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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Yes, I’ve been gone for far too long but now I’m back.

Frankly I can’t promise how long back will be but I’m going to do my very best to at least maintain a weekly schedule along with any short updates I can fit in.

What has brought me back you ask? Well the people have spoken and they have demanded that I review kit-kats!

“suppai orange”

Suppai means sour, and although I love sour sweets the prospect of a sour orange chocolate strikes me as a little odd. Then again if what I’m eating is only a little odd then I’m doing very well for a Japanese kit-kat.

The packaging on this one falls squarely into the good category. At least the bag itself does. The shiny foil used along with the bursts of light and the streaks all add up to a very summery, fruity kind of feel. Very appropriate for what they’re selling. I suspect the tone was supposed to be akin to a starburst or some other kind of very fruity sweet. Again, a little bit off-putting for a chocolate bar though.

The packaging on the individual kat is a bit more boring. A plain orange with a little bit of decoration. Still the font is nice and energetic and again fits in with the whole energy, impact, xxxtreem thing going on. Plus I guess you can’t complain that the wrapper for an orange chocolate bar is orange, can you?

So how does the flavour stack up?

Well the first notes just taste like orange chocolate. Good orange chocolate but a bit of a disappointment really. Then as you chew on the sour stuff used in it really kicks. I mean really kicks in. I like a sour sweet but this is quite strong, almost unpleasantly so. By the end of it all you can taste is sour orange and the chocolate notes have entirely vanished leaving you wanting another bar almost straight away.

Let it sit for a moment though and the sourness soon goes leaving you with a lingering chocolaty mouth. Absolutely superb. Good chocolate, not too sweet, with a nice kick in the middle and then a pleasant after taste. Well done nestle, this is a top notch kit kat.

Mango Pudding

The second of our mini kit-kat offering this week and one I have been dreading. I am not the world’s greatest fan of mangos and I absolutely despise custard pudding. Their combination does nothing to appeal to me and the picture on the bag of some horrible gloopy custardy Chinese thing doesn’t help. Honestly does that look nice to anybody? It looks like a bowl of children’s sick to me.

There’s obviously something vaguely Chinese about the whole affair too. Not only is the kiddie sick served in a Chinese bowl but the bag has the same decorative edging as the bowl itself, as do the individual wrappers. Other than that it doesn’t look too offensive. It is an unassuming creamy colour that’s actually quite appealing. It’s just that the gleaming sprog vomit on the main bag is making my stomach churn.

Still, it is a kit-kat. It can’t possibly resemble pudding all that much.

The biscuit itself is bright orange and smells faintly of mango and mostly of McDonald’s milkshake. Actually lots of kit-kats smell and taste a bit like a milkshake. I wonder why. It is a nice smell that makes me want to eat it. Then I look at the kiddie sick, then back to the smell. The only possible outcome of this is that I’m going to be put off milkshakes for the rest of my life.

I can report that it tastes not in the slightest bit custardy or like a pudding in any way shape or form. In fact it barely tastes like a mango. What it mostly is; is sweet, vaguely milk shake like and kind of fruity but without resembling a distinct fruit. I mean if I had to guess I might say mango but nobody is going to be blown away by the stunning replica of mango flavour on offer here.

Overall I kind of like it. A bit too sweet mainly but it’s nice and creamy and just a little bit more complex than a standard kit-kat. I can see it pairing well with green tea.

Kinako Ohami-something

Points off right away for having an unreadable font that I can’t decipher. Judging by the picture it is supposed to taste like some kind of Japanese sweet (wagashi) made with rice, sweet soy powder (kinako) and some unidentifiable red substance.

This really has to be the ugliest kit-kat packet I have had to review. Look at it. It is awful. Unreadable font aside look at that picture. Does that look like something you wish to eat? It looks vaguely like something that has already been eaten. At my most charitable it looks like something savoury, I mean the main constituents I can identify there are soy powder and rice. The filling looks like corned beef. It looks like a pasty. Japan has done many strange things but it has yet to present me with a pasty flavoured kit-kat. Much like the mango pudding the picture on the cover just serves to put me right off the biscuit.

The rest of the packet is awful too. The fake scroll and the rice grains are combining to suggest early autumn in Japan. Nothing wrong with that, but the colours?! Yuck! Institution green and mustard yellow may just be the most horrible colour combination ever devised. It looks like a 1970’s living room or a doctor’s waiting office. I know that they’re aiming for rice paddies but they have missed and landed 40 years ago in a middle class flat in Birmingham.

The wrapper on the actual kat is no better. Plain yellow with wispy clouds.

I am actually a little bit angry at this biscuit. That isn’t a healthy attitude is it?

