Just received these, and am MIXING NOW. Yet another huge thanks out to my brother @wllmc over at Bull City Flavors for sending these out.
I’m planning on mixing these up at 3.5%, and with at least a 1 week steep. STAY TUNED !!!
Amardeen (Apricot) (WF) 3.5% (4-3-22) – Having never traveled to the Middle East, I had never heard of Amarbeen before, but in short order, it became clear that is was The Original Fruit Roll Up, made from Apricots. I’ve never had it, so I can’t directly compare/contrast, but test it we shall. As a strict “Apricot” this one, would be so-so, as it didn’t present as a full on Apricot, but a medley with apricots. Now maybe this WAS by design, regarding the Amardeen (Apricot Fruit Roll Up) namesake. Although this one danced around a bit, I did continue to get some peachy notes, maybe even a slight hint of apple. It was about a 7 out of 10 on the intensity scale at this testing weight, and I’m not sure that cranking the % would increase the saturation or not. The peach notes I got were yellow peach, and as stated, felt like it had some apricot riding on the top. About mid level sweet, and a little tartness, which DID add to the authenticity OF the apricot. I wish there had been a bit MORE apricot, but the apricot I did get, tasted pretty natural, with no off-putting notes. As a medley it wasn’t bad, I just wouldn’t call it stellar. Not bad, not great, you get the idea. As far as pulling the solo Apricot freight, I don’t think it could pull that off, BUT as a baser/mixer it would work fine. Scoring will be tricky as it’s an Amardden, but (Apricot). Let’s do it this way, as a Apricot Medley, 7.5/10, and as a “strict” Apricot, 5/10.
Apple Butter (WF) 3.5% (4-13-22) – Moving on TO the Apple Butter. When I was first mixing these up, this one caught my, errrr, nose, and I thought it almost had some “Fuji” elements in it. After a short steep, that proved to BE the case when testing it. Many people don’t even actually know what Apple Butter is. Now there’s NO butter, but maybe there SHOULD be !!! Just about every AB I’ve ever tried was fairly dark in appearance and taste, plenty sweet, and most times had at least SOME Cinnamon and Cloves in it. This one presented as an somewhat “brighter” apple, almost medley, with MAYBE some spices, but very low in the mix. NOW, this was NOT what my expected, or typical AB experience had been prior. Because AB is supposed to be caramelized apples, I was expecting much more of the darker notes, and fewer of the brighter punchy notes. This one was def. not an applesauce, but further testing almost made me think of a blend OF an Apple Butter AND an Applesauce. Not bad, and it was actually pretty good, BUT, was it really a full on Apple Butter ?? About mid-level sweet, and fairly strong at 3.5%, it was natural tasting with no overt artificial-ness. I could see a lot of uses for this one, but having it carry the full freight OF an Apple Butter, might be a bridge too far. Not terrible by any means, just not 100% Apple Butter. 5.5/10.
Blackcurrant (WF) 3.5% 4-6-22 – I was curious to get into this one early, as I’d recently tested another great one, and I wanted to see how Wonder Flavors pulled this one off. In a word, they did it EXCELLENTLY !! Some of you may have never eaten or tried a Blackcurrant, and I have a few times, BUT, soo long ago, I couldn’t hope to do a true, direct comparison, BUT, this one really did a good job, with the expect almost grape-like, dark berry-ish, main notes, with an almost hint of cherry, with a somewhat tart finish. Yeah, try saying THAT 4 times fast. What I found most interesting was the almost musky, earth undertones, that (like ONE other I’ve tried) really improved it’s accuracy, and authenticity. It was very nicely full at this weight, and really rumbled in the lower, darker regions, and again, finished with just enough tartness. Very natural tasting, with nothing out of place, and, nothing missing. A very well rounded flavor from WF, and after finishing off the SECOND tester, I did start to perceive just a little acidity, which just drove home, that this one was one of the great ones. Countless uses, countless pairings, and even though I’m not really a yogurt-er, I had the urge to try and toss together a blackcurrant yogurt. Put it in your cart, and thank me later. 9.9/10.
