REVIEW: Doritos Flamin’ Hot Mystery Flavor

Doritos Flamin’ Hot has a mystery flavor, but the original Flamin’ Hot seasoning has always been a mystery to me. Is it peppers, garlic powder, and Lucifer’s nail filings? Or is it Lucifer’s dry ear wax? I could read the ingredients list, but like IKEA instructions and stories with clickbait headlines that end with “…may kill you,” I’m not going to look at it. While I’ll never solve the mystery behind Flamin’ Hot, I think I’ve figured out this Walmart-exclusive mystery flavor.

While they look like they’ve been sprinkled with Lucifer’s dandruff and are more ominous than regular Flamin’ Hot, these chips don’t seem as spicy as regular Flamin’ Hot snacks. Oh, don’t get me wrong, these have a torrid temp that timid tongues will want to turn away from, but these are easier to eat, even though my head is sweating a little as I type this. I was concerned that the spicy seasoning would overwhelm whatever the mystery flavor was, but that’s not the case. When I opened the bag and sniffed, I had an idea of what it could be.

SPOILER ALERT: Turn away now if you want to avoid knowing my correct (or most likely incorrect) guess.

Along with the famous Flamin’ Hot spiciness, there’s a savoriness that instantly reminds me of chicken-flavored instant ramen, so I believe the mystery flavor is Spicy Chicken Instant Ramen or Spicy Chicken Cup Noodles.

Mystery solved.

(Dusting off Flamin’ Hot seasoning from my hands)

There’s also a noticeable sweetness that cuts through the spicy seasoning, which is perhaps why these don’t burn my mouth like regular Flamin’ Hot products do. But that sweet flavor sometimes causes my taste buds to wonder if they’re eating a spicy Thai curry, which I noticed more in the aftertaste. But I’m sticking with my original take as my final answer, Regis.

Because these Doritos Flamin’ Hot Mystery Flavor chips remind me of a spicy version of my favorite instant ramen variety and don’t punish my mouth with too much heat, I love them very much. I’m not sure if Doritos already revealed the mystery, but whatever it is, it’s surprisingly great, and I wouldn’t mind experiencing it again. In fact, I’d love to see Doritos introduce a new mystery flavor annually.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 9 oz bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 11 chips) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Spicy cinnamon is a flavor profile that’s never really taken off.

Unless we’re talking pre-Great Depression era JawBreakers, Hot Tamales, Big Red gum, or a shot of the worst whiskey on the shelf, I can’t even think of anything else with that kinda burn that’s made it to the mass market.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Back in high school, I developed a little bit of an addiction to cinnamon-flavored toothpicks. I used to chew on those Fire-pix so much that the corner of my lips started to look like bootleg Joker makeup.

The reason I bring those toothpicks up is because I needed one after eating a few handfuls of new Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn, a popcorn that almost turned me into a bootleg Joker because they left me wanting to watch the world burn!

Ok, that’s extreme, but this popcorn is Flamin’ Hot Garbage.

I’ll preface the review by saying I’m not the biggest fan of the “Flamin’ Hot” line from Frito Lay. I think the heat tends to alter the iconic flavors. With that said, I do like a little heat, I love cinnamon, and I dig Cheetos Sweetos. How could these possibly be a miss?

Before even getting into the flavor, this is just trash-tier popcorn. It tastes stale and has more rogue kernels than a treasonous misspelled army.

The “flavor” is the ultimate killer though.

If I reviewed these on the instant flavor burst of the very first bite… this would still be an extremely negative review.

These literally just taste like “hot.” That’s the flavor, “hot.” When you put a piece in your mouth, it’s like an air of cinnamon for half a second, and then it tastes like nothing but “hot.”

I expected these to taste like spicy Cheetos Sweetos with the sweetness still coming through. For something labeled “cinnamon sugar,” there is a blip of sweetness. Half a blip. A bl–. They barely taste like cinnamon, let alone sugar. Why couldn’t these be both sweet and hot? Have taste buds not evolved to experience both of those sensations at once?

