Well, it’s been a few days since Easter, and you might be wondering why it’s taken me so long to get another review published. Frankly, I’ve been procrastinating the completion of this review, because it’s not going to be very enthusiastic.
But let’s get it over with so we can move on to more appealing beans.
Size and shape
The most notable thing about Russell Stover Pectin Jelly Beans when opening the package for the first time is just how big they are. The average size of these jelly beans (by volume) is almost twice as large as anything I’ve reviewed thus far, and would almost certainly be over twice as large as some smaller brands, like Jelly Belly.
I think that ultimately hurts these beans, because I find it difficult to want to put more than one or two in my mouth at one time. (More on that when we get to the one-of-each test later in the review.) On the plus side, the size of the beans is very consistent.
Russell Stover has done a great job with the shape of their jelly beans, too. The dimple is subtle, but consistently present, and there are no sharp edges on any of the beans.
3 out of 5 beans
I’m giving these jelly beans an average chewability score. The shell is a little beefier than I would prefer, but once through it, the rest of the bean chews pretty easily.
3 out of 5 beans
Texture is a very weak spot for Russell Stover Jelly Beans. While the initial impression of the shell on the tongue is very positive – it’s extremely smooth on the outside – once you bite into it, the composition is revealed to be pretty gritty. The shell is also way too thick, which has a negative impact on the overall texture of the bean as it breaks down.
The insides are a classic jelly texture, which isn’t a bad thing, per se, but I do tend to prefer something with a little more tackiness to it.
1 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
Russell Stover declines to name their flavors on their packaging, but most of them are fairly identifiable. My guesses are listed in the sidebar to the right in descending order of confidence. I’m not very confident about the bottom half or so of the list, because the flavors are just not impressive, overall. They’re very bland, making some of them very hard to pinpoint.
The taste is also very saccharine. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I like at least a little hit of acidity in the flavor of a jelly bean (or any fruit-flavored candy, really), and these beans have none at all. It’s just sugary sweetness the whole way down.
They’re so unbalanced in their sweetness that I can hardly stand to have more than a half-dozen at a time, which is highly unusual for a jelly bean.
2 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
By now, you probably have a pretty good idea what to expect for the rating in this subcategory.
The large size, aggressive shell thickness, and substandard texture, taste, and flavor combine to create a pretty unenjoyable experience. Even if they tasted great, the difficulty of eating seven beans of this size at one time makes it a risky prospect.
1 out of 10 beans
|Size and shape||3/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||2/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||1/10 beans|
Russell Stover Pectin Jelly Beans may very well exemplify a “classic” jelly bean experience, but they’re not for me. The worst aspect of them is the raw, sugar-sweet taste with no tartness to balance it out. If they were to figure that out, even the texture problems wouldn’t be as big a deal.
As it stands, these beans tie the Swedish Fish Jelly Beans for the lowest raw score to date (though the Swedish Fish beans scored higher, proportionally, due to the omission of the one-of-each test from that score).
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. ↩