Roooooooar. Bet that scared you right. Anyway, the obvious reason for the roar is that today’s review is on a Lion product. Not the original Lion bar, but an alternative that I found in a local corner shop the other day- the Lion Peanut. I’d never actually heard of this before; I knew of the Lion and the semi-legendary Lion White, but never the Lion Peanut. The wrapper proclaimed it to be ‘new’ but given that none of the wrapper was written in English (or even in a language that I could recognise at all!) I can’t actually even say which country this is new to exactly!
Weighing in at 41g, about par for the course these days with chocolate bars, the Lion Peanut was ‘filled wafer with caramel, rice flakes and peanuts.’ There wasn’t a particularly helpful picture of a cross-section so I didn’t know how the peanuts were going to be incorporated into the traditional Lion bar design. All will be revealed later!
Lions always make me think of my childhood. Not because I was reared by lions (although my parents could certainly roar like them whenever me or my siblings stepped out of line!) but because I was a 90’s kid and Lion bars were huge back then. They’re still pretty popular now, but I remember them sponsoring high-profile events (well, Nestle paying for their Lion brand image if we’re talking semantics) and generally being much more popular than they are in the modern day. I worked in a sweet shop/newsagents for 12 months a few years ago, and I can’t recall us selling a single Lion bar all year. I’m not too sure why that is- Nestle’s other stuff (Kit Kats, Munchies, Aeros, Yorkies) all sold fairly well. But Lion bars were consistently having to be put on special sale to clear them as their ‘best before’ date came close.
The look of the product follows on from the traditional and more widely available regular Lion bar. By that, I mean that Nestle don’t use a fancy-schmancy design but instead focus on pushing the simple, obvious facts and the brand image. This is a Lion Peanut. It says Lion Peanut in big letters. It has a picture of a Lion alongside some peanuts. Job done lads.
When you think about it, it’s a sensible decision really. The target market of Lion bars (and the Lion Peanut here) is the ‘no mucking-about’ straight forward consumer. People who buy products from the Lion brand aren’t looking for delicate subtleness. They want a simple bar of chocolate. Nestle give them that, from the product’s design right through to the chocolate bar itself.
The cross-section above finally answers the question as to how Nestle had converted this from being a regular Lion to a Lion Peanut. The peanuts weren’t incorporated into the wafer centre as I had expected, but were in fact embedded in the outer layer of chocolate itself as you can see above. The ‘core’ of this bar remained the same with the wafer and rice flakes being sandwiched and surrounded with chewy caramel and then covered with peanuts and chocolate…giving it a lumpy appearance from the outside.
It smelt very similar to a Snickers bar. There was very, very sweet milk chocolate with a slight nuttiness- not specifically peanuts, but a general nutty smell. I couldn’t smell any of the Lion Peanut’s centre (wafer or caramel); only the outer ingredients. All in all though (just like with a Snickers bar) this smelt pleasant and enticing.
The Lion Peanut was both enjoyable but also simultaneously disappointing.
The caramel, wafer and rice flake centre is great. The wafer is slightly sweet and-paired with the stringy caramel- there is a cracking combination of textures and tastes. The two together are pleasantly but not overbearingly sweet and are so chewy that a single bite lasts for a while as it requires some serious chomping to get through! (People with delicate teeth- I’d give this a miss!)
My disappointment was to do with the peanut element unfortunately. Or lack of it to be more precise. I had hoped for a really nutty bar of chocolate to give the Lion Peanut a totally different flavour dimension and identity to the ordinary Lion bar. Instead, what I got was a small amount of pretty flavourless peanuts…and they weren’t even crispy, rather they were limp and soggy. Not cool Nestle. Not cool.
The chocolate was nice enough. It’s never going to be gourmet or cocoa led, but it was sweet, pleasantly milky and a little chocolatey. More than sufficient for the covering on a bar like this.
More than anything, this Lion Peanut just reminded me how much I like Lion bars. In fact I went and bought a Lion bar for the first time in a long time the day after trying this nutty alternative. The reason for that is because the Lion Peanut is basically just a Lion. It doesn’t establish enough of a difference to the normal Lion bar for me. With a strong nutty flavour, this could be great. But without it…well, the Lion Peanut is just a Lion to all intents and purposes.
It’s still a great bar to munch on, so Nestle haven’t put me off the Lion brand at all. But instead of getting me hooked on Lion Peanuts, I’l be eating a standard Lion bar more often in the future.