Thursday, December 8, 2011

Apteekkarin Salmiakkipastilli

When you've tried as many kinds of salmiac as I have, you start to notice patterns. I mean, they're all bad, but they all fit into their own category of bad.There's the hard-candy-that-calls-itself-hot-but-really-isn't kind, the sticks-to-your-teeth-so-the-awful-never-goes-away kind, the saltlick-licked-by-a-deer kind, and so on.

So, when I saw the Apteekkarin Salmiakkipastilli, I had a pretty good idea what I was getting into from my Apteekkarin Pehmeä Salmiakkipastilli review and thought it'd be a great candy to share with my friends.

I was expecting basically the same thing, just without the "Pehmeä". Of course, I'm not sure what "Pehmeä " means, but I figured it's either "menthol" or "yellow packaging". This is what I found inside.

The candies looked like your typical hard candy, but they had a slightly rubbery texture. Not squishy rubber, more like the rubber on running tracks - or even asphalt on a hot day.

"They look like rabbit terds," one of my friends added before taking a whiff of one, "doesn't have much of a smell, though."

The taste wasn't very intense - in fact, it was fairly subtle. At least, until getting past the outer coating. The middle had quite the kick, but not nearly as strong as some of the Tyrkisk Peber I've tried. It was tolerable, but not something anyone would want to keep eating any longer than they had to. And as such, this earns the almost edible rating.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fazer Missä X

On the sidebar, there's a box that lists the ratings I've used for reviews on Salmiyuck. And since they're used to describe different kinds of salmiac, obviously they're all synonymous with "bad". But after experiencing Fazer's Missä X, the Salmiyuck rating scale will be broken forever.

The word "experience" truly does describe what eating Missä X is like. It's more than tasty, more than delicious, it was... delightful. In fact, so much so that I had to carefully review the packaging to make sure that Missä X was, in fact, salmiac.

Missä X's texture is much like other jelly-based salmiac and, like many of the mixes, each color is a different flavor. The coating is most certainly a mix of sugar and salt - actually, it's the perfect mix. There's even a bit of sour (or maybe it was just the salt), that seemed to tie everything together.

This high opinion isn't just my own - I was amongst friends when I opened the Missä X, and they too were delighted. "This stuff is incredible," one friend said, "and they're even better when you combine the different pieces!"

"I'd absolutely buy this," another said, "Finland should totally open a store in America. Or at least, sell this at movie theaters."

There was one oddity with the Missä X, and that was the black pieces. Why such awful-tasting bits would be included in such a bag of wonder was beyond any of us, but they were easily set-aside to be discarded. After a few short minutes, this is all that remained of the Missä X:

Even with the inedible black pieces, the Missä X earns the rating-system-breaking rating of absolutely delightful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Amanie Pepper Drops Extra Hot

I've been out of town for quite a many weeks, but returned home last week for the Thanksgiving holiday to visit with friends, family, and unfortunately some Salmiac.

Although my friends are wary to taste anything I give them after suffering through Dracula Piller, they had all drank enough to be willing to try not just one, but three different Salmiac candies. The first one I opened up was Amanie's Extra Hot Pepper Drops.

"You denounced an entire country based on this stuff?" my friend Dan commented as he picked up a piece, "it doesn't smell that bad." He then popped the piece in his mouth, and I had one as well.

Although my Salmiac palate is much more refined than most of my peers, it doesn't take a connoisseur to recognize bad. After sucking on the pepper drop for about a minute, he couldn't take it anymore and spit it out. I held on a little bit longer and asked what he thought of it.

"The taste was good for a second—"

"Wait," I interrupted, "did you say good?"

"Err, I should say, good by comparison. It was somewhat normal, and then it started... uhh... leaking a bad flavor."

Clearly, Dan was unprepared for powdered yuck found in the center of most of these pepper drops. I enquired further, asking what the flavor was like.

"It's hard to say... salty battery acid?"

That sounded about right. The battery acid taste started getting to me as well, so I spit the pepper drop out and chased the flavor with some Diet Coke. For the record, that combination was even worse. But one thing that was noticeably missing from these extra hot pepper drops was the hot.

"They weren't hot at all," he confirmed, "I couldn't taste anything past the bad. Which, by the way, is still going -- this is like a Jäger shot that just won't end."

As for the others, the general consensus was "awful", "terrible", and "seriously, people eat this stuff?" But as far as pepper drops go, Amanie is no Pirkka, but they still are inedible.


Look for the other two other reviews later this week. Also, I picked up a small batch of some fresh, salty licorice at a German grocery store nearby where I'm staying.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mummi Ksylitolipurukumi

Really, Finland? "Ksylitolipurukumi." Really?!?
I'm sure in that ridiculously long string of letters, there's a few different words in there like "gum", disgusting", and "unhappy". Trust me, I have pretty long last name myself ("Papadimoulis"), so I know a thing or two about this. Why not use spaces? Or at the very least, hyphens?

My regular camera is still out of commission (which is why there's no hockeypulver), but my cellphone was able to snap some unexpectedly detailed pictures of this salmiakki. As you may tell, it looks like regular, candy-coated gum.

It also has the exterior texture of real gum, but certainly not the smell. I'd normally expect some form of mint when taking a whiff, but these have a more neutral and (of course) subtle liquorice smell.

