licorice because it has a filling and most licorice does not. Although it didn't taste like Mike and Ike candy, it did have a good taste. I liked the green apple best, but the watermelon wasn't bad. The inside filling was a sugary paste, but it melted nicely on the tongue and was enjoyable. In case you were worried about feeding this to children, they added little logos all over it with sayings like "Made with Real Fruit Juice!" and "Good Source of Vitamin C". So there you go, skip the orange juice in the morning and grab a king size pack of Mike and Ike Fruit Twists for your daily dose of Vitamin C (well, you'd need 10 servings as its only 10% of your Vitamin C RDA).

Mike and Ike Fruit Twists Green Apple and Watermelon

Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 2 pieces (king size package) = 1 serving = 110 calories, 1g fat, 15g sugars
Price: $1.50 purchased at Walgreen's

Katjes Tappsy Chocolate Licorice Foam Candy

Katjes Tappsy

I picked this candy up at Cost Plus World Market thinking of how much I like other Katjes candies I've tried.  This one has cute little panda faces on the package and a great name, Tappsy. I translated the writing on the back with Google Translate on my Android phone and it said something about...we pick the best of the best, you can taste it yadda...yadda... So, I hoped this is going to be great candy.

Okay, so I get this candy home, take a few pictures and get ready to sample the candy. Everything starts off great because the bag has this nice chocolate aroma coming out of it (even though that does seem a bit strange for a licorice). I take out a piece of candy and put it in my mouth. At this point I'm a bit concerned because it felt like I had a very severe case of cotton mouth. I mean, seriously, this is the oddest texture of candy I think I've ever had. If you can imagine cutting up a yoga mat and putting some flavoring on it and eating it, then you can imagine what this candy texture is like. I thought maybe I was a bit parched so I guzzled some water, washing down the foul foam textured candy and then tried it again.

This time around, I thought I'd be a bit more subjective because I really do like Katjes candy. Wow, I could not get past the texture. Is this candy popular somewhere? How is that even possible? I mean, once you get past the texture, the flavor is okay. Lightly chocolatey, lightly licorice tasting, it really isn't bad.  But the texture is just odd...at least to my very American palette.  It does have one redeeming quality.  The shape of the candy is fantastic. I mean, who doesn't love cute little panda faces?

Katjes Tappsy faces

Even the cute panda faces and the halfway decent chocolate and licorice flavor cannot persuade me to recommend this to anyone. The texture really is that bad. It's sad because chocolate and licorice are very hard flavors to put together and get right and they don't fail there. These remind me of the Hershey chocolate Twizzlers I tried one time and will not ever try again. This candy got the flavor right, but putting that flavor on foam was not a good idea. My wife is planning on using these on top of cupcakes next time our son needs to take a treat to school.  They really are cute and kids will eat anything, even chocolate/licorice-flavored yoga mats!

Taste: 2/5 Did Not Like It
Calorie Counter: 5 pieces = 1 serving = 140 calories, 0g fat, 23g sugars
Price: $2.49 purchased at Cost Plus World Market
Katjes Web Site

Here are a few other reviews of this candy at Candy Blog, The Candy Enthusiast, and Candy Gurus.

Kookaburra Liquorice - Green Apple, Raspberry, Mango

Kookaburra Liquorice

After reviewing the old fashioned red and black versions of Kookaburra licorice I thought I'd move on to their other flavors. I bought the green apple, raspberry and mango flavors because they are completely different than other flavors of licorice out there. While most people will stick to the normal flavors, it's always fun to a branch out and try something new. These flavors all smelled great and were flavored all the way through. They were a fantastic slightly-larger-than-bite size with a chewy texture and very rich flavor.
Kookaburra Liquorice Green Apple Kookaburra Liquorice Green Apple

