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Is the new Girl Scout cookie any good? It depends on where you live.

The new Raspberry Rally Girl Scout cookie from ABC Bakers. (Girl Scouts of the USA)

Let’s start with the indisputable, scientifically proven fact that Thin Mints are the superior Girl Scout cookie. (Sorry, Samoa fans, I don’t make the rules here.) And so you can hardly blame the folks in charge of Girl Scouts of the USA’s cookie operations for wanting to recapture the magic of the mighty, minty, chocolate-coated delight.

That’s clearly the impetus behind the Raspberry Rally, the new treat joining the lineup for the 2023 cookie season. It’s being billed as the “sister” to its minty forebear, and it has a similar makeup: a crispy disk covered in the same “chocolaty coating.” The difference is in the flavor, of course, with raspberry subbing for the mint, and in the color — instead of the classic cocoa-colored interior, the Rallys are a cotton-candy pink.

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But like a movie sequel that doesn’t live up to the original (think “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” not “Top Gun: Maverick”), the new cookie isn’t in the same class as the Thin Mint. Granted, it is a high bar. But here’s where this review comes with a major asterisk: The quality of this cookie varies depending on where you live. That is, there are actually two bakeries that produce Girl Scout cookies, and each makes a different version of the Raspberry Rally. (See a distribution map here).

The Girl Scouts sent us samples of each, allowing us the rare chance to compare them head-to-head. The far superior version comes from Little Brownie Bakers. Its coating was glossy and dark, and it boasted a real chocolate flavor. The interior cookie had a mild (which I took to be a good thing — it tasted more natural), jammy feel. This, I thought, was at least grasping for the Thin Mint mantle.

But the other, from ABC Bakers, was a pale imitation. First off, the package I got had clearly suffered in the journey to my door through the oppressive summer heat. The cookies had stuck to one another, and when I pried them apart, I was left with smudgy cookies with sad, pink bald spots showing through the coating. The less of that you eat, the better, though — it was waxy and far too sweet. And the cookie itself wasn’t any better. The flavor was artificial, calling to mind less a ripe, fresh raspberry than the mythical Crunchberry found in Cap’n Crunch cereal.

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Their relatively small size and simplicity means you could pop a few without feeling overwhelmed, but even with the far-more-delicious Little Brownie Bakers iteration, I’m not tempted to house a sleeve of them like I might with Thin Mints.

As with all Girl Scout cookies, however, the cookie itself isn’t really the point. The annual cookie sales are a way for Scouts to learn about finances and entrepreneurship — and the proceeds fund their activities and projects. But the next time you’re tempted by their siren song (sales should start around January, and the Raspberry Rally is an online-only flavor), you might want to peek at the fine print to see who made them.

Or, ya know, just stick with the Thin Mints.

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