Mint Leaves Are The Most Feral Confectionery In All The Land

If mint leaves were an estranged relative they would be the uncle who always wore a lanyard for no reason.

Mint Leaves lollies

Welcome to Junkee’s most pure column: Heartfelt Rants About Extremely Petty Gripes, where very funny people get mildly peeved about something stupid, such as Mint Leaves.

I’ll tell you what really boils my piss? Mint leaves.

And I don’t mean mentha — the genus of plant from which mint is extracted. I am, of course, talking about the most feral strand of confectionery in all the land. A chewy morsel so flagrant it could have only been forged by ghouls down at the spew-candy factory.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect ghouls.

The sandman has remained my all time favourite bedtime entity since the age of seven.

For those unversed in the proclivities of the sandman, he’s the guy who visits your face while you sleep and sprinkles sand into the corners of your eyes.

The sand allegedly facilitates the having of good dreams and wards off terrible thoughts. You might have heard doctors or scientists refer to this slumber crust as ‘rheum’ but whatever. As much as I’m down with the sandman, I would not eat a candy crumbed with rheum — and that’s what mint leaves taste like.

A ghastly candy whose flavour agent fails to mask its penchant for tasting like floor cleaner.

Mint Leaves Are Fake News

They are a jelly corrupted by a facsimile of mint extract and injected (using a syringe cannon, probably) with artificial colouring. The lolly’s true colour cannot be seen by the human eye –thankfully evolution has ensured the survival of our species by making us blind to the candy’s abhorrent shades.

Cooked up in a lab, the jelly is moulded into a leaf shape and then fake mint oil is smeared on it with tiny mops to make the candy taste like deconstructed painkillers.

Mint leaves are the MySpace of the confectionary universe, in that for some reason they still exist but nobody can explain why.

If mint leaves were an estranged relative they would be the uncle who always wore a lanyard for no reason and once tried to sell you a list of credit card numbers.

If mint leaves could think, they would think “G’day mate” is a sexy pickup line.

I would rather sip on cursed sarcophagus juice than eat the green candy.

Like all of history’s greatest cons, mint leaves’ ascension to mainstream consumption is peppered with dead ends, hairpin turns, and uncles abandoning Winnebagoes in the desert stuffed with wads of cash and thousands of tiny mops.

Taste Is In The Mouth Of The Beholder

I once knew a kid when I was in primary school who loved mint leaves — and that kid grew up to be a cop. I attended his ninth birthday party and at the conclusion of the festivities, partygoers were gifted a lolly bag stuffed with a joyless handful of mint leaves and a muesli bar.

I remember with severe clarity the night that followed. No matter how many magic crumbs the sandman sprinkled in my eyes, I could not dream — I could only nightmare.

When I think of mint leaves, I am reminded of a really great moment in the film Jurassic Park in which Dennis Nedry (who is secretly thieving dino DNA) and John Hammond (who is more worried about preserving his dinosaurs than rescuing his grandchildren from the T-Rex enclosure) get into an argument:

John Hammond: I will not be drawn into another “debate” with you, Dennis. I really will not.

Dennis Nedry: There’s been hardly any debate at all.

John Hammond: I don’t blame people for their mistakes, but I do ask that they pay for them.

Really makes you think about the whole situation around mint leaves, yes? You’re not alone.

It is more than fair to say Jurassic Park is to mint leaves what Animal Farm is to allegorical assessments of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. I, for one, don’t pass judgement on those who enjoy mint leaves but I do ask that they pay for their mistakes.

There is no ethical consumption of mint leaves, ever.

It Is Time To Retire Mint Leaves

Based on all evidence at hand, the lollies were most likely invented by elves stricken with mercury poisoning (from eating too much tuna) during the industrial revolution. If I know elves (and I do) that would mean the candy was invented as the punchline to a nineteenth century prank.

It is time to retire mint leaves. The joke has gone too far. For too long lolly bags have been weighed down by a candy whose central ingredient is deodorised despair.

Our sense of smell is strongly linked to our capacity for memory and for that reason alone we should consider a future minus the confection. As we speak, whole childhoods are being afflicted by the spew candy’s toothpaste stink. Pause for thought next time you decide to buy a whole packet of mint leaves for some reason. Think of the children. Remember the future.

Referring to mint leaves as a ‘flavour sensation’ is like referring to a skateboard as a life-size tech deck. It might be true but it’s wrong.


Be honest with yourself.

It is no secret that mint leaves taste like the time you left your socks on your feet while stepping into the shower with a terrible hangover. Even mint leaves’ greatest advocates agree that the candy has more in common with aerosol than with food.

Quit the lies by quitting mint leaves. Please. Before it is too late.

Dan Hogan is a writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Meanjin, and Cordite, among others. They are the Program Officer at Writing NSW, and a teacher. Dan is also the director of the independent literary organisation, Subbed In. They tweet@packetofchips