Thursday 24 September 2009


OranginaMade by: Schweppes International Ltd (under licence)

Origin: UK

Orangina was formulated in 1933 by a Spanish chemist from Valencia. It's original name was 'Naranjina', and it became famous for the iconic design of its 25cl/250ml glass bottles. These are teardrop shaped, and have a mottled texture that resembles the surface of citrus fruit.

Orangina is a pale, matt yellow colour with a deeper orange hue that develops towards the rim of the glass. It contains a small amount of orange fruit pulp, and the lively carbonation soon settles down when the drink is poured into the glass.

On the nose the aroma of sweet, dilute fresh orange juice is quickly lost in a tangle of other citrus notes, with grapefruit and lemon just about distinguishable.

For a brief moment on the palate the light orange flavour is tangy and refreshing. But the balance is swiftly hijacked by the sharper flavours of grapefruit and lemon. The bitterness of orange zest adds an unexpected hollow quality (reminds me of soda water), before a short finish disperses to leave a metallic note in the aftertaste.

Packaging claims: No added artificial flavourings, colours or sweeteners, with real orange pieces, shake it to wake it, natural and authentic taste of oranges with real fruit pieces, if spilt this product may stain

Ingredients: Carbonated water, orange juice and other citrus juices from concentrate 12% (orange 10%, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin), sugar, orange pulp (2%), orange zest extract, natural flavourings

Price: Should be about £0.70-£0.80 for a 330ml can, widely available

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Pocari Sweat

Pocari SweatMade by: Dong-A Otsuka Co Ltd

Origin: Japan

Imported into the UK: tbc

Pocari Sweat is a Japanese soft drink that was first launched in 1980. The drink aims to rehydrate the body, replacing both the water and balance of electrolytes (salt ions) lost through perspiration. For this reason it is popular with sports and health enthusiasts.

Pocari Sweat is faintly translucent, with a pale off-white colour. It is non-sparkling and has a wide watery rim as the colour fades towards the edge of the glass.

The nose opens on a lemony note and quickly takes up residence in the pharmacy: The powdery fizz of Alka-Seltzer, followed by the citrus of soluble Disprin tablets. There is an interesting grassy, peppery quality.

On the palate Pocari Sweat is round and salty sweet, with the initial lemon flavour becoming very briny. That grassy pepper note surfaces again, and there is a chalky texture to follow (think again of soluble aspirins). The drink finishes cleanly, albeit with a trace of citrus and salt in the aftertaste.

Packaging claims: Ion supply drink

Ingredients: Water, sugar, fructose, grape juice, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium lactate, magnesium carbonate, flavour

Price: Should be about £0.80-£0.90 for a 245ml can, available from specialist retailers

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Pulpy C Lychee Drink

Pulpy C Lychee DrinkMade by: Pokka Corp (under licence)

Origin: Japan

Imported into the UK: tbc

Pulpy C is a still juice drink containing a fine pulp of lychee fruit, as well as a measure of lychee jelly 'flakes' that sink to the bottom of the glass when the drink is poured out. It is a translucent off-white in colour, and the colour fades to a watery rim at the edge of the glass.

Sweet and typically scented on the nose, there are aromas of freshly peeled lychees, white grape juice and peaches.

The palate is lightweight, but broadly consistent, with a grain of black pepper detected beneath the lychee and grape flavours. The lychee jelly 'flakes' add a light texture to the ensemble, before a short finish.

Packaging claims: None

Ingredients: Water, sugar, lychee juice, gelling agent (E401), citric acid, ascorbic acid, calcium phosphate, flavouring

Price: Should be about £0.70 for a 240ml can, available from specialist retailers

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Sabor Tropical

Made by: Baloru SA (under licence)

Origin: Ecuador

Imported into the UK: (tbc- sample bought in Spain)

This sparkling drink from Ecuador is a vibrant pink colour. It is clear and bright, and there is a purple hue that develops towards the rim of the glass.

The nose brings together an unusual combination of aromas: Parma Violet sweets and cream soda (a blend of strawberry syrup and vanilla essence). The combined effect is uncannily familiar: Vimto, along with cherry-flavoured 'Tunes' cough sweets.

There is undoubted sweet-toothed appeal on the palate, where candied flavours of cream soda and bubblegum provide the entertainment. A blackcurrant note (think of dilute Ribena) finds its way in there, before the drink ends in a short, sweet finish.

