Your guide to all that orange in the candy aisle
Have you noticed the explosion of Reese's variety going on at the checkout recently or did it sneak up on you like it did me? It hit the other day when I bought a Fast Break thinking it was a Crispy Crunchy only to realize on second inspection that the bar I had just eaten was a NutRageous that the times have changed. What happened to the innocent days when all the different ways to eat the Reese's class was enough to satisfy the cravings of consumers? Apparently, those times have bit the proverbial peanut butter dust.
To help you out, I went to a local grocer (Harvard Market) and snatched up a number of Reese's and gave each one a quality inspection. Print this guide out and keep it in your wallet at all times in case you ever find yourself in a tense candy aisle situation and need to get behind the jingoist names and snazzy packaging to get to the fundamentals of each bar.
Each variant will be judged out of ten on 4 different categories:
<!--4. Eating Experience
(I call it the “COTE” candy test. Let’s hope that catches on.)
Milk Chocolate Reese’s – 210 calories –The classic big daddy
Opening up one of these things brings back memories. The packaging alone makes me want to make it into a ramp for my Hot Wheel cars. Every little ridge on the crown of this king of candies forms perfectly to the wrapper and makes a satisfying yet quiet pop when pulled apart. The wrapper also serves as a depository of chocolate to be licked off when the cup is completely consumed - much like the last few fries at the bottom of a McDonalds bag. I’m surprised at how emotional of an experience this is. The fact that there are two peanut butter cups is appreciated and yet agonizing at the same time. The first one is gobbled up without much thought thinking there is another left and lo, once gone with only one to go, the bitter fleetingness of this treat sets in making the consumption of the second a heartfelt process.
E – 9
Reese’s NutRageous – 260 calories – the wonky younger brother on drugs
This thing looks like a Baby Ruth bar (COTE score ~28) but smaller. Upon biting into it, the internal architecture becomes clear: the NutRageous bar is just a vein of peanut butter with a mount of peanuts piled on top encased in chocolate. Hello, there is also some caramel to act as a bonding agent between the peanuts and the peanut butter. The closest thing I can relate this experience to is eating a Cow Tail where the peanut butter is the cream and the nuts and chocolate is the caramel. The consistency of the chocolate seems flakey to me and leaves a kind of hollow taste in the mouth. The name might just be the cleverest thing about this Reese’s derivative, because the only thing this has going for it is that it combines peanuts with peanut butter which isn’t a smart idea at all. In fact, it’s pretty stupid.
O-8 (upon second look, NutRageous is written in blue on the bar which makes it the only non-yellow label of the bunch)
Reese’s Fast Break – 260 calories – for the movers and shakers of the world
The Fast Break is also designed with some blue on the package which gives this candy bar a soft and motherly feel. It is about the same size as the NutRageous though is smooth and vaguely trapezoidal. Oh boy this is one mushy candy bar; the Fast Break has the consistency of a Three Musketeers. The top layer is another strand of peanut butter while the bottom is some kind of white goo the likes of I have never seen before. The chocolate is not as flakey as the NutRageous but still not as good as the original Reese’s. The same hollow taste found in the NutRageous persists in the Fast Break. If this is an attempt to market the bar to people on the go as a kind of fast meal substitute, the Fast Break fails miserably. It’s mostly just gooey and nasty and would not stand up against competitor its competitor in that category, Snickers (COTE ~ low 30s). The name makes even less sense when you observe that the bar is slow to tear apart.
Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar – 260 calories – the Zune of candy bars
If this candy bar is meant to be a substitute for the Butterfinger, it definitely wins on taste though it falls short in size and consistency. The comparisons between the Crispy Crunchy Car and the Butterfinger are apparent at first crispy crunch. Noone else in the industry dares to challenge Butterfinger’s deathgrip on its mysterious crunchy interior until now. Props to the Crispy Crunch Bar. Something I’ve failed to mention until this point is that the Fast Break, the Crispy Crunch Bar and the NutRageous were all rather slight candy bars. They are about the size of a Twix with one and a half times the diameter. A serious disadvantage. Another disadvantage about this bar is that it seems a little bit sloppy as candy bars go with peanuts and brittle flying all over the place, though I suppose any Butterfinger competitor is going to have that problem.
Reese’s Sticks – 210 calories - the birthday cake of candy
This package has the classic all orange Reece’s design with the bar hovering in the upper right corner. I like the feel of this one, it’s wider and flatter than the previous three bars and the design has a kind of silky and buttery magma swirling behind the logo. Upon opening, heavens be praised, the Reese’s Sticks not only contains two sticks but it also, like its father, also comes with a cardboard bracing system! This one is a bit taller than is contained in the original Reese’s container which makes for even more extreme ramp for launching if that is still your game. Biting into one of these suckers and the stick is revealed to be a double-decker peanut butter and crispy stick sandwich encased in chocolate that is not too flakey and not too gooey. The best part about these Reese’s Sticks is that they can be taken apart bit layer by layer, giving unlimited possibility for consumption styles. Not only that, but the sweet heartaches found in the original Reese’s bar are still present here although in this case there is even more stick to eat so the process is even more fulfilling. This is what a candy bar should be.