Blueberry Muffin (WF) 3.5% 4-15-22 – Would this be a FLV Blueberry Muffin killer ?? Ummm, no, but nice try. OK, this one wasn’t bad, but it was not stellar either. I went through two full testers, because I had issues trying to figure out what exactly it was trying to be. There was a nice blueberry-ish note, with some sweet, and tart-ed-ness, and there was an underlying bakery-ish note, but it seemed to lack focus, and cohesion. Blurry, was a thought that kept popping up as I was testing it. Neither the bakery nor the Blueberry really came into focus, and combined, that didn’t improve. It was not a terrible flavor, and it could surely be used to base up, or start a BB Muffin, but sadly, I can’t see it getting the job done solo’d. Not overpowering and solid at 3.5%, and the tarty punch of the BB was one of my favorite aspects of it. (Repeating), it just really lacked focus in both of the two main elements. Not every one is a winner, but that makes the ones that are, stand out even better. As a base(r), this felt fairly placed at a 5/10.
Bubble Gum (Fruity) (WF) 3.5% (4-18-22) – I think it’s safe to say that I’ve typically not used a lot of Bubble Gums, and that always makes for an interesting test, when I get one. This one presented perfectly as TWO things. About 75% Juicy Fruit, and 25% Pink Bubblegum. Despite thinking (at first) that it was JUST a Juicy Fruit, I just kept getting little bits and pieces of a really good pink BBG. Now, I don’t know if that was by design or not, but it actually would allow for MORE uses for this one, which was, I think, a pretty smart move. At 3.5% it was nicely full, just above mid-level sweet, and was just as artificial tasting as you’d expect from a bubblegum or juicy fruit. I think that a typical BBG has Pineapple, Wintergreen, Banana, and Cinnamon, but I can’t say what’s in Juicy Fruit. One note that kept peeking through was the almost powdered sugar dusting that you find on many gums. Not all Juicy Fruit, not all Bubblegum, but a pairing of the two, and a nice one at that. Kind of hard to nit pick this one, and if you’re in the market for Juicy Fruit with some Bubblegum, this one should do it for you. Easily a 9.5/10.
Cheesecake (WF) 3.5% (4-10-22) – Is there always some trepidation when trying a new Cheesecake ?? YES, always. Was this one the “blow your face off”, “wet towel” that some others have reviewed it as ? Not entirely. First off, the good. It presented as a nicely sweetened, creamy Cheesecake, which was in the ballpark of say Lor Ann’s, some light crust, which was relatively buried below the Cheesecake’s creamy overwash, with little to no coconut (crust). Now, there WAS some “twang” in this one, which YOU will have to decide whether or not it’s a deal breaker. Not entirely sour milk, but a milky/cheesy twang that actually gave it a little bite. Too much, not enough ?? You’ll have to decide. A safe relative comparison would be 65% creamy cheesecake, 35% twang. I didn’t find it overwhelming as it was a fraction of the entire mix, BUT, it was always present. BA ?? Unsure, it wasn’t overly saturated in BA, but it could be buried in there. I’m sure if you had this in a mix, you could easily overcome the cheesy/ slightly sour notes, and rely on the creamy portion of the flavor. For some it could be great, as it added to the realism of the cheesecake, others, not so much, so be advised. All in, it was full @ 3.5%, fairly accurate, and beyond the slightly sour-ish, cheesy twang, nothing out of place. Overall, the sweet, and creamy carried the day, and I’m still having issues clearly picking up on any crust. I’d be VERY curious to hear what you guys think of this, and as to whether or not the “twang” worked for you or not. As a cheesecake, it WAS pretty accurate, but should it be YOUR cheesecake, that’s the question. Leaving it at 7.9/10.
Deep Fried Sugared Taro (WF) 3.5% (4-23-22) – Having never eaten a Taro, and unable to directly compare this to it, this proved to be an interesting flavor. My FIRST thoughts were a Sweet Potato, with earthy elements, a little funk, and a sugary pop. Now, the “funk” hehe, what WAS that ? Great question, and maybe if I’d eaten one I could better compare/contrast. It felt mixed in with the earthy element, and COULD have been true to an actual Taro. It wasn’t off-putting, but it WAS there, so be advised. Now the Sweet Potato is/was merely an approximation, as it wasn’t a spot on one, but pretty IN the ballpark. I didn’t really get much overt “fried” from it, but perhaps that was the funk/earthy-ness, but it was hard to say. The sweet poppy finish, had an almost tart-ness to it, and it is hard to directly convey, other than to say it WAS there, at the finish, and it kept this one interesting. Now, when was the last time I mixed up a Sweet Potato-ish recipe ?? Hehe, probably been forever, BUT, because this flavor was very unique (at least on my flavor racks), I could see it filling a large void. At 3.5% it was full, and plenty strong, with the only off-putting note(s) being the slightly funky earthy tones, and whether or not that’s off-putting will be up to you guys. I didn’t find it offensive, and as a cohesive whole, the flavor really worked. If you were in need of a Sweet Potato-ish flavor, with nice earthy tones, and an almost tart, sweet finish, this one WILL work for you. All in, even though this type of flavor was not in my typical wheelhouse, it was hard to fault it, and it felt good @ 9/10.
