Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fanta Green Apple


Fanta is really getting out of control with their can designs. In the past I have seen graffiti monsters and alien humanoids and now with Green Apple we have William Tell (or to be historically correct it's probably his son Walter) getting an apple (green) shot off his head. The whole can is designed like a big green tree and covered in apples and rubber-tipped arrows. William (or Walter) is even wearing a green apple bowtie. Wild. The fanta logo is also inside a big green apple with a bite out of it. They have really outdone themselves this time and I love it.

The smell lives up to the hype, exactly like green apples. The taste is a little different and is more like red apples. If I had to guess I would say the taste is somewhere between Granny Smith and Fuji. Whether its red or green the soda is really delicious. It's tart and a has a little bit of a sour bite, I like my soda sour so would love some more citric acid taste.

It is light and refreshing, the way you want an apple soda and doesn't have a thick, gluggy feel like some Fanta variants. There isn't much of an aftertaste which isn't really a bad thing. A really solid apple soda that rivals Jones for me. Although this isn't such a big call to make as my Jones experience has been on a downward spiral lately, but more on that another time.

85/100

-DM

Available at Central Grocery.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

100 Plus



The can is absolutely gorgeous. The silvery-white background sits perfectly with the green, red and blue of the design, which is simple, bold and eye-catching. I think that this is the best can design I’ve seen so far in my time as a soda reviewer/consumer. 100 Plus is made by F&N, who have given the world Groovy Grape, Cool Ice Cream Soda, and I’m pretty sure Groovy Taste root beer as well; quite a track record, which is unfortunately horrifically derailed by 100 plus, a terrible soda with a taste that’s as bad as its can design is good. Alarm bells should’ve sounded at the fact that 100 plus is touted as ‘isotonic’ and is marketed as a soda for athletes, like a carbonated Gatorade or something, but I was blind to these somewhat obvious signs and as a result had sky-high expectations.

The smell of 100 plus is like a weak, cheap orange soda. The liquid is clear, with a low level of fizz (although it is carbonated). The taste is pure filth, the disgusting taste of orange sports drinks the world over, perhaps I should’ve been expecting this but the can threw me off and had me anticipating a real winner. The taste is almost completely in the aftertaste, which swells up just after the drink enters/leaves your mouth, and climbs to a sour, foul-tasting crescendo before subsiding again after five or six seconds. I could only handle half a dozen sips of 100 Plus. I poured the rest down the sink, and can’t help but feel that I’ve been literally flooding this city’s rivers with second-rate sodas for the last couple of months, and that surely this has to have some sort of ill effect on the marine life who, I’d be willing to bet, no doubt find 100 plus, Limca, Thums Up etc as foul as I do.

Don’t let the can fool you, 100 Plus is disgusting. I guess if someone can convince themselves that soda and sport are a logical combination, or that soda can be ‘good for you’, they can probably convince themselves that 100 Plus doesn’t taste worse than almost anything they’ve ever drunk, but I hate sport and I hate 100 plus.

4/100

-LC

Available at Minh Phat, Richmond.

A&W Cream Soda



A&W cream soda is perfectly ‘ordinary’, not in the negative sense that is sometimes attached to that word but in the sense that it is near indistinguishable from many of the number of other brown cream sodas on the market. Smell-, colour-, and taste-wise there is nothing much to set it apart from the pack, but oh what a pack! Darcy’s recent post on Canada Dry cream soda ranked cream sodas according to colour, with green at the top and brown sitting a respectable second; I agree 100% with his rankings, and if I were to make a list of my own, ranking my favourite types of sodas, cream soda would probably be #1 or #2. So yes, A&W cream soda may be a fairly standard brown cream soda, but brown cream soda on the whole is of a high standard indeed, and this is a very very enjoyable soda.

With all of this in mind, there’s not too much I can say about A&W cream soda. The vanilla is extra-creamy, more so than most other brown cream sodas, which is 10 points in A&W’s favour; their use of high fructose corn syrup, that texture- and taste-ruining sugar replacement (which is apparently linked to some sketchy health concerns, although I’m yet to see conclusive proof of this. The sheer grossness of HFCS I have seen conclusively proved, however, by my own tongue and tastebuds), gets those hard-won points taken right back.

Nice aftertaste that turns slightly nasty after 5 seconds or so, but only slightly. Good level of carbonation, in fact when I first poured it into my glass it had a two-inch ‘head’ that slowly disappeared as I drained the glass of its liquid contents, I meant to take a photo but forgot, very cool. Contains caffeine, comes in an ugly can.

Overall a solid brown cream soda, nothing more, nothing less, nothing wrong with that.

70/100

-LC

Available at Leo's Fine Food and Wine, Kew.

Schweppes Cream Soda



The simple, appealing can promises a green cream soda and does not disappoint. The smell is delicious- the traditional fizzy, sweet smell of green cream soda- and brought a smile to my face, without even tasting it I knew I was going to enjoy this soda. The liquid is nearly clear with a light green tinge, a pastel green almost, great. The fizz level is perfect, a little bit above average without being over the top.

The flavour is as expected from the smell/colour/can, traditional green cream soda flavour, refreshing, fizzy and creamy, perhaps a little more subtle than some other green cream sodas. There’s a great almost sherbet-esque element to really good green cream sodas that Schweppes totally nail. For those who haven’t had the pleasure that is a glass or can or bottle of green cream soda, it tastes like a creamy lemonade with a kind of floral tang to it as well as an element of Wizz Fizz-type sherbet flavour, good stuff. Pretty much exactly like a green Fizzer, actually.

The aftertaste is quite strong, fine by me though, if Schweppes could find a way to make this flavour last forever I’d be very happy indeed. The sweetness lingers longer than the flavour and the soda suffers for it, I’d much prefer if the sweetness to flavour ratio of this soda were reversed. This also comes in a ‘zero sugar’ version; flavour- and cancer-related reservations aside I think it would be well worth a try.

A good, solid cream soda, not amazing or groundbreaking but has everything I want in a green cream soda, I have drunk it a number of times since the initial review and will continue to.

82/100

-LC

Available at Wellbeing Korean Grocery

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welch's Grape


I think you can really trust a grape company that was founded in a town called Vineland, a magical place where Welch's soda cans grow wild. Whether this is true or not (95% sure it's true) grape soda is always something I look forward to. The dark purple variety of grape isn't one that is too common in Australia with its regular green cousin holding the majority share in our supermarkets (Welch's make a delicious white grape soda too, coming soon). Welch's are pretty famous for their jams too and if they are soda-ish, I definitely want to give them a try.

The can design tells it how it is in more ways than one:

- Big purple grapes cover the whole damn thing

You know you are getting a big purple grape soda.

- They have stamped "Natural and Artificial Flavours" on the front of the can

They aren't even trying to hide that they are using artificial flavours, other soda companies just leave this off and it's assumed that unless you stamp "All Natural" on it then there will be artificial additives. Bold move Welch's.

The colour and smell are a nice strong purple grape flavour, something that I am really fond of, I think because of its minimal use in Australia. I used to like the taste better the first few times I had the drink but it doesn't appeal to me so much anymore (maybe my soda palate has evolved). It is still pretty delicious though, thick and bubblegummy. There is a bit of sourness around too which is really nice.

