Thursday, December 16, 2010


Several weeks ago, I ruined a perfectly good bottle of Grey Goose vodka and turned it into Salmiakkikossu.

I'm not going to lie. The thing scared me. It sat in the office freezer, taunting me every time I walked by. Drink me, it would call, dddrrrriiinnnnnkkkkk meeeee, I dare you to.

There were a few days I felt up to the challenge, but when I opened up the bottle, the smell of burnt liquorice and the thick, syrupy texture made me change my mind. I'll do it tomorrow, I'd tell myself as I corked the bottle of black death and hid it away in the freezer.

Well the time has finally come, and you can once again thank my dear friend Matti Nikki. Well, "friend" is a bit strong of a word... perhaps enabler or wisher-of-serious-pain-and-bodily-harm is a more apt descriptor. Matti encouraged me to go for the goose, and this is what he was referring to.

I felt this taste test called for two trials: sipping Salmiakkikossu while sober, and then drinking it while drunk. After all, nothing makes things taste better than a healthy state of inebration.

I learned some good lessons that night.
  1. Scotch and Salmiakkikossu don't pair very well
  2. Salmiakkikossu causes severe - and I mean severe - feeling of dehydration
  3. When sleeping on the conference room floor, it's best to lay under the table; it's hard for the cleaning staff to vacuum around you otherwise
  4. Laying face-down on the cheap, commercial-grade carpet causes a severe case of carpet-face that takes two full days to clear up
As for the Salmiakkikossu, it wasn't that bad... and it got better the more I drank it. The homemade variety wasn't as good, but both had a sweet and spicy flavor, not unlike sambuca or ouzo. The salt comes in much later, and it comes in fury.

Overall, it deserves a conditional halfway-decent rating: drink only while already sufficiently liquored-up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rainbow Tulinen Salmiakki (Eldig Salmiak)

I had a hard time identifying the maker of this particular brand of salmiak. That's usually not a good sign. Salmiak is bad enough on its own, and I can only imagine what the Pepper, M.D. of salmiak is like. I guess today's my lucky day, as I don't have to immagine anymore.

As a side note: leave it to generic salmiak to define "rainbow" as containing three colors: Green, Red, and Black. I'm pretty sure the latter is not even considered a color.

The Tulien Salmiakki started off like a normal hard candy: mostly flavorless with a touch of sweet. That's also a troubling sign for salmiac.

With a minute, I was overcome with a unique sensation, almost like that of an impending sneeze. As I continued "enjoying" this candy, a numbness started spreading throughout my mouth. That was followed by a slight tingling sensation. This is not the experience I'd expect from candy... which is yet another troubling sign.

Things went downhill quickly. My entire tongue went numb (yet, somehow started hurting), and the tingling sensation started spreading. In the exact opposite manner that menthol clears the sinuses, the Tulien led to a difficulty breathing. The numbing pain spread to my gums, teeth, and, well, just about everywhere else.

And then I bit down. Whatever unholy substance was amalgamated into this candy's outershell was in its purist form in the center. Pain doesn't even begin to describe what that sensation was like. Without bothering to look for a napkin, I expectorated this horrid concoction as quickly as possible. It took a full ten minutes for the pain to dissipate as well. Clearly, this candy earns the caustic label.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Katjes Salty Fish

It's been a rough couple weeks. I've come to learn firsthand that crushed-up Turkin Pippuri is incredibly toxic, and causes the unavoidable side-effect of not wanting anything to do with Salmiac. But I'm over that now, and am ready for another step in this salty sojurn.

Katjes Salty Fish seemed like the ideal re-introduction to Salmiac. "Wanna enjoy the real sea side feeling?" the back of the package read, "Then get yourself blown away by these little liquorice fish! They come with tis special portion of salmiak salt and are a unique liqorice experience... sooo salty!"

Seeing something covered with that much salt is troubling. If my Dragster Super Salta experience taught me anything, it's that salt can be painful... nay, torturous. Tasting one of these fish was not something I looked forward to.

