Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cotton Candy Flavored Oreos?!?

It's an all-new kooky-flavored offering from Nabisco ... that for some reason, tastes nearly indistinguishable from all of the other kooky-flavored offerings the company has already released. 

It's been a while since I last reviewed a weird-ass Oreos permutation. I was tempted by the red velvet variation released around Valentine's Day, and in hindsight, I reckon I will always rue not getting an opportunity to taste the root-beer flavored cookies, but for the most part, Nabisco just hasn't released anything strange enough lately to get me to open up my wallet.

With the newfangled Cotton Candy Oreos, however, the intrigue was just too much. How exactly was Nabisco going to replicate that puffy texture, and could they truly get that grainy sugar aftertaste down? Was it going to taste like an amalgam of bubble gum and blueberry, as the image on the product box teases? Indeed, these are all questions that cannot be answered by a third party -- they were all riddles I would have to solve on my own.

As far as the product aesthetics, it's pretty much what you would expect. Instead of the midnight black hockey puck discs, Nabisco instead opted for the golden sandwich tops, which is probably for the best -- I mean, who among us wants to walk around with coal-colored chunks of debris in our teeth, let alone said coal-colored chunks coupled with a mean case of cotton candy breath?

The scent of the cookies are strong, but I wouldn't exactly consider it cotton candy-smelling. It's pretty hard to describe precisely what the cookies smell like, but if you've ever tried the watermelon or fruit punch-flavored Oreos before, that's a fairly comparable scent. And as you will soon see, that isn't the only commonality these newer cookies share with its weirdbeard predecessors from 2014 and 2013, respectively.

In terms of texture, there is really nothing to talk about here. Unlike some of the other seasonal cookies shilled by Nabisco, there's really nothing of note printed on the cookies themselves. They are basically your standard Oreo cookies, which admittedly, is a pretty big disappointment. I mean, with the cotton candy hook, the whole carnival gimmick was right there in front of them -- you mean you guys couldn't engrave us a trapeze artist or a dude fighting a lion with a stool?

The biggest slight against the new cookies, however, is the taste. Granted, the actual creme hue is pretty neat looking (really, with that off red and off blue pattern, these things could easily be mistaken for Pepsi Cola Oreos), but frankly, they just don't taste enough like cotton candy for my liking.

Strangely enough, the most comparable flavor I can liken these things to is artificial blueberry, which is we all know by now, is one of my all-time favorite flavors/scents/textures. The thing is, it's not a really pronounced, overwhelming blueberry flavor like with Boo Berry, it's this really faint semi-blueberry flavor that just feels inundated with sugar. The more I chewed on these things, the more I began to realize just how similar they tasted to last year's Fruit Punch Oreos, which in turn, tasted nearly identical to the Watermelon Oreos released a year before that. At the the end of the day, it was pretty hard to differentiate this product from all of the stuff Nabisco has already released -- sure, it may not taste EXACTLY like the aforementioned products, but it tastes similar enough to them to make me think that Nabisco is just slightly tweaking its formula every year and doing the bare minimum amount of food engineering to pass this stuff off as something "entirely" new. I wouldn't call it "consumer fraud" quite yet, but I would indelibly call it something just as bad -- lazy.

To be fair, the cookies themselves were not horrible -- meaning, that if you ate a handful, you probably would not immediately want to upchuck. For what they are, they are quite flavorful, and weird enough and familiar enough at the same time to be considered something refreshing. In fact, if you have never tried the Fruit Punch or Watermelon Oreos before, you may be inclined to consider these cookies quite the gustatory experiences. Alas, I already have experienced such, and I am guessing most of the people reading this have too (only the hardcore, of course, would ever mull Googling "Cotton Candy Oreos negative review" in the first place.) 

I've kind of touched upon this before, but ultimately, I think Nabisco is just hitting the "refresh" button over and over again with these things. Since they are limited-time-only products, you really don't have to spend that much time on a long-term marketing plan -- in fact, the inherent oddness of the products themselves is the marketing plan. Instead of developing distinct, high-quality products, they just seem content on releasing the craziest sounding shit they can, and since Gen Y kids have a taste for bad taste and don't ultimately care where their money winds up, it's been an overwhelmingly successful approach thus far. The thing is, the allure of the "novelty Oreo" is quickly fading away, and instead of appearing "odd" and "kooky," these things are now starting to come off as tired, forced and predictable. Instead of quirky, these things are now seen as just sad and formulaic and nothing more than shameless cash-grabs. To be sure, Nabisco can indeed craft novel cookies that are also delicious (seriously, I should have hoarded a truck load of the Pumpkin Spice Oreos from last autumn), but stuff like this just isn't going to fly. What's next, lime-flavored Oreos, or red Sour Patch Kids Oreos or, god help us, Nutella-flavored Oreos

From here, there is nowhere to go but down, Nabisco. Well, that is, until you make me those damned Mountain Dew Code Red Oreos I've been sending you e-mails about for the last three years, anyway...


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