Hami Melon (WF) 3.5% 4-2-22 – Having NEVER actually had a Hami Melon I had no clue what this one would present as. I was immediately drawn to the similarities to Cantaloupe Melon, but tempered somewhat, into something more. Very interesting, and nailing down EXACTLY how it was different would prove to be difficult, BUT, I think I can do it, but JUST for you guys. The Canta, almost “conveys” orange-ness to me. This one, seemed to almost be devoid of THAT particular aspect, BUT, had an almost Honeydew Melon aspect to it as well, BUT, merged in with a Cantaloupe. Sounds confusing, right ?? Well, let’s just say, that’s a close comparison to it, and it actually worked, and it worked VERY well, IMO. Imagine a fresh, juicy Cantaloupe in the beginning, with a nice fleshy, sweet body in the middle, and almost kissed by a Honeydew Melon on the finish. Yes, hehe, that’s what I got from this one. Very full at this testing weight, almost mid-level sweet, and a very natural overall taste. It really did border on complex/not complex, as it really did have aspects of multiple melons, all in one. A slight tart-ed-ness gave it just a little punchy-ness, kept it interesting, and as a whole, proved to be fairly unique. Because it straddled multiple melons for my tastes, I could see even more uses for it, which is always welcome on our flavor racks. Nothing off-putting, and again, having never eaten one to directly copare to, this one just plain worked for me. Despite being nicely full at this weight, it still conveyed a slight relaxed-ed-ness, so you would have to use some caution when mixing with stronger, more aggressive flavors. All in, an interestingly fresh melon for me, and it was JUST beneath what I would consider a stand alone / one-shot-ish flavor, but JUST barely. Nicely done by Wonder Flavors, and it was too good, to go much below 9.3/10.
Kiwi (Yellow) (WF) 3.5% (4-15-22) – This one was going to be difficult as despite regularly gorging on green kiwis I have never had a Golden/Yellow Kiwi, so I cannot speak to it’s authenticity. I’ve heard comparisons of the Yellow Kiwi to a cross between a Strawberry and a Guava, and that MIGHT put you in the ballpark with this one, but only barely. Kind of a non-descript almost tropical fruit, without much tartness, and with a musky undertone. This one was a hard one to review, as I LOVE green Kiwis, especially their bright tartness, and this one just didn’t have any, and that is allegedly correct. Just below mid-level sweet and nothing off-putting, BUT, for the slightly musky undertone. I wouldn’t call it off-putting, but it is/was there. It was very full tat this weight, and it didn’t feel overpowered, and continued testing revealed an almost citrus oil-like finish. Not bitter, and didn’t detract from the flavor, but again, it was there. It swirled around, staying fairly obscured, but at times I almost got a grapefruit/peach profile. Hard to nail down, and never having the real Yellow Kiwi, that’s about as close as I can get for you. Not sure if this flavor was in my wheelhouse or not, but that’s not the point of these reviews. I could see this being used in many fruit and tropical mixes, but not sure if it could take the lead or not. Felt pretty solid at 7.4/10.
Milk (Condensed) (WF) 3.5% (4-16-22) – Ahhhh Milks and Cream, the BANE of my SFT existence. Why ?? They can be really hard to test many times, and others, can be hard to fully flush out solo, as sometimes their effect is really only fully realized in mixes. With THAT said, I’ve been a long time PUR CM user, and although it is close, I am always on the prowl for the SUPER CM. IS this the one ?? Read on. This one was an interesting one, and to my tastes, it didn’t immediately convey CM (Condensed Milk), BUT, it was full of dairy, had a somewhat creamy mouthfeel, and was solidly in the “Dairy” camp. I never picked up on a pure cream, but dairy/milk, and sometimes any almost powdered milk peeked out. There was a slight acrid finish to it, and was in no way a deal breaker, but be advised I did pick it up. Curiously throughout both testers I kept picking up on a light, very light coconut element, but, it was in NO way a Coco Milk, just a light afternote. I think the closest I can compare to would be a nice, semi-creamy dairy, with hints of powdered milk, and a very light kiss of coconut. To rate the creaminess/mouthfeel, I’d put that at about a 6.5/10, and it’s effects on a mix are outside the scope of this review. It was about mid-level sweet, and except for the very slight acrid tip of the finish, nothing off-putting could be found. Despite the fact that it didn’t entirely nail a CM, it was very good, and I can see it being used a lot, either with, or possibly subbing TPA Dairy Milk, FA Cream Fresh, etc. Not the creamy-est, nor the richest mouthfeel, but still a great Dairy contender. It was unique enough, and unlike most other dairies that I have racked, that may end up making a space for it on your racks. Finalizing this one @ 7/10.