Nonetheless, I dived straight in the deep in popped one in. Expecting to last two, maybe three seconds, I was surprised to find that, not only did I not spit it out, but I started chewing it. And I kept going. And then I had another. And another. In fact, I ate the entire pile of pictured fish -- that's seven in total.

I don't know what to say, and quite frankly, I'm a bit scared. The salmiac dust must have mutated my DNA and permanently perverted my palate. And as a result of this, the Katjes Salty Fish earned the highest rating given to date on Salmiyuck!: halfway decent.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ruining a Perfectly Good Bottle of Vodka

Our journey to the dark side of Finland — home-made Salmiakkikossu — has begun. What on earth is Salmiakkikossu? you may wonder: it's the unholy combination of Salmiakki and vodka.

While our original Finnish friends (Pekka and Toni) were insightful enough to send a small bottle, I thought it'd worthwhile to compare it to the home-made variety. A worse vs. worst competition, if you will.

Step One: Crush a Bag of Turkin Pippuri ("Turkish Pepper")
Don't forget to wear a respirator; remember, this stuff is toxic!

Step Two: Mix with Vodka
We went with Grey Goose, but any variety will do.

Step Three: Wait until it disolves
That is one unhappy goose.

I suspect it'll be a while before this concoction is ready, so stay tuned!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fazer Super Salmiakki (xylitol)

Today's Adventure in Salmiakki was suggested by Toni Spets, who wrote: "I'm very thrilled to advertise one brand I particularly like, Super Salmiakki. Despite the name the taste is very mild and enjoyable."

Wait. What?!? There are no words in the English language that are better antonyms of "very mild" and "enjoyable" than "super" and "salmiakki." But no matter. Having lived through - and somewhat enjoyed - my last indulgence of BonBon's jocularly-named confection, I was feeling bold and ready to try something super.

Opening up the small box of Super, I was immediately overtaken by an overwhelming eucalyptus explosion. While many might find such an odor offensive, I'm actually impartial to menthol-flavored things. Maybe even biased: Jenkki Frozn was the first (and still only) salmiac to earn the halfway-decent rating.

One thing I can say is that Super is no Frozn, largely due to its texture. Like emulsified Vick's VapoRub, or that Halls cough drop you found under your bed that's since turned into jelly, an overly-sticky and gummy texture mixed with salty menthol is just too much.

Surprisingly, Super is missing the distinct licorice and overpowering salty flavors. There's a hint of both, but neither can compete with the menthol. While I'd personally rate this edible — perhaps because I kinda enjoy that menthol kick — I'm sure many would find it inedible. I say we meet in the middle and call it almost edible.

UPDATE: After snacking on these all day (but not liking it... I swear!), there is simply no way I can justify the almost edible raiting. Congratulations, Super Salmiakki, you are officially edible.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halva Batman Chili Salmiakki

Batman “Gotham City’s candy stores have a serious problem, Batman,” commissioner Gordon declared gravely.
Batman responded incredulously, “You lit the bat signal for this? Surely Gotham has more serious crimes to deal with than the theft of some candy.”
“It’s not just theft,” the commissioner continued, “one by one, all of the candy for sale in Gotham is being replaced with…this.” Gordon offered a seemingly ordinary-looking piece of licorice, which Batman popped into his mouth.
”ACK!!” Batman exclaimed, spitting out the candy, “what is that?”
”Salmiac,” Gordon responded, “we call it salmiac.”

Will the Dark Knight discover who is behind this new, salty menace?

Ok, let me just apologize for the use of Comic Sans in this post.  That’s the end of that, I promise.  As you’ve probably guessed, we have some Batman-themed salmiac today!

Batman Salmiakki Package

Since Alex has actually been seen snacking on and enjoying his last Salmiyuck entry, I decided he was unfit for more salmiac reviewing until his sense of taste has returned to normal.  Don’t worry, he’ll be back at this pretty soon, damaged sense of taste or not, as I have no desire to find myself in the position of enjoying this stuff like he apparently does right now.  That being said, it all works out since I’ve been wanting to try the Batman Chili Salmiakki, being something of a Batman fan and having never experienced chili with my salmiac.

