Thursday, April 8, 2010
This cola, made by Cheerio, is not only a blatant design rip-off of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, but it even goes so far as to put a disclaimer on the bottle that tacitly acknowledges its theft. The yellow banner across the bottom of the bottle says, "this isn't sauce!" The name in Japanese, "nanchatte" also indicates that this is all a big joke since that is used in Japanese to say, "just kidding!" So, this isn't sauce. Ha, ha!
Given the cheesy knock-off nature of this product, I bypassed it for months. I only gave in when I saw it at Don Quixote for the low price of 39 yen (42 cents). I figured that it was worth that much for being able to talk about it, even if I knew there was virtually no chance that I'd drink at 154 calories per 350 ml. (the whole bottle).
The bottle is transparent, so you can see that this cola comes without the usual caramel coloring of things like Pepsi and Coke. It's a dark pink which makes the experience a bit odder. I expect pink to taste like fruit, but this smells and tastes like off-brand or second-rate cola. The closest thing it resembles is RC Cola in the U.S. The main difference between brand-name cola and cheaper versions is the lack of depth of flavor. Things like Pepsi and Coke have a variety of flavorings. This just tastes like a wet, carbonated version of cola candies. It's not bad, but it's not great.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
There's an episode of Seinfeld about a Pakistani restaurant owner who occupies a space near Jerry's apartment that seems to doom anyone who does business there to fail. The location seems practically cursed. I've got a few places near my apartment that similarly seem to suffer that problem. It doesn't matter who sets up shop or what sort of place they open, they close down in a year or so. Walking by these places always makes me feel a little sad. This feeling was dredged up when I bought this bottle of "Cheerio", despite the names connotations of "cheer", happy goodbyes, and breakfast cereal.
Bottles of Cheerio drink sat in a cardboard box outside of the local convenience store for months as I walked by the shop. The number of unpurchased bottles never seemed to go down so I'm guessing nearly no one bought any, or the store had every nook and cranny of its storage space filled with more of it. It's a mark of the power of the tendency to anthropomorphize that I felt sorry for the company that made this as its product was neglected by consumers.
The manufacturer is Cheerio Corporation. It's interesting that a relatively minor beverage maker has an English Wikipedia entry when some bigger companies do not. I expected to have to mine the Japanese Wikipedia site for more on them, but my life was made a bit easier. Apparently, this company's drinks are available in a limited area for the most part and that's why I was unfamiliar with them despite my many years of shopping in Tokyo.
I finally gave in and bought a bottle of this when some of it was moved into the refrigerated section of the store rather than parked outside. I also noticed that it had "calorie off" written on it and only has 16 calories per 100 ml. The bottle is huge at 700 ml, so it's 112 calories if you drink it all at once. The first ingredient is "grape sugar", but this is also sweetened with Acesulfame K and fortified with Vitamin C. My guess is this is marketed at the same people who purchase C.C. Lemon.
I didn't know if this was carbonated or not when I bought it, but it turns out that it is not. It smells lemony, but the scent is not powerful. The flavor is mild and close to "lemon water" or weak lemonade rather than a lemon drink. It's pleasant and light, but not sour and lacks a citric acid bite. I think that the type of people who like to have water with a slice of lemon would really enjoy this, and I thought it tasted fine. The main issue for someone like me is that I like stronger flavors. With lemon in particular, I'd like some sourness with my lemon and prefer some more acidity. I think that, had this been carbonated, I might have liked it more as is.
I wouldn't say this isn't worth trying. I actually think it is quite fine. It's just a little bit on the bland side for my tastes. I would buy it again if I were in the mood for something really mild and light, but that tends not to happen very often with me so I'm rather indifferent to it.