First it was the Wispa. And then the Wispa Gold. Now Nestle have followed Cadbury’s example and (after an internet campaign from hardcore fans) decided to bring back a previously discontinued sweet from the past- the Vice Versas. Only this time, I don’t even remember them from their first time round…either a sign that they weren’t very good, or that I’m too young for them. Either way, I finally got round to buying a bag of them so thought I’d take a look. Nestle are a bit of a mixed bag- I quite like Rolos, Munchies and Kit Kats but they have also produced some absolute horror chocolates (e.g. all Black Magic boxes of chocolates should be blown up and the debris fired into space so that nobody has to eat them.)
These have quite an interesting selling point though. They’re named Vice Versas, and you can maybe start to figure out why from the pictures. Nestle write that they’re ‘milk chocolate in a white crisp sugar shell and white chocolate in a brown crisp sugar shell.’ Granted, it isn’t exactly rocket science and I wouldn’t go as far as to call them ‘exciting’ but the Vice Versas are, in theory anyway, a little more quirky than Minstrels (their pebble-esque shaped rivals from Galaxy.)
Nestle decided to write ‘new’ on the bag. I’m not sure what I think about that. In fact, no, I am sure- calling a product ‘new’ when you’re also (at the very same time) marketing it on the basis that it’s ‘retro’ and you’re bringing it back is contradictory. Either make something new and brand it as such, or bring something back and push the ‘look- it’s back!’ line…it’s a bit cheeky of Nestle to do both I think!
Look- they’re all separated into the ‘Vice’ and the ‘Versas’. It’s like the USA in the 1950’s.
Aha! Now they’re all mixed up. Guess Brown vs. Topeka’s Board of Education must have happened…except with Nestle’s Vice Versas bringing the legal action. Sorry, that’s the nerdy university politics student in me.
These little sweets came in a 126g sharing bag and, as you’d expect given the USP of the product, Nestle have gone for a twofold colour scheme with light and dark colours on the wrapper. It looked ok- not an award winner but something a little different.
Having cracked the bag open and got a few of the ‘Vices’ and the ‘Versas’ out, they were shaped and sized exactly like Galaxy Minstrels. As Nestle obviously aren’t going to compare them to another brand’s product, they’ve instead branded them on the bag as ‘part of the Smarties family.’ All I’l say about that is, given that these are at least 10 times bigger and heavier than Smarties, they must be pretty distant fecking relations!
As I took them out of the bag to take a look at Smarties’ giant mutant cousins, I also got my first smell of the Vice Versas. And it was pretty uninspiring sadly. There was none of the creaminess of Minstrels here; instead they were so sickly sweet. It was a bit nasty to be frank- a really horrible sugary and almost chemically smell…and not a lot more. Smarties, for all their E numbery goodness, actually smell fairly innocent. Vice Versas on the other hand, massively flop on the smelling test. (See what I did there- smelling, not spelling. I’m here all week.)
I generally try to be a positive kind of guy, so I’l start with the good in these Vice Versas. The ‘crisp sugar shells’ are actually quite enjoyable. Tremendously crunchy with a slight sugary taste, the thin layer covering the chocolate interior of these sweets is decent; effectively a far less sophisticated crème brulee (those words should have accents on them- my French teacher from school would probably kill me for not using them…screw it) topping- a sugary, grainy crunch.
The dark coloured Vices (Or are they Verses? Oh, who cares.) have a white chocolate inside which vaguely resembles Milky Bar chocolate. The white chocolate interior is creamy almost to the point of butteriness and unbelievably sweet. However because there is a relatively small amount of it compared to a normal Milky Bar, it is bearable if not outstanding. I ate a few of the dark shelled sweets and thought they were ok.
The biggest problem with these though is the white shelled sweets. They’re proper grim- a really artificial sweetness and not at all chocolate like. There is practically zero chocolate taste and after eating two I was ready to throw the rest in the bin they were that bad. I could compose a really long list of things I’d rather eat than these to make you laugh..but basically, all you need to know is that they were bad. Really bad.
Nestle’s Vice Versas are one of the worst products I’ve tasted for a while I’m sorry to say, and I won’t be shedding a tear when these (inevitably) are discontinued again in the future. Theoretically, the idea of the Vice Versa product is sound enough and as I said earlier, probably more interesting to the average consumer than the Galaxy Minstrel which is just plain old chocolate.
The huge difference between the two products is in the execution though- Galaxy Minstrels are chocolatey and creamy. Whereas Vice Versas simply taste cheap and nasty, and although the white chocolate shelled Vices are just about ok, the dark coloured Versas are barely edible.
The old saying goes that ‘some things are better left in the past’. That definitely applies here I think- these aren’t tasty and won’t be around for long I’m sure. So if you do want to try them (not that I’d advise it!) I’d pick up a bag if you see it.