[BURTS] Guinness

The first Burts brand flavour crisps I tried was Lamb, Mint and Mango and I was fairly disappointed with the flavour but extremely impressed with the brand Burts itself. So, I decided to give them another go and see how another flavour shaped up. I found a flavour that I had previously seen on another crisp reviewers blog that they had wanted to try but could not find, and I was intrigued and thought to myself…

“Guinness. Interesting. I bet they have a good strong taste. I will definitely give them a try”

And not only 2 weeks after seeing them on the blogs I found them within 5 minutes of my house. Dreams do come true I guess?

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Packaging – A feast for the eyes?

First impressions…’Posh Crisps‘. Very bold, clean and simple. A HUGE Guinness symbol on the top and a picture of the crisps. A nice chocolate brown package reminiscent of a pink of Guinness, without the ‘head’ obviously. The back of the packet discusses the fusion of Burts and Guinness. Strong Iconic Irish Stout. The Ultimate Snack In A Pack. Rich Blend. Take Your Taste Buds To The Extreme. Well God Damn, these had better be all that (…and a bag of chips, heh)

 

Although…The ingredients list proves very interesting reading…

Milk Powder, Cocoa Powder and Cream Powder?  

So, this is a desert crisp?  But, Guinness stout is made from water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer’s yeast. A portion of the barley is roasted to give Guinness its dark colour and characteristic taste. Guinness features a burnt flavour that is derived from roasted, unmalted barley

Um… Wheres the cocoa and shit? Oh Well. Lets give these a go.

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Flavour for the senses?

The smell is there as soon as the packet opens. Its smelts like a sweet burnt soy smell. The smell reminds me of two things, Twiglets and Teriyaki sauce. They are especially dark in colour, the darkest crisps I have seen, and again remind me of Twiglets. There is little to no residue left on my fingers which for me can be hit or miss. If there seasoning is especially delicious I LOVE to lick the residue off. But If it’s not good…hmmmm..

These tasted to me exactly like Yo! Sushi Teriyaki sauce which I LOVE, I have stated that if I could buy that sauce I would and drink buckets of it, slather it on anything and everything I eat, but this flavour is like the sauce but left out for a day. Its still good but alittle off and not as strong.

 

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These crisps are moreish, for the first 2 minutes, after that I didn’t have anymore interest in them. Until 2 minutes later. I went back, snacked again and gave up again. I kept going back and forth like that until nearly all the pack was done. But I did not finish the packet. Again, this is a big red flag for me. Plus, these are supposed to be thick cut, I really could not tell.

 

Guinness is the obvious choice for a pairing, but I got a craving for coke, so either.

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Does it taste good?

Yes. But, not so much so that I would purchase again. The flavour was good, but also not. I am very conflicted. I did not hate these and I did not love them. I did not dislike these and I did not like them. I am pretty much split down the middle. I would say I have a more positive feeling regarding these crisps but not by miles. Probably by a casual stroll.

20170312_151756The Ratio of product to package is approx 3:4

Pros Cons
 Strong Aroma

Good Packaging

Good Brand and Values

Slightly ‘Off’ Taste

Not Thick Cut

False Statements of Flavour

Going back for more?

No. If there is not other choice but these I will not be upset to have them, but I would most likely pick something else…except anything on the D list.

Are they all that and a bag of chips?

    C

 12/20      Taste  12/20   Flavour  10/20  Moreish  15/20        Ratio  18/20  Packaging
Total:  67/100

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[CALBEE] Grill – a -Corn BBQ

 My original post regarding the Calbee brand can be found on my review of the Eel Kabayaki flavoured corn chip found here.

 

I am alittle confused regarding this particular flavour. Initially, I believed this buttered corn on the cob flavour. Now reading the packet it is Grill-A-Corn BBQ flavour. I’m not exactly sure what I am getting? Is it supposed to taste like Buttered Corn? Grilled Corn? Barbecued and Smoked? Really not sure what I am supposed to be getting.

