To me, Pringles are a snack of the “sure, why not” variety: I never seek them out, I don’t believe I’ve ever bought a can for personal use, and I never crave them. But nicely arrange a row of Pringles at a party, or just hand me a can randomly, and I’ll snack away. I’m not better than you, Pringles, I’m just not that into you. And when you dress up like a slut, Pringles—pizza, screamin’ dill pickle—or even a shy schoolgirl—multigrain cheesy cheaddar—you’re not fooling anyone. You taste like a Pringle, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
So when Pringles announced three limited-edition holiday flavors earlier this year, my reaction should’ve been: “They’re just gonna taste like Pringles.” After all, we’ve eaten the pizza ones, and even the sultry Asian ones, and there’s nothing too shocking about them.
And yet, introducing sweetness into the mix seemed somehow different, even dangerous. The flavors—Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cinnamon & Sugar, and White Chocolate Peppermint—offered Mr. Pringle the opportunity to go big. To think outside the can. To bust open the flavor possibilities of dried potatoes and vegetable oil and turn this whole crazy uniformly-shaped-chip world on its head.
For two out of these three new flavors, Mr. Pringle wimped the fuck out. Which isn’t to say that Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles are bad—they’re actually pretty good, assuming you like regular Pringles and a little bit of sweetness. It’s just that their flavors hit soft and quick, quickly diminishing into plain ol’ Pringle-dom. You might just barely noticed they even had flavor on them, especially if you were drunk.
But on the third flavor, White Chocolate Peppermint, credit is due Pringles for going out on a limb, at least a little bit. The limb, of course, comes crashing down once they’ve stepped on it. (Follow along—the limb is your taste buds.) The peppermint is strong, as peppermint tends to bit, so after a brief whiff of white chocolate and the remnants of regular-Pringle flavor, you’re left with the unmistakable feeling of having just brushed your teeth—except your mouth is still full of icky crumbs. (This might be Kyle Ryan’s worst nightmare.) It’s not disgusting by any means. Nobody wanted to spit these right out or upchuck in revolt. But they’re simply a bad idea. Maybe next year they can repackage them and sell them as gag gifts, a la Jones Soda’s weird flavors.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
- “These are reminiscent of sweet potato fries with a sugary dipping sauce. Not too shabby. I always get sweet potato and pumpkin pie confused as it is.”
- “I do not judge Pringles by flavor, color, or packaging. I taste only Pringle. There is no other food — let alone chip — that provides the eater that same satisfying feeling of deconstructing a perfectly curved arch every time. Further, the consistency of every single Pringle is reassuring and soothing. It's the opposite of a box of chocolates. So yeah. I liked 'em all.”
- “I think the flavor consists of someone waving a nutmeg over the can.”
- “It's like walking past a kitchen that's baking pumpkin pie. No, make that running.”
- “For some reason this seems like a bigger crime to me than the white chocolate/mint ones. Also: They're gross.”
- “Some kind of pumpkin dish topped with crushed chips doesn't sound too bad, but a chip that has pumpkin flavor sounds fucking gross.”
Cinnamon & Sugar
- “I feel kind of like a fat-ass for enjoying these. The Cinnabon of heavily-processed chips.”
- “My memory can't really distinguish between these and the pumpkin ones, so that's damning, right? I think they were less gross than the others.”
White Chocolate Peppermint
- “These taste exactly as their name would indicate, which is a combination that just shouldn't exist. Dark chocolate and potato chips are a winning combination. This is just a no. A million times no.”
- “It's barely salty at first then perfumes into a sweet minty essence. Not bad.”
- “White chocolate is dirt, but since I can't taste the white chocolate in this I consider it better-than-dirt.”
- “It's a Shamrock Shake on a potato chip. The Irish must be involved somehow.”
- “The description of these sounds like a crime against nature, but the taste isn't displeasing. It's not good, but I went back for a second without even understanding why.”