The first bag we opened, oh..okay, I ripped this one open before my family could give any input. What?, I love green apple. The smell is the first thing you notice. Oh....that smell, green apple, so good, so tasty, flowery, and sweet. I immediately started eating these two at a time. If you can imagine a Sour Apple Jolly Rancher in licorice form, you know what this will taste like. It....is....fantastic! So flavorful and rich, it's green apple tasty, not puckery or tart at all, just tasty and mild flavored. I keep going back to the smell, since smell is 70-75% of taste. This green apple reminds me of the ripe apple smell we get in the fall when our small orchard is full of ripe apples. I didn't think I could get enough of this licorice.
Kookaburra Liquorice Raspberry Kookaburra Liquorice Raspberry

The raspberry was larger in size than the other Kookaburra licorice, very similar in size to the black licorice versus the red in my previous review. The raspberry had a less intense taste than any of the other Kookaburra licorice flavors. It was definitely not as good, tart, or raspberry-tasting as the Panda raspberry licorice I reviewed last week. The taste was very muted. Now, it's possible I received old stock, but I could not tell because the bag didn't have a freshness date on it anywhere. It wasn't a bad raspberry taste...and since it's still the same great Kookaburra licorice base that's chewy and rich, it is still enjoyable to eat.
Kookaburra Liquorice Mango Kookaburra Liquorice Mango

Mango is one of those flavors that I really like. The only problem is that my wife hates mangos. It has something to do with a trip to Cuba, and a meal involving a rusty pan over a fire pit, a ring of bologna, and some over-ripe mangos. I don't know, we don't bring it up and we don't buy mangos EVER. I think she's scarred for life. Oh...mango, it's that smell and taste that's a cross between an orange, pineapple, and peach. I think it's a wonderful flavor and this licorice captures it nicely. It may be that my mind was playing tricks on me since mango is banned from our household, but this licorice had a "juicy" taste to it. I'm not sure how else to describe it but it I could swear I felt like I'd bitten into a ripe and juicy mango fruit with juice that went everywhere. This really was one great tasting mango licorice and it's such an odd flavor choice you would never have thought it could taste that good. Of course, that is only my opinion, my wife would not even smell the candy, let alone eat a piece to help me review it.

Kookaburra Licorice - Green Apple
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 5 pieces = 1 serving= 110 calories, 1g fat
Price: $3.33 + shipping purchased at Kookaburra Website
Kookaburra website

Kookaburra Licorice - Raspberry
Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 4 pieces = 1 serving= 100 calories, 1g fat
Price: $3.33 + shipping purchased at Kookaburra Website
Kookaburra website

Kookaburra Licorice - Mango
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 5 pieces = 1 serving= 100 calories, 1g fat
Price: $3.33 + shipping purchased at Kookaburra Website
Kookaburra website

Kookaburra Liquorice Old Fashioned Red and Black

Kookaburra Liquorice  - Old Fashioned Black Kookaburra Liquorice - Old Fashioned Red

The title is not a mistake, that is exactly how Kookaburra spells licorice on their bags. I think it's an odd way to spell it, but they do things differently "down under". While my review of Panda licorice shows the Finns can make a very very good licorice, the Australians want you to believe they make the best licorice in the world...which brings us to Kookaburra licorice.

We found this licorice at a local candy store originally. I then ordered several of these bags from the U.S. Kookaburra directly. If you haven't tried real gourmet licorice, you are really missing out. Made with real molasses, licorice extract, and treacle this is the real deal. The package says these are "Rich, Chewy, Delicious" and I couldn't agree more. In fact, as we were eating a few, we couldn't help but adding other adjectives to the description. Soft, super chewy, dense, flavorful, strong, powerful, addicting.... we went on for several minutes.

Kookaburra Liquorice  - Old Fashioned Black

The black licorice takes second place, but that's just because the red is so good. The black licorice is a larger size than the red, has a more uniform shape, and it doesn't have small "floating" pieces of licorice stuck to it. You can see those pieces stuck to the red ones in the picture below. From the minute this black licorice hits your tongue, you can taste a wonderful bitter licorice extract taste. If you like black licorice, you should definitely try this one. The taste is really, really good; however, we like the molasses flavor and texture of Panda licorice a little better.