I'm generally not afraid of salmiakki-based gum, and the Ksylitolipurukumi gave me no reason to change my mind. It started off with a light liquorice taste but quickly faded into nothing. After chewing on several flavorless pieces for a while, I spit the gum out and took a swig of water to combat the salty aftertaste. Maybe I'm getting used to this stuff, but I have to score the Ksylitolipurukumi as edible.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halva: JYMY (on X3M)

It's hard to believe that it's been a couple months since I've last updated Salmiyuck! Actually, no. It's not hard to believe. Like most sensible human beings, I try to avoid all things salmiak, and I therefore must be subconsciously avoiding updating this blog.

But I have a duty to salmiak, and I will continue to forge through it. My next challenge (coming this Friday) will be a horrendous thing called salmiakpulver. It is the essence of horror itself: pure salmiac powder. It was suggested by Nicke Alden of X3M, who interviewed me a little while back while I taste-tested Halva's JYMY:
I can't seem to find the pictures I took, but the box (and the enclosed "pills") looked exactly like the above picture (credit: Mini-Market). I was expecting tablets of pure ammonium chloride, but instead found a sweet and slightly-salty lemony flavor. At least, I think it was lemon.

The texture (especially after chewing) was powdery, and the salt quickly creeped up. I wasn't able to make it through the entire box, but I didn't immediately spit out the candy. There's a clear rating for that: edible.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Apteekkarin Pehmeä Salmiakkipastilli

A font can say a lot of things about your brand. If you choose Comic Sans, you’re basically saying I don’t even take myself seriously. Papyrus, on the other hand, tells people that you’re doing the old-age/new-age thing, and that you might be Asian, Egyptian, or even African.

On the same note, Apteekkarin’s choice of a Blackletter/Gothic font (along with an illustration of the grand inquisitor himself) says one thing very loudly: the contents of this package were originally designed as a medieval torture device.

Despite this scary looking design and bright red warning ("VAIN APTEEKISTA", which translates to "DO NOT EAT"), I opened up the package.

Never sure of whether I'll find sugar or salt, I popped one of the jelly-textured drops in my mouth and prepared for the worst. Surprisingly, I didn't gag or even immediately spit these out. The mild licorice taste slowly transitioned to a menthol flavor, and after a chewing for about a minute, a subtle salty flavor cropped up. It wasn't too bad at all.

I had another, and then another... and next thing I knew, the bag was empty! That's an extremely rare occurrence here on Salmiyuck and, as such, earns this Salmiakkipastilli the halfway-decent rating. Keep in mind that I'm fairly tolerable of menthol flavors, so you may find these much worse than I did.

Pirkka: Tulinen Pippuri (Sokeriton)

Before even taking a whiff of the Sokeriton (sugar free) Tulinen Pippuri from Pirkka, I was already pretty pleased with it. The rusty, just-dug-it-out-of-the-ground appearance screams don't eat me louder than any other salmiakki I've seen - which is precicely the message that should be emblazened on every bag sold.

Taking a whiff of the confectionary reminded me that things that look like they've been buried underground for longer than I've been alive don't have a pleasant smell. It's hard to describe how the tulinen pippuri smells, but I'd say it's about 37% cayenne pepper, 18% sweet, 13% sour, and 99% evil.

As soon as the Tulinen Pippuri met my tongue, I was filled with the all-to-familiar sensation of burning salt. I soldiered through this onslaught, using an occasional sip of water to combat the wretched taste. Fortunately, the pain quickly subsided, leaving a fairly normal piece of hard salty liquorice candy.

If it weren't for the rough beginnings, I'd consider rating this almost edible - but I'm going to stick with inedible. Which is exactly what it looks like.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pääkallo Super Salmiakki

It's not a good sign when your salmiac is called "Super Salmiakki". But when it's shaped like a fricken skull, you know you're in trouble. In fact, if you ever come across this confectionary of salty death, I suggest you run - and run fast.

Or, if you're feeling extra sadistic, offer if to someone else. I obviously took the latter strategy, and the unfortunate "someone else" was our Japanese intern, Shun.

It's been a very interesting experience to work with someone from such a different culture, and one of the many things I've learned about the Japanese is that they are very, very polite. Unlike us westerners - who have no qualms about telling you just how much we hate something - Japanese people are generally more reserved. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for a sociological expirment.

Clearly, this salmiac was just too strong for Shun's politeness, and he had no choice but to spit it out after experiencing a nearly intolerable amount of pain. Afterwards, he described it as "like a poison," which means that the pääkallo has earned the caustic rating.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Katjes: Little Harmonies

We have a delightful chain of stores here in the states called World Market. In addition to fun home décor and furniture, they sell treats and candies from around the world. They’re usually a pretty mild versions – for example, they don’t stock sugared, freeze-dried squid snacks – because, as Americans, we want to feel like we’re doing something exotic… not actually do it.

So I was a bit surprised to find actual salty liquorice at the store. It was probably a mistake on the part of World Market’s buyer, as I’m pretty sure there’s an import ban on the stuff. Or, at least there should be. The salmiac was hidden among other foreign-looking liquorice.

Like most of Katjes products, Little Harmonies look harmless. The cheerful model on the front even proclaims it, “My daily yin & yang.” I could see how a foreign-candy buyer might get confused. This actually looks like real candy.

Opening it up revealed a spongy-textured teardrops of salty liquorice and... whatever the heck the white stuff on the other side is.

My experience with Salmiac has taught me to fear candy that looks sugar coated, so I was a bit reserved when I took a bite. But it actually was sugar. The texture was a bit strange - somewhere between a marshmallow that has been left out for two days and a gummy bear - but it was not unenjoyable.

As for the taste... it was really difficult to pin down. There was some salt and some liquorice, but it was all very muted. I suspect that's a result of the fluffy texture.

All in all, I can't say that I liked them... but I didn't dislike them. Therefore, I'll award them the bland edible tag.