Batman Chili Salmiakki

Opening the package, I was greeted with the smell of licorice, which was a pleasant surprise.  Each Batman Salmiakki is simply a stamped Batman logo on a seemingly ordinary piece of black licorice.  I cautiously tried a piece and found that it was not terrible!  Having learned my lesson about the dangers of biting into salmiac, I let the candy slowly dissolve for a while, just waiting for that inevitable offensive taste… but it never came.  Bracing myself, I started chewing and discovered just a little spicy kick from the chili flavoring.  I managed to finish it and didn’t find it at all repulsive!

Overall, Batman Salmiakki is actually pretty good (for salmiac).  It has a modest amount of licorice, sugar, salt, and chili flavoring, but none of these are completely overpowering.  While it is by no means my favorite thing to eat, I would consider having one once in a while if I was really hungry.  Thanks to its largely inoffensive quantities of salmiakki and chili flavor, the Batman Chili Salmiakki earns an edible rating.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

BonBon Bullshit

"No Bull Shit," claims the back of today's taste testing, "just candy! A unique mix of salt liquorice and milk chocolate - a new combination you really should try."

You can't argue with that. Nor the colorful packaging proudly advertising the "now softer" variety, along with a bunch of randomly strung together letters. Or is that Finnish?

In case it's not very clear from the photograph, the illustrated bull is not actually smiling, but is instead making a stressed and painful face. Why? Clearly, someone fed the poor bovine some salmiac.

On the scale of things salmiac, BonBon Bullshit is not the worst thing I've ever eaten. In fact, it doesn't taste bad at all.

The milk chocolate is certainly the "value" variety that's found mostly in dollar-store Easter candy and off-brand M&Ms. But I don't mind cheap cocoa in relatively small quantities. Give me a few ounces of it, and I'll be fine. Give me a pound... I'll probably be fine, too. But after a few pounds, I'll tired of the cheap stuff.

The spicy liquorice flavor quickly joins the party after biting down, but it's certainly not an unwelcome guest. It's texture is somewhat enjoyable, making the whole experience similar to an extra-chewy Raisinete.

As for salt, while there's no hint of it at first, it sure comes on strong later. Within minutes of popping a good six or eight of these, I was completely parched. If it weren't for that, these would be slightly more than edible. Just make sure to have water on standby.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Haribo Piratos

Arrrrr! If there be any suspicion that ye olde capt’n has grown accustomed to Salmiac, then the Haribo Piratos shall set the record straight. Gar!

Okay, no more pirate talk from me, I promise. But do feel free to leave pirate-themed comments!

Anyway, I picked the Haribo Pirates because I figured they’d be pretty mild. I don’t know, it just wasn’t one of those eat-something-that-makes-me-want-to-rip-my-tongue-out days. And seeing that Haribo is a pretty popular brand here in the states, known mostly for their gummy bears and similar treats, I figured I’d be safe. Oh, and pirates – that must mean they’re for kids, and therefore sweet and palatable!

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Haribo Pirates literally taste like they came from the bottom of the sea. Without a visible grain of salt, these have a powerful salt-flavor that just won’t quit.

Tried as I might, I couldn’t get more than a dozen or so chews in before I had to call it quits. Sorry Haribo, but your Pirates are inedible. Now where can I find some gummy bears?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fazer Salmiakkitäytesuklaa

When I received the giant box of Salmiak on that one fateful day, the first candy I tried was the Salmiakkitäytesuklaa. According to box, which actually has some English writing on it, that's apparently Finlandese for "milk chocolate with salmiac filling".

My initial tasting was done weeks before I decided to start chronicling this pungent journey, and thus I feel qualified in saying that this was one of the few candies that has changed in character since first receiving it.