It’s a shame because the level of heat is kinda perfect. I think it’s slightly less than the usual Flamin’ Hot stuff. I would have no problem eating a decent portion of these if they actually tasted good and weren’t popcorn rejected from the three-flavor Christmas tins. I enjoyed the after-burn feeling in my mouth more than the popcorn itself.

The pieces being bright red like regular Cheetos made me mad. The bewildering quote on the bag, “Deck the sweets with pops of heat,” made me madder. I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “hate” in a review, but I think I hate these. I’m flamin’ hot!

Ok, ok, I’ll calm down. “Why so serious,” and whatnot. I just really wanted these to be something new and exciting.

Like my terrible book, “The Hangman’s Folly,” it was a novel idea with a totally botched execution. I’ll bump it up one for the idea, but this attempt at spicy cinnamon crashed and burned.

Purchased Price: $4.38
Size: 6.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 2 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/4 Cups) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs

I’ve never been much of one for eating something hot just for the sake of saying I did it. I don’t need a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper to make me feel macho. But I like spicy things. I usually get my Thai food “Thai hot.” I over-wasabi when I eat sushi. A little burn – when correctly applied – makes me feel alive.

While I’ve never had an ACTUAL ghost pepper, the flavor seems to have popped up everywhere over the past year plus. Burger King did an orange-bunned ghost pepper Whopper last October. Arby’s had the Diablo Dare last year, too. And within the past few months, Wendy’s has gotten in on the act with a ghost pepper sandwich and fries.

I’ve had none of these. It’s not because I’m not interested, don’t get me wrong. It’s more like if I’m not eating fast food to review for this site, I’m usually only interested in getting something tried and true. Something I know I’ll enjoy. Like everything else, fast food has gotten too expensive; my metabolism ain’t what it used to be.

The nice thing about the new Flamin’ Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Cheetos Puffs, however, is that it’s pretty low risk — even if they’re terrible, I’m only out a single Abe Lincoln. And I don’t mind tossing a bag of chips.

(Okay, that’s a lie. I’ll hang on to it for years, slowly nibbling away and also offering them up to unsuspecting guests with a friendly, “Hey, you like to consume food. Would you like a handful of these? How about the whole bag?” Eventually, they’ll grow stale and inedible, at which point I will still have a few pieces at a time for the next three months before I finally pull the trigger on a full expulsion.)

From an appearance standpoint, you know exactly what you’re getting into with these. In addition to being shaped like peppers, they are an aggressively violent shade of red. A slight smoky vinegar aroma wafts up when you open the bag. That artificial smoke flavor is prevalent in the first second of the bite – I was surprised by that and appreciated the layered flavoring – and then the heat immediately sets your tongue on fire. There was no “slow build” here, just immediate and unapologetic mouth-arson.

If you don’t like hot, well… come on. Did you really think you might enjoy these? If you’re someone who doesn’t like chili unless it makes you weep and you end each night with half a pack of Tums, you may be unimpressed. These didn’t make me cry. They were tolerable, but even still, the hottest Cheeto (or chip or cracker) I’ve ever eaten.

Additionally, I enjoyed the fact that these weren’t just novelty-hot. There were nuanced layers of flavor and an appreciable complexity you don’t find in many other “hot” snacks. But still, a little goes a long way, so let’s not be surprised if this bag sees the next presidential election. As long as the other people in my house keep remembering to close the bag up tight, anyway.

Purchased Price: $4.30
Size: 7 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams) 160 calories, 12 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Tangy Chili Fusion

I’m not sure if this is true in every region or state, but in the Bay Area of California, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos reign supreme. I would imagine it’s the same in at least Los Angeles, San Diego, and most of Texas, where the youth get adapted to heat seeking at an early age. Whether eaten straight, topped with fresh lime juice, or dunked into cream cheese, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have felt like a dominant force since they burst onto the snack scene in 1992.