It smells nutty, really nutty. Actually, and I am not exaggerating here, it does smell very, very faintly of poo. Mostly nuts but a little bit like poo. Then again I think some nuts smell of poo anyway so it may just be me.

The taste is entirely non-descript. It tastes of a normal kit-kat with some slight nutty notes. Very, very slight too; in my opinion. The after taste is nice though, a big step up from the sort of chemical-chocolate you get with a regular kit-kat. It’s more complex and mellow, much nicer to roll around your mouth.

So basically they’ve put a slight improvement on a normal kit-kat in a really, truly awful bit of packaging. Sorry nestle, try again.

Vegetable Juice

Carrots!

Seriously, carrots.

Actually why not carrots? Carrots are quite sweet for a vegetable and they make a nice cake, why not a nice kit-kat. Plus the sooner nestle branches out into more savoury flavours the sooner I can look forward to my pasty flavoured kit-kat, smokey bacon kit-kat and salt and vinegar (actually, the salt and vinegar might not be so bad).

Technically this isn’t a carrot kit-kat though. This is a partnership with ito-en who make a vegetable juice that contains amongst other things carrots and apples. I haven’t tried it, vegetable juices may be popular in Japan but they scare me, and so I can’t comment if the taste matches up.

I have nothing but praise for the packet. That’s a good use of negative space there, the over saturation of white serves to make the veg seem fresher somehow and the mix of reds, greens, whites and oranges in the font and packaging also helps project a healthy fruity sense. The individual wrapper is much the same but adds a little more orange and somehow looks even better.

The kat itself is bright orange and smells strongly of both carrots and apples at the same time. That bodes well. Kit-kat’s struggle to do complicated flavours and usually only one comes through very well. If they can get it to smell like both main ingredients than this should be okay.

Sadly not. Although you can smell both apples and carrots it is hard to pick them out distinctly. However it does still taste quite nice. It is definitely more like an apple than a carrot but it really reminds me of something else that I can’t put my finger on. It’s not too sweet either, in fact it seems remarkably fresh and fruity rather than dessert-like.

The aftertaste is not very nice at all though. Really chemically and faintly bitter. It leaves bitter juice at the back of your throat that is tart and stingy.

And actually the more I’ve eaten of it the more I dislike it. It is too sweet actually and it gets progressively sweeter with every bite. Trying to eat another piece to remove the aftertaste just adds more tart juice and makes the whole situation worse.

Plus I can’t see this pairing nicely with a cup of tea. It is far too strong and far too weird. Maybe with water, but who has a kit-kat with water?

Sports Drink

Like the veggie juice and the ramune from our last session here we have a kit-kat based on a drink. Actually these have been becoming more popular with nestle recently, apple vinegar, coffee, green tea, etc are all drinks and they all share the same problem in my book. How can you have them with a cup of tea? You surely want a complimentary flavour, not some other drink entirely.

Sports drink refers to Japanese sports drink such as Pocari Sweat or Aquarius. I don’t know if there really is an equivalent product back home. Neither lucozade nor red bull really taste much like it at all. Maybe the lucozade isotonic water is the closest match but frankly I’m at a loss for comparisons. Probably the easiest way to know what I’m talking about will be to drink some Pocari Sweat. Its marvellous stuff and you can tell all your friends you’ve drunk sweat.

The outer packet is a total mess. It seems to be done as an offer in conjunction with some Japanese Football Association competition. Consequently it is full of blurbs and logos in horrible clashing fonts. The colour scheme is a balls up too with the yellow being underused. It is striking though so I suspect they were aiming for eye-catching rather than aesthetically pleasing. The football pentagon pattern is a bit washed out and hard to notice unless you’re studying it intently (as I do for the benefit of you people).

The individual wrapper is much nicer. No hideous yellow and the footballs work much better at that scale. Plus shiny foil. I always approve of shiny things.

The kat itself is a sort of pale yellowy-white. I guess that makes sense to try and recreate the vaguely translucent colour of Pocari Sweat which, to be honest, does look a little bit like a bottle full of spit.

The smell is absolutely uncanny. It smells exactly like a bottle of Pocari Sweat or Aquarius. I realise that isn’t helping you so I guess I’ll have to say that there are hints of lemon and spice.

But whilst the smell is uncanny the taste is a bit of a letdown. It’s quite bland actually with a tangy lemon taste on the back of the tongue. Pocari does taste a little bit of lemon but it has lots more flavours to it than that. This seems to offer almost no flavour whatsoever. It isn’t even that sweet or that lemony in fact. The lemon tang is principally an aftertaste. Nestle have produced here a chocolate bar that tastes of almost nothing and certainly not of sports drink.

It’s not horrible though, just quite bland.

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