The Taste of Reckoning

I’ve been waiting to review Appletieser for some time and now that sometime is Friday afternoon. In the past, I’ve been blocked by cost-prohibition and the fact that the first time I tried ordering it, Amazon sent me Grapetiser. If you haven’t read that post, yet, go do it. Now.

I found a shop in Los Angeles that sells Appletiser by the can at $2.95. That doesn’t seem like a lot, and in reality it’s about on par with some of the other beverages I purchased. The downside was shipping. It was $12 to send the can roughly 400 miles up the coast of California. I suppose this was still cheaper than driving down there and buying it in person.

When it arrived, I had to let it chill for a bit. UPS trucks don’t have A/C so I hope the fact that it was rather warm when it arrived hasn’t spoiled it.

At first smell, I notice the plesant apple scent followed by… pasta? It’s super subtle, though and might be something else masquerading as something starchy.

At first taste, I’m plesantly surprised. With how Grapetiser turned out, I was expecting Appletiser to fall somewhere in the tastes like cat litter spectrum. I’m sorry I doubted you, Appletiser.

The flavor is subtle and definitely doesn’t match the intensity of an American sparkling apple juice. This likely has to do with the different and less added sugar. I’d bet they use green apples in this beverage and if you’re an apple eater, you know they’re not super sweet but rather tart. It’s as if they took straight pressed apple juice and carbonated it. Nothing fancy.

Plus, there’s no aftertaste. This was something I was genuinely worried about and am happy to know it’s not making an appearance.

Being crisp and fresh without looking gaudy or over the top in packaging is nice to experience. It’s fancy without being fancy, and it seems to be popular enough that people drink it in multiple countries. Judging the packaging by itself, there’s some room for improvement. The can looks very similar to Grapetiser and I wasn’t a huge fan in that camp, either.

Would I drink this again? Probably. Would I pay $12 for a can? Definitely not. If I ever travel to a country that sells it, I’ll definitely be sure to grab some.


Forget How to Spell with Irn Bru

Is that jello and pasta sauce, I smell?

Following up my Lucozade review, I went straight into number two with Irn Bru in my International Beverage Bonanza series. I kid you not, that’s how to spell it. I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced Iron Brew. I think the lack of iron makes you forget how to spell properly.

Irn Bru is in a rather unassuming clear bottle, looking more like a 16oz soda than a carbonated citrus drink with 5% of your daily recommended amount of iron. Unlike the last orange beverage thing I tried, this one has some flavor. Some odd flavor.

Remember, as a kid, when the dentist put fluoride in your mouth to poison your mind for your teeth and you got to pick a flavor? Yeah. This brings back those memories. While I wondered for 20 minutes what Lucozade tasted like, I have no doubts what Irn Bru is trying to get after. Ever drink orange gelatin before it set?

I really hate that I’m making myself drink 12 oz of this mind-altering fluoride water bubble juice. I’m having a really hard time figuring this drink out. The flavor is so crazy compared to how innocuous it looks.

Then again, as a kid, I always wanted more of the tasty fluoride foam so the Illuminati could become supreme overlords I could get more of that orange flavor. As I drink it, it’s becoming addicting. Irn Bru is a British Scottish drink that’s lying to me, you, to the Queen, and to all of Her Majesty’s KingdomTM. The latter half is fine because of its Scottish roots; I hear the Scots have some beef with England.

If I took the wrapper off and told someone it was a new kind of Crush orange soda, they’d believe me.

Did I mention the spelling? Oh, I did. I’ll just get back to drinking it.

Besides the 5% DV of iron per serving, there’s little nutritional value. At 200 calories, 50 carbs (100% of which is sugar), and a measly 20mg of Sodium, this is true sugar water.

One thing worth noting here is Irn Bru found in the United States contains different ingredients than the UK version. The UK version uses Ponceau 4R (Europe: E-124) for coloring, a coloring not approved by the United Stated Food and Drug Administration for use in food, where as the US version uses FD&C Yellow Number 6 (Also known as Sunset Yellow FCF; Europe: E-110). Like anything FD&C is much better, right?