Kookaburra Liquorice - Old Fashioned Red

When you open the red licorice bag, the smell of strawberries is very powerful. When you bite into one of these, the taste of strawberry jam is overwhelming to the senses. These are ADDICTING! Once we open a bag of these, we can't stop. This is our favorite gourmet red licorice and a bag of these do not last long at our house.
Kookaburra Liquorice Kookaburra Liquorice  - Old Fashioned Black

Kookaburra Liquorice - Black
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 4 pieces = 1 serving= 130 calories, 0.5g fat
Price: $3.33 + shipping purchased at Kookaburra website - Buy From Amazon.com
Kookaburra website

Kookaburra Liquorice - Red
Taste: 5/5 Loved It
Calorie Counter: 4 pieces = 1 serving= 140 calories, 1g fat
Price: $3.33 + shipping purchased at Kookaburra website - Buy From Amazon.com
Kookaburra website

Jelly Belly Licorice Bridge Mix

Jelly Belly Licorice Bridge Mix

I'm continuing licorice reviews and I thought I'd review licorice tasting candy along with real licorice. Of course I picked one of my favorite candy makers, Jelly Belly. I've seen this licorice bridge mix before but hadn't purchased it, so of course I had to purchase it for this review.

The licorice smell was intense upon opening the package. I was a little upset that my bridge mix didn't contain a single non-pareil. There's a picture of one front and center on the package, but none inside. I realize every bag will be a bit different, but you'd think they would have some quality control at Jelly Belly. Also inside are candy coated licorice pastels. These have a fantastic taste but they needed to be larger in size. It's a Jelly Belly package so, of course, there are black licorice Jelly Belly jelly beans. They are fantastic, like most other Jelly Belly jelly beans. My favorite item is the mellocreme half dome licorice candies. They have a very classic mellocreme texture with licorice flavoring. So good!

Jelly Belly Licorice Bridge Mix

Overall, this is a fantastic licorice bridge mix. The mellocremes make it different from any other bridge mix I've had before. I like the crunchy, chewy and Jelly Belly goodness it contains. It's just as good as the Easter mix I reviewed. If you love classic licorice flavor, but want something different than a wheat/molasses licorice twist, these fit the bill nicely.

Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 1/2 of the package = 1.5 ounces = 1 serving= 150 calories, 0g fat
Price: $1.99 purchased at a Truck Stop with a very large Jelly Belly display
Jelly Belly Website

Twizzlers: Twizted Berry, Sweet & Sour Filled Twists, Strawberry Twists

Twizzlers Twizted Berry Licorice Twizzlers Twizted Berry Licorice

I really, really like the Pull-n-Peel Twizzlers licorice line. The Cinnamon Fire flavor is my absolute favorite flavor in that line. I like the overall texture of Pull-n-Peel and the chewiness. I think this Twizted Berry flavor is aimed at kids, given its bright colors, fun packaging, and misspelled name. It has a very berry-like smell when you open the package, but the overall flavor wasn't very powerful. These will stick to your teeth and are very sugary sweet. The package I purchased was well within its freshness date, but it was impossible to pull the individual licorice strands off of these. I really wanted to try the grape, berry and raspberry flavors individually.

Twizzlers Sweet & Sour Filled Licorice Twists Twizzlers Sweet & Sour Filled Licorice Twists

I was really looking forward to trying this licorice. I wanted to compare it with Wonka's Kazoozles when I review them in a few days. The flavors are (yellow color) citrus punch! and (red) cherry kick! It's hand-to-hand combat ready candy! The candy is a mixture of citrus and cherry smells when opened. The filling is a goopy kind of liquid, it's somewhat solid. The citrus was fantastic with a nice puckery tartness to it. The cherry flavor was okay, not my favorite, but cherry is hard to do correctly. You definitely do not want to try eating these together, it's a horrible mixture of tastes. Again, these are sugary sweet and stick to your teeth (that should be Twizzlers tag line, in my opinion). It's not a bad thing, I love a good sugar KICK and then a sticky PUNCH as well as a nice chewy and dense licorice every once in awhile.
Twizzlers Strawberry Twists Licorice Twizzlers Strawberry Twists Licorice

