Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bauducco Selects Cookies & Cream Wafers Review

Frugal shoppers know the temptation of clearance-priced items.  After all, what's to keep one from purchasing a three-dollar item marked to nearly (or over) 75% off?  These cookies & cream wafers from Bauducco, who must want to top Ghirardelli for weirdest brand name pronunciation, were especially tempting at 70 cents per package.  I can't say wafers were ever a favorite snack of mine, but most cookies & cream flavored products have a certain level of temptation above the more conventional chocolate, vanilla and strawberry variants.
After dropping a less-than-healthy dose of crumbs on my workspace, I gave a pair of these wafers a close smell, and the scent is undoubtedly cookies & cream.  I can already say with confidence that they'd be perfect when combined with some vanilla ice cream.  My initial impressions are that they're definitely more chocolatey than creamy, although the inner layers will stick to the roof of your mouth more than Captain Crunch and Oreos do your teeth.  A pleasant, encompassing aftertaste hits the back of your throat when you let it sit, but then you'll be compelled to take another bite.  

Bauducco's Cookies & Cream Wafers definitely come off as something you'd combine with other ingredients for a truly delectable treat.  Once again, ice cream comes to mind since they're easier to break apart than Oreos.  You might also be able to toy with some brownie recipes and conjure up some interesting treats.  On their own, they're sufficient for a not-so-filling snack that will leave a pleasant taste in your mouth.  
Where I Bought It: Walgreens

Price: $0.70 (clearance)

Grade: B

Question of the Day: What brand names do you tend to forget the name of?C

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Oreos Review

Considering previous Fall-time Oreos, you'd think a pumpkin spice variant would've been among the first out the gate.  Instead, this follows in the steps of Candy Corn and Gingerbread Oreos.  It can only be a matter of time before Maple Brown Sugar Oreos become a reality (I'm patenting that).  
In the meantime, the official Pumpkin Spice Oreos arrive with hot anticipation, especially since Nabisco were right to sandwich the pumpkin-flavored creme between two golden cookies (take note, Milano and Russell Stover).  These are also available at most retail outlets, including Wal-Mart and Target.
Unfolding the package yields the familiar scent of Golden Oreos, but the aromas of pumpkin remain subdued.  It's more lightly festive than it is distinctly pumpkin.  Consuming the whole cookie at once is pleasant, albeit the same way consuming a Golden Oreo is pleasant.  You can tell there's an added flavor, but it fails to be distinctive.  Remove the cookies from the equation and we have a subtly flavored creme that, though lightly evocative of pumpkin, still struggles to elicit a "that's definitely pumpkin" type of response.  
With a resume comprised of several egregious flavors, Pumpkin Spice Oreos not only surprise with their late arrival, but with their lack of personality as well.  Although pumpkin isn't the most pronounced of flavors, Oreo have expressively implemented others of similar strength in the past.  This particular variant may become a recurring flavor for future holidays, but I'd rather see the progressively enjoyable Gingerbread Oreos make a triumphant return.  
Where I Bought It: Target

Price: $2.99

Grade: C

Question of the Day: What's your favorite seasonal Oreo flavor?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Captain Morgan 1671 Review

Captain Morgan know when and how to release a limited batch.  Last year saw them release a sherry oak rendition of their spiced rum, demonstrating how a spirit can hold up when its finishing process isn't compartmentalized.  Now the Captain's back with another rendition, this time commemorating the date Henry Morgan lost his ship, The Satisfaction.  

Unlike previous iterations, 1671 arrives in a slightly different container, featuring a nontransparent, all-black exterior and only golden lines to truly distinguish the label.  In addition, there's a strap of sorts at the neck of the bottle, one that my gargantuan fingers can barely enter.  

1671 isn't here to take shots at Captain Morgan Black, however; the rum itself has an amber hue common amongst its family.  Compared to last year's Sherry Oak batch, which was traditional with a few distinguishing details, 1671 has an odd, immediately discernible smell on the nose.  Chocolate is the name of the game, along with molasses notes not unlike a dark rum (think a lighter Myers).  Vanilla and caramel, like the other familiar qualities in Captain Morgan, barely lingers in the background.

