We had Millennials taste test 15 classic candies
Find out what a younger generation thinks of old-time treats like Abba-Zaba, Turkish Taffy and Necco Wafers.
Top image: Thinkstock
Everyone loves candy. A sweet tooth is baked into our DNA. We eat candy at the movies, on the couch, at our desks, after dinner. So there is no shortage of options, whether you're a chocoholic or sugar fiend. Many candies have come and gone over the decades, and some classics have remained. M&Ms are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, and remain ubiquitous.
There are some sweets on the shelves that date back even further. We went to the store to stock up on treats that were popular in the 1960s, 1950s, 1940s… and further into the past. Then we had a group of twenty-somethings sit around a table and chow down. Here are their immediate reactions to trying old-time candy.
Quite popular in the western states, this Annabelle chew wraps peanut butter in taffy. It's been mentioned in songs by Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits.
"I looks like spackle."
"It’s a weird combination. I don’t like the two of them together."
"It tastes like when you accidentally sweat into your mouth."
"It smells like plastic."
"You guys are haters."
"It tastes like the Big Hunk, but with peanut butter in it."
"It reminds me of a Laffy Taffy."
"It’s not sticking to my teeth as much as the other one."
2. Big Hunk
The Annabelle Candy Company bar covers roasted peanuts with honey-sweetened nougat. The chewy treat has been around since the 1950s.
"It tastes like glue."
"It really does tastes like Elmer's, and this is coming from a person who’s eaten a lot of glue. You know when you used to eat Elmer’s glue?"
"I’ve never eaten glue."
"It has a faint marshmallow taste."
"I feel like I’m going to have to go to the dentist."
"Have you ever eaten a sheet a paper?"
"It’s still stuck in my teeth."
With six pieces wrapped in wax paper, this candy dates back to 1924. Today, it is produced by Pearson's Candy Company.
"I can’t get the paper off. I’m just going to eat it with the paper. It taste like chewy butterscotch."
"Here's another denture no-no."
"I like it though. My friends didn’t want it in their Halloween candy, and I would gladly take it."
"It tastes like a gooey graham cracker. It doesn’t taste like honey at all. It’s my favorite so far."
4. Bubble Gum Cigarettes
Candy cigarettes have been around for over 100 years, letting kids play pretend smoker with their candy, gum or chocolate.
"Ugh, it’s powdery."
"Yes, it's similar to baseball card gum, but concentrated."
"I kind of like it."
"It reminds me of Bubble Tape."
"If you take it in small bites, it’s managable and not too chewy."
5. Cherry Mash
Missouri's Chase Candy Company has been churning out this chunky candy for nearly a century. Chocolate and chopped peanuts cover a bright pink filling with maraschino cherries.
"It’s the color of Barbie shoes inside."
"I don’t want to be eating something this color."
"It tastes like an air freshener."
"I actually really like this one."
"I think it tastes like bubblegum."
"I really don’t like that artificial cherry taste."
"It’s so sweet."
"It tastes like the cherry toothpaste at the dentist."
"My mouth tastes like a cough drop now."
This peanut butter, sugar and toasted coconut concoction, perhaps most familiar in its shortened Halloween form, has been made by the Atkinson Candy Company since the 1950s.
"It's basically a Butterfinger, but orange, but without the chocolate on it."
"It’s like a cheaper Butterfinger — more sugary, less peanut buttery."
"It’s very messy."
"The aftertaste is not great."
7. Goo Goo Cluster
Nashville's Standard Candy Company first produced this American icon in 1912. The cluster contains marshmallow nougat, caramel and roasted peanuts covered in milk chocolate.
"This looks like a [Little Debbie] Star Crunch."
"It’s essentially a Baby Ruth."
"It tastes like chocolate covered peanuts."
"The chocolate’s kind of thin."
"These are real peanuts. The peanuts are good."
"There’s a lot of texture."
"This tastes like the most fake tasting chocolate so far."
"It gets worse."
"What is this layer at the bottom? Nougat?"
Annabelle Candy Company offers Look as a chocolate-covered alternative to its Big Hunk, with peanuts and nougat inside.
"This one tastes like coffee. Is this supposed to taste like coffee?"
"I get a hint of that, yeah."
"It's like a cold, hard cappuccino, like a coffee you’ve left on your desk for a couple days."
"I kind of like it."
"It tastes a little old, a little dirty."
"For some reason I'm getting coffee grounds."
"You have to get past the barrier."
9. Mallo Cup
Boyer's Mallo Cups became popular in the 1940s.
"It’s just a Reese’s with marshmallow."
"It’s not like Reese’s at all. Don’t get your hopes up."
"It’s really messy."
"Was there coconut in this?"
"It’s not bad, but it’s not good."
"I like frozen Mallo Cups. Frozen Charleston Chews are best."
10. Necco Wafers
Necco Wafers predate the Civil War, first coming out from New England Confectionery Company kitchens in 1847!
"The first bite freaks me out — is that my tooth that just shattered?"
"It reminds me of stale Valentine’s Candy."
"I like the licorice flavor. I tried another flavor before I didn’t like."
"Tastes like Communion."
"In a way, like a Smartie, but way harder."
"But more flavorful, I would say."
Tootsie's wax bottles have been around since the early 20th century.
"Oh, it’s like juice inside?"
"It tastes like melted popsicles."
"Or those little plastic barrels of fruit drink.
"It doesn’t really seem like a candy. It seems like a drink."
"Does it say anywhere to not eat the wax?"
"I ate it as a kid."
"It’s fun to chew."
12. Rocky Road
Annabelle's Rocky Road turned an ice cream flavor into a candy bar, milk chocolate coated marshmallow with cashews.
"This is gross. I don’t like the consistency."
"The aftertaste is alright, but the initial bite…"
"The more I taste it, the more I like it."
"I like that it's more darker chocolate."
"It’s like those Russell Stover chocolates."
"But filled with insulation."
13. Slo Poke
Atkinson's simple caramel bar has been around since 1926.
"Oh, it’s really soft! Awesome."
"Still chewy though."
"This is the best."
"It tastes like what’s inside everything else you’ve eaten."
"Yet it doesn’t tease you with any other lesser flavors."
"That’s good. I could eat that whole thing."
"I wonder how long on average it would take you to eat this."
14. Sky Bar
Necco's brilliant four-chamber candy bar is perfect for the indecisive, as it has pockets of caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge. Sky Bar dates back to 1938.
"It’s what you would expect — chocolate covered caramel."
"It tastes like Easter candy."
"What is this in my section?"
"I feel like I have caramel, too, but since all four are different, I must not."
"Maybe I had peanut?"
"Is it white on the inside? Then it’s vanilla."
"Everyone thinks they have caramel."
15. Turkish Taffy (Strawberry)
First appearing in 1912, Turkish Taffy was purchased by Bonomo in 1936. Today, it can still be found in strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and banana flavors.
"It looks like a giant tongue."
"Strawberry Laffy Taffy, but harder to chew."
"It’s a chore to eat. Kids must have had really strong jaw muscles back in the day."
"The flavor is good, the consistency is bad."
"It would take you a hundred years to eat that."