Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: McDonald's Japan limited-edition 'White Black Thunder' McFlurry.
Let's start with the legend that is the original, iconic Black Thunder. If you try representing Japan with chocolate, forget KitKats. Black Thunder is Japan's candy bar, made by the Yuraku company.
It's been around since 1994, and the taste hasn't changed much in that time. Cookie bits and rice puffs, with a milk chocolate coating. Sounds simple enough, but it gets people hooked. The (roughly translated) tagline for Black Thunder's 'a lightning bolt of deliciousness'.
You can find all kinds of variations on the original - that's Japan and weird flavours all over. Black Thunder Bitter, Calbee Granola Thunder, Big Thunder, 'Pink' Black Thunder...
The 'White' Black Thunder's meant to be a Hokkaido exclusive. As far as I know, it was added to the lineup in 2011. The name (and content) plays on Hokkaido being famous within Japan for white chocolate sweets.
Yuraku wants the paradox of a 'white black' bar to be a mystery. But look at it, and the white coating, and it seems a bit obvious. They've switched the milk chocolate for white, is all.
We got the Black Thunder McFlurry as a limited edition in 2017, and again in 2018. Now, it's White Black Thunder time... while stocks last.
The extras in this, compared to the original, are chunks of white chocolate and white bits of crispy puffed rice. The cookie bits stay on from the last round. And (obviously) the rest is McDonald's soft serve vanilla ice cream.
It's no secret that I LOVE white chocolate, and I'm glad I tried this out. The generous amount of chocolate mixed in was nice and satisfying.
The 'cookie' in Black Thunder gets compared to Oreos a lot. It's very similar, to the point you might assume they're the same thing. That Yuraku's secretly Oreo-ing their bars.
This version's got the same crunch and flavour as a standard Oreo McFlurry. At least, mixed in with McD's ice cream, you can't tell any difference between the 2. It's tasty either way.
But it could taste better. Where last year's Black Thunder McFlurry had swirls of caramel mixed in, the White version's bereft. And that's a disappointment, to me.
I loved the amount of caramel and sauce in the Gudetama McFlurry, for example. There's no sauce in this at all. Sure, there's none in the actual bars, but Black Thunder doesn't contain caramel either. Maybe they thought it didn't go as well with white chocolate.
Dessert's rarely boring, and a summer without ice cream is a dull one indeed. This wasn't the lightning strike on my tastebuds I expected, but it was good. I'd eat it again.
Once this promo ends, I could get the same effect with a 12-pack of White Black Thunder bars and a tub of vanilla ice cream. And maybe a bottle of caramel sauce.
Verdict: 8/10. It's a little confusing, but you generally can't go wrong with ice cream... and McDonald's knows it.