If the early 2000s taught us nothing else as a society, it was that transposing the letter S with the letter Z in a word made you instantly credible and cool. LOL, once trite and overused, took on new life thanks to LOLZ, while I would argue that Anheuser-Busch owes its entire advertising success of the decade to the phonetic pronunciation of WAZZUP.
Thankfully, we as a civilization have largely moved past this momentary lapse in linguistics. Well, everyone except a dedicated group of cereal lovers who’ve helped bring back Smorz Cereal.
It’s been four years since Smorz left our shelves, and to be honest, I have yet to circle the five steps of grief; mostly because I thought the original Smorz had some room for improvement. Now I’m not saying I disliked Smorz — as far as chocolate and graham cereals go, it was good as a snacking cereal — but the marshmallows had a funky artificiality and lighter-than-Lucky Charms ‘mallow give that made them taste stale after a few days.
Nevertheless, as interweb excitement grew for the return of an extinct specimen of chocolate and graham, I was hopeful this newest version of Smorz would combine everything I loved about the original Smorz, as well as everything that I hoped a mainstream s’mores cereal should have.
When it comes to the chocolate and graham squares, the rebirth of Smorz lived up to its predecessor and to that campfire taste. Ok, so it’s not exactly a “rich chocolate” cereal coating, but this is Kellogg’s, not Ghirardelli. The squares have a pleasant malty milk chocolate flavor that’s highly addictive when you snack on them, like a graham-flavored version of Chex Muddy Buddies.
The first few times I crunched on the squares I was disappointing in the graham flavor. It’s definitely muted in milk, and not honey glazed like Golden Grahams. But when eaten out of hand the flavor is mellow and slightly whole-wheaty, like that moment you bite into an actual s’more.
But then something happened: my mouth met the marshmallows.
If I wasn’t sold on the marshmallows in the old Smorz, then I’m selling off like a oil stockbroker with these marshmallows. Eaten dry, they have a dusty stiffness and chalky, sugary flavor. Not a sweet flavor, a sugary flavor. It’s a flavor I remember well from candy cigarettes I once bought from the ice cream man when I was 10 years old. It is not a yummy flavor, especially in milk, where the saccharine sweetness and candy cigarette aftertaste does a disservice to the synergy of chocolate and graham. What’s more, they don’t taste toasted. What is the lesson to take from this? Smoking is not a yummy flavor.
For the most part, I consider myself a cereal populist. Even though I was a bit ambivalent toward the original Smorz, past cereal resurrections like French Toast Crunch had me excited to step back into the world of bowls we thought were extinct.
But in the case of the 2016 version of Smorz cereal, I’m wondering if we shouldn’t just let bygones be bygones. The chocolate and graham squares are definitely good — probably better than I remember — especially as a snack. But the marshmallows bring the cereal down, and, like transposing “Z” for “S,” are unnecessary and potentially maddening.
(Nutrition Facts – 8 grams – 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 135 mg of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 1 grams of protein..)
Item: Kellogg’s Smorz Cereal (2016)
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 10.2 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Muddy Buddy-type chocolate and graham coating is really good. Awesome level of crunch. No more partially hydrogenated oils. Enjoyable snacking cereal when not eaten with marshmallows.
Cons: Lackluster toasted s’mores flavor. Notrichness. A slightly distracting corn aftertaste in milk that overpowers the graham flavor. Marshmallows taste like candy cigarettes. Early 2000s linguistic fads.