I once said that I was on a quest to sample all of the "All (Fruit)" line of cookies and then I promptly forgot that this was one of my snack blog missions. In fact, I forgot that I had any missions of any sort, but perhaps all of the incessant commercials playing in Shinjuku station for the newest Mission Impossible movie sparked my memory. I must say that I wonder if it costs more to run ads in a station that about a million people walk through than it costs to run ads on television in Japan. That has nothing to do with these cookies unless Tom Cruise decides to appear in ads for them in the future. That's not outside of the realm of possibility, but I think that he's unlikely to smile and bite into cookies that smell a bit like mold or dirt, as these ones do.
That's right, these cookies smell pretty rank. Their unique bouquet reminded me very much of the dreaded oshiruko KitKat. Still, I'm nothing if not game to sample new foods, especially when I've already forked over my 100 yen ($1.24) to procure a bag of them and the only other option is to toss them and forfeit a review opportunity. I found these at Lawson 100, but you can find them pretty much anywhere that carries the All Fruit cookies. They are seasonal and will vanish after winter and reappear next autumn. So, if you want some cookies that smell like a zombie's armpit, act before it warms up.
All derogatory comments about the aroma of these cookies aside, they are actually quite enjoyable. The basic cookie used in the All Fruit line has a good flavor and texture. They are slightly flaky but soft. They're like a cross between a biscuit and a pie. Sandwiched between them are bits of moist sweetened azuki beans. There is also kinako (toasted soybean powder) and black sugar syrup flavoring added, though the influence of these two ingredients are so subtle that you can barely detect them. They're like a voice in the next room that you can't make out, but they are nonetheless, present and contributing something to the overall taste. For all I know, they're also adding their own personal touch to the funk coming off of them as well.
I'm not an enormous fan of red beans. The truth is that I like white bean sweets more than red, but I bought these believing that the moist nature of azuki would lend itself well to these cookies. That theory is supported by the taste, though there really should be more beans in them. It seems like Tohato continues to scale back the "fruit" portion of this line all of the time and you get more basic cookie and less of the filling then I recall in some of my previous reviews of these. Still, these are good and I recommend them. Just hold your nose when you open the bag and put the portion you want to eat on a plate so that the smell isn't so powerful.