Twizzlers vs. Red Vines: Which is better?

People tend to either love or hate licorice. In fact, some researchers suspect that the taste of black licorice can be revolting to some because they may be genetically dispositioned to hate the taste, per NBC News. Fortunately, red licorice tends to be considerably easier on the palate – yet, people are fond of digging even deeper trenches when it comes to this particular candy. 

The question here, of course, isn't whether you love it or hate it. It's "Do you prefer Twizzlers or Red Vines?" This is a big enough issue that when NBA superstar LeBron James was seen eating candy on the bench in early 2020, it sparked an immediate debate about the superiority of the two red licorice brands (Via Business Insider). 

LeBron may or may not have been munching on Red Vines on that particular occasion, but the battle between the brands' fans rages on. Fortunately, one brave soul has dared to set aside their own opinions and actually looked into the properties of the two brands to see whether one looms over the other. So, without further ado: Which is better: Twizzlers or Red Vines?

A difficult test and a tentative winner

In 2019, Allison Shoemaker of the Takeout attempted to solve the ages-old Twizzlers Vs. Red Vines dilemma by subjecting Twizzlers Raspberry Twists and original Red Vines to a series of tests that would determine their longevity, versatility, legacy, and taste. 

In the longevity test, opened bags of the treats were left overnight on the table to see how they'd taste the next day. Neither brand fared too well on this front, and the round was a draw. The versatility test determined how well the candy could be used as a straw. Despite Twizzlers' association with this particular practice, the old straw trick actually worked better with Red Vines. The legacy round – which measured historical impact rather than taste – went to Twizzlers, thanks to a (possibly apocryphal) tale about the astronaut Neil Armstrong. As the story goes, when Armstrong stepped on the moon and said after his famous "One small step for a man" line, he also stated: "I could go for some Twizzlers right now." To be fair, even if the story is an urban legend, the fact that Twizzler has a tale like that out there is pretty impressive. 

As for the obligatory taste test, Twizzlers technically won an office tasting. Shoemaker noted, however, that the products look different enough that many tasters' biases had ample time to kick in before they even tasted the samples.   

Twizzlers emerges as the winner, but the jury is still out

So, there you have it. That's two points for Twizzlers, one for Red Vines, and one draw. 

Technically, that makes Twizzlers the winner, especially since Red Vines' single point came from its superior straw game. However, Shoemaker's happy to admit that the testing method was far from perfect and that it's perfectly all right to like both brands – or even neither. After all, both have plenty of different varieties and flavors. One nameless taste tester also pointed out that Twizzlers and Red Vines both have their place in a given situation. "Depends on the mood or where you're having them," they noted. "Red Vines at the movies, or if you use them as a straw. Twizzlers on a road trip." 

In the end, she decided to introduce a fifth, and arguably most democratic testing category – public opinion. Unfortunately, this didn't really simplify matters. At the time of writing, the poll stands at nearly 700 votes, and the only thing it tells us is that the two candies are ... incredibly evenly tied. Maybe there are some things humanity was never meant to find out.