1671 grazes upon succulent territory at first, allowing the cocoa notes to swell about and leave the greatest lasting impression.  The spices, on the other hand, must've been left at the distillery, since 1671 comes off like a sweetened dark rum.  Drinkers are like to give this spirit a resounding shrug as it rides into the sunset, but I see it as a curious entry in Captain Morgan's line-up.  Anyone who wants a rum with similar qualities to Myers or Goslings without the off-putting intensity might find this a worthwhile product.  Otherwise, the best case it makes for sticking around is the bottle design.

Where I Bought It: ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

Price: $23.99

Grade: B

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite rum bottle designs?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Captain Morgan Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum Review

First words to come to mind when I read "sherry oak" are cherry and wine.  An odd observation, I'll admit, especially considering sherry oak casks are customarily utilized for whiskies.  However, it's not uncustomary for companies to dabble their spirits so as to enhance or otherwise alter the experience, and Captain Morgan are no exception.  Launched mid-late summer last year, this spiced rum rendition is no longer listed on Captain Morgan's website, worsening the scant details on the bottle.

Fashioned similarly to the Captain Morgan Black bottle, Sherry Oak is more colorful on the label and significantly less opaque than its darker sibling.  The golden-amber color is closer to what you'd expect an aged rum to look like, as opposed to the lighter hues in regular Captain Morgan.  First impressions on the nose are fairly traditional by spiced rum standards; familiar vanilla and caramel notes are quick to arise while cinnamon and dark fruits linger in the background.

The light body you've come to expect from Captain Morgan is still present, but it's weighty enough to carry the pleasantries.  A supple vanilla-on-citrus action is complemented by cinnamon and other various spices.  Touches of cherries and brown sugar seem to be tossed in for good measure.  As you might've guessed, this rum offers quite a bit without straying too far from tradition.  

Captain Morgan continue to offer superior alternatives to the household product they've been popularized by.  The two that immediately come to mind are Black and Private Stock, which are polarizingly rich and pleasantly robust, respectively.  Meanwhile, Sherry Oak settles closer to Private Stock, but it still has the right ingredients in place to be distinguished from its brethren.  It's just a shame the product won't be around to maintain that facet.

Where I Bought It: Total Wine

Price: $18.99

Grade: B

Question of the Day: What are some limited edition products you wish were brought back?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Maze Runner (2014) Review

Grim visions live on in James Dashner's The Maze Runner, the latest young adult novel to receive on-screen treatment.  If 20th Century Fox have their way, we can expect at least two more entries, especially since a sequel is already in pre-production.  The pitch is that a group of boys are stuck on a small slab of land (the Glade) surrounded by a large maze that, at night, closes and plays host to creatures known as Grievers.  Enter Thomas, our protagonist and the latest in a monthly addition to said group.  Unlike his more settled companions, Thomas immediately repels the idea of confinement and urges his newfound neighbors to take initiative in discovering a way out.   

One can't help approaching The Maze Runner with an air of trepidation, given the number of similarly styled movies we've seen a sudden influx of.  There are only so many times younglings can be subjected before we feel we've had our fill.  The film does have its competencies, but the chances of captivation and anticipation for the apparently-confirmed sequel are simply far-fetched.  
The Maze Runner's greatest facet is its overall intrigue--the mystery it initially presents for us to pick at.  While the use of momentary flashbacks is disenchanting, viewers can expect a light mental stretch from their first viewing.  Another commendable aspect is how the themes are implemented.  They aren't subtle, but we're at least spared the disservice of being drilled by overwrought messages and symbolism.  Perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise, however, is the consistency of acting.  O'Brien does an adequate job as the curious protagonist with a drive to do something, yet Will Poulter stands tallest as Gally, the stubborn voice of suspicion.  In that, the chemistry is also worth touching on, but you're not going to experience the same level of connection as Harry Potter or even The Hunger Games.  
This is where the unlikelihood of The Maze Runner's overall resonance stems from.  Most of what's presented works for the sake of adequacy, but finding anything of superb quality is almost as frivolous as making sense of the ending.  For most of the runtime, The Maze Runner moves at a steady, methodical pace.  Then those last five minutes pull the rug out and leave the film to slip and crumble oh so comically.  About the only reason to feel indifferent to this coy play is the probable lack of total investment, which is to say (and confirm) that if you remain detached throughout the whole affair, then you may be better off than those who are more impressionable.

Grade: C

Question of the Day: How do you feel about the surge of popularity young adult fiction has gone through?