 

The ingredients say BBQ seasoning (sugars, salts, spices, flavouring, flavour enhancers) What the hell is spices and flavourings?  What particular spices and flavourings am I in for? Is this lost in translation? I am beyond confused…

 

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Packaging – A feast for the eyes?

The packaging is again uninspiring but slightly more interesting in than Eel Kabayaki. Not many packets I have seen are yellow as it doesn’t really pop or show up well on most shelves.

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Flavour for the senses?

The smell there is little to no smell to get you salivating. The look of the chip again is very basic and shows little colour and shows some evidence of whats in store based off the sprinkling of colours on the chip. (Must be those spices and flavourings….)

Again very ambiguous. This is a guessing game chip. But. none the less I am intrigued.20170307_171226

Does it taste good?

So, as we know those flavourings and spices are present, we have no idea what is in store. I could be eating crushed beetles for all I know. All I know, I do not know what I am tasting but GOD DAMN those spices and flavourings are delicious. Incredibly moreish and sweetly subtle in flavour. Ever so slightly sweet, ever so slightly spiced with a nice buttery under taste. Understated. But, I really wish I knew what I was tasting so I could confirm if this is really true to taste.

I had devoured mine with a glass of pink moscato which did not work but it was one of those days so alcohol was needed. A less zingy lemonade ( Englands ‘white’ Lemonade) or even a spritzer would be good.

20170307_171216The Ratio of product to package is approx 2:3

Pros Cons
Simple and easy to eat

Nice subtle Flavour

Moreish

Mixed Messages Regarding Ingredients

Expensive Due to Import

Little to no Aroma

Going back for more?

People always say you should not eat anything that you do not know exactly what it is. Well, those flavourings and spices have me so I will make an exception. Yes I would buy these again. But I would probably pick something else before I choose these.

Are they all that and a bag of chips?

    B

 16/20      Taste  15/20   Flavour  18/20   Moreish  15/20        Ratio  13/20  Packaging
Total: 77/100

[CALBEE] Eel Kabayaki

Calbee brand started in 1949 as Matsuo Food Processing Co., Ltd. was incorporated to succeed Matsuo Food Industry, in Hiroshima. Their message is Let your body absorb the life force of nature. Fresh and delicious, food that makes the most of the flavors
and nutrition of natural ingredients. Here at Calbee, we will continuously consider, seek out and give shape to the possibilities that nature’s gifts bring to the realm of food so that
we can continuously bring you exciting surprises and fun.

“Harvest the Power of Nature”

Very commendable and provoking. They have many different and unique flavours of crisps for different regions. I.e Korea has Pizza and Honey Butter, Singapore has Snow Pea, Philippines has Jagabee Potato Fries Cheese, and Indonesia has Grilled Seaweed. The United Kingdoms has some pretty bog standard and stereotypical ‘ASIAN’ flavours from Calbee such as Sweet Chilli & Lemon and Soy & Balsamic Vinegar. And this is exactly why I decided to try this flavour. Kabayaki Eel.

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So, what exactly is Kabayaki Eel?

Kabayaki (蒲焼?) is a preparation of fish, especially unagi eel,[1] where the fish is split down the back[2] (or belly), gutted and boned, butterflied, cut into square fillets, skewered, and dipped in a sweet soy sauce-based sauce before being broiled on a grill.

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Packaging – A feast for the eyes?

The packaging is uninspiring. The initial thoughts when scouring the isles of my local Asian grocery store was that the bright red and brown packaging would mean BBQ, heat and a deep meaty flavour. I saw the grilled meat/fish image at the bottom which intrigued me but I only discovered this was Eel flavoured once I checked the back.  Sometimes I like pictures of the food on packaging and sometimes I don’t. I am getting windows 95 word art vibes from this packaging, you know, that rainbow blocked word art you would use as a header for your school work and think to yourself ‘I’ll get an A just for this header looking so boss‘ look, and unfortunately because this is not the early 90’s….that’s not good.

