QUICK REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bottled Iced Coffee

Dunkin Donuts Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bottled Iced Coffee

What is the Dunkin’ Donuts Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bottled Iced Coffee?

A limited edition, pumpkin spice-flavored addition to Dunkin’s bottled iced coffee line that made its debut early last year. This is the second new flavor introduced this year, the first being Cookies & Cream.

How is it?

Unlike the previously mentioned Cookies & Cream flavor, which didn’t taste like what it’s supposed to, this one tastes exactly like how it’s supposed to. From the first sip, the familiar spices — ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves — coat my tongue much like brown and orange leaves cover the ground during fall.

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It tastes like I’m eating pumpkin pie with a glass of iced coffee that’s medium on the cream while I sit on my porch watching the fall breezes make those orange and brown leaves dance in my yard at a party I’ll have to clean up later with a rake. I very much enjoyed drinking it, but it’s also not that different from other pumpkin spice iced coffee drinks I’ve had.

If you stuck an incomplete jack-o-lantern on my head with the mouth cut out to act as a blindfold and had me drink various pumpkin spice iced coffees available from stores and fast food chains, I don’t think my taste buds would be able to determine which is which. It’s like finding an orange leaf on the ground with all the other fallen leaves, raking them into a pile, and then trying to find that leaf.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Apparently, I’m REALLY into fall leaf imagery right now. Maybe because we on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean don’t experience fall as most of the United States does.

For you caffeineheads, all 13.7 fluid ounces will get you 187 milligrams of caffeine. So make your heart rate spike with pumpkin spice.

Conclusion:

The Dunkin’ Donuts Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bottled Iced Coffee is a pleasant way to sip the fall flavor, but nothing stands out about it. It’s just another good option to get one’s pumpkin spice coffee fix.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 13.7 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 260 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 39 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes Cereal

Kellogg s Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes

I am a grump during the summer, so I generally welcome any hint that fall is around the corner. I was excited to try the Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes, especially since it was 90 degrees out and I. Am. So. Done. With. Summer.

I opened the box eagerly, hoping for the essence of autumn to wrap me in its crisp coziness. Whoa. The scent was artificial and strong — pumpkin spice wool sweater, pumpkin spice window cleaner, pumpkin spice plastic wrap, but definitely not anything edible.

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Before pouring in the milk, I tasted a few of the dry cereal pieces. Less sugary than regular Frosted Flakes, it was more like corn flakes with a dusting of nutmeg. Unfortunately, I couldn’t imagine eating these dry no matter how desperately I wanted to move on to autumn.

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I was nearing the point of resigning myself to more days of summer by the time I poured the milk. Lo and behold, visions of campfires, football games, and open windows slowly emerged. Faint notes of pumpkin pie were in each spoonful, though the “spice” was a hit or miss in each bite. Some bites were more nutmeg forward, while others were more cinnamon-y. It was hard to detect any pumpkin, leading me to wonder if there was any in there at all, because it was definitely more spice than pumpkin.

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Not wanting to give up on this fall flavor quite yet, I prepared myself another bowl. It was better than the first, tasting more and more like pumpkin pie with each bite. I was pouring even more cereal into the bowl before I knew it, perhaps distracted by the artwork on the back of the box touting “Tony’s Pumpkin Up the Jams Festival.” I used to have a pair of Jams (as did any other hip kid in the 80s) and the idea of having gourds up in them did not sound comfortable. Soon I was daydreaming of fall music festivals, the state fair, hot chocolate, and PSLs.

Aha! Now I know why I was enjoying each bowl of this cereal more than the previous one! The left-behind milk increasingly tasted more and more like the creamy Thanksgiving pie as more spice infused it as I ate. The spice in the milk was balanced and a faint pumpkin flavor peeked through. I almost enjoyed drinking the milk as much as I enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.

Almost.

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Unfortunately, this was a lot of mediocre cereal to endure for a small amount of goodness. Next time, I’ll get my pumpkin spice fix elsewhere. If I want it on my cereal, I’ll sprinkle some on regular Frosted Flakes instead.

(Why haven’t I thought of that before???)

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Not overly sweet. Mild flavors were not cloying and tasted natural.
Cons: Strong plastic smell. Minimal pumpkin flavor. Needs to soak up milk before best flavors come out.

REVIEW: Pop Secret Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

Pop Secret Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

Pumpkin makes me pop. It isn’t just pumpkin though. I’m a bonafide cinna-slut, and all things swirling with the spice makes me feel real nice.

Building off of the success of chasing junk food trends and releasing the birthday cake flavored and damn delicious Popfetti earlier this year, Pop Secret are back at trying to win over our trendy hearts with a pumpkin spice microwaveable popcorn.

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Pushing my nose up against the un-popped Pop Secret package gives off the classic microwave popcorn artificial buttery smell with just the slightest tickle of cinnamon in the background. Poppin’ the corn into the micro releases a bit more a distinct spicy aroma, once again accompanied by a more dominant and in-your-face butter presence.

