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.