REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Oat of this Swirled

Bring on the fudge flakes. Five flavors, five flakey endeavors, welcome to the modern era of Ben & Jerry’s. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that whoever orders ingredients for B&J accidentally ordered 1,000 pounds of the flakey chocolate instead of 100, these flakes in this flavor actually have a purpose, in the form of an homage. In 2012 Ben & Jerry’s sent Oatmeal Cookie Chunk to the flavor graveyard, and although I never had it, I’ve heard of its greatness referenced more times than I can count.  Oat of This Swirled is the company’s response to the fans’ dairy-soaked tears, which combines buttery brown sugar ice cream with fudge flakes and oatmeal cinnamon cookie swirls.

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The brown sugar ice cream is more effective here than in Blondie Ambition, where the toffee flakes muddy some of the texture and take away from the subtle golden brown sugar notes. It’s not a mind blowing base by any means but it’s clearly not vanilla and has a richness to it that is very enjoyable and compliments the profile of oatmeal cookies well. Speaking of cookies, the swirl here is very tasty, with a slight grittiness and buttery cinnamon flavor that is straight oatmeal cookie without the chew. Some of the cinnamon flavor seeps into the base and the two work together to translate the creamy slightly spicy feeling of fresh baked cookies. I do wish there were some chunks to go along with the swirl though, to give some bigger bursts of the baked goods, because as it stands you’ve gotta dig deep and hope to find a decent strand of the ribbon (which is great when you do).

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The fudge flakes, as good of quality as they are and as much as I begrudge their overuse in these new flavors, actually do work here. Their sweet yet dark chocolate notes serve as a good gap between the cinnamon and brown sugar, and even though they’re strong tasting they don’t overpower the other two elements. There’s still a few too many of them in relation to the amount of swirl, but they aren’t making me angry at all.

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The more that I eat the more I realize this ice cream tastes almost identical to eating an original IT-S-IT, the Bay Area born oatmeal ice cream cookie sandwich dipped in chocolate. The flavors in this pint mimic that experience almost perfectly, even hitting the right balance of spices and sweetness to the degree that multiple times I walked away from the freezer thinking I had just finished eating a sando and not playing shovel with my spoon. This is both a blessing and a curse because A. IT’S-IT’s are freakin awesome I love them and B. They were invented in 1928 and I’ve had that experience at my disposal my entire life, so there’s nothing new or unique being brought to the table, even though it’s delicious.

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Through and through this pint comes off as a touch lazy and lacking some pizazz but I actually really enjoy a lot of what’s inside. If Ben and Jerry’s wanted to make a simple switch that could take this to another level, cut the fudge flakes by 30% and add in some cookie chunks to compliment the swirl – boom – magic would be made.

Rating: 8/10
Found at: Safeway

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