Thursday, August 20, 2015

Specially Selected Strawberry Soft Licorice - Aldi: Cherry Hill, NJ

Specially Selected Strawberry Soft Licorice - Aldi: Cherry Hill, NJ
Cybele and I just wrapped up our newest Candyology101 podcast (which will be out really soon) and the theme was fruity licorice, so I figured I better get this review written up before it airs.

A lot of "true" licorice fans will argue that fruity versions aren't real "licorice" and they're right, but what else would you call this stuff? Fruit flavored extruded licorice-like candy? That's like The-Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Prince. It's no where near as appealing, and it's hard to say. I call it licorice, for the sake of simplicity, but really, it's kind of it's own style of candy.

As always with the Specially Selected line, we have a black backdrop with white text. The layout is crisp and clean with plenty of red- accents and there's a lovely photo of the product. For a no-frills store-brand, this design is very appealing. My only recommendation would be that the napkin on the front of the package should be a different color. Black, white and red are the most powerful colors in graphic design,but this is just too much of the same red. If the napkin had been a darker burgundy color, or some bright and colorful contrast, I think it would have made the package stand out more.

The bag opens easily, and inside there are plenty of semi-translucent red licorice twists. Color-wise they look very similar to the Darrell Lea's soft eating licorice that I love, but they're pinker and a different shape. (Darrell Lea offers this shape in their Twist Mix, but their normal strawberry licorice is cylindrical.) 

I love the smell of this stuff. The aroma is so light and fruity. Almost like a strawberry jam mixed with cotton candy. If this were a perfume, I'd wear it every day. (Come on Bath & Body Works! Bring back the Temptations line and give me a red licorice scented body spray!) I took a bite, and the chew is waxy and a bit stiff, just like the Darrell Lea version. This texture always reminds me of wax soda bottles, or lips, but it actually breaks down as you chew it and releases way more flavoring. Initially this tastes sweet and mild, like wax lips, but as you chew the flavoring is released and the fruitiness is more obvious. There's a sweet authentic strawberry jam flavoring, but it's not as deep and complex, which is great, but I still prefer Darrell Lea version. I feel like the flavoring isn't as deep and jammy, but it's still really enjoyable and I'll easily eat this entire bag.

This Aldi version is leaps and bounds better than a Twizzler, and it's an incredible product, but it's not better than my favorite red licorice on the market, Darrell Lea. (Although it's really close!)  Still, I highly recommend it because, even if it doesn't beat out my favorite, I'll be buying this stuff more often anyways because it's cheaper and I'm more likely to shop at Aldi than a "normal" grocery store. It's a must-try for fruity licorice lovers who still want a premium product, but don't want to shell out premium cash to get it. (Like me.)
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  1. Hey Maria! Me again! ;) ^^

    I've to aks although it is possible my question will be answers in and with your and Cybeles next candyology episode. ^^

    You should already know that i'mfrom germany, a foodie and cereal lover and somehwo overly obsessed with the US. xD

    Twizzlers was always one of the "few" "lesser known" candy brands you hear words about here in germany and a couple of month ago i was able to try the original strawberry flavor twizzlers ( But i didn't get the idea of this candy... so i hope you an help me out here...

    I always thought of twizzlers and all those alternatives as licorice candy with a hint of fruit/whatever flavor, but after eating twizzlers i had to realize there was NO hint of licorice and it tasted more like sweet sugar water with a hint of strawberry. So the question is, was i wrong? Doesn't the fruit flavored twizzlers have any licorice in it? Or is my understanding of licorice a complete different than the one you've in the us? Meaning, when i speak of licorice i really mean the deep flavor licorice and the salty stuff (danish and dutch licorice; salmiak)...

    I still have the PULL 'N' PEEL Cherry Flavored Twizzlers lying around here... do you knwo if they are any better than the strawberry ones? ^^
    Otherwise Twizzlers is the first american candy fail i purchased and tried. :)

    1. To be honest, Twizzlers are not that great. They are a very waxy and dense candy, and you're right in guessing that there is no "licorice flavoring" at all. I just posted the podcast, so you can tune into that where Cybele gives you the scoop on how it's made and whether or not it's a "real" licorice. (Which is pretty neat stuff.)

      As for it being a fail, it's not the best American candy out there. It's like fruit flavored plastic. The Pull N' Peel variety are softer, and they come in more unique flavors, but they still aren't my favorite. If you're looking for good fruity licorice (which may or may not be real licorice) Australian sweets are the way to go.

    2. Maria, thank you so much for your answer and help here. I just finished listening the podcast this morning and man... why did I have to get that interesting and so useful information about red licorice now and not before I bought the stuff... xD

      So it's just the name and has almost nothing to do with licorice except it was first created or introduced by companies who made licorice... (and yes as you discussed in the latest candyology episodes this misleading name deceit should be made an issue in the upcoming presidential election!!)
      So I'm sure I also won't like the pull and peel cherry Twizzlers... And the worst part isn't the money I spent on this "not so good" candy but one of the few chances to get stuff from the US you can't get in Germany xD
      (Next time i just ask you for some better choices ^^)

      Thanks again! (and a huge thanks to cybele too!) :)

  2. at Aldi: I just tried their new limited edition kettle chips:

    "Thai Chili" Awesome. a little spicy, but not nearly as strong/overpowering as the sriracha ones. I thought they were similar to the now discontinued Asian BBQ kettle chips from Wegmans.

    1. I just picked those up! I'm really looking forward to trying them, from the sound of it, I think I'm going like them a lot.