As you may have guessed from the title, I am quite fond of mince pies. I got bored and decided to review them for my own amusement. That’s all this is, and I make no apology.

I’ve scored each of these sweet treats on the ten-point ‘Kipling scale’, as detailed below. I’ll update this roundup with more reviews as I eat my way to victory! Also, if you bake your own mince pies and think they’d be a lot better than the ones I am eating, I’ve got two words for you: challenge accepted.

Updated 2014-12-20: I tackle the dreaded Tesco iced mince pies, and there’s a surprise contender for the throne…

Tesco puff pastry, via the in-store bakery: Flattened discs of sadness. Filling is actually quite tasty, if you can find it. Verging on obscene. 3/10

mincepie-ms-classic Marks and Spencer ‘classic’: Now we’re talking! Buttery but not greasy pastry, generous helpings of a filling that is rich but either doesn’t contain alcohol or doesn’t overdo it. I would happily eat three of these in a row without shame. Again. 8/10 – recommended

Mr Kipling’s: Mr Kipling’s are a mince pie baseline. Anything better is pretty decent, anything less tasty is approaching the level of sweetened dog food. The pastry tastes like it would survive a nuclear apocalypse; the filling is both shallow and unmemorable. The most depressing thing of all is that I’ll probably eat two hundred of these over the holidays. 5/10

Waitrose: These would be almost as good as the M&S classics if it wasn’t for the excessive alcohol in the filling. If you’re already filled with excessive amounts of alcohol yourself, that’s fine, but they’re a bit much for your wee granny to have with her cup of tea. 7/10

Morrison’s Luxury Cake Shop: These mini-mincies were surprisingly excellent. They tasted fresh, like something you’d pick up in a local bakery (if those still existed, rather than me eating my way through boxes of mass-produced supermarket pies, each one pumped through the same mechanical sphincter). Perhaps a little stingy on the filling, but because they’re small, you can fit two in your mouth at once. Not that I checked, of course. 8/10

College mince pies: had these homemade pies at a college following a work Christmas dinner. By the time I found them, I was quite drunk and it was amazing I could taste them at all. Great pastry, but a bit too much icing sugar on the top. 7/10

mincepie-spiced-pear Tesco’s Spiced Pear Pies: yeah, I know, these aren’t mince pies, but someone is going to offer them on a tray with mince pies and you don’t want to get surprised by the viscous filling and choke to death. They don’t taste much differently to apple pies (aside from the obvious caveat of “they’re filled with pears”) and they’re not spicy enough. Not disgusting, just not right. And they’re not mince pies. 4/10
mincepie-cookie-bagmincepie-cookie Tesco’s Mince Pie Cookies: Spotted these in the local Tesco and I couldn’t help myself. They’re actually not crap! These cookies have a crunchy, treaclesque exterior protecting the precious mincemeat inside. They’re a little on the small side – I like larger cookies, so you can pretend you’re an Olympic hero chomping through a delicious baked discus – but not a bad choice. At least you’re not eating Tesco’s turkey and stuffing flavoured ‘weirdoughs’. 6/10
2014-12-13 18.02.22 Talia’s homemade mince pies: My friend made these for her Christmas party. Great pastry almost dominated by supremely tasty mincemeat: juicy raisins, slight hint of booze. (Maybe the booze is coming from me, though). Restrained myself and only ate two out of consideration to other party guests. Every subsequent mince pie has been ruined.
9/10 – the best, but good luck getting them
sainsburys-mini Sainsburys in-store bakery, mini: Apparently ‘deep filled’, but the fill was no deeper than a standard mince pie (how can you tell the difference, anyway? It’s either filled or not!) Dominated by crunchy, greasy pastry. I can still feel the grease on my lips and my fingers smell like congealed butter. Not the best. 5/10
Taylors of Oxford – I ran sixteen kilometres to eat this mince pie. Well, I mean, it was in my house the whole time – this wasn’t some epic quest for pie or anything – but suffice to say, I was ready. Taylors mincemeat has a real citrus tang, bursting with orange peel flavour. Absolutely fucking delicious, but I can’t get another until next Christmas. What am I going to do until then? 9/10 – outstanding
Tesco iced mince pies: so here we are, back at mum’s house for Christmas and she’s bought the iced mince pies again. My brother likes them, but I think they’re just dreadful. The pastry crimping exploded all over the carpet when I tried to lift the pie from the foil sheath, but I managed to extrude it by squeezing the case from below like a toothpaste tube. It’s a mouthful of icing. Luckily mum bought some real mince pies as well, because these are shite. 3/10