REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels
Oooph. This review is going to set me back. Tonight I’m going to review 12 different caramels, thanks to this conveniently-packaged Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels kit.
The box for Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels kit reads:
“We’ve assembled dark chocolate covered caramels and paired them with some of the finest unique ingredients. The question is… which is which? We’ve provided the answers inside, but we challenge you to test your taste buds!”
Ok, I’m an absolute sucker for surprises, solving mysteries, and eating chocolate. The box encourages turning this into a social event by cutting the caramels into quarters, inserting toothpicks, having participants sample and write down observations, and then revealing the caramels’ identities to award a winner.
What the box doesn’t advise is for one man to eat 12 caramels by himself and blog about it to a light audience, none of whom are concerned at all for his health. I’m going to try each caramel in order, write down what I think the flavor is, and then see how I did. The only problem is – the front of the box gives you the pool of possible flavors. That’s too easy; I rather have no idea at all. I perused the flavors initially when I bought this thing, so I ‘m a little tainted. No problem – I’m going to polish off this bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey to erase whatever memory I have.
With the honey whiskey serving as a successful primer for the 92g of sugar I am about to inhale, I’m ready to tackle Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels. Keep in mind I only get one quick shot at picking apart these flavors because you’re only provided one of each caramel (thank God). Also keep in mind that I am feeling prettttty buzzed already. These reviews will be quick and dirty (drunk).
Caramel No.1: My first caramel in Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels has a light brown ribbon on top of the dark chocolate coating. This caramel tastes like… well, it tastes like caramel. A damn fine one. I forgot how good Trader Joe’s caramels were. I’m not picking up on anything unique, really. I am quickly getting drunk, though. Maybe it’s a fun trick where one of the caramels is actually caramel-flavored.
My Guess: Caramel
Answer: Vanilla (Bullshit)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Caramel No.2: The second caramel has a ribbon that is the same color as the dark chocolate coating. This baby tastes like straight coffee. Easy one. The flavors pair well together to taste like a Starbucks mocha Frappuccino. I like this caramel a whole lot.
My Guess: Coffee
Answer: Double Espresso (Close enough)
Rating 8 out of 10
Caramel No.3: The third caramel has some brown stripes on top. Whatever. Its taste has something citrusy underneath the dark cocoa. Kinda leaning towards orange on this one. Faint like orange zest. My least favorite so far but it certainly works. Again, Trader Joe’s makes really good chocolate caramels.
My Guess: Orange
Answer: Stem Ginger (Wrong)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Caramel No.4: This caramel clearly has coconut on top. They’re not even trying. Definitely coconut. It tastes like an Almond Joy, only richer. Doesn’t matter how drunk I am to nail this one. Feeling pretty confident going forward.
My Guess: Coconut
Answer: Coconut (Nailed it)
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Caramel No.5: By the way, I should probably add that I’ve been taking gigantic sips of whiskey in between each caramel to “refresh my palate.” Caramel No.5 in Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels has a ton of salt crystals on top. A little too much for my liking. I didn’t get anything specific other than copious amounts of salt. Drunk Female would love this shit. It’s a little too salty for me.
My Guess: Too Much Salt
Answer: Himalayan Salted (Yup)
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Caramel No.6: The halfway point. This caramel has a fine white ribbon on top and my stomach is starting to hurt. Better drink more whiskey to take the edge off. Oh, DAYUM. This caramel is butterscotchy! Butterscotch with an extra burst of salt that I appreciate much more than in the last caramel. This is my new favorite, but I am also drunker and food always tastes better when you’re drunk. It’s definitely butterscotch, though. No question.
My Guess: Butterscotch
Answer: Maple (Dammit!)
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Caramel No.7: So far I’m sitting at 50% correct and need to improve in the second half. I’m better than this. Caramel No.7 has a brown drizzle on top. This is the funkiest one so far. It’s a berry flavor; I just have no idea which one, or which state I live in right now. I love Jack Daniel’s. There’s something else I can’t put my finger on, but that I like. Kind of earthy? I’m just going to guess blackberry.
My Guess: Funky Blackberry
Answer: Strawberry Black Pepper (WTF)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Caramel No.8: Caramel No.8 has a single brown line on top. Even I could have made this one prettier, and I’m hammered. It initially tastes like cinnamon, because I just switched over to Jack Daniel’s Cinnamon Whiskey since I finished the other bottle of whiskey. I took a second bite and I didn’t get anything different. Standard caramel here. Whatever flavor additions were used aren’t that strong. Maybe it actually is cinnamon. Or maybe it’s cinnamon whiskey!
My Guess: Jack Daniel’s Cinnamon Whiskey
Answer: Butterscotch (HOW)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Caramel No.9: I vowed to do better in the second half but haven’t been close since. Is Taco Bell still open? Caramel No.9 has a BEAUTIFUL chocolate drizzle star on its surface. 10 out of 10 for the artwork. It tastes like a chocolate caramel, but sweeter. Not overly-sweetened, but something a little extra that I like. What’s sweeter than caramel? Maple was already used, so I’m just going to take a shot in the dark (and of Jack Daniel’s Cinnamon Whiskey) and guess honey.
My Guess: Honey
Answer: Fig & Honey (THAT COUNTS)
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Caramel No.10: That was a helluva guess on No.9. Ok, I vow (again) to go undefeated the rest of the way. Caramel No.10 has a bunch of crap on top. Hard to tell what it is because I’m going cross-eyed from the whiskey. Hard to tell what it tastes like, too, because I’m blacking out from the whiskey. So much for going undefeated the rest of the way. This caramel is whatever.
My Guess: No clue
Answer: Blood Orange Balsamic (LOL)
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
Caramel No.11: This is the longest review I’ve ever written. I wouldn’t want to read this, either, so congrats if you’ve made it this far… a shot of Jack Daniel’s on me. Caramel No.11 has an amorphous blob of brown stuff on top. It’s hideous, so I instantly identify with it. This caramel didn’t taste special initially, but then the heat started to creep up. It’s a spiced dark chocolate and it works great. I’m glad they included a spicy component on one of their caramels, but what should I guess here? “Spicy?” Some kind of pepper, obviously. It’s not habanero hot, so I’m gonna guess “chile.”
My Guess: Chile Pepper
Answer: Hot Chili (BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Caramel No.12: Thank God. The final caramel. My abs (what abs?) can’t take any more sugar. If I guess this one correctly, though, I’ll have salvaged a 50% score. Hey, if this were baseball, that would put me as the greatest hitter of all-time. DAMMIT. I have no clue what this one is. It’s chocolatey and caramel-y. It’s… kind of tart, maybe? I don’t have a well-informed guess here, but this wasn’t my favorite caramel… that’s for sure.
My Guess: Butt
Answer: Toffee Apple (Was Pretty Sure It Was Butt)
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
WELP there it is, people. I went 5-for-12, got drunk, and had a great time by myself with Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels. Though I only guessed 42% correctly, there were no other participants so I WON! And this entire experience reminded me how good Trader Joe’s chocolate caramels are, and how good whiskey is. If you have actual friends, I could see a Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Caramels party being a randy good time.
How Many Better Things I Could Have Done Tonight Rating: 4 out of 10
How Much Better Whiskey Makes Everything Rating: 9 out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
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