Barr’s has made a legit attempt to make sure Irn Bru is as US legit as possible. It comes with a North American UPC label and everything.

Taste – 2/10. The logical side of me is having a hard time with this flavor. Seven-year-old me is metaphorically losing his mind. If my inner child were writing this review, it would be a 10/10.

Presentation – 5/10. The package screams “Meh!” and Irn Bru’s bland packaging is definitely hiding something. In the right light, the liquid looks like dark urine. Take that for what it’s worth.

Desire – 2/10. Again, like the taste, adult Johnathan is nearing repulsion. Seven-year-old me is now spazzing out.

Overall – 9/30. If you’re over the age of seven, don’t even think about it. The exception is those who drink jello before it sets or they have odd fixations with funky-ass citrus flavors.

I picked this one up at the Aussie Products store for a few bucks but it can be had online in many places, including Amazon and UK Goods.

Special thanks to Aussie Products for the hookup on this one, even though I technically paid for it. If you’re in the San Jose, CA area and are feeling that down under tingle, go check them out or visit aussieproducts.com.


Get After it with Liquid Sugar and Lucozade Energy

If there’s one thing I’ll always try a new variant of, it’s an energy drink. As the inaugural post in my International Beverage Bonanza series, I think it’s incredibly appropriate (or not) to give the U.K.’s rocket-bottle-full-of-sugar the first chair. I’m cautiously optimistic.

At first glance, it feels like the 90s called, asked for their bottle back, and the Brits said: “nay, good sir!” The odd, rocket shape lends credence to the statement on the back which reads, and I quote:

Glucose. It’s for that moment, when you need it most. When the energy and good times flow. Whatever you do, do it with energy.

If that’s not a sexual innuendo, I don’t know what is. Translated into me speak: “Maximum Effort!”

With the added punctuation, I feel like it’s meant to be read as if I was out of breath. (So. Much. Energy. Must. Do. Things!)

A bigger bottle. So you can split the energy between friends.

I’m having a hard time figuring out a situation where two (probably and nonbiological) “bros” would decide to split a sugar missile. (sigh) Even just calling it a sugar missile makes the innuendos more… innuendo-y.

Tossing in some nutritional information that would make even the most passive hippie health coach vomit their kale chips (per bottle: 172g of carbs, 88g of sugar, 700 calories). I’m somewhat regretting the 12oz minimum rule. Ah, what the hell.

On first taste, it reminds me of partially flat, less flavorful Sprite. Then again, pretty much everywhere else in the world things have normal levels of taste. Us Americans can’t get enough of anything so we shovel all the tastiest crap we can find into our mouths. My taste buds have been tainted.

In other words, it doesn’t have an American level of flavor and I suspect is thusly not worthy of being an American beverage.

Besides that, it tastes fine. I’m having a hard time putting a real flavor profile down. It feels like a mix between orange and lemon with a hint of ginger ale. I don’t even know. I’m making stuff up at this point.

I’m getting the vibe that this is aimed at a younger audience with the bright red packaging and orange soda tint. If I gave this to you in a cup and said it was orange soda, you’d taste it and revolt.

After drinking it, my lips feel sticky. I suspect that’s the power of liquid sugar at work. Given the sugar content, maybe this beverage is more American than I thought.

I picked an odd beverage to start with, I’ll admit. That said, I don’t think it was a terrible choice. Here’s what I’d give it:

Taste – 6/10. It would have scored higher had it actually stuck to one flavor… literally any flavor. I imagine this is what people feel like when they drink a Red Bull and wonder what the hell…

Presentation – 4/10. The asthmatic punctuation bothers me and I think there are more bubbles on the package than in the beverage.

Desire – 6/10. It’s a light drink, and I’m a fan of that. I haven’t experienced what the raw sugar crash is going to be like but I suspect it’ll line up with that of Mountain Dew.

Overall – 16/30. This is pretty much a universal score for every energy beverage I’d ever consume. It’s nothing earth shattering but some folks seem to really dig it. I can understand that as a connoisseur of Red Bull.

If you’re dying to get some, look for a local import food store. If not, Amazon should be able to hook you up. I paid $15 for this bottle. Definitely better than lighting $15 on fire, but not by much.


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