Mostly, the salmiac filling has dried out bit and has gone from a gooey filling to something more consistent with nougat. However, I do prefer the candy in this state, as the mixed textures of semi-soft (chocolate) and gooey (salmiac) was a bit unpleasant.

But no matter. Like all things covered in chocolate (including chocolate-covered ants), the Salmiakkitäytesuklaa was not bad. The chocolate muted the liquorice flavor while the sweetness and saltiness battled it out for dominance. Although sweet prevailed at first, the saltiness was able to hold out and eventually win the fight.

All in all, it was a very slight and gradual transition to the unpleasant sensation of having sucked on some saltlick. But since chocolate was involved, it wasn't that awful of an experience.

Congratulations, Salmiakkitäytesuklaa. You have not only surpassed the edible mark, but made it all the way to almost enjoyable.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dracula Piller

Now let's get one thing straight. Just because this is my second Salmiyuck! post this week does not mean that I'm starting enjoy it. If anything, I'm becoming more and more impressed at the things you Finns will not only voluntarily put in your mouth, but actually spend money on. Like, say, the Dracula Piller.


The artfully designed packaging is mostly transparent, allowing you to get a good glimpse of this candy before committing to it. Of course, I'd imagine that's to the manufacturer's detriment, as the Dracula Piller look about as appetizing as a rock.

Upon opening the package, I quickly discovered that Dracula Piller doesn't smell as bad as it looks. It smells worse. The best I could describe it: a mixture of burnt styrofoam, rotted wood, and smelling salts.

As for the taste... putting one of the candies on my tounge was just like licking a 9-volt battery, except more intense. This was the second salmiakki that proved that salt (or whatever unholy substance they have on these ones) can indeed be painful.

You'll notice the white candy to the right, which is the result of running it under water and scrubbing-off the coating. That, of course, I was able to eat... but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count. With the coating, these are clearly inedible and quite caustic.


Update! I just returned from the Cleveland Oktoberfest, where I offered up the  Salmiac Challenge to some friends. Whoever could go the longest without spitting out the Dracula Piller would get the two-dollar bill that I laid out on the table (washed out in the picture).

About eight took up the challenge, and within seconds someone nearly vomited. "I know you said these were bad," he told me, "but I didn't think anything could be that bad!" And one after another, others dropped out and chugged their beers in hopes of killing the offensive taste.

But somehow, three people made it through the challenge: none of them Finns, but all of them women. And frankly, one thing that was particularly disturbing was that one of them was my wife! Had I known I'd married into a gene pool with such defective taste buds, perhaps I would have reconsidered. Let's just hope that broken 'buds are a recessive trait.

No matter, with the three-way tie, I forked over two more twos to the "winners". They certainly earned it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CandyWell salmiakki-meteorit

Last week, I was out of town and met with a few clients on the west coast. Somehow, one of our small-talk conversations shifted to a discussion on candy.

"You know," I said, "it's a shame I didn't bring any of the 'special' liquorice that I have back home. You guys wouldn't believe this stuff! It's Finnish or something, and it's infused with this super-salty salt -- ammonium chloride -- which is not your regular old sodium chloride table salt."

I got a few quizzical eye-brow raises and the unmistakable I'm-pretty-sure-you-shouldn't-eat-ammonium-chloride look. But nonetheless, they all expressed interest in trying this exotic delicacy and made me promise to bring it next time I'm on-site.

Yeah, right. Like that's going to going to happen. As I'm sure you all know, giving someone salmiac is #6 on the "Top Ten Ways to Kill a Relationship" list, and today's tasting of salmiakki-meteorit confirms why.

To the untrained eye, these spherical candies look like they could be sugar-coated chocolates. Popping the red-colored ball was not an unpleasant experience: there was a sweet, raspberry hard-coating that was just waiting to be chomped on. Bracing for the worst, I bit down... only to find the unmistakably spicy taste of liquorice.