I feel this is a cheaper brand. Most definitely not a ‘posh crisp’ or a premium brand.

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Flavour for the senses?

The smell did hit me as soon as I opened the package…which took quite some effort. It took me a lot of strain to open this packet and the results were rather mixed. The smell was initially sweet and slightly smokey. The first taste was good, a subtle honey like sweetness with a light BBQ smokey flavour. There is no fishy taste, but I suspect Eel is more of a meaty flavour much like Mackerel. I have never had Eel so I am merely guessing. There is a slight flavour that I am unaware of and I think this is probably Eel which is Ok but I was very aware of this mystery flavour despite it being so minor compared to the sweetness coming through. The corn flavour of the crisp was also present.

 

There is a light smattering of spices over the crisps but the crisp itself is light and airy. With corn chips they do not have enough surface area to really hit your tongue with flavour and they are not as crunchy as a potato crisp but they are still enjoyable.

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Does it taste good?

Initially, Yes. I did continue to eat but at leisure. I did not tear into them with reckless abandon, and I did not throw them away. The sweetness kept pulling me back but that mystery flavour I assume is the Eel flavour kept pushing me away. These are more sweet flavour than anything and the packaging did not represent that. I expected heat, spice and sweetness but these seem more like honey crisps with a slight BBQ Eel flavour. The smell is the best thing about these and the taste second. I can’t confirm if these are true to taste as I have never eaten Eel but I expected something different.

 

I had my pack with a Pepsi max which didn’t quite work, but beer or wine would not match well. Coke or regular Pepsi would be best.

20170305_125658The Ratio of product to package is approx 2:3

Pros Cons
 Nice and Sweet Aroma

Surprising Flavour

Mixed Messages Regarding Flavour

Expensive Due to Import

Boring Packaging

Going back for more?

I want to be clear, the Eel flavour is not bad, I just had this niggling at the back of my mind about it and it stopped me from finishing the pack. So yes, it does taste good but for me its not my cup of tea and I will likely not repurchase these again. The smell is lovely but does not represent what you should be getting.

Are they all that and a bag of chips?

    C+

 14/20      Taste  15/20   Flavour  13/20  Moreish  15/20        Ratio  10/20  Packaging
Total:  67/100

[KOIKEYA] Potechi -Teriyaki

Koikeya is a major manufacturer of snacks in Japan. Glico is another big name that makes Pocky another great snack similar to a snack from my childhood, [KP] Choc Dips, but a little more refined. I can’t find much information on Koikeya as it is mainly all in Japanese. The Potechi Brand was made for Europe creating the Teriyaki and Wasabi Nori flavoursThey have made many interesting flavours of potato and corn chips such as Strawberry Shortcake, Butter and Soy, Grilled Corn, Peach, Banana and Milk and Toast to name a few.

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Packaging – A feast for the eyes?

The packaging is very simple and understated. It denotes heritage and prestige, a strong sense of pride and devotion and definitely comes across as a premium  crisp brand. No basic red and blue packaging as you would see with more basic brand crisps, but definitely does not promote the generic ‘posh crisp’ look. I feel that a black packet would be stronger to confirm this but the deep brown works too, the kanji (hirigana or katakana, not quite sure) further pushes its heritage and pushes this as a distinct Japanese brand.

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Flavour for the senses?

The smell doesn’t hit you immediately after you open the packet but as soon as you do take in that aroma of sweet, sticky and spicy with a hint of umami it is intoxicating. It smells exactly like a sweet smoked chicken skewer basted in teriyaki sauce with lightly burnt edges of chicken skin. The ingredients list Sugar, Soy,  Miso Powder, Garlic Powder and all those delicious E numbers that makes everything so bad but so so good. And its all there, as a furiously chomp away with relentlessly abandon you can taste every little thing. The tang, the smoke, the sweet, the salt. It’s all there. This light crisp with hardly any visual stimulation with regards to spices and specks of flavour and colour to the crisp, 1000% makes up for it with the smell and flavour. Incredibly moreish, so moreish that in fact returned to my local Asian supermarket to buy another 10 packs. Easily my one of my top 10 crisps. It’s a shame they are so expensive because of import.

