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Whisk Review: Smashing Pumpkin Spice

Whisk Review: Smashing Pumpkin Spice

    Fall has sprung, and with it a plethora of annual fall flavors. Most famously (or infamously), this includes pumpkin spice. Not to be confused with pumpkin-flavor, pumpkin spice is usually a combination of nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. The mixture is referred to as pumpkin spice because it is typically used in pumpkin pies. With so many companies taking advantage of the season and releasing pumpkin spice-flavored delicacies, it is important to know which things should be invested in and which should be avoided. While the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the most visible of these treats, there are many others in which one may indulge.

Pepperidge Farm Milano Pumpkin Spice Cookies: Opening the package, I was hit with an enticing waft of pumpkin spice goodness. For those unfamiliar with Milano cookies, they are Pepperidge Farm’s “European Style” cookies, the standard version of which consist of two thin vanilla wafer cookies filled with chocolate. The Pumpkin Spice version is this, but with a layer of pumpkin spice flavored icing along with the chocolate. Although the cookie part is as delicious as always, I was a bit disappointed by the pumpkin spice icing. The flavor was kind of lost among the chocolate and cookie tastes, so this version was yummy, but unremarkable. (3/5 whisks)

Pumpkin Spice Oreos: As someone who does not really like the original Oreos but does like Golden Oreos, I absolutely loved these. They are definitely my new favorite Oreo. The pumpkin spice icing between the golden cookies is incredibly sweet, but has enough of the pumpkin spice flavor that it is still excellent. (4/5 whisks)

Pumpkin Spice Special K: The Special K line of cereals seems to have diversified recently, and the Pumpkin Spice version is one of the more interesting additions. It is the standard cereal with clusters of pumpkin spice flavor. The clusters are incredibly sweet, and do not dissolve much in whatever milk is used. I found the cereal to be a bit too sweet for breakfast, but it does make a nice, sweet after-dinner treat. (2/5 whisks)

Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese: This was surprisingly unsweet (in a good way). Expecting it to be much sweeter, I put it on a plain bagel when I first tried it, but I think since it is not an overpowering flavor, it would nicely accent a sweeter bagel. I also would appreciate a bit more spice to counterbalance the cream cheese flavor. (3/5 whisks)

Lindt Lindor Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles: These delicious balls of smooth chocolate have pumpkin spice flavored truffle filling which is neither overbearing, nor too sweet. The best thing about this chocolate is the lovely lingering aftertaste where the pumpkin spice is fully realized. (4/5 whisks)

The following section reviews the Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs) at several chain and local cafes. These are typically understood to be espresso with steamed milk and pumpkin spice flavored syrup, sometimes topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices. Most are available hot or iced with varying types of milk.

McDonald’s PSL: Available with whole milk or low-fat, the oversweet PS McLatte tastes like liquefied pumpkin candy. With little spice or espresso to speak of, this drink is a syrupy mess. (0/5 whisks)

Dunkin Donuts PSL: Not actually advertised as a pumpkin spice latte, but as Pumpkin, I counted this because it is definitely Dunkin Donuts’ closest relative to the PSL. More palatable than the McLatte, this version still tasted only very weakly of espresso, making it mostly a pumpkin-flavored steamed milk beverage. (1/5 whisks)

Starbucks PSL: Starbucks has the greatest variety of alterations that can be made, including the capability of having the much sweeter Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino instead of Latte. They also have the greatest selection of milk, with several types of cow milk, as well as soy, coconut, and almond. This drink also comes as a hot chocolate. A perennial favorite which has become culturally synonymous with autumn, the Starbucks PSL is basically the standard of expectation from PSLs. This one has a good balance of espresso flavor and sweetness that provides a warm, cozy feeling that is perfect for fall. (4/5 whisks)

South Bend Chocolate Company PSL: This local coffee shop, with locations in South Bend and St. Joseph, provides the best PSL I have had this season. With a perfect balance between the pumpkin spice and the espresso flavors, it was a pure joy to consume. At least at the St. Joseph location, any pumpkin drink also comes with a free pumpkin cookie. I sampled the standard version of the drink, but there is also a mocha and a hot chocolate version. Further customization includes white chocolate and soy milk. Also available is pumpkin ice cream, which is actually pumpkin spice flavored. (5/5 whisks)

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