It's another one of these sodas that needs to be fairly cold not to feel too thick and sweet. I think this could be fixed with smaller, more bitey carbonation as compared to the big bubbles of Welch's. Overall still a delicious soda, it tastes just like that grape roll-out Hubba Bubba tape I remember from my childhood.

68/100

-DM

Available at Wellbeing Korean Grocery and Sugar Station.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canada Dry Cream Soda


My greatest source of life information, Wikipedia, tells me that this cream soda by Canada Dry is produced in the Middle East and has limited availability in the US, UAE and Kuwait (no mention of extremely limited availability in Australia). Looking at the traffic on this blog we have had one view from Kuwait, so this ones for you. The Canada Dry logo is a horrible creation, a mapped shield with a smarmy red crown sitting on top. This design also includes Cream Soda written in a completely different text sitting below the logo like an afterthought. Another one to be filed under excessive can design, this has a heinous water drip design covering the whole thing, a lot of soda companies reallyt need better logos that they can just plonk in the middle of the can and let that stand on its own.

The smell is that of a strong brown cream soda which works for me because it ranks high on my list of cream soda types:

1. Green Cream Soda
2. Brown Cream Soda
3. Red Cream Soda
4. Yellow Cream Soda
5. Everything Else Cream Soda

The taste is just a pretty average, normal brown cream soda, pretty tasty but nothing amazing. The carbonation feels ok going in bue it hurts my stomach and is a cheap, no return ticket to burp city. This seems to be pretty typical of the cheaper, semi-rip off asian sodas.

The aftertaste fades pretty quickly which I generally think is a good feature but here it adds to the overall blandness of the soda. Later on it left a really bad taste in my throat and it makes me wonder why these really chemically sodas keep getting made when natural flavour, sugar-sweetened sodas exist. Overall it's a decent brown cream soda but nothing above average.

53/100

-DM

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

IRN BRU



Pronounced ‘Iron Brew’, big in Scotland where it was originally produced as an alternate to beer for the nation’s steelworkers. Funnily enough, IRN BRU now enjoys a reputation as the hangover drink of choice in its country of origin, so I guess IRN BRU and alcohol have to a certain extent kissed and made up.

On cracking the can, you are greeted with a Delicious bubble-gum-esque smell. The colour is somewhere between Fanta and brown cream-soda, leaning towards the Fanta side of things, which is inconsistent with the smell and kind of confusing. The soda is very, very fizzy.

The tagline “Unique Blend of Mixed fruit Flavours” coupled with the athletic-looking can design had me prepared for a Mountain Dew meets Gatorade type drink. The very minimal/watery aftertaste had me at first struggling to put my finger on just what IRN BRU tasted like. I guess it’s mainly orange-based, with a slightly Mountain Dew-esque ‘unspecified citrus flavour’ element to it, and a creaminess that’s not quite vanilla, but is very light and kind of tastes like a weak banana flavour- I think this is the bubblegum I smelled at the beginning. A fairly hard soda to describe, while it does have elements of a number of other flavours/sodas it’s pretty unique I guess. Not amazing, fairly refreshing and not thick at all (which I was somehow expecting it to be, I think because of the energy drink-ish can).

While there is no immediate aftertaste, the IRN BRU did leave a taste in my mouth that I noticed a minute or so after finishing a can, nothing terrible, just a reminder that I’d recently consumed a soda and that this soda was vaguely orange-flavoured.

Strangely enough, the bubbles I can see sitting in the soda while in the glass don’t seem to be making it to my mouth- it’s as if somehow they’re managing to escape between somewhere between leaving the glass and entering my mouth, the drink seems almost flat until after it is swallowed, when a bubble or two that were too slow to escape, make one final last-ditch effort to exit my mouth, resulting in a tiny bit of ‘after-fizz’ just after swallowing. Fairly strange and frustrating, I can see the bubbles sitting right there, I’ve never experienced this sensation before.

Apparently caffeinated but my can didn’t say so?

I can’t decide where I stand on IRN BRU. It’s fairly light and refreshing which is almost always a positive thing, and the flavour is fairly unique if not overly exciting. The weird sensation with the bubbles/fizz is kind of off-putting. I feel like IRN BRU is something that everyone just has to try for themselves to see whether or not they like it. Although I’ve given it a fairly low score, I’ll probably give IRN-BRU another try sometime soon.

63/100

-LC

Available at Leo's Fine Food and Wine, Kew.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daylesford & Hepburn Springs Organic Cola


I have seen this brand around only a couple of times before, generally at smaller organic-friendly cafes and the like. I picked this one up on a day trip to CERES environmental centre and my skepticism of natural spring water sodas didn't give me high hopes. The cola itself is a really dark black and has that typical kola nut cola smell.

It's taste at first is like a slightly bitter version of Phoenix Cola. It has a crazy amount of carbonation on the way in that makes my lips buzz and tingle which is a really cool feeling. It has some really strong lemon flavour coming through that got more and more apparent the further through the bottle I got. By the end of this soda I would be pushing for this to be renamed to a Lemon Cola, the citrus undertone was that strong. It has a slight citric acid sting too which is always good.

Although this and Phoenix need a bit of work with their organic sodas I am all for supporting them and seeing what they will offer in the future because they both (sensibly) bypass HFCS and the all natural ingredients approach is always good.

I liked the soda more and more as I got further through it but I think it needs to be a bit more smooth and creamy to really make it for me. The lemon cola taste was really cool and I hope someone can nail that idea. I might just have to head down to Daylesford and pick up some patchouli oil and a few of their other flavours.

72/100

-DM

Available at CERES Brunswick East.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tiro Hibiscus



Note: After drinking, reviewing and recycling Tiro Hibiscus, I realised that I hadn't photographed the bottle. "No matter," I thought, "For the love of Pizza, where I purchased this average-in-almost-all-regards soda, is just down the road, I can easily pop down there sometime this week and grab/photograph myself another." A good plan, but unfortunately FTLOP had either sold out or stopped selling Tiro Hibiscus, and I was forced to pursue other options. The best I could come up with, aside from seeking out Tiro Hibiscus someplace else (which I may have done if it wasn't such a boring soda), was the artists rendition you see above, which took me half an hour or so to draw but is far better than wasting $4.50 on another bottle or cheap online image-theft. This was supposed to be last Friday's post, here it is a few days late...

I was pretty excited to try this, I can’t remember ever even having smelled a hibiscus let alone eaten one but I guess I expected a rose-water-esque drink, at the very least something that tasted floral. The colour of the drink furthered this conception, a pink/light-red much like a Turkish delight. The smell is very much like red cordial, and with this in mind Tiro Hibiscus begins to look quite a bit like watery raspberry cordial.

