Oreo O’s are back in America. This is true.
So naturally, this review is going to be unnecessarily long and rambling—but spoiler alert: not in a good way. Before we get to that, though, I figure a crash course in Oreo O’s 1O1 is appropriate. I’ve already exhaustively covered the cereal’s history in last year’s review of imported Oreo O’s, so head there for all the textbook-worthy details, but here’s an IMDB-worthy synopsis:
In 1997, Oreo O’s blessed us with its authentic Oreo cookie flavor in creme-sprinkled chocolate cereal ring form. Then in 2007, when the world needed it most, Oreo O’s (which had marshmallows by this point) vanished…everywhere but South Korea, where you could buy it until 2014 and then again in 2016. It’s finally back in America, 10 years after hibernating, and you probably heard about it 10 times from BuzzFeed in the past 2 hours alone.
And while I can’t prove that I am the world’s biggest Oreo O’s fan, that hasn’t stopped me from calling Guinness about it. So since this is my favorite cereal, and since I’ve spent enough on the South Korean stuff to rent an Aruban timeshare, you’d think I’d be beyond geeked to see Oreo O’s back in their home turf. But I’m not geeked. Nor am I freaked, piqued, or as the kids probably no longer say, “on-fleeked.”
Why not? Because like a Scooby-Doo villain, these Oreo O’s are not what they seem.
Yes, behind the cardboard mask of these ghoulish O’s—which, by the way, tragically drop the sunglass-wearing-ghost-cream-mascot-thing we’ve come to love—lies repackaged Malt-O-Meal Cookies & Cream, an Oreo O’s imitator released last year as a “test run” for Oreo O’s* when Post couldn’t yet get the rights to use the cookie’s iconic name.
Now that stuff was pretty good, mostly because it had no reservations about being Oreo O’s. I was content with having a readily available generic brand available alongside the more expensive, but far more delicious and Oreo-like South Korean Oreo O’s, so I could satisfy my breakfast-time cookie cravings any day of the week.
But now that Cookies & Cream is trying to usurp the Oreo O’s throne—while Post claims that “the product has stayed true to its roots” all along—we’re facing a real sandwich cookie Spartacus snafu here. Which Oreo O’s should I trust? It’s up to my taste buds to decide.
Make no mistake: even though eagle-eyed readers may notice that the respective ingredients of Cookies & Cream and Oreo O’s aren’t exactly the same, for all flavorful intents and tasty purposes, they might as well be, as I couldn’t tell the two apart in a blind taste test. Taste buds trained at Napa Valley might be able to sense some smokey, bitterly buttery notes in Oreo O’s aftertaste from the added chocolate liquor** ingredient, but this cereal’s grade school-aged target audience likely won’t be sniffing, swirling, or sipping the cereal that granularly as they watch Saturday morning cartoons.
So now that that’s out of the way, I can talk about the taste objectively: it’s a lot like an Oreo cookie wafer. A slightly oily milk chocolate flavor dominates, and it fades into cocoa buttery end notes before disappearing alongside the excessively aerated, weakly crunchy Oreo O’s themselves. What’s really missing here is the recognizable Oreo cream flavor. Aside from an additional vanilla sugar pop provided by each twinkling sprinkle, this cereal lacks the marshmallow fluffiness (and superior cocoa “buttercreaminess”) of both South Korean Oreo O’s and original, 2002-era Extreme Creme Oreo O’s with marshmallows.
2017 Oreo O’s still taste pretty darn good and true to their namesake cookie, but like many modern cereals—especially those from Post—they feel too puffed up and airy, with less genuinely whimsical style and even less substance.
(If you can’t tell, I just really want that PSY lookalike mascot back.)
Most of these fears are quelled in milk, which mixes and melds with the sprinkles to produce a passable sandwich cookie creaminess that seeps pleasantly into endmilk that reminds me of liquefied cookies & cream ice cream. The chocolate flavor gets fudgier at first before washing away, while the preexisting fragility of the rings worsens when sogginess sets in. So like a real dunked Oreo, you must either perfectly balance your milk-to-cereal submersion ratio or inhale the whole bowl before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song even gets to Raphael and feel crippling shame before it mentions Michelangelo.
I won’t lie, I began this review with the intention of ravaging my dearest Oreo O’s simply regurgitating an old cereal and calling it official, but I just don’t have the heart to do it. On one hand, South Korean Oreo O’s are infinitely tastier, but on the other hand, I can’t say for certain whether Eastern or Western hemisphere Oreo O’s better re-create the ’90s original—though that’s the first thing I’ll do after finding a time machine.***
And on the third hand, which sometimes grows out of my stomach like in those creepy old Ball Park Franks commercials, 2017 Oreo O’s just taste really great, and they let me eat cookies for breakfast without leaving me hungry enough to eat my car radio before I even get to work. So call me hoodwinked, but I still heartily recommend this cereal to modern nostalgia-holics who are sane enough not to sink their paychecks on overseas cereal payloads. It’ll remind you of simpler times and everything will feel great until the neighbor tells you to turn down Garfield & Friends.
Vive le Oreo O!
*This info was relayed to me by a fan who evidently emailed Post, so take it with exactly one whole grain of salt.
**Despite this ingredient’s name, you sadly cannot get drunk on Oreo O’s.
***My second order of business would be not letting my Tamagotchi die in 4th grade. I’m so sorry, my eggy friend.
The Bowl: 2017 Oreo O’s Cereal
The Breakdown: Despite its hollower texture, cream drought, and fading fudge flavor, I can’t stay mad at a cereal that lets me simultaneously eat Oreos and the ’90s while saving me money on international shipping (at least for a while).
The Bottom Line: 8.5 custom-printed milk cartons with the Oreo O’s mascot on the side out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts: 120 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per 1 cup serving)
Wondering where you can buy Oreo O’s cereal? Walmart has exclusive rights to the stuff for a few months before it’s released everywhere. And wondering where you can read more Oreo O’s reviews? Our friends at Junk Banter tried it, too!