We may be sour, but we know our sweets.

Airheads : Weak Name, Strong Candy

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I’ve seen airheads in the supermarket candy section for years.  I always walk right by them, assuming that they’re some sort of childish skanky taffy type candy.  Then one night, I realized that I’M a skanky, childish individual, so I picked a pack up.  That was 3 weeks ago.

Since that time, I’ve bought like 20 packs and have converted Jonny Guru Jr. into an addict as well.  While I won’t put these into any sort of desert island top 5 candy lists yet, I will say that they’re quite good.  And here’s why:

1.  The taste. Duh.

2.  The manufacturers are smart.

Let’s start with #1.  Check out the look of an airhead or 7:

These have the sort of mouth feel you might imagine-sort of like a pulled out starburst, but not as clumpy.  There’s a…gritty feel to these that really makes them rock. Don’t think problematic gritty, think…of a smooth taffy that has slight little bumps of flavor.  And they don’t stretch out into tiny whisps like Laffy Taffy, it’s more solid than that.  So the consistency of them, chilled or not (but you know which way I roll on that, right?), is good: semi tough, a *touch* of grit, and a solid chew.
The actual taste of the bars is their strong point.  The default flavors are Green Apple, the inevitable Blue Raspberry, Cherry, Watermelon, and Strawberry.  There’s also a “Mystery White” flavor that they don’t tell you the flavor of.  So far, I really can’t figure it out, but go figure, it’s my kid’s favorite flavor. I asked him what it tasted like, and he said “white”. Then I explained that something can’t taste “white”. After his blank stare, I realized I was talking to a childish, skanky individual, so I gave up.

All of these flavors are quite nice.  They reflect the natural fruit taste, although I’m sure there’s NOTHING natural about Airheads.  But the litmus test is cherry.  Cherry candy usually sucks, and I find myself enjoying these, so…score a win for Airheads.  Honestly, though, I still haven’t figured out if you get all the flavors in a pack of 5 or 6, or if it’s semi-random.  And here’s why…

#2.  Their smartnessticity.  Genius really.  What Airheads does is that they make “limited edition” packs that are branded with a current movie or cartoon.  I’ve recently purchased the “Despicable Me” and “Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief” packs.  And aside from the irony that I worked on both of those films in my less glamorous gig, they also pack another neat thing: special flavors.  And this is where Airheads really rock.  Each of these “limited edition” packs have 2 or 3 unique flavors.  Despicable Me has “Cosmic Bubblegum” (which sounds HEINOUS but is actually delicious and unexpected) and “Freeze Ray-nbow”.  Percy has “Riptide Rush”  and “Blue Poseidon”.  And so on.  There’s even a Batman version with flavors like Grape and Tangerine that quite simply rock.

As I write this, I’m sure I’ll grow out of my new found Airheads phase, but seriously-these are good.  I had a pink lemonade one last night (you can get a 60 count box at Target, which includes this “special edition” flavor right now) and it  was unbah.  Unbah good, unbah tingly, unbah tart, just generally unbah.

And that’s that.  You know where to find these, there’s not even a need for a link.  But, if you prefer waiting a few days for your candy instead of just going to the local grocery store, then you can buy them here.  Make sure you at least give these a try.  Fridge ‘em up, and then bust a few out when you have a hankering for something slightly different and sweet.

Last but not least, we must at least recognize the lameness of the name “Airheads”. It says nothing. Nothing about the candy, nothing about the flavors, nothing about anything. In a way, I think the name was making me steer clear, as it was simply too lame to actually purchase something called “Airheads” as a 40 year old dude. Oh well. I’m over myself.

 

 


 

  • Matty

    These aren’t like Laffy Taffy? I just assumed they were and thus had no real use for them since I get Laffy Taffy at my work for free and I don’t really eat it, but can, so do occasionally…

  • Bearfoot

    They are not, they’re quite gritty in texture and unappealign to me because of that.

    But to each thier own.

  • Maddie

    Most people who enjoy the chewy texture inside of mentos, also enjoy Airheads. Wonder why? In fact, they are made of the same substance just flavored and colored differently. And I actually know the namer of Airheads. He was my sixth grade teacher. You see, most candy companies like to aim their products toward children. And one night while he was out to dinner his daughter was tellung him about the crazy kids in her class and what they do at parties. Of course, his daughter was only in fifth grade, so parties consisted of pin the tail on the donkey…. And CANDY! so, after hearing this story, james(the namer) said, “oh those kids these days, after eating all that candy… Their airheads!” thus came the name of the wonderful candy that is Airheads.

    • j_f_t

      *They’re

      Also, that’s a completely different story than what’s on the actual website: “Airheads were invented right here in the USA. While working in our
      factory one day in 1986, we discovered that we could make a totally
      unique chewy candy, one like the world had never seen! We thought it
      was delicious, but to be sure, we asked hundreds of kids to try it.
      They loved it too! Those same kids gave it the name ‘Airheads’.”

      Further detail reveals that Steve Bruner named the candy: “On the wrapper, I used [wordplay], a new high in fruity flavors. Coming
      out of the hippie generation, the word “high” could be used in many
      different ways. I thought it was apropos of a balloon graphic and it
      worked.”

  • luke

    i can’t believe you’d never even tried an airhead! i always thought they were called airheads because they they are light and when fresh almost kinda fluffy. like an airated taffy.