Nougat (WF) 3.5% (4-24-22) – LAST one in this series. While many US’ers may think they know Nougat from candy bars, but not all really know what a true Nougat is. This one, WAS that Nougat. Because Nougat shares some commonalities with Meringue, I was looking for that, and it did have that as well. Maybe a good comparison might be a meringue with some honey, and butter elements, and a nutty undertones, which I think were almond-ish. A few ticks above mid level sweet, this one wowed with nothing out of place, and nicely rich and full @ 3.5%. It didn’t feel ceiling smashing, but you could probably reduce to even 2.0-2.5% with little to no overall reduction. The almost buttery-ish honey notes seemed to really pull this one together, and keep it cohesive. When comparing it to real Nougats I’ve tried, this one was about as spot on as I have ever had. When mixing it up, it almost smelled bitter, so I left it for the LAST flavor in this series, and great news, as there was NO bitterness to be found. All in, if you want/need a real Nougat, this one SHOULD be on your rack. Easily a 10/10, and a GREAT finish to this series of new releases from Wonder Flavors.
Pancake (WF) 3.5%/1.75% (4-2-22) – Alrighty, it’s GO TIME. After much peer pressure from @Lynda_Marie, I had to push this one to the TOP, as, well, I have a Pancake problem. Alright, you may notice I DUAL tested this one @ both 3.5%, and then dropped to 1.75%. I went through three testers to try and figure out what was going on here. It smelled VERY close to pancakes, but something seemed to get lost in the translation when tasting it. Not that is was bad, but it didn’t translate as well, as opposed to smelling it. I kept trying to nail down exactly what I felt to be missing, and after 3 testers, it seemed like it was missing the heavier bakery, lower level to ground it fully as a pancake. It had the mid and brighter notes, but just felt kind of ungrounded to me. Funny because it took 3 testers to even TRY to figure it out. Sweetness was about mid level, and it did have some buittery-ness, but without an overt buttery taste. No maple/ maple syrup notes, which did leave it fairly neutral. So the question, if it wasn’t a full on pancake , then what was it ? Maybe more of a light butter cake, or vanilla butternut perhaps. Again, not bad by any means, but I just wish that how it smelled completely carried over to how it tasted. Overall, to my tastes, it felt like it was 65-70% of the way there, towards a full pancake, so with that said, it felt fair @ 7/10.
Soft Candy (Base) (WF) 3.5% (4-3-22) – You never know what you’re going to get with a “base”, and sometimes, well, they’re “basic” LOL. This one however, was quite an interesting one. About two ticks above mid-level sweet, and actually very candy-like, it did indeed have an almost “smoothness” to it. You could say marshamalow-ish, BUT not a marshmallow. Overall it did portray a very neutral “base”, but it FELT like there might just be a smidge of fruit, or vanilla in there, but it was WELL hidden, leaving it nicely IN the “base camp”, pun intended. Plenty present as a “candy” at this weight. Soft MAY imply taffy to many of you, and I didn’t really get any taffy from it, so let’s just leave it at “soft”. Even with above mid level sweet, it did not have the “sugar lips” effect, and there was a slight tartness to it, just on the end, that kept it more than basic. I’ll be reviewing Wonder Flavors Soft Candy Strawberry next, so I am fairly sure, THIS one is in it. All in, with nothing out of place, or off-putting and with a convincing candy like presentation, this one worked, for what it was. I COULD see topping this off with numerous fruits, and pulling it in any direction needed, as it’s neutrality would easily allow that. Easily placing this one @ 8.5/10.
