It all started with Harry Potter and Jelly Belly's realization of the fictional Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.  In the books, characters indulge in the candy beans without knowing what flavor awaits them: Will they get lucky with chocolate mousse or be surprised with Worcestershire sauce or, worse, toenail?  While toenail didn't make Jelly Belly's final list of flavors, earwax and rotten egg did, and the company discovered that even if you say right on the packaging that your candy is earthworm and vomit flavored, people still buy it

The line was discontinued in 2007, but Jelly Belly followed it up with Bean Boozled, a riff on Bertie Botts with a gambling twist. The box is packed with sets of twin flavors: one good and one evil. The two beans may look the same, but you don't know if you're getting licorice or skunk spray until you bite into them.  And what, exactly, did we get ourselves into?  Well...

Candy Girls: Bean Boozled

Some of our favorite Jelly Belly flavors -- pear, coconut, peach, banana -- are represented, but alongside some seriously screwed-up twists.  Black pepper is one thing, but baby wipes?  Baby wipes??

We recruited sandwich connoisseur Jonathan Shikes to help with the tasting. The bean twins really look identical, so we had no way to control who got what flavor, though it somehow went a lot like this:

Candy Girls:  Mmm, plum!
JS:  What is this?  Some kind of spice?

CG: I got banana.
JS:  This...is not banana.

CG:  Coconut here.
JS:  It's like an oil.  A horrible oil.  What am I eating?!

We did manage to get through a few of the interesting flavored beans, though for the most part they hit the trash can as soon as it became clear we had moldy cheese candy in our mouths. The weird flavors are disturbingly authentic.

This is a strange concept for a candy, because you're really only enjoying it a fraction of the time. Even when you luck out with a delicious flavor, you're so tense from anticipating whether it will be vile or not that you miss much of your chance to savor the jelly bean. The rest of the time, you're daring yourself to finish what's in your mouth or spitting it out. 

Truly, the most entertaining part of this candy is coercing someone else into eating it.  And therein lies the heart of Bean Boozled.  It's not something to be bought and enjoyed alone or, god forbid, in a dark movie theater, but it's loads of fun to impose the disgusting things onto an unsuspecting taster.

Would we eat the whole box?  That would take an enormous reserve of nerves.

Would we purchase again?  Perhaps as a party game, which seems like the best use for this candy.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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