Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Wake Up and Smell the Cola

Pepsi Max has come out with an updated bottle and a new slogan. The slogan in particular strikes a chord with me "Wake up and smell the cola" I have to admit since the tender age of 16/17 I've started most days with a cola. I've never been one for coffee or tea and so my caffeine kick has always been cold and bubbly, this is often met with cries of disgust from people, I know I know geniuses are never really appreciated in their own times right?

Here's an article which suggests Coke tried the same thing in Canada a few years ago. http://www.canada.com/topics/bodyandhealth/story.html?id=34ad64f0-e074-4a1b-ad9a-2a656687c343 Now I know a lot of people will still have problems with this. I can get that but isn't it a bit hypocritical considering the sugar and fat content in a lot of Starbucks menu? I mean jesus I used to quite enjoy a frappacino until I found out what exactly was in it. If it's ok for people to start the day with that and a bun what's wrong with a bottle of pepsi max?

Anyway the real story is probably the new bottle. I like the actual bottle shape but I think the label is overkill. The best bit about new bottle shapes always seems to be the fact we get 50% extra free bottles in the lead up.

What does everyone else think of the new bottle and new ad campaign? Any other early cola-rollers?

Kit Kat Pop Choc

Fun Kit-Kat Facts
  • 1 Billion Kit Kat bars are produced every year. So if there's a zombie apocolypse we should head to York for supplies
  • They sponsor the ground of local team York City
  • They have numerous Japan only flavours. Check out their wiki page for more on this. It's insane.
  • I'll try and find the source for this but I believe the KitKat is Britains most succesful confectionary export. More so than even Dairy Milk
With Kit Kat having a history of innovation and new products it's no suprise to see yet another new one on the shelves of your local store. This time around it's Pop Choc

Now I think the new part is the single person bags as I think there has been share bags around for 6 months or so. This was Kit Kats attempt to get into that sharing market. Now it would be very easy to ignore this new product as I think as a consumer group we're a little blase about plain kitkats now with our Chunkys, flavoured versions and low calorie Girls Aloud endorsed versions.


It's a lot of fun. The chocolate finish isn't as smooth as you might expect giving it a more popcorn type feel to the product. Either that or they look like Kit Kat droppings. Now I see why they might have favoured the popcorn branding slightly more than marketing them as some sort of magical chocolate cats excrement but maybe I've just hit on a very succesful marketing campaign in other regions for them.

 It's tasty as well. They've got the balance of chocolate to wafer just right and they are very moreish. I have had a single person packet today and will never buy a sharing one, as I'll eat it far too quickly. These are brilliantly fun, kit kat morsels.

Get some

Triple Chocolate Limited Edition Mars Bar Review

Mars have a new limited edition flavour out. Mars Triple Chocolate. From what I can understand it's the same chocolate on the outside (certainly not as dark as the suprisingly nice Mars Dark limited edition from days gone by) but with Chocolate Caramel and Chocolate Nougat.

I'll be honest, the fact that it was hard to tell if the chcolate was dark or not tells it's own story. It's all a bit much and to be honest it's all a bit heavy. The chocolate Nougat weighs the whole thing down and the bar feels dense. The difference between chocolate caramel and normal caramel is negligible at this point because there's so much other chocolate going on.

You're left with something which didn't taste drastically better than a normal mars bar but felt a lot more difficult to finish.

I was really dissapointed here I'm afraid. Anyone got an opinion on it? Anyone got an opinion on something they would like Mars to do instead as a limited edition? I would be quite keen on a white chocolate mars bar I think if they could get a lighter nougat maybe in keeping with a milky way. We got white chocolate Malteesers so maybe this isn't so far fetched

PS: I've never used the word Nougat as much in my life before, I also never realised how often I got the spelling wrong either

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Mountain Dew SuperNova is the superhero of the soft drink world. It should wear a cape. I'm serious. It's incredible. I picked up a couple of cans 2 weeks ago after a particularly satisfying Northern Ireland Football victory over the Faroe Islands and left them to chill in the fridge until this weekend actually.

Now that's odd for me not to not instantly drink whatever new soda I get but something about these told me the time wasn't right. I was tired and I wouldnt fully enjoy it. Then on Friday as I was getting ready for my lunch one of the cans fell from the top shelf and I caught it. It was a sign. It was ready to be drunk.