The flavour is very light, pretty much just a hint, so much so that it’s hard to pin down. Tastes nothing like rosewater/Turkish delight, not even slightly floral. The taste is very much like the weak red cordial that it looks like with a vague hint of lemon. The taste itself is pretty much all in the aftertaste; when the drink is in your mouth there really only the sensation of having bubbly liquid in your mouth with a slight hint of the flavour to come (that in itself really only has a slight flavour), a flavour that isn’t really unleashed until after you swallow, whereupon it sticks around for a good 4-5 seconds. The bottle does say “all natural subtle flavour of hibiscus and lemon” I guess.

This soda’s sweetness sits at a good level where the drink tastes sweet without tasting overly ‘sweetened’- this could be due to the relative lack of flavour overall. This low level of fizz sits well with the light feeling of the drink.
Tiro Hibiscus is made by Splitrock who predominantly make bottled and spring waters, makes sense as this is more like a ‘twist of hibiscus/lemon’ than an overtly hibiscus and lemon flavoured drink. I can see the types who are into flavoured mineral waters going ape for this, I’m normally pretty turned off by that sort of thing but I don’t mind Tiro Hibiscus, although I’m that hot on it either.

Although fairly pleasant, Tiro Hibiscus is a little bit light-on everything-wise to get me very excited. The main adjective I’d use in relation to Tiro Hibiscus is ‘agreeable’. If that’s enough for you then pick yourself up a bottle, if you want more from a soda I’d suggest leaving it on the shelf.

55/100

-LC

Available at For the Love of Pizza Northcote.

F&N Groovy Grape



Smell is that thick artificial grape smell that almost all grape sodas (portello excepted- more on this ridiculously delicious grape-based soda very soon, if Riverport isn’t a household name where you come from then prepare to be wowed/I pity you) possess; no surprises there, likewise with the colour, which is dark purple to black, the classic grape soda colour I guess. Fairly decent fizz levels, based on initial visuals.

I get that it’s fermented, but how is it that grape soda is so delicious while wine is pissy and disgusting? Perhaps it’s because wine actually contains grapes? Anyhow, if wine tasted like grape sodas do I’d surely be in a different place to where I am now, most likely panhandling, purple-toothed, with my very own colony of hair lice, but thankfully most wine tastes like shit and here I am reviewing sodas for a blog and haunting grocers with names I can’t pronounce that sell things like dried anchovies and whole mock lobsters and all sorts of crazy chips and biscuits that make me wanna start a savoury snacks blog- The Wizards of Crisps perhaps? This is turning into the Wizards of Shit so I’ll move right along with the review.

The fizz is just as strong as it looks, very nice. The flavour matches the smell, grape-flavour to a tee. F&N Grape essentially tastes like any number of other grape-flavoured sodas/lollies/gum, with a few small differences:

Number One: F&N Groovy Grape isn’t as medicine-tasting as some Grape sodas I’ve had, which taste like I should’ve gotten a prescription to buy them. This is a very good thing.

Number Two: Kinda tied to the point above, this soda lacks that thick/syrupy feeling that I often worry about with strong flavours such as grape, cherry etc. Not a problem here, in fact just the opposite. This is a very good thing.

Number Three: Also tied to the previous points, overall this soda is kind of weak; it’s not so much the initial flavour, which is plenty strong enough, but rather the lack of staying power- the flavour lasts for literally three seconds, easing off after that, gone five seconds after consumption.

The first two are definitely positive, the third neither completely positive nor completely negative, two outta three isn’t bad and I feel that the thickness of grape (and cherry, and strawberry etc) is a big reason why I don’t buy these flavours more often than I do, so the fact that this isn’t a problem with F&N Groovy Grape is pretty great.

As far as packaging goes it’s pretty standard F&N fare, purple colouring to match the insides, goes well with the silver and red. I wish F&N had gone all-out with the ‘groovy’ theme and had disco balls, peace signs and all sorts of other wacky shit on the can, would’ve been pretty silly but also pretty cool. I like how F&N are resurrecting fairly dorky synonyms for great, like cool and groovy, waiting for the appearance of other classics like rad, wicked, swell, boss etc.

Overall F&N Groovy Grape lives up to its name, and is the best grape soda I’ve had due to its relative subtlety.

78/100

-LC

Available at Central Grocery .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cherry 7-Up Guest Review


The first thing to be noticed, as you scan the fridge, is the conventional 7 UP logo spanning the can. But from there on, things get a bit unsettling.

The first assumption goes like this: 7 UP: lemonade. That’s all they’ve ever made – it’s their raison d’etere! They can get away with that because their lemonade is good – almost a touch of lemon- unlike other lemonades which say “no artificial flavour”. Bullshit, there’s flavour by the bucketload, and and it’s all sweetness. They actually think that’s a flavour.


Back to the experiment at hand – Cherry 7 UP. I call it an experiment because that word carries the inference that things aren’t quite right.. The can’s red – OK, I can handle that. Red is the colour of cherries. But also splashed across the can is the word “antioxidant”. So now I’m drinking a soda which seems to be a health food. That’s reinforced by the drink being caffeine free, but that’s just another stake in the heart for this new-comer. When have you ever tasted a caffeine free drink that’s worth the privilege of passing your lips.

Playing safe, I poured some of this soda into a glass for closer examination. I have trouble placing its colour. Is it salmon, pale orange, pissy pink? Maybe all of them, but it sure doesn’t look like what I’d expect from a cherry soda.. You can trade off such a colour for the alcohol in cheap sparlking pink wine, but this poor relative only has antioxidants and a lack of caffeine to stimulate the drinker.

Before drinking, I inhale deeply, once again to be disappointed by the fragrant yet unspecific smell. I’m even more sure that no bunch of cherries ever had much to do with the creation of this drink. The flavour convinces me of that. It finishes a little bit dry on the palate – I guess that’s the D-Alpha tocopheryl acetate. Apart from that, it offers little in the way of distinctive flavour. Coca-cola can rest easy that their cherry coke won’t be challenged in the marketplace.

The 7-Up team seems to have wasted their energy coming up with this one. Maybe they figured that if you draw a piece of fruit on the can and write a few healthy-type words then the thirsty masses would be under their spell. They needed to say it was organic and vegan as well to have any chance.

21/100

-TM

Available at Sugar Station.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Linda Pomegranate



Pomegranates are strange-looking but delicious fruits that are juicy and slightly sour, attributes that I’d think would translate well to soda, so before consuming Linda I considered pomegranate soda to be a pretty safe bet. After consuming Linda I still think that an authentic (or at least mildly authentic) pomegranate soda would be great; unfortunately, if you’re after such a thing, Linda isn’t the drink for you.

A fairly average can houses bright red liquid of garden-variety fizz, which looks a whole lot like raspberry soda. Looks can often be deceiving (and the flesh of pomegranate is very similar in colour to a raspberrys), however in this case they are not- Linda ‘pomegranate’ tastes just like a raspberry soda. While this isn’t a bad thing per se- raspberry soda is, when done well, delicious and refreshing- the labelling of Linda as pomegranate-flavoured is a little deceiving and gives the prospective drinker a skewed idea of what they are in for. This aside, Linda has a solid and refreshing raspberry-esque taste with an aftertaste that is essentially the little brother of the main taste, so no nasty surprises there.

Not much else I can say, pretty tasty but essentially just a raspberry soda, I’d drink and enjoy Linda again but will look elsewhere for a carbonated pomegranate fix.