Soft Candy (Pink Strawberry) (WF) 3.5% (4-5-22) – Alright, @TorturedZen is probably going to kill me for NOT getting this one done sooner, BUT, alas, it HAS been tested now. Alright, let’s talk both about this one, and the Soft Candy Base just reviewed. I had been asked numerous times if the Soft Candy Base was like a Starburst, and it was not. Nice, candy, with some softness, but not really Starburst-ish. Now THIS one, is starting to look more LIKE a Starburst. Still not all the way there, BUT, it’s in the ballpark now. To my tastes, by simply adding some Strawberry (Pink) it really seemed to come alive a bit more, in comparison to the base. Not unexpected right ? A base is a base, right ? Alright, the strawberry in this was fairly artificial, and had a nice sweet and tart-ness to it, that KINDA did resemble a SB Starbust. Still at about mid-level sweet, It was fairly relaxed, and was in NO way, Strawberry heavy, but it more blended INTO the Soft Candy, and accentuated it, and improved it. Again, stating the obvious, SB + Base > Base. The ratio from the SB Pink to the Candy Base was about 50/50, so it would need to be pushed up, if you wanted more of a Starburst-y punch. All in, for a “pink” Strawberry Candy, not too bad, and I’ll tick it up + 0.5 from the base, but still with a minor takeoff for a somewhat relaxed presence. 9.0/10.
Sugar Pie (WF) 3.5% (4-8-22) – Having DEVOURED many a Pecan Pie, I reflected, that I’ve never actually had a Sugar Pie, but that NEVER stops me. Because of that, I can’t directly compare it to the real pie, BUT, I can tell you what tasted in this one. Immediately out of the gate, you are assaulted with a rich, darker brown sugar, that then seems to slide into an almost custard of sorts, with some slight eggy-ness, and an almost bakery undertone on the finish. The bakery is very light, and hard to really classify, and was really more of an undertone. For those in the know, you already know what constitutes a Sugar Pie. With most centering around Brown Sugar, Eggs, Milk, Flour, and Vanilla, this DID seem pretty accurate to the individual profiles, with the Brown Sugar being the strongest, and the crust/bakery being the lowest. Throughout the tester, I got almost a burnt sugar note, almost brule-ish, but it was not bitter. The more I tested, the more it appeared to complex-ify itself, and that made it a great tester to try and fully identify. At 3.5% it was perfectly strong, and didn’t appear to be ceiling smashing, and nothing off-putting. After the second tester, I began to think of numerous pairings, bases that could be built using this, and the light bakery could easily be enhanced if you needed to. Even with the lower bakery elements, it still did really just ALMOST present as a bakery, but just almost. It fell a few ticks above mid level sweet, which (DUH), was expected, as it was a SUGAR Pie LOL. My final assessment was a Brown Sugar enriched Custard, with some light bakery elements, with almost a touch of burnt/sugar/brule, with only minor takeoffs for a slight twang on the finish, but only slight, which MIGHT be tamed by dropping to 2.75-3.0% Tastily leaving this one at a 9.1/10.
Taffy (Peanut Butter) (WF) 3.5% (4-15-22) – I was originally a little SCARED of this one, as PB in Taffy ??? !!! BUT, I do it for YOU GUYS, and @Lynda_Marie. OK, even though I hard feared loading this into the tank, when I smelled it, most of my fears were alleviated, BUT, as they say, it isn’t over, until it’s over. What in the HELL is a Taffy-ed Peanut Butter ? Well, it was actually quite good. Having had many bad PB’s before, that added to my initial distrust, but this PB was nice, rich, and creamy, and my fears quickly abated. It was “kinda” like CAP’s PB, in that it was sweeter, and creamier, BUT, tempered with taffy-like candy, that had some almost toffee notes to it. NOT a toffee, but with toffee NOTES in it. The ratio was close to 60% taffy, and 40% PB. The very end of the finish almost had a hint of a brule or burnt sugar to it, and it gave it a nice KICK at the end. Now the taffy part was a little harder to quantify. If WF had simply added creams or sweeteners, this would have been a “sweet PB”, or a “creamy PB” but there was SOMETHING, that did really convey a taffy-ness to this one. When paired with the fairly natural PB, it was actually a rather NEAT combination. It was a few ticks above mid level sweet, but not in an overpowering way. Nothing off-putting or out of place at this percentage, and the only “twanger” was the slight burnt sugar /brule note, but I think it actually added to the overall flavor. I can safely say, I have NO flavors like this on my racks, and that’s hard to do. All in, it was indeed a convincing Taffy PB / PB Taffy, and it actually did it VERY well. If you’ve got room, you probably don’t have one like this either. Plus plussed at 9.5/10.
Due to the VERY long existing (recipe side) Wonder Flavors Recipe, I’ve decided to start a new one, for this Part II.