Company that previously produced made-in-Japan Oreos is back in the sandwich cookie game, and our reporter Meg is ready to score the fight.

Oreos have been popular in Japan for decades, but the version of Nabisco’s beloved sandwich cookies available here wasn’t actually made by Nabisco. Instead, as part of a licensing agreement, Japan’s Oreos were made domestically by Tokyo-based Yamazaki Biscuits.

However, that license expired last year, and Mondelez International, Nabisco’s corporate owner, moved production of the Oreos it sells in Japan to China, which are then exported to Japanese wholesalers and retailers. When the changeover happened, we compared the new made-in-China-sold-in-Japan Oreos with the previous made-in-Japan Oreos, and found some differences that had us missing the Yamazaki version.

But even though its tie-up with Nabisco has run its course, Yamazaki is still in the cookie business, and after keeping us waiting for more than a year, it’s released a successor to the Japanese-made Oreos called Noir, which are made in the same Ibaraki Prefecture factory in Japan where the Japanese Oreos were produced and went on sale December 1.

▼ SoraNews24’s in-house Oreo expert Meg poses with the product

While Noir ditches the traditional blue Oreo packaging for a red-and-white color scheme, it’s pretty obvious that they want you to think of Oreos when you look at the bag.

Noirs are the same size as Oreos, and the same color, too, with two thin cocoa biscuits sandwiching a cream filling. At first glance, you might even think Noir has copied Oreo’s iconic clover motif.

But look closer and you’ll see that those are actually sakura cherry blossoms, Japan’s most beloved flower, encircling the initials of Yamazaki Biscuits Company.

Yamazaki is obviously targeting fans of the discontinued Japanese-made Oreos, so we decided to do a bite-by-bite comparison between Noir and the Chinese-made Oreos on sale in Japan.

▼ Meg, hard at work

Starting with the biscuits, they seem pretty similar at first, as both are light and crisp. But Noir’s cocoa flavor leaves a longer-lasting flavor, which means the chocolatey notes become stronger as you continue to chew, whereas the Oreo’s cocoa element tops out pretty early.

Where the real difference is, though, is the cream.

▼ Top: Oreo, bottom: Noir

The Noir cream’s sweetness is more subtle, which helps in letting the chocolate flavor get its share of the attention, whereas the Oreo’s is more spotlight-grabbingly sweet. What’s more, the creams have different consistencies. The Noir cream seems to have a lower melting point, and as you chew, it liquefies, giving the Noir a moistness, even without milk, that the Oreo lacks.

Which is better? It’s really a matter of personal, or even momentary, preference. The Oreo has the appeal of straightforward sweetness, whereas the Noir takes your taste buds on an enjoyably winding journey, one that’s filled with nostalgia for the Japan-made Oreos, but still does enough of its own thing.

So while some may scoff at Yamazaki for making a blatant Oreo substitute (while forgetting that Oreo itself copied Hydrox), honestly we’re just happy to now have two great-tasting cookies to choose from.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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