55/100

-LC

Available at Abbout Falafel House Coburg.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fanta Strawberry



An Indonesian can of Fanta Strawberry, apparently one of Fanta’s ‘Big Four’ flavours in America, the other three being Orange (pretty much all you can get in Australia outside of specialty stores and limited promotions, a staple in post-mix fountains and vending machines all over the country), Grape and Pineapple. Considering this is produced in Indonesia, I wonder how similar it is to the Fanta Strawberry that’s available in the US? The same perhaps, or completely different? The flavour is listed as “Rasa Stroberi”, which Google translate leads me to believe means “Shaven Strawberry,” somehow I doubt it but who knows.

The can is pretty terrible (not quite fruit-punch terrible), bright red and featuring some strange-looking humanoids messing around with bottles of Fanta. Can designers of the world take note: cluttered, gaudy cans are doing you no favours, keep it simple, less is more. While I’m on the subject, Fanta’s 600mL bottles are a disgrace, and the same logic applies as above.

Although I was initially turned-off by the can design, the soda itself- a rich, deep red in colour, with above-average fizz- restored my hopes for a satisfying drinking experience. The flavour is pretty great, sitting somewhere between artificial raspberry and artificial strawberry (feels kind of cheap using this sort of comparison, but anyone who’s ever eaten candy should be familiar with these flavours, and trying to describe ‘generic artificial raspberry flavour’ is like trying to describe the colour blue or something. All I can really say is that neither of them taste like their real-world counterparts), although it tastes nothing like the only other strawberry soda I’ve had (Welch’s). In a blind test I probably would’ve said that this was more raspberry than strawberry, but Fanta feels otherwise and who am I to argue. Either way, this is a pretty delicious soda, and I’d safely say that it’s my favourite of all the Fanta flavours I’ve tried so far, Orange included.

The aftertaste is good, light and sweet and lasts the normal/pleasant amount of time. The only gripe I have with this soda is that it is a little bit thicker-feeling than I’d like, although this isn’t really that pronounced (it’s not like drinking syrup or something), and it doesn’t leave a gross snail-like coating on the tongue like some sodas do.

Not much else I can say, a pretty solid offering (especially coming from Fanta) and kind of a curveball as far as strawberry-flavoured sodas go, not that I think I’ll find something better but this has made me pretty darn eager to try the rest of Fanta’s non-Orange flavours, horrendous can-art or no.

72/100

-LC

Available at Central Grocery .

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dr. Pepper Cherry


I'm always a fan of a soda in a black can and the design on this has got me pretty good. Whilst it does look very 1992, the big red cherries and Dr. Pepper logo have got my mouth watering for this one. The can also includes the line "amazingly smooth" which I sure hope isn't a false promise. High hopes.

The taste is great, it starts off with that famous "no one knows what the flavour is" Dr. Pepper flavour then moves on to a rich cherry taste that cuts off fairly quickly leaving no bad aftertaste. It's a good deep cherry flavour without any chemical overtones that normally haunt cherry sodas. Amazingly smooth wasn't just Mr. Pepper boasting, this tastes as if there is actual cream present. The aftertaste is really creamy and delicious.

The HFCS leaves a bit of a film on the back of my tongue but its not gluggy and not as bad as some. It has a nice light carbonation that suits the creamy taste.

About halfway through the can I started eating my lunch and the soda didn't fare well when coupled with food. It lost a lot of creaminess and just flavour in general, one to be had alone. Congrats Dr. Pepper, a really good venture into cherry territory that even stands up next to Jones and the other good cherry sodas out there.

87/100

-DM

Available at Supa IGA Brunswick.

Bubble Up


Alright this review was a bit of a wild ride, so I will try and get the whole experience in here. I first tried the soda a while ago and started writing the review but never finished. Here is the beginning of that piece -

"I gave this soda the best chance possible to impress me, I really did, but like trying to find holocaust justifications it's hard to find anything good about Bubble Up, and at least the Nazis were efficient."

Hmmm, pretty harsh. I didn't have high hopes for this one when it came round to sampling it for the second time. But something had happened, this time it tasted much much better. It was like a better version of Mountain Dew, a lemon-lime type citrus taste that was really fresh and flavoursome. I would prefer this over Mountain Dew, a version of it that's not so thick or sweet but just as nice flavour-wise.

But then the soda did a flip on me, back to its old ways. After only about 15-20 seconds of the really good taste, a horrible dirty aftertaste started to creep in, getting stronger and stronger. As much as I wished it away it wouldn't abate and then all of a sudden I had gone from a tasty Mountain Dew variant to a dirty, chemically dime-store lemon drink. For the rest of the drink it was just as bad as I had remembered, cheap and nasty, and I ended up throwing it away at about the 3/4 mark. It just has all your average bad soda problems, strong chemical taste, everlasting bad aftertaste, big bubble carbonation, just not a nice soda in any way.

Whilst not as bad as I remember the orginal tasting being, it turned out to be pretty disgusting. It's flavour inconsistancy, whilst exciting, is probably not a good thing. Pick one up if you want 15 seconds of great citrus soda and then a disguting dirty aftertaste that doesn't fully go away for about 3 hours.

31/100

-DM

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

Hansen's Kiwi Strawberry


After the Mandarin Lime I drank previously I was really looking another soda by Hansen’s Natural. This one smells a lot like strawberry candy, it seems to be a common factor among nearly all sodas that they smell like the candy version of their flavour rather than the actual fruit/vegetable/spice/whatever but I don’t mind that.

I would describe the flavour as a lighter version of the Welch’s Strawberry soda with a tiny bit of Kiwi flavour at the end of the taste. It would be great if someone could really nail a strong, sour kiwi soda but I haven't found one just yet. It has a great mouth taste but then it fades away and the flavour disappears, with no real aftertaste at all. I have mentioned this light (almost lack of) flavour in my other Hansen’s review and this time I think they might have gone a little too far with not enough flavour. Despite this, the lightness makes for a delicious summery soda that doesn’t need to be ice cold to be refreshing.

I don’t feel sticky or gross after this soda which is partly due to it not having an aftertaste and mainly due to the no artificial products approach Hansen’s take towards their sodas. The light, refreshing, real sugar, natural method should be a model for other soda companies.

76/100

-DM

Available at Munchies & More Coburg.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shani Fruit Flavour



Beautiful can design. The colours- a nice shade of red, along with yellow and purple-work beautifully together. The logo, a visually appealing retro-looking design, sits above twin strawberries, raspberries, and a few bunches of purple grapes.

The soda smells like a berry-type drink, and it is dark red in colour, similar I guess to portello. The fizziness level sits around the average, quite pleasant and ‘just right’ I suppose. The soda itself manages to simultaneously taste like each of the individual fruits/flavours depicted on the can as well as an amalgam of all three: there’s a raspberry flavour much like the Schweppes raspberry or raspberry cordial- that classic ‘raspberry’ flavour; there’s a slight grape flavour, although (thankfully) this has more in common with portello than something like Welch’s grape; as well as all this is a taste uncannily similar to pink marshmallows (!!), something that it took me quite a while to pinpoint but was seemed so obvious once I did. The pink marshmallow flavour is especially strong in the aftertaste- it is left hanging around in your mouth long after the other two have vacated, although this is more than welcomed if you ask me.

