Do any other ’90s kids remember the mania around warheads? I sometimes wonder if I’m misremembering my own memories, but I have a distinct memory in my head of the mania around warheads.
Candy, that is.
A 1999 Wired article I found courtesy of Wikipedia seems to back up my memory. Here’s the lead sentence:
__ EXTREME CANDY is the fastest-growing segment of the $23 billion US market. Kids want gross, sour novelties with special effects – and they’ll pay for it. __
That’s the mania I’m referring to. I distinctly remember the craze around sour candies and warheads. I would have been nine-years-old around this time when this craze was taking off. I remember my other friends at school and in the neighborhood hyping these up as EXTREMELY SOUR. And the mental image I had conjured in my head as a result was that these are candies that I literally wouldn’t be able to handle. It would be too intense in my mouth. As such, I had a bit of awed reverence for this candy because of that.
The Wired article even has the inscription from the Mega Warheads packaging, which actually bills itself as a “cautionary note”:
“Eating multiple pieces within a short time period may cause a temporary irritation to sensitive tongues and mouths.”
I don’t actually have a memory of my first time trying them, but I do remember having the I-just-ate-a-lemon squint and squishy face look after popping the little candy into my mouth. They were sour, and as a kid, I feel like the sourness was more pronounced? That is, as an adult now, the sourness is still there, but it usually isn’t giving me the lemon face now. It’s just like, oh, that was interesting, and it’s over.
The appeal of the warheads is that they are daring for kids, and that there are many flavors, so you can swap flavors with other kids, as the Wired article mentions. They even call it a “test of manhood.” I suppose. I don’t know if I saw it as manhood or as, “Hey, I can eat five at a time, I’m cool, please like me,” kinda thing.
Also, another appeal is that lemon-squish face I mentioned above, and that was represented in the fun packaging of a guy with that face, and his head L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y E-X-P-L-O-D-I-N-G. As a kid, that’s fun, come on.
Anyhow, I stumbled in on the office’s stash of Warheads. Apparently, a few staff members are also big fans of the sour candy, so I nabbed a couple, and came across a style I had never seen before: Warheads Colossal Sours.
My one sentence review would be that these remind me of a giant Smarties, but mildly sour? Smarties is another one of my favorite candies, so I don’t mind that. I tried both the blue raspberry and the orange flavors. The blue raspberry was infinitely better than the orange. I didn’t like the orange at all. Blue raspberry as an artificial flavor tastes better than orange.
All in all, warheads are fun for a quick spurt of sour, and then you get the nasty aftertaste that most artificial candies seem to have, particularly the hard candies. But most of all, I enjoy the flavor ride back to the ’90s and the nostalgia aftertaste.
Does anyone else remember the Warheads mania? Do you like warheads? If not, what’s your favorite hard candy?