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The popped bag, warm and spewing steam, has a surprisingly nice a ginger smell to it that joins in on the butter party for a little extra nostril tingle. The signature artificial bright-ish yellow color is replaced by a slightly orangey tan that does good enough to channel the skin of a pumpkin.

The flavor of the popcorn is confusing. On my first bite, I get a little squashy pumpkin flavor, but that might be my mind playing tricks in the way it interprets the slightly greasy buttery essence that all good micro-pop carries. But the flavor quickly fades.

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There’s no doubt this is different than regular Pop Secret, but that’s less apparent in any big spicy pumpkin notes and much more about how un-salty it is. There’s barely any saltiness, which could work if it was replaced by cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, but there isn’t really much of that either. Every couple of handfuls I get a soft smooch of cinnamon and ginger, and I like it, but it’s far from the bold flavors I’ve come to expect from microwave popcorn.

Even though there are zero grams of sugar per bag, there is an underlining sweetness to the popcorn, thanks to sucralose (Splenda). Luckily, there’s no weird artificial sweetener aftertaste, but again, there isn’t much autumn intrigue going on either. This popcorn doesn’t taste bad, it simply tastes like kettle corn minus the crucial salty factor that completes the yin and yang of that classic flavor profile.

Does this popcorn taste like popcorn? Definitely. Is it warm and comforting and slightly sweet? You betcha. Does it deliver on the big polarizing flavor that is pumpkin spice? Unfortunately not. It’s still an enjoyable sidekick to a night in with a slasher flick, but not something you need to seek out like the almighty Popfetti from earlier this year.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Tbsp Unpopped – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Three 3 oz. bags
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Nice pumpkin-y color. Decent sweetness. Mellow hints of ginger and cinnamon.
Cons: Not much pumpkin spice flair. Tastes more like corn than cinnamon. Could use more salty pop.

REVIEW: Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat

Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat

Now I know why the eyes on the black cat on the packaging of these Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat are so wide open. At first, I imagined it was high from snorting off of that pumpkin pie a line of crushed eye of newt it stole from its witch.

But after trying the candy, I realized it’s not because of dried amphibian bodies that have gone through a pestle and mortar and then through a feline nasal cavity. It’s because the black cat tried the candy and had its kitty mind blown by how good it is.

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The Kit Kat fingers look as if they’re caramel or dulce de leche-flavored, but they smell straight up pumpkin pie or like I’ve walked into the fall section at my local Target.

According to the thousands of recipes Google spits back at me after plugging in “pumpkin pie” in its search box, the common spices in one are cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Those aren’t listed in the ingredients for this candy. Instead, there’s “natural flavor and artificial flavor.” I’m not sure what’s natural or artificial, but, geez, the first bar I ate had a spice kick I was not expecting. Although, my taste buds have gotten used to it because every bar I’ve had since hasn’t been as intense.

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Having tried so many pumpkin spice/pumpkin pie-flavored products that I’m surprised I don’t smell spicy, I thought it would have a strong cinnamon flavor, followed by the other spices. That would’ve been great. But, nope, the cinnamon flavor takes a back seat to the ginger and nutmeg, which is also great. Because of the elevated ginger flavor, there are moments when the candy bar reminds me of a ginger snap cookie. But for the most part, it smells and tastes like pumpkin pie.

But, the weird thing is, while I enjoy it very much and it’s the best tasting limited edition U.S. Kit Kat flavor I’ve had, I don’t feel compelled to eat the printed serving size, which is three two-piece bars. I’ll devour two fingers, let out a couple of food pleasure moans, lick off whatever creme melted onto my fingers, rub my tummy, and then I’m good.

But overall, you’re right black cat on the packaging, Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat is eye-popping wonderful.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 two-piece bars – 220 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: Purchased on eBay so I paid more than I should
Size: 9.8 oz. bag
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Smells and tastes like pumpkin pie. Also, at times, taste like a ginger snap cookie. It’s the best limited edition U.S. Kit Kat I’ve ever had.
Cons: Don’t feel compelled to eat the printed serving size. Snorting crushed eye of newt.

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies

Is that photo on the Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies box supposed to be appetizing?

My goodness, it’s like watching meat come out of a meat grinder. Or a pig being born. Or Vienna sausage being made. It’s like staring at potted meat. Don’t know what potted meat is? For all that is holy, DON’T LOOK IT UP!

The thing is, in real life, the filling doesn’t quite look like mangled flesh. It has a very light pink hue with red specks. But it’s so light that in some lighting situations it looks grey. So I guess this is one of those cases where what it actually looks like is better looking than what’s on the packaging, but barely.

The filling is supposed to remind you of pumpkin pie. When I closed my eyes, I’m reminded of POTTED MEAT! That image on the box has burned itself onto my brain. Now I feel as if I should go stare at Spam to get the image of potted meat out of my head.