The overall effect of the mixing of these three fairly closely-related flavours is very pleasant, and it’s pretty cool that there’s a soda on the market that tastes like pink marshmallows. The place I got this and a few other sodas from - Abbout Falafel House - is, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, home to the best falafel in Melbourne, I strongly suggest you hit it up and grab a Shani while you’re in there.

78/100

-LC

Available at Abbout Falafel House Coburg.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fanta Pineapple


It definitely doesn’t smell like real pineapple but it smells like what I have come to know fake pineapple smells like. The taste you get while drinking is pretty good, nice and strong pineapple flavour, but then it all fades away. As soon as you stop pouring the drink the flavour just disappears, it kind of feels like it slips away from you so I chased it with another sip but you just can’t catch it. The flavour and aftertaste are nearly non-existent.

One thing I did notice in the aftertaste is a bit of the stinging cheek sensation you get from too much citric acid. I like sour sodas and one time the Wizards tried to make our own sodas and ended up putting in so much citric acid we were stuck on the floor laughing with cheek cramps.

The soda really lacked any kind of carbonation at all, this seems to be a common theme in these different flavoured Fantas (different flavoured Fanta in Australia means anything that isn’t orange). Just give me some good bubbly soda that isn’t just like drinking a sweet syrup.

A really lacklustre soda overall, despite a cool range of cans (this one included) Fanta really needs to make some changes before I become a fan.

38/100

-DM

Available at Central Grocery .

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tasmanian Holiday Sodas



A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I went to Tasmania for the weekend. The trip was her birthday present to me for my 22nd birthday (what a gal!), and in between exploring all that Tasmania has in the way of beautiful scenery, food etc, I managed to sample a few of the Apple Isle’s carbonated offerings. For anyone who isn’t aware (overseas readers??), Tasmania is a small island just south of mainland Australia, can be accessed by ferry or airplane (we chose the latter), and is a state of Australia with a population of around 500,000. Tasmania was once home to the fabled Thylacine aka Tasmanian Tiger, is currently home to the Tasmanian Devil (which looks less like the Looney Toon and more like a snarling dog/wombat hybrid. We only saw one the entire trip, ran out onto the road in front of our hire car, thankfully it escaped the incident unscathed). The capital city is Hobart, and this is where we stayed. Enough geography for now, onto the sodas...


Spuma Bionda



Cryptically described on the (fairly impressive) soft drink menu at the Hobart restaurant we ate at on our first night as “a little like a ‘drinkable’ creaming soda??”. I still don’t understand what was meant by this, all I can come up with is that the author confused cream soda with spiders/floats?? Nevertheless, this was the first soda that I drank on our trip, and by far the best.

This is an excellent tasting soda. Golden in colour, and with a charmingly retro-looking logo, I knew I was in for a treat the second I saw it.

The flavour is a light brown-cream soda taste, almost like cream soda mixed 50/50 with lemonade. I love cream soda, and I love Spuma Bionda, but the thing that sets it far above the back of creaming sodas vying for the soda-drinking public’s love and consumption is the sweetness level. Unlike many sodas, which mask a bland or unpleasant taste with near-saturation levels of sugar, Spuma Bionda is pleasantly un-sweet. Not to say that it lacks sweetness at all, but the subtle, tasteful level of this soda is something of a rarity and a large part of the reason, I think, why I like it so much.

Having had only a mouthful since returning to Melbourne, I can’t really remember any specifics regarding carbonation, aftertaste and the like, but considering that I bought 3 or 4 more bottles of the stuff over the remaining two and a half days of our stay, I think it goes without saying that I was at the very least satisfied with these aspects of Spuma Bionda as well.

Spuma Bionda(did I mention it is Italian?) apparently translates to ‘the foam blonde’ (although the label features a brunette). There were two other sodas manufactured by the same company (Paoletti) with similar logos, a lemonade and a chinotto. Enamoured as I was (am) with Spuma Bionda I didn’t try either of these two, and I figured that if Hobart had them in such abundance then Melbourne (which unless my geography is wrong is actually slightly closer to Italy) must be swimming in bottles of the stuff. Not so- although I haven’t looked too deeply, I haven’t seen a single bottle since I got back, save for the one I brought back with me. However, a little bit of research has revealed that a company in North Melbourne- Sapori International - imports the three sodas mentioned so far in this review as well as a number of others. They can be contacted via the link above.

87/100


Tasmanian Chilli Beer Company

I got these two sodas, along with a few different ginger beers (I hate ginger beer, gave one to Darcy who may review it in the future, my girlfriend drank the other- also made by Tasmanian Chilli Beer Company- and as far as I can tell she enjoyed it), from Salamanca market. Tasmanian Chilli Beer Co. had a tent set up amongst the sea of body wash/knick-knack/book stalls where they offered free tastings and sales. From memory there was another flavour available aside from these two and the Ginger beer, can’t remember what it was and I guess the fact that I didn’t buy it must mean something. Apologies for the terrible quality of the following photographs.


Raspberry sparkling



Smells very strong of raspberries, the real thing not flavour, “Organic Tasmanian Raspberries” are the third listed ingredient (after water and sugar), when we bought these the woman emphasised that the berries were grown locally and organic, seems to be the case for most boutique beers/sodas/foods etc these days.

Completely devoid of fizz, however the fact that ‘sparkling’ makes up 50% of the name leads me to believe that this is due to the fact that it was carted all around Hobart in a backpack, taken inside the pressurised interior of an airplane and across state borders rather than a lack of fizz when manufactured. From memory the liquid in the shotglass sampler we tried before buying these sodas was carbonated but as to the level I cannot say, buy one yourself if you really must know.

The taste is a little more subtle than the smell, pleasant but nothing to rave about. I guess it just tastes like raspberry cordial (this likeness is increased by the lack of fizz), although the “hint of chilli” is a nice touch, creating a sensation much like the ‘zing’ of ginger beer- a tiny, tiny kick right as the drink is swallowed, creating a highpoint that the aftertaste (not that great- tasting like the drink itself but with the ratio of raspberry flavour to chilli flavour flipped) creeps out from under.

Not an amazing soda, would definitely have benefited from being fizzy (my fault not Tasmanian Chilli Beer Co’s). Chilli is an interesting and unique touch, all natural for you health nerds.

58/100



Lime Sparkling




My first impression is that it smells like ginger beer- a bad sign. The taste is like an overly-strong lime cordial (the kind that comes in a glass bottle, not Cottees), especially bad in the aftertaste which is about 2x as strong as it should be. This lime kick overrides the chilli kick which is probably for the best considering that the lime is so strong.

Didn’t finish the bottle, barely got below the neck, not for me. After drinking even this small amount I got an acute belly-ache, possibly from the chilli (I drunk the two Tas Chilli Beer Co. drinks back-to-back, with about an hour or so in between), or possibly from the fact that anything above moderate sugar consumption has made me feel ill lately.