The Yellow (banana, I think) and Green (no idea what flavor) shared the pleasantry: a hard candy coating with a liquorice center. Excited that this might be an edible -- nay, enjoyable -- candy, I eagerly popped the black candy ball in my mouth, only to find it repelled by my gag reflex almost immediately.

Somehow, that little black candy packed more salt taste than salt itself. Which is surprising, considering they all appear to be coated in about the same amount. No matter, because of the black ball of salty death, I have no choice but to rate the salmiakki-meteorit as almost edible.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dragster 3000: Super Salta

I got an email form Matti Nikki yesterday demanding that I subject myself to more of this torment. "Please, please, please," he pleaded, "more salmiyuck stuff already!"

Matti is absolutely right; I have been grossly negligent in maintaining this almanac of Salmiac. But I have good reason: I’ve been on a diet! And if you don’t believe that, I’ve been working too much! And if you don’t believe that, my internet has been broken!

But no matter. It’s once again time for Salmiac, and today’s Salmiac was Dragster 3000 Super Salta. And why Dragster 3000 Super Salta, you probably aren’t asking? Well because that’s what Matti suggested.

“You'll hate them,” he wrote, “you'll hate them real bad. But I think the balance and amount of salt is perfect on them.”

What, me, hate Salmiac? Who would have thought!

As you can tell from the pictures, Dragster 3000 is not lying about being Super Salta. The enlarged image accurately captures the evil-looking texture of this piece of “candy.” It really does look like it could be a little-bitty sugared chocolate donut… or maybe a piece of debris found in a salt truck.
What the pictures do not – nor could never capture – is the taste. Interestingly enough, the Super Salta came on light with almost pleasant licorice flavor. I actually managed to make it through a half-bite of one of the “ring” pieces.

In fact, that first taste emboldened me to try more: I took the “circle” piece (filled with the salty center), placed it on a “ring” piece, and chomped down. While that, too, came on a bit weak, within moments I felt the full fury of all that is Salmiac.

If you didn’t think that you could taste pure pain, then you clearly haven’t had Super Salta. I’ve been scorched by cinnamon, burned by wasabi, scalded by hot peppers… and now assaulted by salt. It was a harrowing experience.

On or about my seventh chew, my gums felt as if they had been corroded by some horribly caustic substance… which, arguably, they had been. My tongue was not spared either and experienced a brutal stabbing sensation. Now I know what it’s like to gargle with sulfuric acid.

Tried as I might, I had to rush to the garbage can to expel this offensive “candy”, literally drawing tears as I ran. It goes without saying that the Dragster 3000 Super Salta is inedible. However, it’s the first (and hopefully one of the last) that also gets the title caustic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


All you salmiakki fans are in luck because today we have a salmiakki triple-feature.  I found three varieties of MUST salmiakki: Touch of Sea, Moods of Black, and Dark Shots.


Without further delay, let’s get to sampling these quality confections.

Touch of Sea

Because ordinary salmiakki just doesn’t taste salty enough, I was happy to see that the fine folks at Malaco have thoughtfully added sea salt to their Touch of Sea variety.  Cautiously, I tried a piece, and astonishingly I found it quite edible.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the saltiest things I’ve ever tasted, but I was not even close to spitting this one out.  In fact, I might even be willing to snack on these if I have a glass of water near by.

 Moods of Black

Next up is Moods of Black.  Judging from the packaging, this looks like a standard salmiakki candy with nothing crazy added to it like sea salt or chili powder.  Feeling confident, I opened the package and tried a piece.  I’ll be honest, this one completely met my expectations; licorice: check, creeping salty salmiac flavor: check.  There’s not much more to be said about it.

 Dark Shots

The last entry today is Dark Shots.  These candies instantly reminded me of milk duds, which I actually like, so I had high hopes.  The outside did not taste unpleasant, and this only made me more confident that I would like these too, so I took the plunge and bit into one.  It actually tasted pretty good… at first.  After a few seconds, an unpleasant taste started to grow out of nowhere, eventually overwhelming everything else, and I was forced to spit it out.  I can’t describe the taste, because I’ve never had anything quite like it.  I really, truly can’t put it into words.

