Bar Harbor Smoked Kippers

9A662609-851E-4EE5-918F-90EF637BD896Tis the season to be fishy! While Christmas is almost a month away, I love planning a Fest of the Seven Fishes. Yes, at this house that includes Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish, but I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me. Kippers are also a must, from the old-school dried (properly soaked first, of course) to the easy-peasy canned stuff. I play no favorites. Or at least I hadn’t. These kips may lead the pack from now on.

First bite? Oh that’s nice. These kips don’t hit you over the head with the salt stick, a nice change of pace from many other brands I’ve tried. In fact, there’s a soft, low smoke here, indicative of actual smoked fish and not added flavorings. I checked the pack, and there ’tis; the ingredients are wood smoked herring and salt. The end. No wonder it’s such a delightfully “real” taste. These kips are packed in water, or if there’s added oil in here there’s very little of it. That helps to keep things luscious, not greasy. Well done, Bar Harbor.

And while I definitely swooned over the wonderfully smokey flavor, there’s something extra here. Is that…fish? Do I actually taste the fish? Yes, I do. And it’s delicious. Soft, smooth and delightfully mellow. These are kips you can dig into with a spoon. I did. Sure, you can put these on top of rice, steamed veg or noodles, but I like that these allow you to go full-in. There’s no rush to tamp down an overly powerful salt rush by mixing these kips into something else. (Yes, I do know how to properly soak dried kippers. Thanks for asking. However, most of the time the kippers I have are still incredibly salt-heavy. It’s a curse. A tasty, tasty curse.) These kips are strong with the smoke, but slight on the salt. It’s fantastic.

Go classy with a glass of wine (yes you can have red with fish, in fact the smokiness of these kips would bring out the best in your favorite red) or pour a nice IPA or Lager to pair. Try these straight out of the tin, or with some crackers for a quick snack. And if you decide to go with Goldfish crackers as your partner du jour? I’ll be over here, saluting you.

Denise Kitashima Dutton

Denise Kitashima Dutton has been a reviewer since 2003, and hopes to get the hang of things any moment now. She believes that bluegrass is not hell in music form, and that beer is better when it's a nitro pour. Besides GMR, you can find her at Atomic Fangirl,, or at that end seat at the bar, multi-tasking with her Kindle.

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