Packaging claims: Flavour of Ecuador, pure National flavour, the original since 1952, carbonated soft drink with extracts

Ingredients: Water, sugar, citric acid (E330), preservative: Sodium benzoate (E211), flavours 0.21% (tropical and strawberry), colour (E129)

Price: Should be about €0.80/ £0.70 for a 330ml can. Availability in the UK tbc

Tuesday 8 September 2009

T.A.S. Mangosteen juice drink

T.A.S. Mangosteen juice drinkMade by: Vara Food & Drink Co Ltd

Origin: Thailand

Imported into the UK: TRS Wholsale Co Ltd

The purple mangosteen is the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree that is thought to have originated in Indonesia and is commonly found across Southeast Asia. Mangosteens are known as the 'Queen of fruits' and are believed to have cooling (Yin) properties that counter the heat & humidity of the tropics.

This mangosteen juice drink is an off-white cloudy colour and contains a fine fruit puree (reminds me of pear juice). It is non sparkling, with pale yellow highlights and a watery rim at the edge of the glass. When opened and poured out, fine bubbles appear at the edge of the liquid, although these cannot be detected on the palate.

On the nose it is aromatic, fresh and appetisingly fruity. The aromas alternate between ripe Comice pear and nectarine. We also detected notes of lychee, and there is a creamy vanilla quality to this (think of a fresh custard).

What follows on the palate is lighter by comparison, with fresh pear juice flavours, plenty of sweetness and a milky, round texture in the mouth. A blackcurrant note emerges, followed by a gentle citrus tang (akin to pear drops), before the drink ends in a short, clean finish.

Packaging claims: None

Ingredients: Water, mangosteen puree (10%), cane sugar

Price: Should be about £0.80 for a 310ml can, from specialist retailers

Thursday 3 September 2009

San Pellegrino L'Aranciata Dolce

San Pellegrino L'Aranciata DolceMade by: San Pellegrino SpA

Origin: Italy

Imported into the UK: Nestle Waters UK Ltd

This variant from the San Pellegrino stable is produced for the Italian market. An impressive deep pink in colour, it is lightly sparkling, with the colour fading to a salmon pink at the edge of the glass.

The nose opens with a scent of fresh navel oranges. The addition of 'squeezed' orange peel adds a few drops of zest. There is a tangy quailty here, with a combination of sweet (ripe) and sour or potentially bitter notes, that's altogether mouthwatering.

The palate is lighter and softer however, following the nose with a flavour of sweet, fresh navel oranges. This then develops in a candied strawberry direction (think of soft 'Chewit' sweets). There is a drop of lemony sherbet to add a gentle tang, before a short, clean finish.

Packaging claims: New with +30% more orange juice, no preservatives

Ingredients: Water, orange juice (15.6%), sugar, carbon dioxide, flavourings, acidity regulator: citric acid, antioxidant: L-ascorbic acid, colourings: E110, E122

Price: Should be about £0.70 for a 330ml can, from specialist retailers

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Rodeo Energy Drink

Rodeo Energy DrinkMade by: Menken Drinks BV

Origin: Holland

Imported into the UK: (tbc- sample bought in Spain)

Rodeo is a golden yellow coloured, lightly sparkling energy drink. There is an unusal green tint to the colour when the drink is poured out and examined in the light.

The nose is enticing and rich, with a combination of vanilla essence and strawberry bubblegum (think of a cream soda), plus a warmer orangey herb note. It suggests sweetness but isn't cloying or heavy.

The palate is almost salty sweet at the outset, with attractive flavours like elderflower and apple making a juicy, positive impact. These give way slowly to the 'cream soda' combination of strawberries and vanilla.

For all its suggested sweetness, Rodeo maintains a good acidity and balanced feel in the mouth, with intense flavours that linger on the finish. It manages to be both mouthwatering and toothsome at the same time.

Packaging claims: Contains taurine; caffeinated drink; fortified with vitamins

Ingredients: Water, sugar, dextrose-fructose syrup, food acid: citric acid, taurine (0.4%), acidity regulator: sodium citrate, glucuronolactone (0.24%), flavouring, colouring: caramel (E150b), caffeine (0.032%), inositol, vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B2, B12)

Price: Should be about €0.35/£0.30 per 250ml can. Availability in the UK tbc