Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Good, The Bad, and The Regretful - Japanese Kit-Kats

Japanese Sweets  - Gift
These fancy Japanese Kit-Kat bars were a gift from my awesome co-worker Nicole. (Thanks, Nicole!)   
A friend of hers recently traveled to Japan and came back with some goodies that she, so graciously, shared with me. We have four different varieties: Iyokan Mandarin Orange, Sake, Strawberry Tiramisu, and the classic, Matcha, along with a few adorably packaged Geisha candies. 
Let's kick things off with those Kit-Kats!
Green Tea/Matcha (green package) - How have I never formally reviewed a Matcha Kit-Kat bar? That's crazy! This is a Japanese snack-food staple! 
Unwrapped, the Matcha bar has a saturated, grassy, green color that matches it's namesake along with a sweet, but earthy, aroma. Due to all the added sugar and creamy confectionery, the scent lacks the brighter, grassier, matcha notes you'd expect, and instead you have a creamy, almost yogurt-y take on matcha that is slightly floral. Taking a bite, texturally, this is the same as any other Kit-Kat bar, but the flavoring is a creamy, sweet, and concentrated. If they made a green tea extract, and mixed it with the coating from yogurt covered raisins, you'd have this Kit-Kat bar. I've had these bars in the past and while they are enjoyable, I wouldn't say they are my favorite by any means, but my sister adores them. It really depends on how much you enjoy matcha and green tea flavored things. This is a more mature flavor, due to it's complex tea flavoring, but it is plenty sweet to still win over picky eaters and children. 
Sake (red package) - This was a flavor I was really excited about, but never got around to. Admittedly, I was only into it because it had absolutely gorgeous packaging. (I'm a sucker for a pretty package.) I say this because my experience with sake in the past was...not great. I tried it, and spent the rest of my night on a cold tile floor regretting it. (Then again we were young, and stupid, and mixing drinks. Might not be fair to blame the sake, but the experience has soured sake for me every since.)
I unwrapped the candy and took a whiff...oof. Okay, this brings me back. It smells like cream, sugar, and bad decisions. It's amazing how vividly it all comes rushing back, it's been years since my sake-soaked night of regret, and yet, by smelling this candy, it feels like only yesterday. Honestly, the scent alone has my body tensing up a bit, so I am not excited to try this one after all...but, here we go anyway! I took a bite, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. The candy coating is sweet, vanilla'd and mild, mixed with a bold alcohol effect and after taste. You don't quite get a boozy burn, like with fancy liquor-filled chocolates, but there is a dryness that is distinctly boozey, and it leaves me feeling like I sprayed a white chocolate Kit-Kat bar with some kind of perfume. To me, this doesn't taste like something that should be food, and it's very sweet, so sake-lovers might not enjoy it due to that either. I think this is more of a 'WOW, that was weird," fun-factor food than something you wish you could snack on long-term. Kids will definitely hate this one, and as someone who lacks adult boozey-tastebuds, I hate it too. Thank you, next. 
Iyokan Mandarin Orange (Orange package) - I needed something citrus-y to cleanse my palette. Thank goodness for this flavor. Unwrapped, it smells sweet, bright, and a little zesty. Aroma-wise it's a slightly tangier orange creamsicle, and after the harrowing flavor memories the last one brought to the surface, I am totally here for this. 
 I took a bite, and oddly enough, this actually gave me Fruity Pebbles vibes. The overall flavoring leans a little more orange than actual Fruity Pebbles, but there is a creamy generalized citrus flavoring that punches me in the face with childhood breakfast nostalgia. If you like Fruity Pebbles, or those Fruity Crisp Oreos, this is the flavor to try. (Also, American Kit-Kat producers need to get on this! Make cereal-flavored Kit-Kats!)
Strawberry Tiramisu (off-white package) - Can we talk about this package for a moment? The face to the right is a bit easier to read, but the one on the left? How many lips does that person have? Maybe one is a chin? Something there just doesn't read right to me. 
This time, instead of a solid color, we have an off-white Kit-Kat bar with little pink (presumably strawberry) flakes embedded within. This time the candy smells oddly tangy, almost like cream cheese, with a hint of a bright and tangy fruitiness. It's a very pleasant smell that reminds me of strawberry Creamsavers (remember those?!)
I took a bite, and WOW. Where did that coffee come from?! I couldn't smell it at all, but the candy has a prominent espresso flavoring with a hint of cocoa powder, cream, and strawberries. I thought this flavor was going to be a frilly gimmick, I mean I love Tiramisu, it's one of my favorite desserts, but I have never seen it served with strawberries and this turned out to be the best flavor of the bunch! Really, this was a very delicious bar and something I could see myself re-purchasing and snacking on in the future. 
Here is my final Kit-Kat ranking:
#1 Strawberry Tiramisu - delicious
#2 Iyokan Mandarin Orange - refreshing
#3 Matcha - mellow but enjoyable
#-1000 Sake - immediate regret and bathroom floor flashbacks
Lastly, we have the teeny geisha candies. So, what are these adorable mystery sweets? 
They're candy coated chocolate! Pretty similar to Sixlets. Nothing all that new, or exotic, but the wrapping is so damn cute! 
Thanks again to Nicole for the treats, and I'll be back on Thursday with something (supposedly) from Rome?  
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