the grape which I previously reviewed) because there is no way I'm going to get out of Japan without sampling this classic beverage. Well, this isn't the "classic" form since it has been stripped of its sugary nature, but it should be a less tooth-decay-promoting equivalent.
I found this for 100 yen ($1.07) in my local green grocer, Yutakaraya, and figured it was time to take the plunge. The ingredients list is an impressive array of chemicals. The first (besides water) is Erythritol, but there's also Aspartame, Sucralose and Acesulfame K. It looks like no sweetener has been left out of the mix. It's like a party full of women who are beautiful which have all had surgical enhancements. None of it is real, but it has all appearance of being so.
The page for this product promotes it by saying that the amino acids in it will promote your basal metabolism. Amino acids are related to metabolism, and are "building blocks of protein" according to Wikipedia. So, I'm guessing that there is some benefit to this besides increasing the chances that you'll suffer some disease related to artificial sweetener consumption.
When I gave this a sniff, it reminded me of Alka Seltzer for some reason. The second sniff brought to mind a very weak version of Yakult's probiotic drink. The second impression was the one that rang true. This tastes like a partially watered down bottle of Yakult. It has the same sour notes, but they're greatly muted. The sweetness level is not muted or watered down though.
At first, I thought this was too sweet but as my taste buds got saturated and the sweetness grew muted, the yogurt-like tones shone through more prominently. I didn't think I was going to like this much and was ready to give it an indifferent rating, but I liked it more and more as I got closer to the halfway point. If I were in the mood for a yogurt drink and wanted to avoid the calories, I'd definitely go for this again. Note that I think that those sensitive to artificial sweeteners may want to avoid this assiduously.