A few months ago, I noticed that NTK where carrying a story about a new product from Mars, which they called "SKITTLES MINTS". Today, I found something called "MINTS SKITTLES" in my local Sainsburys.

The Name

I'm no grammar expert, but I can't help but feel that "Mints Skittles" is somehow wrong. Wouldn't "Skittles Mint" or "Mint Skittles" be better? (update 30/10/02: I have it on good authority (Servo5678), that more recent editions of the product are much more sensibly called "Mint Skittles".)

The Packaging

Unlike normal Skittles, these come in a cellophane-wrapped cardboard box. The cellophane has one of those strips that one tears off near the top of the box, like a cigarette packet. The usual Skittle splash logo and the slogan "Taste the Rainbow" appear on the front, surmounted by a half-hearted "Mints" logo at a subtly different jaunty angle. (An idea of this given here http://www.ntk.net/2000/10/06/skittles.jpg, but note that the rest of the details differ somewhat) The box is a horrid dark cyan colour, about #00FF8D. The side of the box features an identification guide to the sweets within. Coolmint, peppermint, toffemint, spearmint and sweetmint are promised, in blue, white, yellow and two shades of green. The top of the box opens, revealing a piece of card that folds out to cover the opening. This card has an oval hole in it, the better to control the flow of Skittles! The box is re-sealable.

Distribution

The ingredients list offers the list in English (GB, IRL) and three other languages, denoted EST, LT and LV. I imagine these to be Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian, but I don't know and would welcome correction. It's odd that the other, nearer neighbours of the British Isles don't feature here. The box bears the manufacturers mark of "MASTER FOODS" of POŖĪČĪ * N.S., CZECH REPUBLIC, and the copyright assertion of Mars.

Contents

The box contains 45g of Skittles in the following distribution:
Name          #     %    Colour
Coolmint      4   9.5    #0F74AC
Peppermint    4   9.5    #FFFFFF
Toffeemint    7  16.7    #FFFF5C
Spearmint    10  23.8    #00FF8D
Sweetmint    17  40.5    #B7FF8D

Quite skewed in favour of Sweetmint. As we will see, the mints are arranged so that there are more of the most flavoursome types.

Tastes

But what are they like? This is the main question!

  • Coolmint- I was surprised to note that the shell was flavoured as well as the interior. The shell seems thin compared to normal Skittles. The innards are softer. This sweet tastes like an artificial Silvermint. (Remember those?)
  • Peppermint- The shell appears to be not strongly flavoured, but is again thin, covering soft innards. Peppermint Skittles are not especially strong, tasting like a washed-out Polo-mint.
  • Toffemint- The shell does taste like buttery, minty toffee, but the innards betray more of that artificial taste which disfigures so much of modern confectionery.
  • Spearmint- This is the strongest so far, bursting with that familiar spearmint taste. Much like Trebor's spearmint-flavour Softmint variety in both texture and taste.
  • Sweetmint- The name gives no indication of what lies in store, for this populous incarnation of the Mint Skittle. My first reaction was that the shell tastes kinda fruity, and insides taste like well, no other mint I've ever come across. It's tainted with the chemically-artificial traits of some of the other flavours, but somehow carries it off, and manages to be quite pleasant.

Overall I was a bit disappointed. The insides weren't chewy enough and the flavours were largly unpleasant or just plain wrong. Normal Skittles are much better. NTK also reports that Liquorice Skittles are available in Italy! Where will it all end?


* - This should read PORICI with various accents and carrets and things of that nature.

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