To wrap things up, my favorite of these three is definitely the Touch of Sea, but Moods of Black is also quite edible.  Dark Shots, however, hide a terrible secret in their center that makes them inedible.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Salmiac Mix

Once again, Alex “I’m too busy and important to blog about salmiakki”  has delegated this job to a subordinate.  “I’ve had my eye on this one for a while now,” he told me, referring to our latest selection:

Salmiac mix

As someone that once spent a week in Finland about 14 year ago, I feel that I am completely qualified to translate that as “Salmiac mix.”  It seems that the name doesn’t reveal much in this case (but then I guess it usually doesn’t).  I ripped open the bag and took a closer look:

Salmiac mix

Salmiac Mix appeared to consist of antacid tablets, pills, and chewable childrens’ vitamins.  Strange choice for a candy, I thought, but harmless enough.  After popping one of the discs into my mouth, I realized that the white powder covering all of the candies was not sugar.  I won’t lie; I spit the first one out, being totally unprepared for that salty coating.  After seeing this reaction, John tried one and managed to finish it.  Shamed, I tried again – this time one of the little pill-shaped pieces.  I made it past the salty coating to discover that it actually wasn’t terrible!  The pink and yellow pieces seem to have some sugar in them, while the other pieces are just salt and licorice.

Later that day, I thoughtfully offered Alex some Salmiac Mix.  “It’s not that bad,” I told him.  He grabbed a handful of the candies and put them in his mouth.  “Once you get past the salty coating,” I added.  You’d think he would be used to that overpowering salty flavor by now, but… his reaction suggested otherwise.

Salmiac Mix combines three tastes that are bad enough on their own: chalk, salt, and licorice into one unpleasant experience.  However, the addition of sugar makes the pink and yellow ones tolerable once you get past that initial salty rush.  Overall, it’s certainly not terrible, but that powdered ammonium chloride coating reduces the rating from edible to almost edible.

Friday, May 14, 2010


As one of Alex's unsuspecting subordinates, I have been given the painstaking task of tasting this particular type of Jenkki Salmiakki:

Now, my Finnish may be a bit out of practice - but thanks to Google Translate, I was at least able to determine what type of Salmiakki I was about to eat. Apparently, "chewing gum" translates to "purukumi", which is written on the packaging. Chewing gum you say? All I could think of was me playing baseball as a youngster with a bag of delicious Big League Chew.

Unfortunately, my daydreams disappeared immediately. The licorice scent burst out like a BP oil spill as I opened the packaging - and if it weren't for the Frozn variety covered earlier, this post would have ended long before I began writing it.

I spent a few minutes offering several friends some pieces (along with a chance to share their saliva with the garbage can) before I decided to enjoy some of my own, and I was surprised to find the taste bearable despite the dirty licorice smell.

The full-bodied licorice taste is overwhelming enough to mask the salty undertones. As with almost all chewing gum, the flavor does not last long enough to make you want to spit it out. Because of this, Jenkki earns the edible rating.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alfmix Light Line

It’s always exciting to have a new team member come on board. Not only does the new guy help reduce the workload, but there’s a great chance that he’ll come with some new and exciting ideas. My company recently brought on a new developer, Greg, and I was as excited as ever. And not just because of the whole helping out and new ideas thing.

On the afternoon of Greg’s first day, I stopped by his desk to share some Alfmix Light Line gummy candies. Unfortunately, he had already been warned about me and my wonderful Finnish candies. But Greg was brave and dove right in, rhetorically asking “how bad could it be?”

“Bad enough for an OSHA violation,” a nearby coworker smirked, “just make sure you’ve got a chaser.”

Of course, by that point, the advice was too little and too late, and Greg had already started with one of the black square pieces. As he bit into the gummy candy, his confidence-filled expression slowly faded into bewilderment. The more he chewed, the more his expression turned to disgust. Within ten seconds, Greg rushed to the nearest trash bin and spit out the black candy, adding “ok, that was a mistake.”

