It’s 2019, and a new year brings us 3 new limited-edition Lays potato chips, this time inspired by music and coming with a free music download via QR code —because it’s 2013 again I guess, when this might have made sense. Wavy Lays Electric Lime & Sea Salt, Kettle Cooked Lays Classic Beer Cheese, and Original Lays Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix are the “stock up before they’re gone” flavors, but are they actually worth hording?
Wavy Lays Electric Lime & Sea Salt claim to be inspired by pop music, and that sort of fits. The hit you in the face like lime candy, cheap and disposable, followed up by notes of cheese, which is not really a great combination. Lime and corn chips are a great duo, but there’s a reason lime, potato, buttermilk and sour cream aren’t a classic pairing, they are a bit upsetting together here. Why is there even dairy going on? Is that the “electric” in the description? Doesn’t seem electric. That said, after the displeasure of the sweet lime flavoring backs away, these do become edible, and you may hate yourself for that.
Kettle Cooked Lays Classic Beer Cheese say they’re inspired by classic rock, but they seem more inspired by the blues, the music that comes from suffering. The choice of crunchier kettle chip doesn’t make much sense, either, as beer cheese usually is a soft, luxurious dip. There’s actual beer solids in the ingredients - malted barley, hops, and yeast - which delivers a lot of low notes, but they don’t harmonize with the cheddar cheese flavors. That cheese should be mixing lows and highs with the more subtle elements of the beer solids, but can’t bring the energy levels up enough to compete, leaving an unpleasant, earthy taste that lacks effervescence. I don’t want to dislike these, but they’re a misfire.
Original Lays Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix are supposed to be inspired by hip-hop, but these honestly remind me of classic ‘60s and ‘70s rock more than anything: loud, hot, sleazy, and delivering to your town to help you party it down. These are a punch in the mouth, perfectly balancing the right kind of dill pickle flavor with that spicy red stuff they call “flamin’ hot” — this will be the flavor I won’t forget, and would hope gets put into permanent rotation down the line. The key is using a dill pickle flavor that isn’t sweet, and these don’t miss. If they have a flaw, it’s that they get spicier and spicier the more you cram them into your craw until you’re left panting. Not a bad flaw to have in this case.
Overall, you may not hear the music with every flavor, but you will probably find something to rock out to with these. Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix is a flavor I truly hope to see put into the regular Lays brand rotation, and soon! The others are an interesting aside, but not acts I’d follow from venue to venue.