Great Lengths Are Taken To Create The Strangest Jelly Belly Flavors

Have you ever wondered what dead fish tastes like? Want to trick your annoying sibling by feeding them dog food? Like the taste of vomit? If you've ever thought even one of these things, you're probably familiar with BeanBoozled.

BeanBoozled is Jelly Belly's take on Russian Roulette, in which players are presented with a package of seemingly-ordinary Jelly Belly-brand jelly beans. Half of the flavors are the usual delicious flavors you may expect to find in a bag of Jelly Belly beans, while the other half is made up of flavors both disgusting and nauseating. According to Jelly Belly, the most recent flavors of BeanBoozled include "toasted marshmallow, buttered popcorn, barf, dirty dishwasher, stink bug, and juicy pear." Each bean and its corresponding flavor look exactly alike, so the only way to know if you got tutti-frutti or stinky socks is to actually eat it.

So confident is Jelly Belly in its attempts to replicate flavors and tastes that, quite frankly, no one ever considered before, it released "Extreme BeanBoozled," in which every flavor is an unrelenting assault of rotten eggs, dog food, dishwasher water, and spoiled milk (via Specialty Food). If you're going so far as to make the taste of vomit into a jelly bean, you may as well show off that you did.

But, with all these disgusting and strange flavors, just how does Jelly Belly know how to base each flavor? How do they know what rotten eggs and dog food taste like?

It's all about getting the scent right

We don't know about you, but we're willing to bet that no one's breaking down Jelly Belly's door to be the first to see if this jelly bean truly tastes like grass or spoiled milk. How can Jelly Belly get such gross flavors down pat without tasting the actual source?

According to Mental Floss, creating these bizarro beans is more about building a flavor based on smell. The source of the smell is processed through a machine known as a gas chromatograph, where it is converted into vapors. These vapors are then analyzed by the chromatograph, which prints out the chemical makeup, or the "flavor profile," of the smell. A particularly famous example of this method involves a scientist at Jelly Belly storing his own unwashed socks in a plastic bag for a few weeks, then running the socks through the chromatograph. The smell of the socks is converted into vapor and analyzed, allowing the scientists to create a candy that is as close to the chemical makeup of the socks as possible.

Gizmodo explains that, although these beans aren't made by crushing up dog food or straining the sweat from moldy socks,  they still require the real source to be as authentic as possible. In some cases, the artificial smells and flavors are so pungent that it even affects the scientists working on it, as was the case of one member whose clothes were ruined by the extreme smell of rancid socks.

Jelly Belly also makes extremely hot flavors too

Okay, we get it. You don't want us to talk about jelly beans that taste like vomit or dog food. Let's shift the topic to jelly beans that are flavored like actual, edible foods — or, well, edible in theory, considering that they may be too hot to eat if you're not up to it.

In 2020, Jelly Belly released "the Fiery Five Challenge" for its BeanBoozled line, in which all jelly beans are flavored after a type of pepper such as jalapeno, siracha, and Carolina Reaper. Although these beans are based on real foods, the trade-off comes from the fact that the peppers increasingly become hotter and hotter as the challenge goes on. For context, the Carolina Reaper clocks in at two million Scoville heat units (via Chili Pepper Madness), while an average jalapeno pepper you may find in your cheese dip ranges around 2,500 Scoville heat units (via PepperScale).  

How dedicated is Jelly Belly to ensuring you get the hottest-tasting jelly bean on the market? Foodbeast's review of the "Fiery Five Challenge" explains that this isn't some whimsical game you and your loved ones play, but one in which you will find yourself "subjected to a gauntlet of spice that some chili fanatics would even struggle to finish." The Impulsive Buy claimed that it was a "fun challenge," but something you wouldn't snack on if you were hungry. 

If you can't stand the heat, get outta Jelly Belly's kitchen.