It’s 11:30 a.m. on a Monday morning, so of course we opened all four of the new Lay’s potato chip flavours and ate them. Let’s call it pre-lunch. With a crack team, we all sat down and talked about our first impressions (“weirdly sour, but not in an aggressively unpleasant way”), our second impressions (“beefy dijon mustard?”) and every impression that happened until we became ill from eating too many chips (“I feel sick”). Here’s how the chips fell overall:
Butter Chicken smelled faintly like the Indian dish, but then again most of the chips didn’t really have a strong olfactory response. “The picture on the front makes me want Butter Chicken,” said one taster. “I can taste the tang of the sauce and I want to order it now.” But not everyone thought it was that compelling. “I tasted something with a zing, but you could’ve fooled me that that was butter chicken,” said the group’s most dissenting opinion on the matter of Butter Chicken-flavoured potato chips.
Cowboy BBQ Beans
These were wavy chips, and who doesn’t like a wavy chip? These smelled the most like a can of beans, and it’s really up to you to decide if you’re into that. As for us, we were mostly into these crunchy chips because they most closely resembled the food they were inspired by. On first bite, you get the flavour of smokey baked beans, and it’s mostly appetizing. One taster hated the “fake smoke” flavour, and it left a bad taste in her mouth. Another taster (full disclosure: the author) has already eaten
five six handfuls.
PEI Scalloped Potatoes
“Why would you make a flavour that’s based on a potato recipe?” was the resounding opinion from this very judicious chip-tasting panel. And really, why? These were the least compelling (sorry, Jordan Cairns, conceptual chip flavour creator), because they tasted most like flavours that already exist. In fact, they tasted a lot like a mix of Au Gratin and Sour Cream and Onion chips, so while they didn’t taste bad at all, they weren’t very exciting, bold or new. And if you’re gonna get people to stray from their beloved ketchup chips, you gotta do something daring. One taster actually said that none of the chips gave her the same kind of emotional response that she gets from eating an entire bag of ketchup chips. She’s obviously crazy. (Note: Several of the tasters loved the Butter Chicken and BBQ Baked Bean flavours and would gladly eat an entire bag unprovoked.)
Montreal Smoked Meat
Most of the tasters were apprehensive about this one. Well, ’cause it’s meat and generally you don’t want your potato chips to taste meaty. However, this was a surprising little chip. “Montreal smoked meat smelled real” was one taster’s immediate reaction. In fact, most were intrigued by how the smokiness peters out to a sour pickle flavour, kind of like a real deli experience. But the pickle flavour isn’t the end, as it does return to smokey, which one of our tasters was not a fan of. “Bizarre smokey aftertaste is pretty gross,” he says. Meanwhile, over at opposing council, we had one taster big up this smokey treat: “I like a good BBQ chip, and this definitely had it for me. If they were out of BBQ chips at the store, I’d opt for this one instead.”
So, while we retain water because we just consumed so much sodium, why not try these for yourselves? You can vote on your favourite beginning August 11, and hopefully your favourite isn’t the scalloped potato one.