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Of the spices you’d find in pumpkin pie, the only one listed in the ingredients is cinnamon. Of course, there’s natural and artificial flavoring that fill in for the other spices, but I’m glad Hostess spent a little scratch to include real cinnamon. But even with real cinnamon, it doesn’t have have a pumpkin spice flavor that pops. It doesn’t have a flavor that makes me say, “Hey honey, you know that whole tradition of eating pumpkin pie at Thankgiving? Let’s forget that and replace them with these Twinkies.”

But if you were celebrating National Cinnamon Day (a day that, surprisingly, with all the fake food holidays, doesn’t exist) these Twinkies would be an awesome way to get your Cinna-on.

One last thing about the flavor, there’s an artificial sweetener aftertaste even though there aren’t any listed in the ingredients. It reminded me of the taste in my mouth after eating a pumpkin spice-flavored light yogurt.

As for the “golden sponge cake,” it tasted like a regular Twinkie, but something seemed different about its texture. Maybe they weren’t as spongy as I remember. Maybe I got a bad batch. Maybe the box I bought was around since last year. Or maybe Twinkie the Kid is cutting corners so that he has extra money to buy whatever drug he smokes/snorts/shoots that makes him so damn happy all the damn time. I don’t know. Although its texture was different, the cake had that same Twinkies greasiness that we all know and love not to get on our hands because it will get all over our smartphone screens.

Overall, Hostess’ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies are okay if you’re into cinnamon or light pumpkin spice yogurts, but eating them won’t be a yearly tradition for me.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cakes – 260 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies
Purchased Price: $2.97
Size: 10 cakes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cinnamon-y. Looks better in real life than on the packaging.
Cons: Pumpkin spice flavor doesn’t pop; it’s almost all cinnamon. Sponge cake had a weird texture; not as spongy. Artificial sweetener aftertaste. Image of creme on the box looks unappetizing. Getting Twinkies grease on our phone screens. Potted meat haunting me.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Cereal

Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheerios Cereal

Pumpkin spice presents an existential crisis for the creative writer.

There is only so much that can said about it. What there is to say has been said before, said again, and then said in a different way. Chances are the same trite expression about pushing autumn in August, or the long litany of pumpkin spice products now available to us, is currently being wrestled onto the page of another food blog. We, the pumpkin spice addicts of America, have long since typed our love affair with the orange gourd and its seminal flavors into a monotony of clichés.

This is a damn shame, because when done right, pumpkin spice should not be reduced to a cliché.

Take the new Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheerios.

This is limited edition cereal to end all limited edition cereals; the kind of product that’s worth stocking up on from the beginning of August and then rationing out through the polar onslaught of December and humid days of July.

To be fair, we should have expected this much. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios were announced back in the spring when Strawberry Cheerios came out, and given the success of the spring flavor, Cheerios let us know they’re not doing this LTO thing half-ass.

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Case in point, Pumpkin Spice Cheerios don’t taste like cinnamon. The flavor isn’t the cheap heavy note of cassia, nor is it the honey or brown sugar sweetness that often comes along for the pumpkin spice ride. Likewise, this is not the repackaged taste of Honey Nut Cheerios or Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios are pumpkin spice Cheerios. There’s the sweet fragrant note of nutmeg, the aromatic warmth of clove, and, yes, the flavors of cinnamon and ginger.

Lest you think this is just a pumpkin spice flavor, there is some serious sweet pumpkin flavor going on in each of those oat rings. The addition of real pumpkin in the ingredients makes a world of difference when eating the cereal in milk, where the sublime essence of pumpkin desserts comes to life.

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Yes, sublime essence. Think of it as that moment when crust component, pumpkin component, and dairy meet. Here the warming and exotic notes of spices co-mingle with the sweetened taste of pumpkin and the richness of milk. A hearty crunch filled with sweetened dairy and a bit of milkfat greets eats spoonful, and in that moment the eater relives everything that is right about the cool breeze of October and the multicolored leaves that drift to the ground.

I may have chomped down on my first bite on a 95-degree day in west Texas, but if I would have closed my eyes and blasted a fan in my face then I’m pretty sure I could have fooled myself into believing it was autumn. It sure tasted that way.

Based on the rapidly growing list of pumpkin spice cereals entering the market, we’ll soon have the proverbial cornucopia to choose from. I don’t doubt many of these cereals will be good, but few, I’m willing to bet, will be able to match the appeal of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios.

(Nutrition Facts – 28 grams – 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 120 mg of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 21 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Outstanding representation of the complexity of pumpkin spices that exceeds the dull and heavy cinnamon flavor sometimes assigned to pumpkin spice. Sweet, hearty taste of oat base. Wonderful rich flavor in milk that tastes like the edge of a pumpkin pie or bar.
Cons: Could be a tad sweeter and have a “glaze” like Honey Nut Cheerios. The creative struggle to explain the appeal of pumpkin spice.