[On a semi-regular basis, SCOF’s own Gas Station Gourmet will provide reviews on food, drinks, snacks, and vices available for purchase at gas stations across the country. Here is the first dispatch.]

We need to ask you something extremely important: When was the last time you ate a Bugle? Were you single-digit years old, like the rest of us? Well, I’m here to tell you, dear reader, that Bugles should be in your fishing trip rotation, specifically the Nacho Cheese flavor. They are, in a word, delightful.

It’s an absolute travesty that Bugles have been somewhat relegated to serving as a “kid” snack simply because they fit on top of your fingers like little dunce caps. They feature excellent crunch, a unique but imminently palatable nacho cheese flavoring, and provide a great return on investment when you factor in the always important chips-to-air-in-the-bag ratio.

Now, to see whether or not these historic corn chips are an excellent gas station snack, let’s dive cone-first into the world of Nacho Cheese Bugles.

History of Bugles

Did you know Bugles have been available for purchase nationally since 1966? One could easily assume, as I did, that Bugles magically appeared in stores sometime in those halcyon days of the 1980s, when being healthy meant snorting a line and dancing all weekend at the discotheque. But, alas, Bugles debuted the same year as “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. If that song seems old to you, that’s because it is. Hendrix has been dead for more than 50 years.

Bugles are that old.

Along the way, however, Bugles never stopped evolving and adding different flavors. Over the years, Bugles have appeared in more than 20 flavors, including Shrimp, Ketchup, Coriander, and Sweet and Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter. Many of the more exotic flavors were saved for specialty international markets, though a fairly wide selection of flavors are available at most of my area gas stations.

Fun facts: 1. Canada tried to discontinue Bugles in 2010, but were forced to bring them back in 2011 due to consumer backlash. 2. In Sweden and Norway, Bugles are known as Sombreros, which seems somewhat racist, but we can’t determine why.

Nacho Cheese Bugles: Flavor

This is the main area where Nacho Cheese Bugles absolutely shine. With each bite, a surge of original corn flavor arises, doused with a healthy dose of powdered nacho cheese, yet neither flavor overpowers; the two work in tandem as they slowly dance around the palette’s ballroom like Belle and the Beast. Truly, this is a mix made for long-term snacking, and one that doesn’t get bogged down by one flavor or the other. Certain snacks can overwhelm due to the artificial flavors, but Nacho Cheese Bugles are better off for having the flavoring.

Ideally, you will be able to find a larger bag of these for yourself on a long road trip. Unfortunately, they go by very quickly if you’re forced to share with your fishing buddy, life partner, or, God forbid, your feral  children. Everyone forgets how much they love the flavor of Bugles and will devour your snacks without thinking twice.

Nacho Cheese Bugles: Let’s Talk Mouth Feel

One of the most overlooked aspects of a good road trip or fishing snack is the mouth feel. We’re not discussing flavor here, just how these snacks feel in your mouth as you’re actively giving yourself diabetes. Yet again, Nacho Cheese Bugles rate surprisingly well here. The original Bugles are shockingly soft, and the Nacho Cheese Bugles don’t stray. In fact, they almost feel softer due to the abundance of nacho cheese powder.

As opposed to the more popular mouth-destroyers such as Fritos or Doritos, Nacho Cheese Bugles are much kinder to the mouth, yet feature a unique crunch. If you’re after the crunch factor, you’ll still be pleased, but just know that your mouth will thank you for choosing these instead of, say, a crusty piece of French bread or a handful of Jolly Ranchers.

Are Nacho Cheese Bugles Healthy?

Hahahaha. No.

How Much You Gonna Give Me?

Based on anecdotal evidence (one trip to the gas station this weekend and one purchase of a bag of Nacho Cheese Bugles), the amount of Bugles that appear in the bag is far superior to competing bags of chips. This might simply be an illusion, but I can’t shake the feeling that Bugles are a value buy that offers plenty of snackage for the price.

Final Verdict: Gas-Station Go-To™

Seriously. Try some Nacho Cheese Bugles out the next time you’re picking up snacks for your day on the water. They’re delicious.

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