I mentioned in my Red Vine review that I really like Red Vine licorice. I'm not a huge fan of the regular old Strawberry Twists Twizzlers. Strawberry is another one of those really, really hard flavors to do correctly. As you can see in the picture above, the licorice slabs do not look very appealing and that's carried through to the taste. I find them kind of blah. I like the Twizzler phrase on this package, "makes your mouth happy", but these really are not a candy that makes me or my mouth happy. I'm glad Twizzlers branched out with other types of licorice because I like them a lot better. I even saw a Watermelon Pull-n-Peel at the store tonight and I picked them up and enjoyed the two I ate on the way home. I know there are lots of people that love these strawberry twists, but I'll pass. What a boring world it would be if we all liked the same thing, and, of course, then the candy aisle could be a lot shorter.

Twizzlers Twizted Berry
Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 1 package = 2 ounces = 1 serving= 190 calories, 1g fat
Price: $1.19 purchased at a Truck Stop
Twizzlers Pull & Peel Website

Twizzlers Sweet & Sour Filled Twists
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 1 package = 1.9 ounces = 1 serving= 180 calories, 2g fat
Price: $.99 purchased at a gas station
Twizzlers Filled Twists Website

Twizzlers Strawberry Twists
Taste: 2/5 Did Not Like It
Calorie Counter: 1 package = 2.5 ounces = 1 serving= 240 calories, 1g fat
Price: $.99 purchased at local gas station
Twizzlers Strawberry Twists Website

Panda Raspberry Licorice and Soft (Black) Licorice

Panda Raspberry Licorice Panda Soft Licorice (black)

In my opinion, Panda is the gold standard for easy to find, great tasting licorice. I follow Panda on Twitter and they had a contest a few weeks ago to name what country they were from. I waited hours to answer because it was such a softball question (and I didn't want to be greedy). They are from Finland, of course! Okay, maybe everyone doesn't know that. For answering correctly, they sent a box of their raspberry licorice and two bars of their soft licorice. I know it's a bit technical, but black licorice, as most people call it, is like saying "a tall giant." By default, licorice is black because of what it's made from. So please keep in mind that when I say "licorice" in this review, I'm referring to black licorice.

I was really excited to taste the raspberry licorice, since I've never had it before. I love the box, it makes this licorice look very high end. It fits in well among the other candy you would find in an all natural or organic section of your grocery store. This is a foil-lined box that has a plastic film on the top to keep the licorice extra fresh. When you fold the box up and tuck the tabs in, it reseals the plastic if you stick it back down. This is very convenient to keep these fresh--which is important for licorice. I was really impressed with the bright red licorice on the front. I kept wondering how Panda was able to do that when the ingredient list doesn't mention artificial (duh me, it's all natural!) or any other coloring. Well...as the picture shows below, they aren't exactly bright red. More of a rusty brown actually. The box did smell slightly of raspberry, but it was very faint. The taste is pretty darn good! You can really taste the raspberry puree (nice and tart) and this licorice has a very familiar wheaty chew to it. I love the shape, licorice tubes are fantastic and just the perfect size for snacking.

Panda Raspberry Licorice

I absolutely love to open a fresh licorice bar from Panda. That wonderful anise smell that fills your nose, the beautiful black color. Then you rip into one and it's soft, chewy, very flavorful and the molasses and anise taste hits your taste buds and you know you it's real licorice you just bit into. It's not sweet or sticky tasting, it's exactly what black I mean licorice should taste like. I'm not sure if you can tell, but I'm a huge fan of licorice. Panda makes such a good product. And it's easy to find and full of flavor. Thanks Panda for the prize pack. I sure would love to visit your factory in Finland. Could you have a contest for that next?

