Click Here to order your 10 lb. case of Tabasco Jelly Belly Jelly Beans!
The Good: Tastes exactly like Tabasco sauce, Environmentally responsible bulk
The Bad: Utterly unpleasant to eat!
The Basics: Jelly Belly puts forth Tabasco as its new exclusive flavor, much to my objective chagrin and the lament of my tastebuds!
It is always exciting for me when Jelly Belly releases a new flavor. Teased weeks ago on their Facebook page, Jelly Belly has now released Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans, replacing Jalapeno (reviewed here!) as an exclusive bean outside the official fifty flavors. I recall hot and spicy things being all the rage when I was married the first time (about eight years ago), so while I applaud the effort, it is hard for me to see how Jelly Belly expected this to be a huge hit. Sadly, it also means bacon fans might have to wait several years for a Bacon Jelly Belly*.
Unlike Jelly Belly’s recent addition to the official line-up of Chili Mango, the Tabasco Jelly Belly is aiming for the “Burn Your Tastebuds Off” Crowd and, in that way, this is a very successful Jelly Belly jelly bean.
For those who might never have had Jelly Belly jelly beans, these are easily the best jelly beans on the planet, packing a lot of flavor into a very small size. Unlike most jelly beans which are only vaguely flavored and are more based on colors, Jelly Belly jelly beans have a wide variety of actual flavors, like cafe latte, 7-Up, toasted marshmallow or their signature flavor Buttered Popcorn.
Who needs ten pounds of Tabasco flavored Jelly Bellys? Anyone who no longer wants to be hampered by their pesky tastebuds or who believe that jelly beans should not be sweet. I’m not sure who those folks are, but this is the jelly bean for people who like things spicy and who want a candy that tastes like anything remotely sweet. Anyone who might like Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans will likely find that this is the best way to get them in bulk in an environmentally responsible way for the least amount of money.
Tabasco is a new flavor of Jelly Belly jelly beans, a premium jelly bean, and this flavor is one kept out of the standard 50 flavor assortment, so no fear in enjoying that and running into one of these! Jelly Belly jelly beans are approximately one half inch long by one quarter inch wide and they are roughly bean-shaped. These little candies are marketed to taste precisely like Tabasco and they meet the expectations of those looking for hot sauce perfectly.
Tabasco flavored Jelly Bellys are available in a wide array of quantities, but the largest quantity available is the ten pound bulk case. This is a decent-sized box with a plastic lining and while some might wonder why anyone would need a ten pound box, I can only assume it is to perform some form of oral surgery that involves cauterizing! I suspect that for most people, a ten pound case is a year's supply of these jelly beans. In my case, it's probably about three decades worth!
Tabasco flavored Jelly Bellys are hard to recognize in the Jelly Belly assortment. There are bright red, mostly opaque, somewhere in the range between Red Apple and Raspberry and if one is eating them in an assortment, especially in low lighting, they run the very real risk of getting very burned in the mouth! On its own in the ten pound box, of course, there is nothing to confuse them with.
Ease of Preparation
These are jelly beans, not remove your own tastebuds with a laser and mirrors, so it's not like there is a challenge to eating or understanding them. In the case of the ten pound box, one might want to put them in a candy dish of some form as opposed to always going into the box. Then again, these might be a fire hazard to the cardboard box, so getting them out might offer fire insurance of sorts.
Tabasco Jelly Bellys have a smell that perfectly foreshadows what one will get when they bite into this jelly bean. There is a slightly sweet aroma that finishes with a powerfully peppered scent. As one who is not into spicy things and suddenly unearthed a repressed memory of my father putting Tabasco sauce on my pencils to keep me from chewing on them, it is understandable why my stomach tightened upon smelling these.
This is a flavor that Jelly Belly got absolutely right. When placed on the tongue, the bean has a very thin waxy coating. I call this “protection.” The very outer layer of these jelly beans has no flavor, but it quickly disintegrates to reveal a flaming hot red pepper flavor inside. This is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever had Tabasco Sauce as Tabasco and consuming more than two beans at a time is enough to clear the sinuses, make the eyes water, and make those of us who love flavor beg for death.
Unfortunately, Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans have a remarkably consistent taste and that taste does not fade. No matter how many beans one eats, the jelly beans remain hot and mean.
Again, these are jelly beans, so anyone looking to them for nutrition needs to understand that they do not have any of the nutritional benefits (or detraction, for those watching their sodium intake) of actual Tabasco Sauce. Jelly beans, even Jelly Belly jelly beans, are not a legitimate source of nutrition. These are a snack food, a dessert, and are in no way an adequate substitute for a real meal. A serving is listed at thirty-five beans, with each Jelly Belly jelly bean having approximately four calories. This means that in a single serving, there are 140 calories. The 35 grams of carbohydrates represents 12% of the RDA of carbs.
The thing is, Jelly Belly jelly beans are not as bad as they could be in the nutrition area. They have no fat and no protein, but for those who have ever dated a Vegan, these are Vegan compliant (except to the most militant vegans who won’t consume beeswax) because they contain no gelatin! They have only one percent of the daily sodium with 30 mg and they are gluten free! The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and modified food starch, so it's not like this is an all-natural food, but they could be far, far worse. Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans are made in a peanut free (and Peanut Butter Jelly Belly free) factory!
Jelly Belly jelly beans have a shelf life of approximately two years and I have yet to run across a stale Jelly Belly. The batch I just received direct from the factory would not expire until late October 2014, though it is hot enough that I wouldn’t want to imagine what could denature these! They remain freshest when they are kept in an airtight container (the bag in the bulk box is sufficient if it is kept closed) and they ought to be kept in a lukewarm environment. Storing them in hot places is likely to make the beans stick together and be gross. Kept in a cool, dry place, the beans retain their flavor perfectly.
As for cleanup, unless one allows the Jelly Belly to get hot to the point that the waxy coating on the bean melts, the dyes on these do not bleed or denature, so there is usually no cleanup necessary, but you should wash your hands before eating them anyway (you might want to wash them afterward as well; it would be pretty horrible if you wiped your eyes after eating them and they actually burned like Tabasco Sauce would). I've never had Tabasco Jelly Bellys stain anything.
Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans are perfectly accurate, but entirely unpleasant to eat. They are a novelty, but not a fun one. Still, given that Jelly Belly helped me uncover a repressed memory and they get the flavor absolutely right, it is hard to punish them much for the Tabasco Jelly Belly jelly beans!
For other Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors reviewed by me, please check out:
Limited Edition Candy Cane
For other dessert food reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing by clicking here!
*All my initial griping aside, I applaud Jelly Belly for taking the risks and I can appreciate how long it probably takes to roll out new flavors like this. That said, if they ever want to bring back Ice Blue Mint, Egg Nog, and/or Earl Grey Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, I know one reviewer who would be thrilled!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.