Why Were Altoids Sours Discontinued? Here's The Sad Truth.

Plus, how to make your own.

by Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie, Siena Gagliano and Emma Garza
Originally Published: 
 If we love Altoid Sours so much, why were they discontinued?

The Altoids of today don't hold a candle to the ones of yesteryear. Excuse my nostalgia, but the chalky, curiously strong, minty tablets that you associate with the name Altoids, just aren't as good as their discontinued cousins. But what happened to Altoids Sours? Why were they discontinued in the first place (like so many other favorite fad foods)? After all, the way the Internet talks about them, you'd think they would have had a long and happy life as the sour candy of choice of discerning adults (or just people who wanted to pretend they were adults). Well, I'm here to give you some answers. Here's the story of those beloved treats, Altoids Sours.

Altoid Sours were — as their name might suggest — incredibly sour, brightly colored crystalline-looking candies that made you pucker your lips with both the sensation that your mouth was going to fall off and pure joy. They came in reusable, aluminum tins, and they were everything. Lest you think, however, that I'm just looking back at the past through rose-colored, candy-flavored glasses, I'm not the only one who misses these sour bits of heaven: TikTok videos, and Reddit threads dedicated to its fans, and eBay listings for unopened tins go for as much as $525 a pop. There are also folks on dedicated to bringing them back.

Is this just a case of us wanting what we can't have? If we love Altoid Sours so much, why were they discontinued?

Why Were Altoid Sours Discontinued?

Bustle reached out to Mars, Altoids' parent company, for some answers. According to Mars, Altoids Sours hit the market in 2004 and came in five flavors: raspberry, lime, apple, tangerine, and mango (and anyone who knew their stuff knew that tangerine was the best). They were then unceremoniously discontinued in February of 2010.

We also asked Mars exactly why the Sours were discontinued. Were sales lagging? Were they just trying to break hearts? What gives?

According to a Mars customer service representative, it was the former: low sales. "They were discontinued due to low national demand," the rep told Bustle. "If a product is not selling particularly well, unfortunately, we sometimes have to discontinue it."

So there you have it, friends. The sad, true story of the discontinued Altoids Sours: They just weren't popular enough to warrant continued production.

The same Mars spokesperson told us, though, that the best way to get a favorite product back is to do what we did: call or email Mars and tell them how much you loved the Sours. Plus, you get to really reflect on your relationship to the candy when your rep asks you questions like, "Did you consume this product on a daily basis?" and "What was your favorite flavor?"

How To Make Altoid Sours At Home

For the truly desperate out there who absolutely need the nostalgia this moment, you can do what a lot of TikTok users have taken to and create your own Altoid Sours. According to Bijou Alley on TikTok, The process involves combining and caramelizing sugar, lemonade, a melted tangerine pop, sour sugar from Sour Patch Kids, and lemon juice. Next, take the melted down concoction and pour it into a mold (Bijou used a gem-like mold for added effect). Freeze the candies, pop them out of the molds, and add them to a bag of Sour Patch Kids. Shake them up, so the sour sugar from the Sour Patch Kids transfers to the candies, and you’ve got yourself some Altoid Sour copycats.

Here’s the in-depth TikTok tutorial for your next candy-creating endeavor:

Or, if you’re like us, and that seems a little out of your cooking abilities, you can purchase a few, similar tasting alternatives.

Alternative Options To Altoid Sours

  • Lofty Pursuits is a Tallahassee-based restaurant and sweets shop that happens to sell an assortment of dusted sour candies — and the ones they make are nearly identical to Altoid Sours. Slightly larger in size and available in tangerine, cherry limeade, and green apple flavors, the Lofty Pursuits hard sour candies even come in a kitschy tin like their predecessor. One TikTok user reviewed them on the app, raving about how they taste exactly like the nostalgic treat. Keep in mind that some flavors are pre-released for their Patreon members only so if you want your confections ASAP, be sure to subscribe.

“The nostalgia is running through me and it is gorgeous,” Eric Guidry says in his Oct. 2021 TikTok tasting the tangerine sours from Lofty Pursuits

  • Canedish & Harvey Orange Drops may not be the actual Altoid Sours, but they come pretty close. One buyer on Quora says, “Me, my sister, and grandmother tried them, and immediately, my grandmother and I remembered the taste of the Altoid tangerine sour candies.” The candies are made with real fruit juice and come in a variety of flavors that people have compared to the beloved Altoid candy.
  • Ice Breakers Sours, Sugar-free sour mints are another option. The fresh, sour, and fruity taste of the green apple, tangerine, and watermelon mints are comparable to the Altoid Sours, according to people on Reddit who have tried the candies. One person says, “they're very similar in taste from what [they] remember.”
  • Another person on Reddit — who claims to have searched high and low for a candy alternative to the Altoid Sours — recommends PEZ Candy, specifically the lemon flavor. PEZ offers a Sourz Mix variety pack.

However, if we really liked Altoid Sours as much as the internet implies that we did, let's put our money where our mouths are. Let's bring our boys back home and get Altoids Sours back on the shelves. Do your part — send the email.

Images: Cherryxsake, Nicole Lee, Shelly/Flickr

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