So, I'm off to Singapore tomorrow. What better time to review a Japanese gummy that is heavily cross-promoting one of the districts of Tokyo? Well, clearly the better time is when I'm going to Japan the next day, but they don't have Bugis Junction inspired KitKats yet so I'm making do. Also, I was craving gummies.
Another one of my interests outside of candies both exotic & domestic is Japanese fashion - Harajuku is one of the first places you'll hear about if you have any interest in Japanese clothes or even just cute Japanese stuff. I'm lucky that I was able to shop there a few years ago, and while I didn't come back with a whole trunk load of new clothes or a Pom Pom Purin couch like I would've wanted, I still enjoyed it immensely. So, what does this have to do with gummies? Well look down Columbo: they're 'Harajuku Honey & Grapefruit'.
What does honey & grapefruit have to do with Harajuku? Now that I'm less sure of. They released another flavor in the same line of Peach & Passionfruit, and I don't see the connection there either. I know that lemon & honey is a popular flavor combo in Japan, and grapefruit & honey is similar to that.
There might be something more to it, or else it was just a tasty flavor that tested well with the sort of people who were going to buy these JOL collaboration gummies. JOL looks to be a lifestyle website for Japanese teenagers, so I'm sure partnering up one of the more youthful and fashionable areas of Tokyo with sweet, sweet gummies was like shooting fish in a barrel for their audience.
Turns out it was also shooting me in a barrel, because I ordered these when they were released ages ago and stared at the package in my snack drawer every week or so. I think part of me didn't want to eat them and have them out of my life - listen, I really liked that bear and the colors, okay? Once they're eaten, I've got to toss the packaging. The only thing I vowed to myself when I started this blog was that I wouldn't keep a bunch of old candy wrappers.
So when I finally bit the bullet (shot into my barrel) was it worth it? Yep! To me they tasted just lovely, a nice hint of sweet, deep floral honey with a tart & slightly bitter grapefruit taste. If the sound of honey & grapefruit appeals to you, I'm sure you'd be quite happy with these gummies.
Meanwhile my husband who grew up in the UK took one or two and said they weren't for him. I was quite surprised until he reminded me that lemon & honey is a very common flavor for medicine in the UK. See, in the USA most of our medicines are either cherry or mint - so those flavors to me can sometimes be a bit medicinal. For him the thick honey flavor coupled with the sour bitterness of the grapefruit just brought back memories of being ill. Understandable, but to me they were delightful.
The only problem I have with these is after the initial taste of honey wears off, the tart grapefruit will also wear a bit, then you're left with a sort of plainly sweet gummy with just a hint of honey depth. Still not bad, but it would've been nicer if the flavor was consistently the same strength. Hey, it's a minor complaint.
I don't think these are available anywhere online anymore, it was last year that they came out and I believe they sold out faster than other limited edition Pures because of the Harajuku connection. If they re-release the flavor I'd recommend it, whether it has cute pastel packaging or not.