Monday, August 3, 2009

Kirin Cola Shock

Wouldn't it be cool if "Cola Shock" involved actual shocking? I'm not talking about a cattle prod to the tongue or anything, but just enough of a juicy jolt to wake you up at the end of a long, hard day.

Unfortunately, there is no actual shocking of any kind involved in Kirin's Shock. And when I say none at all, I mean it. Kirin could be sued for false advertising if it operated in a country where that sort of thing happened. As it is, the Japanese are not litigious sorts, so Kirin can imply any sort of experience they like through misleading naming and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.

I do not drink alcohol of any sort, so you can thank my husband for the existence of this review. He came across this at the local 100 yen shop for about 100-150 yen ($1.05-$1.44), but he can't remember exactly. As an impulse buyer who doesn't write a snack blog, keeping costs in mind is not really a priority for him.

I did a sniff and sip of this just because I'm writing the review and I felt obliged to do so. If you knew how much I hate the smell and taste of most booze, you'd know I made a supreme sacrifice. When I opened the can, I got a strong scent of nondescript booziness. After pouring it into a glass and sniffing it, I mainly smelled the familiar bouquet of cheap cola drinks. I'm talking about the store brand stuff that no one likes and parents buy for kids who haven't yet developed a refined cola palate.

The taste was horrible to my tongue. It tasted like cola-flavored cough medicine. It seemed like someone mixed too strong cola syrup with some sort of alcohol and didn't carbonate it very much. This was decidedly on the flat side and I strongly prefer very bubbly drinks. However, to get a more reasonable sense of how tasty this was, I went with my husband's response. When I asked him if he'd buy it again, he laughed and said, "not even close." Even though he has drunk rum and Coke, wine, and beer and enjoyed them, he really didn't care for this. He said he couldn't taste the alcohol very much and it simply tasted like bad cola to him.

This is pretty terrible, and at 5% alcohol, it's not going to buzz you more than beer. It's also 224 calories per can which could be spent on something far more enjoyable. Obviously, I wouldn't recommend this because the only "shock" is that it's so awful.

As a side note, several bloggers who have seen this in shops and advertised in public spaces have done some hand-wringing about this in terms of marketing to minors. It clearly says on the can (in the sizable black box you can see on the picture above) that you must be 20 or older to buy this. In fact, it says it in two places and has the characters for "o-sake" (alcohol) on it in the white circle. Add to that the fact that many markets that sell alcoholic beverages have an alarm on the register which tells the check-out person when someone buys this sort of thing that they can't sell it to anyone under 20 and you can see that there's no attempt being made to trick people into thinking this is a soft drink.

And another note, Kirin has desktop pictures of their ads featuring a Japanese babe. If you're into that sort of thing, you can download the pictures here. One interesting point about these pictures is that I had to say that I was 20 or older to even gain access to the wallpapers. Kirin is clearly being careful, even if they are selling a horrible drink, so they deserve props for that.


Kelly said...

'Obviously, I wouldn't recommend this because the only "shock" is that it's so awful.'

haha, had to laugh at that comment.

Marvo said...

It sounds like an energy drink name, and I thought it was until I read the review. Although I should've known it had alcohol since it's a Kirin product.

ebidebby said...

I saw ads for this, but now I'm glad I didn't try it.

On a side note, are alcohol vending machines a thing of the past in Japan? I didn't see a single one on my trip, even where I had seen them in years past.

Helen said...

Thanks for saving me from this one. I don't drink often, but every once in a while I like to have something. I've seen this one around and I've been curious about it. I won't bother. :-)

cinabar said...

I bought a bottle of ice tea, called Twisted Tea - was shocked to discover that had alcohol in it, as it came from the soft drink section in the supermarket.

Orchid64 said...

Thanks to all for your comments. Lots of comments make this flower's petals fresh and dewy. ;-)

To answer your question, ebidebby, there are still a fair number of those types of machines in my area, but perhaps fewer than their once was. One reason I'm doing the 1000 Thngs blog is that I have been here so long that I tend not to notice things that I used to notice and it's changing my patterns so that I pay more attention to the details of my surroundings.

I think that the beer vending machines are less common because more convenience stores carry alcohol, and because there are more convenience stores than when I first got here. Initially, only L&W carried booze, but now it seems to be in almost every convenience store.

Anonymous said...

I had it the day it came out and it was awful, taste like coca cola lolipop, super chemical.