Similarly un-fizzy, for the same reasons I’m sure.
If you really, really love lime (Muller I’m looking at you) then I’d say give this a go, otherwise stick to the raspberry or, better yet, go for a walk and find a place that stocks Spuma Bionda.

44/100



Spuma Bionda was the clear winner of the trip, I cannot stress enough how great of a drink it is. I’ll definitely be looking into where I can get it in Melbourne (will post any details I find on the blog), and I suggest that anyone serious about soda in general and especially creaming sodas do anything they can to get their hands on a bottle.

-LC

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hansen's Mandarin Lime


First up, this can lists some pretty interesting facts you don’t normally get on a soda; no caffeine (fine with me), no preservatives (good work), no sodium (I have no idea what this does, probably a good thing?) and all natural flavours (makes me think of a lemon sparkling mineral water or something but alright let’s do it).

As far as I know all Hansen’s Natural Sodas are clear which I think is really cool. A see-through soda is just really exciting and not often done, especially in Australia. It has the exact smell of sour mandarin gummys, which are pretty close to real mandarins, it’s a delicious smell and my mouth is watering again now thinking about it.

The taste starts off with a strong burst of mandarin, it’s really tasty and true to the real fruit. The flavour then moves towards lime which is really good too but more like soda lime flavour than real lime flavour. The flavour overall is fairly light, verging on lacking, but this means it is really refreshing. It wasn’t too sweet or syrupy and went down easy. There was no real aftertaste either which I don’t mind, again it means it was a lot more refreshing and doesn’t leave any thick taste in your throat.

The more I think about this soda the more I like it, the flavour was so tasty and the light refreshing bit was something that I have really been craving after the thick, sweet drinks that we are constantly exposed to. The all natural approach is a plus too and I can’t wait to try all their flavours. Is it too early to suggest that Hansen’s is the news Jones?

91/100

-DM

Available at Munchies & More Coburg.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crush Orange


The bottle is a beautiful dark amber in colour, shaped like a rocketship or a building out of The Jetsons or something- retro-futuristic, very very nice. Sadly the tacky Crush logo is slapped right in the middle, almost but not quite ruining the rest. Like Thums up, Limca, EGB, and possibly a bunch of others, this bottle is Indian in origin and of the ‘drink and return’-type. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the concept, from what I understand once the soda is drunk the bottle is returned to where it was purchased to be sent back to the company, where it is cleaned and refilled. Often the bottle will show evidence of multiple uses in the form of scuffs etc, pretty cool. I always feel bad after drinking one of these and having nowhere to return it to. Yes I recycle it, but that’s nothing compared to the kind of recycling that it would have in store for it if consumed in India- while here it will be washed, melted down with a bunch of other glass bottles and other assorted rubbish and turned into god knows what post-consumer piece of garbage, in its homeland it would be washed, refilled, recapped and put straight back onto the shelf.

The soda itself is very orange, Fanta-coloured I guess, and smells pretty similar. Pleasantly fizzy. The taste surprised me- I was expecting to write a sentence-long review that either said ‘tastes like Fanta’ (thus awarding the drink a score somewhere between 60 and 70) or ‘tastes like Pakola Orange’ (giving the drink 7 or even a zero for the added lack of originality)- Crush Orange, however, sits somewhere in the middle of those too, although thankfully more like Fanta than Pakola Orange.

The initial taste of the drink is fairly flat and a leaning towards that of an orange sports drink (though heavily carbonated) or cheap supermarket orange soda, however the sweet lemony aftertaste (which kicks in pretty quickly, depending on how fast you swallow) is delicious, and saves the drink from being yet another sub-par entry to the orange soda market (which, to be honest, has got to be nearing saturation point). The aftertaste is slightly bitter, which is a negative in this case, and in most cases in fact. A bottle-full disappeared pretty quickly, I didn’t moan with pleasure after every mouthful but it went down pretty smooth and was refreshing and light.

Overall not too bad, I wouldn’t go seeking it out but if you stumble across it somewhere (and that somewhere doesn’t sell Pakola Ice Cream Soda) then by all means give it a go.

Post-review research led me to discover that Crush do a bunch of other flavours including, aside from more the traditional ones, blue raspberry, chocolate(!!), ‘fruity red’, sour peach, strawberries and cream, wild cherry and loads of other flavours. Expect to see more from Crush on these pages very soon.

58/100

-LC

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pakola Fresh Lime


The Pakola brand seems to have pretty heinous can design right across the board (their Lychee and Orange designs are particularly bad) but their Cream Soda has given me a blind faith in the whole range that means I am willing to try to enjoy all their flavours no matter how bad they look.

This one smells and tastes a little more like real lime than your average lime soda but I am stll yet to find a lime flavoured soft drink that lives up to my love of real lime. If someone could capture the taste of biting into a lime wedge, that would be the soda for me. The taste is fairly light and refreshing, definately suits the flavour. There is something a little gluggy that sticks in your throat and stays in the aftertaste. Maybe its the sodium as a preservative doing this? Ah fuck it, I don't know what sodium is or does so I won't pretend to, all I know is that something isn't right. They did get the carbonation right, perfect little bubbles that don't make you need to burp to save your own life from bloat like some cheap sodas have.

Overall this soda is pretty tasty and refreshing but nothing too special. One day someone will make my ultimate lime soda, or I will make it myself.

68/100

-DM

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Limca Lemon-Lime


Imagine combining discount-store lemon dishwashing liquid and the powder on the outside of Warheads candy; Imagine Combining Lift, liquid hand-soap and baking soda; Imagine hating yourself enough to drink an entire 400-odd mLs of this. If memory serves, Limca was purchased by Darcy, so I wonder, how’d I end up having to drink this horrible stuff? Tastes like a cheap lemon lolly, with the texture of talcum powder.

1/100

-LC

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coming Soon

Just a quick note about some upcoming posts we have. We will be doing a megapost about once a month, these will take in a few sodas in one post that are all of a certain series or flavour. The ones we have in the works at the moment are:

- Mountain Dew Megahaul
- Root Beer Roundup
- The Great Sarsparilla Swindle
- Tasmania Compilation
- The Bickfords Collection

The first one of these will be up soon. We will also be putting one new post up each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from now on.

- The Wizards Of Fizz

Thums Up


This is one of the Coca-Cola owned companies that runs out of India, apparently it does pretty well over there but maybe their cola flavour just doesn’t translate. First up the bottle is great and the logo is even better, some big soda companies (Pepsi) could learn a thing or two from the graphic designers at Thums Up. Also, one law that I live by is “everything tastes better out of a glass bottle” so going by aesthetics alone I had high hopes for this one. Too bad it couldn’t hold up it’s end of the bargain.

The smell of this is like a mix between cola nut and human excrement, maybe the excrement of someone who eats a lot of cola nuts. From the look of it, I thought this soda might have had little to no carbonation, I also suspected it may have been sitting on the shelf for months. Turns out this soda is over-carbonated, hundreds of gassy little bubbles that made me burp a lot, hurt my tongue and made me feel sick.