Until relatively recently, though, Frito-Lay has kept it pretty modest with the varieties — Flamin’ Hot, Xxtra Flamin’ Hot, Puffs, and Limon being the only changes that come to mind until 2017’s Chipotle Ranch twist — one of my personal favorites. In recent years the Flamin’ Hot floodgates have opened and the seasoning has popped up on several other chip styles and flavor remixes, including the latest member of Chester Cheeto’s family, Flamin’ Hot Tangy Chili Fusion.

When I first saw the name and color of the bag of this new Cheetos, I envisioned a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos colliding with a purple bagged Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and that’s kind of what these are like, but they’re absolutely in a spicy lane of their own, too.

The color is the same menacingly deep red that instantly stains your fingers, with a pungent, spicy, and smoky aroma that wafts from the bag. The most notable flavor that immediately jumps out is the smokiness, which has a sharp and intense bite like chipotle chili peppers. The smokiness quickly evolves into a more familiar Flamin’ Hot spice with just a touch of sweetness and finishes with a legit tangy acidic punch akin to vinegar and lemon juice. Crunching away at these slightly greasy airy delights is no problem at all, with the heat building as you eat, which encourages the salty snacking spiral like no other.

I was expecting a more pronounced sweetness, probably because of my Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos association, but it never really comes, aside from a bit of herbaceous bell peppery flavor. In fact, when tasting these side by side with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Limon, the Tangy Chili Fusion is less sweet and more sharply tangy than the Limon, which has a citrusy sweetness that’s even more pronounced next to the smoky charred tang and bold intensity of the Fusion.

It will be interesting to see how long these stick around because they’re very good, but I’m not sure many would choose them over the original Flamin’ Hot, and I certainly wouldn’t take them over my favorite all-time Cheetos Mexican Street Corn. Tangy Chili Fusion is a fun and surprisingly aggressive twist on a modern classic from the king of spicy, salty snacks.

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 8.5 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 pieces, 28g) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 grams of total sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Sweet Carolina Reaper

Cheetos Flamin Hot Sweet Carolina Reaper Bag

Us Americans have a real need for speed spicy!

Apparently, spicy snacks are growing (in terms of sales) twice as fast as overall snacks. So, Chester Cheetah naturally gets in on the action with another option for us voracious heat seekers.

The latest limited-edition launch is the Flamin’ Hot Sweet Carolina Reaper flavor, and they’re currently only available at Walmart.

As I opened the package and took a deep sniff, I picked up that usual hot “cheeteau” (eau de Hot Cheeto that honestly smells a little bit like feet sometimes), but I detected a slight tickle at the end. I chalked it up to Carolina Reaper reigning supreme as the world’s hottest pepper again.

I also noticed that it has the same color as a regular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. This meant that the seasoning was super consistent, which is not always the case for salty snacks but is always the case with Cheetos. Kudos for quality!

Cheetos Flamin Hot Sweet Carolina Reaper Back

Since the back of the packaging loudly proclaimed in all caps: “SWEET MEETS HEAT,” I had high hopes that Chester wouldn’t completely blast my taste buds like the Hot Pepper Puffs. Those were really one-note blistering spicy.

Thankfully, I was not disappointed!

The sweetness hit first, followed by the reaper burn. While the sweet notes tempered the capsaicin, it was still pretty spicy. After shoveling a couple of handfuls into my mouth, one tear slowly trickled down my left eye, then my stomach started to feel spicy, and then it was full-blown (happy) tears.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Sweet Carolina Reaper Closeup

The spicy stomach step definitely came way earlier than with my usual Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It also lingered for a fair bit. I didn’t even want to lick the cheetle off my fingertips because I didn’t need to add fuel to the fire in my mouth.

Did I stop to have milk or a beverage to help my cause? Absolutely not. I just wanted to enjoy that sweet, sweet burn!

Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Sweet Carolina Reaper was an awesome and unique flavor journey. It’s different from the other spicy snacks and Chester’s other Flamin’ Hot offerings.

I love spiciness with depth and dimension, and this delivered that in spades. My only regret is that I didn’t pick up two bags! I gotta stock up the next time I see ’em!

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 8.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 pieces or 28 g) – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 1 grams of protein.