Product Type: Walkers Snacks
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Bringing home the bacon
Walkers Smoky Bacon Flavour Crisps
Member Name: davidbuttery
Walkers Smoky Bacon Flavour Crisps
Advantages: Pleasant, lingering flavour without being thirst-inducingly strong
Disadvantages: Multipack bag stupidly small, non-recyclable pack
I'm afraid that I am a bit of a crisp lover - the things are definitely one of my guilty pleasures. I like most types, but Walkers Smoky Bacon flavour would certainly be counted amongst my favourites. I'm quite fond of most of the Walkers range - their position as leader of the mass-market crisp sector is, I think, generally deserved - but some are better than others, and the sight of the attractive deep reddish-brown bags of this variety is one that has me salivating at once.
An individual bag of Smoky Bacon crisps weighs 34.5 grams and is on sale (at the time of writing) for 40p in Tesco. However, the bag I'm using for testing purposes comes from a multipack, which contains six packets and costs £1.25 - this sounds like quite a bargain, and it is, but not quite as much of one as you might think as multipack bags offer a considerably meaner portion than the individual bags, weighing in at a mere 25g. That's such a big difference that a multipack bag can leave you unsatisfied: I'm a bit disappointed in Walkers for this.
The pack design is very simple, with just a picture of some crisps. Not that you can tell the flavour from that, so the words "Smoky Bacon" are prominent. On the back, we have a somewhat misjudged attempt by the company to be humorous, with a half-hearted tale of how potatoes so wanted to be Walkers crisps that they, and I quote, "even went as far as taking their 'jackets' off and 'streaking' across the field". Sorry, but Smiths (now themselves owned by Walkers) did this silliness far better years ago with their "We want to be Smiths Crisps" TV advert jingles.
The bag is, of course, the tiresomely un-recyclable foil-lined plastic. I will, however, give Walkers credit for a very clear and prominently positioned nutritional information panel: if all manufacturers were this helpful with that, it would help no end. My 25g bag provided 131 kcal and 8.2g of fat, though only 0.6g of that is saturated fat, which is all to the good. Extrapolating, that means that a 34.5g bag would contain about 181 kcal and 11.3g of fat (0.8g of it saturates). Ironically, Walkers' use of artificial flavourings means that Smoky Bacon *is* suitable for vegetarians, whereas if they followed the "all natural" path it would not be! It's also suitable for coeliacs as it contains no gluten.
It would be pushing it a bit - all right, a lot - to say that these crisps were immediately reminiscent of the choicest cuts of bacon, sizzling on the grill and awaiting a floury white bap. However, it is at least possible to tell what flavour they're supposed to be, which is not always the case with crisps. They smell very distinctive - I doubt I would mistake them for another brand's attempt at this flavour - but not too strong. They crunch nicely, though also melt just a little in your mouth, thus preventing the edges from stabbing you nastily in the gums!
As for the actual taste, it's perhaps slightly awkward that what they remind me of most is another artificial bacon-flavour savoury snack, Frazzles! They're somewhat more refined than those, however, being considerably less salty, and the aftertaste is much less intense, which stops these crisps from leaving you with the raging thirst that many bacon snacks give. The aftertaste does, however, linger pleasantly for quite a while, which makes these crisps go nicely with a cheese sandwich. (Sophisticated tastes, that's me!)
Overall, these things are pretty good. They're not really in the same league as some of the more expensive hand-made crisps (Kettle, Red Sky etc) nor even of the same quality as Walkers' own Sensations range. They are, however, nicer than the average supermarket own-brand version of this flavour. With the exception of what I consider to be an unreasonably small multipack bag, there isn't much to complain about, and Walkers will continue to get my custom for these.
Summary: A mostly satisfying crunch