Perfect with beer. Asahi would be a great pairing, plus it would be inkeeping with the heritage. Asahi Black even better.

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Does it taste good?

Yes. God Yes. I think i had a religious experience eating these. Remember in Ratatouille when the food critic ate the Ratatouille that Remy made and ‘PHWONG‘ was sent back to the memory of his mothers Ratatouille?  I had that. But, without the rat and being in France. I had the ‘PHWONG‘ rush and realisation that I experienced something great.

I could have easily eaten 2 packs in 1 sitting, a ‘sharing’ pack size would be great. I put sharing in quotations because I never share sharing packs. These should be standard sized packs.

20170228_115223The Ratio of product to package is approx 3:4

Pros Cons
 Strong Aroma

Good Packaging

Good Brand and Values

EXCELLENT flavour

True to Taste

‘PHWONG’ Factor

Incredibly Moreish

Packet Not Big Enough

Expensive Due to Import

Going back for more?

10 packs after 1 tasting should tell you all you need to know.

Are they all that and a bag of chips?

    A+

 20/20      Taste  20/20   Flavour  20/20  Moreish  18/20        Ratio  15/20  Packaging
Total:  93/100

[BURTS] Lamb, Mint & Mango

Burts is a British brand and therefore these are crisps, not chips and considering I am also British I will also be saying crisps in all my reviews. Burts make their crisps in Devon and have strong values with regards to their product and their people. Each packet has the name of the person who fried the crisps on each packet, much like how Lush Cosmetics also state on each product who made the product. It gives a much more personable experience and a sense of care and pride for the customer, staff and product.

I get a great sense of pride and devotion from only briefly researching the Burts brand, and Sony was the ‘fryer’ for my particular pack of crisps. Also, these crisps are Gluten Free, and also free from MSG, Hydrogentated Fat,  Artificial Colours and Flavourings.

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Packaging – A feast for the eyes?

The packaging is beautiful. It really stands out amongst a sea of plain old red and blue  packets. Definitely, looks like a ‘posh crisp’.

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Flavour for the senses?

Right off the bat, as soon as I opened the packet I could smell the crisps. There was a strong aroma of spice and mint particularly. The lamb scent came after but I never got the scent of lamb again after that initial opening. They have a slightly dark orange hue, so that tells me they are loaded with spices and powdered herbs. There are also speckles of  black, green and red. I am assuming this is Mint, Black Pepper and Chillies but after checking the ingredients listing there is no pepper or chillies listed.

 

I imagine these would taste good with a light beer or a nice light white wine.

20170224_160509.jpgDoes it taste good?

Initially, yes. After a while I could only taste the mint and a small hint of lamb. There was no mango flavour and it really needed that balance of sweet and savoury because after a while the crisps just tasted burnt. The first ever ‘posh crisps’ i had were when Walkers (Lays) Sensations were released and my first packet was Lamb and Mint. They were so, so, SO, good. I could taste every little bit of seasoning they had used. It really tasted like lamb with mint sauce. I was really hoping to recapture that with these but it just didn’t happen.

Unfortunately, these did not live up to my expectation.

 

 

20170224_160453The Ratio of product to package is approx 2:3

 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
 Strong Aroma

Good Packaging

Good Brand and Values

Not True to Taste

Not Moreish

 

 

Going back for more?

Initially these were very moreish, but as that burnt flavour started to take over I started to slow down on my normal ravenous consumption of crisps and stopped eating. I then eventually went back in and tried to finish the packet which brought some of the lamb flavours back again but I gave up and left about 1/4 of the product.

 

Would I buy these again… No. But I love the brand and what they convey and stand for so I will definitely try other flavours with high hopes.

 

Are they all that and a bag of chips?

    C

 10/20      Taste  10/20   Flavour  10/20  Moreish  15/20        Ratio  15/20  Packaging
Total:  60/100