Despite Greg’s bad experience, I started trying some of the other shapes.
• Yellow/Orange Ones – edible! They’re not very sweet, but they could easily pass a gummy candies
• Berry-shaped Ones – edible! Not berry flavored, more a subtle liquorice
• Square-shaped Ones – almost edible! This is the only one that Greg tried; at first, they weren’t too bad, but as he discovered, but the creeping salty liquorice flavor quickly makes them unbearable

If it weren’t for the square shaped pieces, this candy would pass for edible. However, it gets the almost edible rating.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jenkki Frozn

I am surprised. Nay, I'm astonished. No, no... flabbergasted! Err, actually...  there's not a word in the English language that describes my sentiment after trying the Jenkki Frozn salmiac.

Brace your self, dear readers: the Jenkki Frozn salmiac gum is not only edible, but I'm still chewing on it as I type this very message.

And just to be clear, I have not yet intentionally seared my tongue in a desperate attempt to save pain on my quest for salmiakki. My sinuses are not blocked and I can smell scents as well as ever. And so far as I can tell, I still have functioning tastebuds.

When I opened the bag of Frozn gum, I was assaulted with the unmistakable aroma of menthol. If there was any doubt that my sinuses were clogged, a whiff of Frozn would have cleared them out. Like any other Finnish candy, I was a little hesitant to bite down on the gum, but decided to go all in. I chomped down on two of the square pieces and began to chew.

Within moments, my whole being was infused with menthol, almost as if I had taken a swim in a lake filled with Halls Coughdrops. But it wasn't unpleasant - it was actually soothing. Any hint of that dreaded salt flavor that accompanies Salmiac was overpowered by the intense menthol flavor.

And as far as gum goes, this one holds its flavor; I'm still chewing it and, while it doesn't have the same methol kick, the flavor is still there.

This rates as edible and halfway-decent!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pirkka Salmiakki

There's nothing wrong with plain, ordinary, and run-of-the-mill, and in the world of Salmiakki, Pirkka seems to offer just that. There's no special packaging, special shapes, or special "features" like chili flavor. It looks a lot like the generic/store brand of candies that we have here in the states.

Cracking open the bag of liquorice revealed a bunch of penny-sized, diamond-shaped candies. They had a soft texture, but were a bit firmer than, say, a Twizzler.

When I popped one in my mouth, I was pleasantly surprised to experience a non-offensive liquorice taste. Chewing a few times reiterated the flavor, and my apprehension slowly turned to delight. Could it be... a piece of liquorice from Finland that wasn't awful!?

Alas, it was too good to be true. After about twenty seconds, a subtle, salty note started to appear and, within a few moments, completely take over. It quickly evolved into a deep "salt thirst," and I had no choice but to abort mission. The candy was spat out and I quenched my thirst with a full liter of water.

Although this was one of the more mild Salmiakki, the creeping salty sensation makes it almost edible.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Katjes: Hot Temptations

Now that I've not only remembered which Google account I used for this blog, but remembered that account's password, I can once again continue on my reviews of Salmiakki. Actually, the timing worked well; I've finally recovered from those toxic cookies.

I was recently invited to a "Hotluck" dinner party. In case the pun is not painfully obvious, it's a potluck party in which everyone brings hot and spicy food. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get rid of share some of the delightful Salmiakki.

Mmmm, mmm, mmm: a smiling model touching her lower lateral incisor with a long chii peper! Now if that's not sexy, then I don't what is. Good work, Katjes, you've actually managed to distract me from the fact that this is a bag of salty, spicy liquorice. I mean, for crying out loud: adding hot to salty liquorice is like adding a lawsuit to an insult that was added to an injury. But no matter, it was the perfect treat to bring to the hotluck.