The taste was really unpleasant, a cola nut cola (like Phoenix) gone wrong. It tastes horribly artificial, as bad as diet soda and leaves a shitty taste in the back of your throat. The aftertaste sticks around for a long time, a fermenting artificial sweetener taste and hints of the human excrement flavour are back.

Thums down (sorry had to do it).

22/100

-DM

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Welch's Strawberry


This can does look appealing, it does look like candy and it does look like the drink tastes but man is it pink. It’s not just a little bit pink, its “verging on being too embarrassing for a man to be seen drinking so I almost just bought grape flavour instead” pink.

The smell is really sweet but appealing. The taste is pretty much the same, a very sweet strawberry flavour that is really tangy and biting. The bubbles are small and very fizzy which I prefer. It tastes like the goo inside of a strawberry freddo frog in soda form. I would definitely call it a dessert soda, I wouldn’t recommend it for a summers day, unless you like your summer full of inflamed stomachs and sugar headaches.

Like a lot of overly sweet sodas, having it ice cold saves it from becoming a thick sugary syrup but the aftertaste gets kind of goopy after a little while regardless. It is perfect as a sweet dessert soda but hard to get through a whole can, I would suggest sharing it.

78/100

-DM

Available at Wellbeing Korean Grocery.

Pampa Tamarind


I had no idea what a tamarind was, so I did a little bit of research (I looked it up on wikipedia) and here’s what I came up with:

The tamarind, sometimes called the ‘Indian date’ is indigenous to tropical Africa, in particular Sudan, and also grows along the mountains facing the Arabian Peninsula as well as in Northern Australia, South East Asia, Taiwan, and China. It was introduced to Mexico and South America in the 16th century. The tree itself grows to between 12 and 18 metres high, with bright green leaves all year round. The flowers are small, and the five petals are yellow with either orange or red streaks. The fruit of the tamarind tree (a legume) is between 12 and 15 cm long and has a hard, brown shell. Inside this hard shell is typically 1 to 12 seeds (varying plant to plant as well as country to country) and a juicy flesh that is reddish-brown when mature. Tamarind is an ingredient of Worcestershire and HP sauce.

Considering this was my first encounter with tamarind flavour I’m in no position to describe how accurate Pampa Tamarind is, sufficed to say if tamarinds taste like a fairly bland combination of caramel and weak, flat cola then hats off to Pampa for capturing this in liquid form. I guess this soda does taste kind of like a date, just nowhere near as delicious. The aftertaste is pleasant in that it doesn’t stick around too long or suddenly go nasty, however the whole soda is thick and fairly unpleasant.

The bottle shape is nice and relatively unique, the Pampa logo is cool and the purple, red and white of the bottle work well with the black of its contents.

Overall this soda isn’t too bad, it’s just not amazing and the bland flavour coupled with the thickness of the soda means I probably won’t ever drink this again, although I would be pretty keen to try a real tamarind.

52/100

-LC

Available at Amir Bakery Brunswick and other Lebanese grocers/restaurants.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jones Green Apple


As Darcy mentioned in his earlier post on their Cherry soda, Jones have some pretty far-out flavours. Although at the moment unavailable to Australians (as far as I know?), and probably pretty disgusting/a terrible waste of $4.50, I can’t help but get excited when I hear about ‘holiday’-themed flavours like turkey/tofurky and gravy, brussels sprouts (!!), xmas ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, candy cane, pumpkin pie and a score of others. None of this matters, however, if the soda in question, that is Jones Green Apple, is shit, and I’m happy to report that not only was it not shit, but it was very, very tasty.

The smell is very sour, with just a hint of green apple flavour poking through. The bright green colouring had me prepared for a very artificial apple flavour, something along the lines of sour apple hard candy. This was not the case; the drink was closer to an apple cider, with a hint of that artificial ‘apple’ flavour. The sourness of this soda sits at an absolutely perfect level. Without any of the Warheads-like pucker or unpleasant sensation that comes with some sourness, this soda still managed to be very sour. Although fairly light on fizz, due to the sourness (from citric acid as far as I can tell) this soda tingled on my tongue as I drank it. When drinking, the very first sensation is the tongue-tingling sourness, which lasts for just a second and is quickly followed by the very pleasant apple flavour of the drink, merging with the aftertaste and eventually fading away to nothing.

Sometimes when I drink too much apple juice (which I do quite often, it doesn’t take much) I get a bellyache- although I only had one bottle (but how I wished I could’ve had more!), there was none of that here. Unlike a lot of apple-flavoured drinks and ciders, this drink was not excessively sweet, and likewise the apple flavour was subtle enough that I could’ve easily cracked another bottle after finishing with this one.

This was a pleasure to drink, and I’m excited to try more of the flavours Jones has on offer. I’d love to try a ‘red apple’ flavoured soda from Jones in the future, and while this doesn’t exist yet it’s surely only a matter of time.

92/100

-LC

Available at Sugar Station.

The Groovy Taste Root Beer


I really like the look of this can, a bold move going for the mainly black look, its pretty eye-catching and doesn’t remind me of Coke Zero too much. It’s still got the overflowing mug of creamy root beer design which seems to be a staple of the root beer genre.

The best thing about this is that this soda tastes exactly like what that picture on the can looks like. Actually it tastes like what the creamy mess in the middle of this amazing ad looks like. It is like a milky root beer float. It has a nice ice creamy aftertaste too. I have found that root beers either have a creamy nice aftertaste like this one or a kind of biting bitter aftertaste. I don't think the latter is the sign of a shitty soda, it seems more like a choice so who am I to judge? Well... I'm a soda reviewer that’s who, and I say creamy aftertaste rules. I did notice that about half an hour after finishing this soda the bitter taste finally emerged and stuck around in my throat for another hour, the taste was far from groovy.

Whilst it didn't have the deep flavour of Sioux City Root Beer (review to come shortly) it was definitely one of the best I have had, creamy and delicious. If it wasn't for that bitter after-after-after-taste then this would have scored even higher.

68/100

-DM

Available at Central Grocery, Melbourne Central and other various Asian grocers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

F&N Cool Ice Cream Soda


I couldn’t wait any longer to do this review, the can had been sitting in my fridge for nearly a week and catching my eye every time I looked in there. This soda just looks so damn refreshing, the cool blue and white just does it to me, I feel relaxed and hydrated just looking at it, but something about judging books and covers means its time to drink it.

The smell is pretty standard cream soda fare but the taste really takes it to the next level. It has a really creamy, vanilla ice cream flavour that makes it taste like a float. It also has a biting strong fizz that I really like, just heaps of little bubbles. This might not be perfect for those who like the less fizzy, sparkling mineral water style bubbles but I loved it. The milky flavour wasn’t overbearing and was still really cool and refreshing (like the can promised). The flavour moves on pretty quickly though and doesn’t leave much of an aftertaste or anything lasting.

The soda loses marks because as it got a little warmer the taste deteriorated pretty quickly, it just didn’t work well not being ice cold. Lucky it is easy to drink and you should be able to smash it down quickly but I would definitely suggest having it really cold.

