‘Tastes like a bonfire of recalled Barbie Dolls’: a family Japanese KitKat tasting…

My friend Emma recently went to Japan and she gave me a big bag of Japanese snack-sized KitKats she bought back. KitKats come in manifold flavours in Japan. Emma said there were whole shops which just sold KitKats!


Over a game of Carcassonne, Fraser (42), Willoughby (13) and I (41) had a KitKat tasting. (Magnus was in bed, so he missed out. It sucks being nine.)

I took comprehensive tasting notes. Fraser’s favourite was Wasabi, mine was the Brown Rice Tea, whereas Willoughby, he liked the ‘cheesy’ ones.** The least favourite flavour with no competition was Red Bean Paste.

Here are some of our tasting notes. I’ve also noted the colour of the KitKat. (If I have any of the flavours or names wrong, I apologise, but I can’t read Japanese so was guessing/trying to remember what Emma had told me/using the pictures as guidance.)

((I have no idea how interesting this is.))

** I suspect the cheesy ones taste a bit like breast milk. Sorry. TMI?

EDAMAME, light green in hue

H: Smells like chocolate farts; grassy note to the flavour.

F: White chocolate mousse smell; flavour tastes like staleness.

W: It smells and tastes like white chocolate, only less yummy.


H: Smells like Parmesan cheese! Tastes like fatty, cheesy white chocolate.

F: Smells like shoes. Tastes like a cheesy lemon-crisp biscuit. Feral, but nice.

W: Delicious! A cheesy-perfumed chocolate bar.

GRAPEwhite   (Errata – Emma has since informed me this is RUM AND RAISIN) 

H: Smells like Sultana Bran. Has a bubble-gum flavour which is off-putting.

F: Smells like cheap supermarket soap. Lolly-ish flavour. Extremely sweet.

W: Ooh, fruity-fruity! Smells like Grape Hubba Bubba but tastes like fruity Tic-Tacs.


(Disconcertingly the picture on the front looks very much like mince on toast.)

H: (sniffs) Oh God! Smells like an ash-tray! Tastes like dirt with a plasticky after-taste.

F: Tastes like last year’s Easter Egg which you hid under the flax bush and then found a year later and then ate. No, it’s worse than that. Tastes like a bonfire of recalled Barbie Dolls. Aged, smokey chocolate, in other words. Has a sour finish.

(The taster drank a large glass of water after this sample).

W: Euw, dirty Easter Egg chocolate. The worst. Negative 5000 out of 10.

RICE TEA, brown

H: Distinctive rice tea/Mirin smell. Strong rice tea flavour with a savoury after-note. I like it a lot!

F: Smells of seaweed. A sour Oolong flavour. Notes of iodine and heather.

W: Smells like that seaweed that is on sushi. Fresh, clean flavour. I like it! I have never drunk tea so to me it tastes like seaweed. I’ve never had sushi either. Why have I never had sushi? Can I try sushi? Like, soon? Like tomorrow night for dinner? *

(* Taster has not eaten sushi because since the age of about two he has consistently reacted with horror when offered sushi, despite many attempts by his parents to get him to try sushi. His sudden interest in eating sushi is both baffling and frankly, irritating.)

UJI MATCHA,  a unique khaki colour

H: Smells and tastes of tea, but not as strongly as the last one. Very sour and fatty aftertaste.

F: Looks like Brut Faberge soap. Not much going on in the flavour department, a slightly astringent aftertaste.

W: Smells like white chocolate. Tastes like white chocolate. Just eat white chocolate for god’s sakes! At least proper white chocolate isn’t GREEN!


H: Vanilla-ish in smell and flavour. Nice.

F: A spicy note to the smell, yes, wafts of stale old cinnamon.

W: White chocolate with a hint of random.


H: Oh dear, it’s like a strawberry cheddar-cheese smell. Not a good combination. Tastes like synthetic strawberry with cheese.

F: Oh god, remember that time we were driving home from Taupo and we stopped at the petrol station and the children chose drinks and Magnus chose strawberry Up’n’Go and then an hour later, we were just out of Hunterville, remember? He threw up all over the back seat? That’s what this reminds me of, strawberry milk refluxed. Euw.

W: What are you on about? This smells delicious! Smells like fresh cream cheese, but tastes like strawberry. Hmmm, this is my favourite.

WASABI, pale green

H: Oo, it does SMELL like Wasabi! How unusual. Sweet wasabi. Weirdly it warms the nose like normal wasabi does, but there is no heat in the flavour. That is freaky. In a good way. I think.

F: Unusual, unexpected smell and flavour, but very nice! Has a compelling sweet/savoury character.  Refreshing and palate-cleansing. The perfect flavour to end on. I like this one the best by far.

W: What’s wasabi? Why is my nose all cold and weird? What the hell is this flavour? Is this what sushi tastes like?? Euw! Just, …no.


So, there you go. I should add that Emma had previously given me a box of cinnamon Kitkats and they were delicious.

Thanks, Emma, for letting us share in your travel adventures through our noses and taste-buds.

If anyone else wants to send us random foods to sample, feel free. We will happily give it our very very close attention.









11 thoughts on “‘Tastes like a bonfire of recalled Barbie Dolls’: a family Japanese KitKat tasting…

  1. I’ve checked in the cupboard and the grape one is rum and raisin. I didn’t much like wasabi or brown tea but I really like it edamame. I also really like the mince sandwich one but would probably not buy it again.


  2. Thanks for the KitKats, Emma! Several of them were delicious – the tea-flavoured ones in particular. However, my pedestrian, westernised palette was unable to participate in the joys of the cheesy ones :/


  3. This whole thing is amazing. Red bean paste is defo an acquired taste which I now have. But it was hard work getting there. I particularly love Willoughby’s comments. Such dorks, the lot of you. I love it.


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