Ah, flavor… it’s a funny thing, especially where candy is concerned. What one person finds delicious, another finds awful. I don’t spend too much time discussing the flavors of candy, as that’s not what the focus on this site is about, but today’s article requires that I do.
Flavor preferences can diversify quite a bit when you travel around the world. I recently had a friend explain that he’d offered a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to someone overseas, and the person he offered it to thought it tasted terrible. To me, that’s crazy because Reese’s PB Cups are one of the most delicious treats ever. But that illustrates that each culture has its own traditional flavors and palettes.
When I first started collecting candy packaging, one of the surprises I encountered was that in Australia, there was a flavor of LifeSavers I’d never heard of before, and one that I found particularly odd – Musk.
It turns out that Musk is a traditional flavor of confection in Australia. But to someone in the United States, it’s nothing short of exotic and weird. As soon as I found out about Musk LifeSavers, I went online and ordered a few rolls.
Upon receiving the package of these strange treats, I cracked open a roll and saw the pink opaque LifeSaver rings… they looked a bit like LifeSaver Pepto-Bismols. I tried them and I’ll be frank – I just couldn’t warm up to the flavor. I’ve been asked what they taste like and the way I’ve always described the experience is this way: “They tasted like my grandmother’s makeup smelled.” Not a good flavor for candy.
In spite of my inability to come to terms with this traditional Australian flavor, I nonetheless became quite enamored with the packaging, and with the idea of Musk Lifesavers – the oddest branch of the LifeSavers flavor tree.
Those rolls I ordered back in 2007 were presented just like the LifeSavers I was used to: an approximately 4-inch foil-wrapped roll with a paper wrapper around that. Here is an example of a roll-wrapper from one of the packs:
Ever since I saved that first Musk roll wrapper, I’ve been on the hunt for any vintage examples, but in four years, none would surface.
I did manage to pull an illustrated image of an early 1970’s Musk roll wrapper from an Aussie show bag:
That illustration is not much to look at, but you can tell that the actual wrapper had a nice design to it.
Even though it’s only been a handful of years since I picked up those first Musk Lifesavers back in 2007, the design of the packaging has changed significantly. These days, Australian LifeSavers rolls are doubly long, and the wrapper design has a different look, too:
It wasn’t until last month that my hunt for a vintage Musk LifeSavers wrapper finally came to fruition. After five years of hunting, a search on Australia’s eBay finally turned up a 1950’s Musk LifeSavers roll wrapper. I was fortunate enough to win it and I can now share it here. It’s been a long-time coming and it’s great to finally be able to add one of these to my collection:
So now I’ve got a 1950’s Musk roll wrapper, but many eras of Musk wrappers (and other Australian LifeSavers wrappers) remain to be found. So the hunt continues.
And that’s all on the packaging and history of Musk LifeSavers, one of my favorites from the CollectingCandy.com oddball files.
For those that aren’t aware, LifeSavers is celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary this year, and you should soon be seeing special Centennial packaging on store shelves to reflect that. I’ve got a lot of vintage LifeSavers packaging to share and I’m assembling a multi-part CollectingCandy.com feature on LifeSavers history and collectors, which I hope to have ready later this summer. It promises to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to bring it to you.