Panda Soft Licorice (black)

Panda Raspberry Licorice
Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 11 pieces = 1 serving= 130 calories, 0g fat
Price: Free from Panda - Buy them from Amazon.com
Panda Website

Panda Soft (black) Licorice
Taste: 5/5 Loved It
Calorie Counter: 1 (32g) bar = 1 serving= 100 calories, 0g fat
Price: Free from Panda - Buy them from Amazon.com
Panda Website

Other Panda Raspberry Licorice Reviews:
Candy Addict.com
Snak Snak
Candy Blog.net

Grape Vines & Red Vines

Grape Vines Red Vines

The American Licorice Company is the very first company to contact me regarding free samples to be reviewed on SugarPressure.com. I was very excited to hear from them and a few days after they emailed me a large box was delivered containing several boxes of Grape Vines - Purple Grape Twists licorice. I thought it only fitting to review them on National Licorice Day in the United States.

I'm not a huge fan of licorice in general and I usually prefer real black licorice over red or other flavors. However, if I'm going to pick a red licorice I usually go with Red Vines. The big thing about candy for me is past memories. I had several memories of Red Vines that kept going through my head when the Grape Vines arrived. One of these memories was when I was around 9 years old. I was at a friend's house and his mom had purchased Red Vines for several of us to share after school. I remember grabbing the bag and running with it, kidding all my friends, so I could be first to eat the wonderful red extruded candy product. (I love that word, "extruded". It's the name given to licorice because of how it's made. Read here about how licorice is made or read about the history of licorice over at Candy Professor.com) So here I am, running with a fresh bag of Red Vines, my friends all chasing me and I yank a few out of the bag, put them in my mouth and give them a tug. I then come to a screeching stop because my two front teeth exited my mouth when I gave a tug on the licorice. Now, this isn't a freak occurrence and I do not blame the licorice--because I've lost those two front teeth almost 16 times now and at that point I had already lost them 5 or 6 times. I remember it so vividly because as I'm walking home, front teeth gone, gums bleeding, I finished off the two Red Vines using my side molars. My mom would never let me forget that, she thought I was nuts! No Mom, I really love candy that much.

Red Vines

Okay, back to the Grape Vines. When we opened the first package and yes, we tore into these right away, the smell of grape was very powerful. I think it's a wonderful smell and I love a good grape flavor. What we found, along with the many co-workers and friends we shared these with, is that the flavor is very mellow. The Grape Vines have a very light grape flavor. Most people found this a little disappointing, but then I pulled out the one pound bag of Red Vines and had people try them, they too have a very light flavor, although no one is really sure what that flavor is (cherry? strawberry? red and wonderful?). After reminding people of the Red Vine's flavor, people were happier with the Grape Vines. I like that the American Licorice Company is adding other flavors to their classic Red Vines. My overall impression is similar to how I feel about Hot Tamales vs. Jolly Joes. I buy Hot Tamales 9 times out of 10, but that 10th time, I buy Mike and Ike Jolly Joes. I feel the same way about Grape Vines. I'll probably stick with Red Vines 9 times out of 10, but that 10th time, I'll go with Grape Vines for something different.

Grape & Red Vines

What we like most about Red Vines is the chewy texture. I know I could eat a million of them because they lack that sugary stickiness that gets in your teeth. What I miss in the Grape Vines is that same chewy texture. It took me a while to figure out that the Grape Vines have thinner walls and a larger opening in the middle. This leads to a very different texture than Red Vines, although it's good, it's just not a Red Vine. See picture below for the difference:

Grape & Red Vines

You can see my overall score for the Grape Vines below, but I liked them for what they are. They are yet another choice for licorice fans from a company most people know very well. I'd suggest everyone try these if they can, they are worth it for something new and different. I'd also like to thank the kind people at the American Licorice Company for sending us our first sample candy. You can read & watch several other reviews of Red Vines review at Candyblog.Net, Grape Vines review at Candyblog.net, Grape Vines review at Zomg, Candy!, video review of Grape Vines at TodoCandy, CandyGurus review of Grape Vines.

Grape Vines

Red Vines - Original Red Twists
Taste: 4/5 Really Liked It
Calorie Counter: 4 vines = 1 serving= 140 calories, 0g fat
Price: $1.99 purchased at WalMart
Red Vines Website

Grape Vines - Purple Grape Twists
Taste: 3/5 Liked It
Calorie Counter: 4 vines = 1 serving= 140 calories, 0g fat
Price: Sample provided by American Licorice Company
American Licorice Company Website