There’s no candy review I’ve been waiting to write longer than this one. And that’s because the lore of the Wacky Wafer goes back a long, long way.
Like, 40 years back. That’s a long time. But back we go, to 1979/1980, somewhere in Los Angeles. There we’d find young Jonny, our eventual hero, as a lad slowly forming his candy obsession. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had stumbled onto a candy that I’d dream about for years to come: Wacky Wafers. The concept was simple, almost dumb now, but back then it was seriously novel: a pressed dextrose like candy, similar to Sweetarts, but in thin disc form. Like this:
I remember the banana disc so clearly: I loved it, and all the other flavors too. It became my candy staple, along with some other Wonka offerings like Nerds, plus Jolly Rancher Stix and a few others. But the thing about the Wacky Wafers is that they disappeared in the lat 80’s when Nestle bought Wonka. Also, I was a teenager then and had moved-a bit-away from candy. So I had no idea they had been discontinued until I really thought about them much later in life.
I have one particularly fond memory of eating Wacky Wafers on the roof of my elementary school on a Saturday. That’s what we did back then, literally just hung out places where there weren’t adults. The school roof was great for that.
Anyhow, since we created Candy Gurus about a decade ago, I’ve been thinking about Wacky Wafers and how epic they were in my memory bank. A few years ago, Leaf announced they had purchased the rights to make the Wafers again-and then came the long, long wait for them.
Seriously, it was like 2 years. And then they were “available”, but I’d still never seen them in the flesh as of last week. No candy stores, dollar stores or otherwise stocked them, and while they were available to buy online, a case of 24 for $48 wasn’t really working for me. Leaf themselves didn’t respond to our request for review.
Fate stepped in when Kim from CandyNation.com reached out to partner with us. As I was perusing the VAST amount of candy available there to see what we should review, these jumped off the page. And the rest, my friends-is history. Or it will be after you read what’s left of this review and then think about it later. Technically.
So for starters, they look EXACTLY like they used to , down to the packaging. Here’s a shot of the old school Wacky’s:
Nice job, Leaf. Down to the font, I like it. But, as with everything, the crux of the issue is what’s inside the wrapper. So let’s go piece by piece, down memory lane.
We’ll go left to right. Starting with green apple, my taste buds stepped to attention immediately. You know that iconic “green” apple flavor in candies? I’m honestly wondering if it started with these. Because it’s got that…unmistakable taste & scent-it’s a winner.
You can see they’re not very thick-in fact….I kinda remember them a tiny bit thicker? Not sure.
Strawberry. Eh. Not bursting with any sort of berry blast, it’s just kind of strawberry flavored.
Orange. Vastly different from the strawberry, the orange is a flavor blaster. A bit towards that vitamin C orange flavor, but still good.
Watermelon. Hell yes, this one just plain works. Pure, delicious, artificial watermelon glory. Just the way I remember it.
And then….we get to the banana. The flavor that all my memories about these candies are rooted in.
It’s….not very good. At all really. And this one, I’m absolutely sure, is not the same as the old Wacky’s. There was a body and depth to the banana flavor back in the day, and this one…has really nothing going. It doesn’t get into the floral/tropical aspects of the flavor, nor the tart: it’s just a hint perhaps that a banana was there once, and then nothing. Additionally, the consistency of this one is tiny bit different from the rest, it’s….more crumbly. As soon as you bite in, it’s over.
Now….I’m old enough to know that memories almost always are powered by romanticism, and aren’t often exactly the way you remember. But I’m positive these aren’t exactly the same as the ones from the 80’s. And if they are? Well then…perhaps it’s just the case that candy has advanced a bunch since I was a kid, and flavors are just deeper now. So while I’d expect myself to be a little disappointed, I’m really not. All the other 80’s candies I loved then I still love now, and they’re all exactly the same. I guess for me though….I would have loved if this one fit into that group.
One last thing I’m also sure of: Candy Nation is badass. Hit the link below if you wanna relive Wacky Wafers as well-or instead, check out something else from their vast catalog.
Happy New Year, y’all!