I put the fish-shaped candy in a little bowl and snuck them on the snacks table next to the wasabi cashews and hot peanuts. Surprisingly, they actually looked like edible candy, and the sugar-like coating made them seem like a delightful mix of hot and sweet.

Of course, the only delight that came from the Hot Temptations was watching unsuspecting party-goers casually take a piece and pop it in their mouth. It would take a few seconds, but just about everyone gave the unmistakable what the hell did I just eat face.

Most were polite, and quietly chased the candy with something not awful tasting, while a couple people disgustingly said, "what kind of liquorice is that!?!" Actually, that's been my question all along.

For the sake of completeness, I did try the Hot Temptations at the party and, surprisingly they weren't too bad. Compared with the rest of the spicy food, they were pretty mild.  Oh, and that sugar-like coating I mentioned earlier? Salt, of course.

When paired with spicy foods, this rates as almost edible.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Black Domino Salmiakki-Chili Cookies

I'm not going to lie. When I saw this box of Oreo-esque cookies, my eyes lit up like... well, whenever I see a box of Oreos. I mean let's face it: in the world of cookies, the Oreo is the ruler of the pre-packaged kingdom. Every other cookie may as well exist only to remind us how great Oreos are.

Not being a brand-snob, I almost equally appreciate the knock-off Oreos (Kid O's, Tuxedos, etc), and the Domino cookies look just like your average, chocolate-filled generic. As you can immagine, I had some high hopes that they would be edible food.

Opening the package of cookies not only filled me with disappointment, but disgust. There was an overpowering odor that erupted as soon as I pulled apart the cellophane. With the uncontrolled gagging, it took me a little while to realize what exactly it smelled like. And then it hit me: polyurethane.

That's right, polyurethane. And I feel somewhat qualified to say that, as a few weeks ago, I had my hardwood floors refinished, and the whole house reeked of it. Now exposure to polyurethane isn't too toxic, but it does leave your eyes itchy, your breaths a little short, and a massive, hangover-like headache. And thinking back, that was actually a much more pleasant experience than eating the Domino cookie.

From a texture standpoint, biting into the Domino cookie was like biting into any other Oreo-like cookie. At first, the taste was unbearable. And then it got worse. I've never tasted dirty polyurethane before, but this is what it must be like. I couldn't even tell what was more offensive: the outside cookie part or the inside cream.

The worst part about the Domino cookie is that, like any Oreo-like cookie, the cookie part hangs out in your teeth for a while. I tried rinsing, gargling, and even chewing on a paper towel. Nothing seemed to remove the taste. In fact, almost a day later, I can still taste polyurethane. Maybe it's just a phantom taste, but seriously, cookies shouldn't do that to you.

One great thing about this cookie, though, is that it looks just like real food. I can't wait to slip these in a plate of chocolate Oreo cookies and watch the ensuing vomit-fest from unsuspecting cookie-takers.

Rating: inedible.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tyrkisk Peber: Firewood

What a better way to start off this Salmiak review blog than by starting with the bag that looks, smells, and will probably taste like those little woodchips you add to your grill for some extra barbeque flavor?

There was no overwhelming smell when opening the package, and a fun assortment of pieces were found within. The brown terd-like pieces and black balls could almost visually pass as real candy, especially when mixed in with chocolate-covered raisins.

I started off with the silver log and was pleasantly surprised. Not only was it not the worst thing in the whole wide world, but it was actually pleasant. It wasn't even hot/spicy; the 2/3 rating may as well have been 0/3.

The licquorice was very subtle, and some other (non-awful) earthen flavors came out shortly thereafter. Perhaps that's why they call it firewood? But things took a turn for the worst when I bit into it. The sensation was much like biting into a Cow Tale (i.e., cold, creamy, and soft) , but the flavor was... intense. I don't know if it was just a big pocket of salt, dirt, or pure awful, but I couldn't do it. Tried as I might, I had to spit.

The black log and black ball didn't fare any better, as they had the same gooey center. The brown-terds? I actually managed to finish one of them. I might even go back for another.

This rates as almost-edible.