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Retro Candy Review: Oh Henry!

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Classic and Retro Candy,Oddly-Named Candy

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Oh Henry! Candy Bar
The other day I was in Manhattan and overheard a beautiful brunette say to her husband, “Oh Henry! Look! It’s 5th Avenue. U-No I’ve always wanted to shop there and eat all four of the candy bars I just inadvertently mentioned!”

Okay, so maybe that was a dream I had. Or something. But the point is that you can’t make up snappy street dialogue with your average set of four candies. I mean, try it yourself. “Oh Reeses Cup, you and your Nerds drive me, Whatchamacallit, ohh drat, Milk Duds.” See?

So I’m going to review all four of these oddly-named candies, but we’ll start with Nestle’s Oh Henry! bar. It comes in two sections, and they’re described on the label as “2 peanutty, caramel fudge bars in milk chocolate.” I must say that sounds good.

But what’s with the name?

I always wondered if this candy was a misspelled homage to American short-story master O. Henry, but it turns out that the Oh Henry! candy bar was invented by Tom Henry in 1919, himself the founder of the Peerless Candy company. When he had perfected the candy, I like to think that he said to himself, “Oh Henry! You’ve really done it this time!” But that’s probably just something his mother always said when he was messing about in the kitchen. And besides, he actually called it the Tom Henry bar.

When he sold the rights and recipe for the confection to the Curtiss Candy Company in 1920, they renamed it the Oh Henry! bar, supposedly because of some flirtatious (harassing?) employer named, a little too conveniently, Henry. Nestle acquired the U.S. rights to the bar in 1984.

Open the wrapper, and it smells pretty good. My first bite reveals what looks like a nougat layer and a caramel layer, surrounded by the thin ring of chocolate coating. The small peanut bits seem confined to the top half of the mixture. As for the claimed “fudge,” I don’t know what Nestle is talking about.

What’s this candy taste like? Well, it’s not bad. It reminds me of a Rollo with peanuts, if Rollo’s were a bit more dense inside. And what is this Oh Henry! filling, really? I see “egg whites” (common to nougats), “modified soy protein,” and “nonfat milk,” along with sugars and some chemical unmentionables in the ingredient list, but the taste experience doesn’t really say “nougat” to me. It comes across more like “sweet candy filler.”

Still, the caramel, peanuts, and milk chocolate are fairly well balanced, and make a pretty not-at-all-bad candy bar. Can you tell I’m hedging? Two things I didn’t like: a hint of burnt something, and a background sense that these are lower-quality ingredients all-around. The flavors aren’t distinct, and have a certain washed-out quality.

Thus, I wouldn’t be using any exclamation points with this candy, but I did finish it and kinda liked it. Maybe the chocolate peanutty Look! candy bar will get me more excited.

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3 Responses to “Retro Candy Review: Oh Henry!”

  1. 1
    Robby says:

    This bar is totally popular in it’s subversiveness. I think it comes in at 10 on the top 10 most eaten bars, which is odd since it’s not something you see all that often. I didn’t even one until I was in college. But I agree with you totally about how it tastes.

  2. 2
    pamela says:

    Omg…I used to love Old Henry and haven’t had one in years. :-(

  3. 3
    laurie says:

    Re: the fudge thing… Apparently, the American Oh Henry is made with fudge and the Canadian one is made with nougat. Is it possible you could have got ahold of a Canadian Oh Henry? (Though the Canadian one also only comes in one piece, so you’ve got me there.)

    Never one of my favourite candy bars, anyway – I always seemed to get a disproportionate number of these on Halloween, which just made me wonder why you would hand out Oh Henry’s when you could have bought Reese’s instead.

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