Overall the taste of the soda is great, a proper creamy soda that is still refreshing. This is another success for a sugar-sweetened soda that leaves me wondering why they ever use high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar tastes way better and doesn’t leave shit all over your tongue. As I said, have it ice cold or you might struggle to get through a can but on the whole a delicious soda.

76/100

-DM

Available at Central Grocery, Melbourne Central and other various Asian grocers.

Pakola Orange


Pakola Cream Soda is probably my favourite soda of all time. See elsewhere on this blog for a full review, but basically it’s a delicious blending of traditional Cream Soda with the floral taste of rose water, a really really great soda.

This offering, however, shares little with Pakola Cream Soda, and aside from a pleasant level of fizz I can find nothing to recommend Pakola Orange, a huge disappointment.

The smell of the soda is strong, like orange medicine. The can is very orange, and the soda is the same colour. The soda tastes a lot like how it smells, pretty much just a strong, sickly orange-flavour, more in line with medicine/multi-vitamins than other orange drinks. The texture is similarly unappealing, slightly gritty, like powdered sports-drink. Not only is the taste of the drink disgusting, but it leaves a gross feeling on the tongue. The aftertaste lasts for far too long, although to be honest the taste is so bad that every moment it sticks around after swallowing is pure agony.

I only finished a third of the can, and would’ve drunk even less if I hadn’t been planning on reviewing it.

7/100

-LC

Available at Hayat Hypermarket, Brunswick.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jones Cherry


So I have heard mixed things about Jones Soda, that they do some gimmicky type themed flavours, that they are all about the marketing, that their product doesn't stand up to the hype. I did a little more investigating for myself and found out the hard facts. They do a whole lot of limited run sodas, they change their label designs all the time, they use cane sugar they also let you design and buy your own labels. This may all sound like useless marketing bullshit but this time round, I don't mind. It's kind of hard to get Jones in Melbourne and at some point I might be jaded enough to turn down a casserole flavoured soda but for now I'm just gonna go with it and caught up in the whimsical world of Jones.

Asthetically, the bottle looks like what it is, a hip, independant soda company, complete with ever-changing black & white photo. The soda has a nice deep red colour and the whole package looks pretty damn good. It has the smell of a typical cherry drink, your average Cherry Coke type deal. All pretty standard issue so far, but wait, just wait for the taste my friends. The closest thing I can compare it to is some sort of musical symphony. It starts out quietly with barely any mouth taste then it builds into a crescendo of a flavour that is a mix between normal cherry soda flavour and real cherries, then the aftertaste takes over and slowly fades out to nothing over the next 25 seconds or so. No lingering taste, just an awesome experience. Then, just when you thought it was all over, just as the aftertaste has gone, my mouth starts watering, really wanting another mouthfull. I thought it must have been just because it was such a delicious drink that I wanted more, but then it happened again, and again. Just as the flavour fades my mouth starts watering and I desperately want another drink. I don't know what kind of crack Jones is putting in their soda but I don't care because it certainly makes for a tasty beverage.

This was one of the best sodas I have tasted in my life thus far and I've only had one bottle but I'm a full blown Jones soda convert. I can't wait to taste more.

91/100

-DM

Available at Sugar Station.

Fanta Fruit Punch


The fairly hideous can depicts what are presumably the flavours that make up Fanta’s take on fruit punch- an oddly proportioned pineapple, half-orange and a bunch of bananas.

The smell when the can is cracked is very much like candy bananas. The soda itself (inexplicably dark green) tastes like a toned-down banana lolly, not as strong as the smell, mixed with a little bit of brown cream-soda, and reminds me a little of bubblegum flavour. The taste and smell of this soda is decidedly artificial, and a quick look at the ingredients list confirms that the only fruit in this punch is on the can.

For the first few sips I was really enjoying this soda, however after just a few more I was finding it hard to continue. Although the flavour is good, really good, it is far too strong, and drinking the whole can was a struggle. I don’t want to be beaten over the head by a flavour, or battle to finish a single can.

The soda was excessively sweet, far too thick and syrupy. Aftertaste was affected as well, leaving a lingering sweetness without any traces of the delicious banana/bubblegum of the drink itself. This sweetness lasted for minutes after I finished the can, and was a fairly unpleasant reminder of an otherwise fairly forgettable soda.

Had I been drinking this soda purely for enjoyment, I doubt that I would have finished the can. The overly-strong flavour and excessive sweetness made for a thick and punishing drinking experience, which is a shame considering that the flavour itself is pretty tasty. Don’t bother with this soda.

52/100

-LC

Available at Central Grocery, Melbourne Central and other various Asian grocers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Schweppes Grapefruit


The smell of this soda is spot-on, almost as if you had just cut a real grapefruit in half, and the characteristic sourness is here in a fairly realistic quantity.

The taste is less faithful, far sweeter and all but lacking the sourness that the smell promised, but still pretty great. This soda tastes a whole lot like Lift (which it resembles in appearance to a T) or other lemon-flavoured sodas, with a roughly equal amount of Grapefruit flavour alongside the lemon. Like most lemon sodas, this drink is fairly light, fairly bubbly, and definitely refreshing.

While the sourness is much weaker than the smell led me to expect, it is not entirely absent and in fact the sourness level is very pleasant, if maybe a little too weak for my liking. In place of the sourness, Schweppes have opted to up the sweetness of the drink, and while compared to Lift etc this drink is relatively light-on sweetness wise, I wish that it was just a little less sweet and a little more sour.

The can looks great, fairly basic and uncluttered, nice colours and an appealing design. I’d go so far as to call it ‘classy’.

I really, really like this soda, but wish that the sourness of Grapefruit had been emphasised over the sweetness.

78/100

-LC

Available at Central Grocery, Melbourne Central and other various Asian grocers.

Diet Black Cherry Shasta


I think when I first spotted this soda I was distracted by its amazing 80s style can design and black cherry flavour when I should have noticed a few (really noticeable) red flags on the can.

1. DIET in huge letters. After this I feel like imposing a blanket “no diet” rule on all future reviews. Still never had a diet soda I have enjoyed.

2. Flavoured with Splenda. I suppose there is worse stuff that you could put in a drink but this makes for a heinous aftertaste.

3. Caffeine Free. Not that this is really a problem but coupled with the other things listed above, it doesn’t help, the least this soda could do is give me a kick to give me the energy to reach for the noose like you invariably want to do after downing this stuff. Harsh. Probably undeserved.

So you probably get the feeling that I don’t like the soda, in truth it’s not sooo bad, but its definitely not good either. It’s just bland, with no outstanding flavours, pretty much just Diet Coke in cherry flavour. At first crack, the smell is really good, a nice strong cherry scent. After tasting it though, the cherry flavour is really weak, more of a “with a hint of cherry” than a standalone cherry drink. The only thing I could taste through the whole drink was that typical chemical diet soda taste, every diet soda has it, foul and artificial. It hides while your actually drinking but then sneaks up on you right after, and stays FOREVER.

Overall this soda feels like something good (a black cherry soda) shrouded in a lot of bad (shitty diet chemicals, splenda). I wouldn't buy this again I will judge everyone who does.

38/100

-DM

Available at Bargain Depot Supermarket, Brunswick.