These Iro Enpitsu colouring pencil candies from Kanro are very eye catching, so much so they were a bit of an impulse buy. They look fun and you get a lot of interesting flavours to try in one bag. We got this bag from Tofu Cute for £2.99.
Warning: despite what the packaging would have you believe, I have to point out these are NOT child friendly. The tapered shape of the candy naturally wants to slide down your throat, and when you can notice this happening as an adult and have to consciously stop it from doing so this is a strong indicator that the sweet is a choking hazard. Further, the pencil shape actually gets sharper the longer you suck it. You end up with a candy sharp enough to hurt delicate skin, and in fact they did cut the inside of my mouth. So eat with care and please, don’t give these to young children!
So many fun flavours in just one bag. We got three of each flavour, making 24 sweets total. Not sure if such perfect balance is a guarantee, though it would be awesome if that was the case. We’ve got:
マスカット Muscat (green grape)
メロン ソーダ Melon Soda
All the candies! The inner wrappers are bright and colourful, with each having its flavour written on the back (in case the colour coding wasn’t enough).
Look at all the adorable faces! Not many of them look very happy, but still. Very cute, very fun.
This is the size of the sweet itself compared to the size of the wrapper. Slightly misleading! The coloured pencil leads are a great little detail, though most of them weren’t as perfect as this one and looked more like the inside of a glass marble.
The sweets have ‘color’ written down one side, though it is a little hard to make out.
While these are undeniably pretty sweets, with the shape and colouring I think they look more like crystals than colouring pencils. I am so waiting for these to appear rebranded as Sailor Moon Crystals or something.
The sweets all have a very sweet, syrupy undertone quite unlike anything I’ve tasted in hard candy before. When you suck them they produce a thick syrupy juice and, unfortunately, have a tendency to weld themselves to your teeth. It’s a good idea not to touch the sweets too much as they will produce this sticky delight all over anything and everything they come in contact with. They actually welded themselves to the plate I photographed them on, which was just fantastic. Not.
Individual flavours from left to right:
Grape– grape is a popular flavour in Japanese sweets, though with the huge variety of delicious and realistic flavours available it wouldn’t be my favourite. It is insanely artificial. If you have ever tried an American ‘grape’ flavoured candy or beverage, you’ll know what these taste like and
you’ll know they’re about as far removed from a real grape as you can get. The flavour gets weaker the longer you suck the sweet, which is a bit boring. They’re the worst flavour in the pack in my opinion, which is actually a good thing as they’re still perfectly edible. The rest are just better!
Soda– nice and sweet but not overpowering. Tastes a bit more like lemon/lime than Japanese soda sweets usually do, but still very much Ramune inspired. The pencil lead core seemed to be more fizzy/sherbet like in this flavour, probably to give that realistic soda sensation Japanese sweets are fond of delivering.
Strawberry– the strawberry flavour edges more towards being realistic than artificial. It’s not the most realistic Japanese sweet I’ve tried, but it’s certainly closer to tasting like a real strawberry than UK strawberry flavour. Not overly sweet, the flavour is positively mouthwatering.
Cola– these had a surprisingly mild flavour. Weirdly, they tasted a little more like honey than cola to me. I think it’s just the slightly overwhelming syrupy sweetness. There’s no real fizz to it, which I thought there would be since it is technically a soda type candy. They’re definitely good, but not very recognizable as cola.
Melon soda– with a big hit of water melon as soon as you pop one in your mouth, these taste just like melon flavoured Ramune to me. They don’t taste as realistic as many melon sweets do, they have more of an artificial melon flavour with an undertone of sweet lemon and lime to make it melon soda rather than just melon. The pencil lead core was a little fizzier than the other flavours, just like the one in the soda sweet.
Peach– for being one of the weaker colours, it’s got one of the biggest initial bursts of flavour. It tastes very realistic. If you’ve ever had peach flavour Hi-Chew, this is pretty much exactly the same taste just slightly stronger and in a hard candy. If you’ve ever had the urge to bite into a sweet, perfectly ripe and juicy peach but not actually be able to bite it because it is rock hard and actually a piece of candy, here you go.
Lemon– Japanese candy can be strange and wonderful, but a lemon hard boiled sweet is a lemon hard boiled sweet. Sweet, delicious and wonderfully familiar, these don’t taste any different to UK offerings to me.
Muscat (green grape)– it’s hard to differentiate between muscat and grape flavour since at the end of the day, they are both highly artificial ‘grape’ flavours. If you like one, you’ll like the other. To me muscat is just a little less sweet, a little less strong a flavour overall and has a more of an underlying realistic grape flavour. If I had to pick a favourite of the two, I’d pick muscat purely because there is a hint of real grape flavour to cut through the artificial taste. The flavour doesn’t fade to nothing like it did with the purple grape candy, so it’s nicer in that respect too.
Will I get these again? You know, I don’t know. They lose major points for the fact that I can’t let my son share them. They lose more points for the pain still pulsing through my tongue from their sharpness. They are syrupy little nightmares when they touch anything. But they are incredibly pretty and taste great. I love having such a nice selection of flavours where you could blind pick any and still enjoy it. There’s a good balance between artificial flavours and realistic ones that should cater to many people’s tastes. Worth it? Once I forget the pain of this packet, I’d probably say yes :p
Overall, I’d give these a 7/10. The flavours are great but I can’t get over the painful and dangerous nature of the shape of the candies.