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Pumpkin Spice Red Vines Are A Seasonal Frankenstein

Do these seasonal licorice twists taste like fall flavors or a Halloween jump scare?

Pumpkin Spice Everything! the basic masses declared, and Pumpkin Spice Everything appeared. Following up on 2021's seasonal Red Vines flavor, Candy Corn, the good people at the American Licorice Company have decided to go where only everyone else has gone before: Pumpkin Spice Twists, new this fall.

Pumpkin spice licorice?

The press release for the new Pumpkin Spice Twists promises "a warm welcome to fall" and claims that pumpkin spice is a comforting flavor profile that pairs perfectly with Red Vines' candy twist texture. "These chewy licorice twists are the perfect snack for bonfires or trail walks," reads the marketing copy, so make sure to tell your bonfires to eat their licorice or else no marshmallows.


The good news is, like other Red Vines, these are a fat-free, low-sodium, Kosher and Halal certified snack, so they're basically a vegetable. It is suggested that you make them an "autumn pantry staple" or add them to your trick-or-treat offerings this Halloween.

Red Vines vs. Twizzlers

Whether or not you like these new seasonal twists depends a lot on where you stand in the war between Red Vines and Twizzlers. If you like Red Vines, whether you have childhood nostalgia of the big plastic tub or the plastic-wrapped cardboard trays, you are more likely to enjoy this latest iteration than a Twizzlers fan.


If you're a Twizzlers person, you're less likely to enjoy Red Vines at all, let alone PSL-flavored ones. You like the plastic-flavored strawberry twists and nothing else will satisfy your need for edible HDMI cords.

What do Pumpkin Spice Red Vines taste like?

My testers had a 3:2 ratio of Twizzler lovers to Red Vine devotees. If you can believe it, I'm Switzerland in this war, neither loving nor hating either type of candy. If my kids don't eat all their Twizzlers after Halloween, I'll happily accept their cast-offs. If someone brings a giant tub of Red Vines to an event, which is something people did in college for some reason, I will for sure be eating a twist or five. But I generally don't think about purchasing these for movie-viewing or casual enjoyment.


We cracked open the plastic wrap and were immediately surprised by the strength of the smell of these guys. I would say they don't smell like nutmeg, the scent I associate with pumpkin pie. These have a vanilla-sugar aroma akin to the one wafting from a funnel cake cart at the fair. The smell, it turns out, is significantly stronger than the taste. The taste does eventually give way to a warm, pumpkin-spice-like flavor profile, but paired with the familiar chewiness of licorice I don't know that I'd immediately connect this taste with pumpkin.

Two of our Team Twizzler tasters, a mother and son, grabbed the twists with gusto, but refused to try a second bite once they'd finished their first. The mother said that the "gritty" texture of regular Red Vines was present here, and since that is her main deterrent to the original product, she did not enjoy this iteration either. Her child, along with my son, asked if I had any Sour Punch Twists, which I had given the kids in our carpool after school the day before. My older child was mad about the existence of licorice in general, took one small bite, and spit it out onto my clean countertop.


It should be noted that one of my neighbors who loves Red Vines also loves candy corn, and even praised one of this year's new Brach's candy corn flavors for "tasting most like a candle." That was a compliment. He shoved two Pumpkin Spice Twists into his mouth (the cast-offs from his Twizzler-loving wife and son) and nodded with approval.

"They taste like Cow Tales with nothing in them," he said, and left with a smile.

So, there is no consensus verdict here, much like no one really wins a war. But your love (or hatred) of seasonal candles might be a strong indicator of whether you can crush a whole package of these Red Vines, or whether you should stick to the original Red.