We remain in the realm of drugstore house brand jelly beans today with this review of Walgreens’ Nice! Jelly Beans in assorted flavors.
Going into this bag, I was certainly afraid that they would, like CVS’s Cottondale Assorted Jelly Beans, be another repackaging of Brach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs, but the first hint that they wouldn’t be was the lack of pineapple and licorice beans in this assortment. I also compared the ingredients lists and noted some significant differences.
These two facts gave me enough confidence to risk trying them the day after the disappointing Cottondale experience. With a small amount of trepidation, I bit into the first Nice! bean and was happy to discover that they were, in fact, significantly different.
Size and shape
Size and shape is not the best category for Nice! Jelly Beans.
The size is very consistent from bean to bean, but about 20% bigger than the ideal size. Shape is also fairly consistent, just not exceptionally bean-like. They’re somewhere between an egg and a bean shape, with one of the long sides typically flattish, perhaps in an attempt at a dimple.
There are a couple amusing outliers, too, where a pointy prong juts out from a bean, causing it to resemble an ocarina or a speech bubble.
2 out of 5 beans
Nice! Jelly Beans strike a great balance in the chewability category. It’s easy enough to get through the shell, and the insides have an appropriate amount of resistance – firm, but not difficult. The insides also don’t stick to the teeth excessively.
(Editor’s note: I can’t seem to make up my mind about whether the stickiness of the insides should be a factor in the chewability score or in the texture score. I’ve placed in both over the course of the reviews on this site. What do you think?)
4 out of 5 beans
The shell of these jelly beans has a near perfect thickness and hardness, which immediately breaks up into good-sized hunks on first bite. On successive bites, however, it quickly becomes a bit sandy.
The insides are fairly unremarkable, which is not a bad thing, but they’re not quite as smooth as I would like. I won’t go so far as to call them grainy or mealy, but not smooth enough.
3 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
The flavor of these beans is not amazing, but (not to grade on a curve) they’re at least better than the Cottondale (Brach’s) flavors. The flavors are not identified on the packaging, so I made my best attempt to identify them in the list over there.
To get the bad out of the way, the pink bean, which I presume to be strawberry, tastes the least like any fruit at all. It’s the flavor in this bag that comes closest to a straight raw sugar taste, but I will give it credit for having more depth to that sugar flavor than the Brach’s (Cottondale) beans.
(Now, it may not be fair for me to assume the flavors are all fruits, given that neither the word “fruit” nor any pictures of fruits appear on the packaging. But fruit flavors are most common, so if you’re going to deviate from that, you best identify your flavors.)
The cherry suffers a bit from that cough syrup influence, but it’s better than its competitors.
On the positive side, the citrus flavors are all fairly well done, though, as always, I long for more acidity. (Particularly with flavors whose real world counterparts are very acidic.) And finally, the grape is inoffensive.
5 out of 10 beans
The one-of-each test
Perhaps the ultimate test of a bag of jelly beans is how enjoyable it is to take one of each flavor and eat them all at the same time.1
Six beans on the larger side makes for a challenging mouthful. They take quite a while to chew, which does not flatter the subtle and not long-lasting flavor of these beans.
I’ll stick to one or two of these at a time.
3 out of 10 beans
A very respectable showing for a drugstore house brand. I want to commend Walgreens for not settling for the lowest common denominator when choosing their supplier.
I won’t likely seek out these beans in the future, but at least I know that if I’m traveling for work and Walgreens is the only thing open when I get a late night jelly bean craving, Nice! Jelly Beans will be there for me.
|Size and shape||2/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||5/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||3/10 beans|
This test is specific to fruit flavors only. While non-fruit flavors like licorice or buttered popcorn may be welcome, they are exempt from this test. Because that’s just nasty. ↩