Where's My Sour?
Sour Snack Roundup III
Another month goes by and there are always more sour candies coming out to taste and review. With Halloween arriving, it's the perfect time to break out new candy and see if the sour shockers can being you a scary scene. Tastes o terrify and delight in the middle of the night. So we have three more sour treats to check out... although, fair warning up front these three items are actually not all that impressive for anyone absolutely wanting good, sour experiences.
But let's not spoil things too much. On to the candy:
Skittles, as we discussed last time, have one of the best sour candies around: Sour Skittles. They're like regular Skittles when it comes to their base flavors, but they're coated in ascorbic acid powder, giving them that sharp, hard, sour bite. When I want sour candies, they're absolutely my go to. So when the brand puts out something else sour, it's a double-edged sword for them. They have my trust that they can deliver the goods, but there's also a high bar they have meet that they, themselves, set.
Shriekers boast a collection of sweet flavors -- Rattled Raspberry, Ghoulish Green Apple, Shocking Lime, Spine-tingling Tangerine, Citrus Scream -- but there's a chance any of the candies in the batch could be sour. It's like a little flavor grenade that could go off at any moment. In essence they're like the Bertie Bot jelly beans, but instead of getting gross flavors, like vomit or grass or whatever is in those beans, you get a spike of sour flavor. In concept this is interesting, a little Halloween spark to chill your day.
In practice, though, I find that these just aren't that interesting. The base flavors are fine if not all that shocking. Basic Skittles already have a berry flavor (strawberry) along with three citrus flavors (orange, lime, and lemon). Hell, for a while they had apple as a base flavor, too. That makes this mix feel very standard when compared to the normal tastes you'd get from Skittles. They're safe, basic, and not at all interesting as a specialty Halloween candy at all.
But worse, the sour bits when you get them, aren't that sour. They have a bit of bite, sure, but they're more tart than really sour. When you compare a sour one from a Shriekers bag to a candy from the Sour bags, the Sour flavors beat them, hands down. Now, maybe it's not fair to compare one sour candy to another from the same brand... but I'm going to anyway. They made their name, they have a brand, they have to meet their own expectations. There's noting offensively bad about Shriekers, there's just nothing really good about them, either. They're Skittles. Woo.
Haribo Sour Streamers
Speaking of candies that are more tart than sour: Haribo's Sour Streamers. To be frank, Haribo has always struck me as the bargain bin chewy candy company. They have gummy bears and gummy worms and all kinds of other gummies. That's they're bread and butter. But when someone says they're in the mood for gummy candy, Haribo is not usually the candy their speaking of. I'm betting they're reaching for Albanese or Dylan’s or one of those brands. Haribo is why you reach for when you can't find anything else.
I feel like the same extends to all their candy types. I've seen a number of sour belts over the years (hell, we even have reviewed some before) and Haribo's entry into the category looks just like everyone else's. This isn't something new or interesting they're doing; they same a gummy hey didn't make and they copied everyone else. It's a basic bag with four flavors -- blue raspberry, cherry, apple, and orange -- and it looks and does exactly what you'd expect from a Haribo brand candy.
In other words: these sour belts... I'm sorry, sour streamers, are not great. Two of the flavors were perfectly fine, blue raspberry and cherry. At least, I assume it was cherry; it was that generic red flavor that so many candies come in now, but it did taste like candy red. Red is red, blue is blue in this batch and they taste like you expect. The green apple was fine, if in offensive. While the blue and red were at least tart (not sour, just tart), the apple in the batch I grabbed was oddly sweet. It tasted fine for a sweet candy belt, but it didn't give me the sour I wanted.
The worst of the batch, though, was the orange. These belts were, plainly put, nasty. The orange flavor used on them tasted like orange zest, the peelings of the rind without any of the tasty fruit flavor included. Yes, they were sour, but their flavor was also bitter and pungent and gross. They ruined the whole experience for me. However good the other belts might have been, and as tart candies they were fine, I'm not buying a candy where I'm going to toss out one quarter of the bag. These were an absolute hard pass.
And then we end with another sad batch of candy. Look, Warheads have a brand. They make sour candies. Not just sour, extremely sour. They created the market for over-sour candies with their little Warheads hard lozenges. When you buy Warheads products you expect sour and if it doesn't slap you in the face and make you have at least a few regrets then the candy has failed. That's the bar the brand has set and they have to expect we'll judge anything they do against it. Plain and simple.
But they they released Wedgies, chunky chewy candies that come in three flavors: Cherry Limeade, Pink Lemonade, and Watermelon Punch. They're flavor combos that seem like they were designed to compete, head to head, with Sour Patch Kids. The watermelon especially seems targeted right at the watermelon bites from Sour Patch Kids, right down to the texture and flavor of them. And that's fine; any company is allowed to try and compete, one-on-one, with another brand and their products. Turn about is fair play and all that.
The issue is that, on a basic level, these Warheads fail to rise to the level of Warheads. The candies themselves are soft, chewy, and the flavor combos aren't bad. You want watermelon, or lemonade, or the like, these manage to hit the notes you expect. But one key ingredient is missing: sour. If these were billed as sweet bites from any other company I would call them a winner. But these are Warheads, with "uncomfortably sour" literally on the label. The only thing "uncomfortable" about them was how sweet they were. They're no sour to these candies at all.
I tried a couple of them and found them all to be very sweet. Like, sugary sweet with no tart bite at all. Just to check that maybe all the sour powder had come off and these were supposed to be more shocking, I dipped my finger into the bag and got some of the coating powder to taste. And it was just sugar. No sour, just sweet.
Maybe, if we're being very kid, we might think, "hey, this could have been a bad batch and the sour didn't make it into the mix." Or maybe they sat on the shelf for a while and the sour just... stopped being sour (but the fact that the candy was still really soft does make me doubt that). Whatever the case, I suspect that this is just how the candies are supposed to be, sweet and not sour at all. And if that's the case, they're a pass from me since what I wanted was sour. They're fine candies, but bad sour candies.