I'm not calling the internet a liar, please internet gods I'm not, but the can I got seemed to be a bit little in colouring. I think this pic might be from the original dewmocracy run in 2008 and I think it's maybe got a new run recently? It's still limited edition and the flavour is still Strawberry Melon. Now Strawberry soda is a tough thing to get right, Fanta Beach decided to add the super acidic kiwi flavour to theirs , and so I was a little worried.

I shouldn't have been. Mountain Dew can do no wrong. This flavour is incredible and it starts with a smell. It's powerfully strawberry scented and it invites you to imbibe. The scent is a siren enticing you onto the crashing waves except in this case it's a crashing wave of flavour the strawberry envelopes you with punch. It's big and it'll knock you off your feet and once that subsides the wash is of a delicate melon flavour. Which rides on out on the back of the ginseng tingling away.

This drink is perfect. I would say it's an upper echelon drink. It's one of the only drinks I'll probably ever say this but get yourself some by hook or by crook. It's no wonder it won the 1st Dewmocracy and became a proper fixture as a Dew drink. Again though it's pretty hard to get hold of so if you want some ask your local importers to get onboard the supernova express.

Big Cola = Big Excitement in UK Cola Market?

So whilst watching the football over the past couple of weeks I noticed a new logo adorning the boards behind a few of the managers on Match of the Day. Big Cola. I was probably a little more excited about it than I should be, I hoped we might have a Big, excuse the pun, launch of a cola in the UK to liven up the market here

Not since the (failed) launch of Virgin Cola in the mid 90's to shake things up have we really had a new challenger try and sit at the big boys table.

Now I know Virgin Cola is having some success recently in South East Asia and had a deal with 7-Eleven in the US but the UK launch all those years ago was big news here. They pulled in Pamela Anderson, at the height of her fame arguably, for adverts and even designed the bottle after her

Looks just like her doesn't it?

Anyway one of the other moves, as well as giving it exclusivity in their own cinemas etc, was to make larger bottles and have them cheaper. This seems to be something that Big Cola do as well

Big Bottles and priced to go. Historically they are a Peruvian group but they are getting a lot of traction in Asia at the minute and sadly that's it for the moment. They are using the English Premier League purely for a promotional boost in those areas with no plans for a UK launch currently.

I'm gutted. They've signed partnership deals with a number of clubs in the Premiership including Stoke, Everton, Wigan and West Brom and have piqued a lot of interest here. It seems almost like a taunt that it's not available but still have it tantalisingly advertised every saturday :( perhaps this is a call to arms to test the waters in the UK for a COLA COUP (also trademarked Fizzness 2011)

Does anyone know of any way to get hold of some? I plan on contacting a local asian supermarket to see if they could maybe include some on their next soda order.

I just got Mugged Off

I have something to admit which is a bit embarassing in the soda loving circle. God this is quite difficult to put into words. I...DON'T....REALLY....LIKE..........ROOT BEER :( It's out. I'm a social Pariah now, no wait I'm a Soda Pariah (trademark Fizzness 2011)

I've never enjoyed Root Beer. The flavour was too medicinal for me and I couldn't deal with it. A&W Jelly Bellys were always left till the end and I just avoided the stuff but close personal friend Gerry gave me a can of Mug Root Beer.

Now I know nothing about Root Beer, I wasn't even aware that this was a Pepsi Product until I just looked it up on Wikipedia. In a little case of serendipity it was originally produced by a company called the Belfast Beverage Company so perhaps a little part of it does still encapsulate Belfast because for the first time ever I found myself enjoying a Root Beer

I'm not going overboard here as it still has a strong 'medicinal' quality to it which I'm still struggling with but it was smooth to the finish. It tasted like a cream soda once the original root beer taste had ebbed away.

As a newcomer to Root Beer I really enjoyed it but I'm not sure how this sits with the Root Beer experts, and I know there are a lot of you out there, but if you can bare to look at me after my opening line I would like to hear from you what my next step on this journey should be?

Note to self though I will probably take a slight detour of the path to try out the Mug Cream Soda. It looks awesome.

I'll admit it I'm whipped and I love it

I am a big fan of Reese's. I love the cups and I love the few different bars that have made it over here. It's one of few American chocolate bars which doesn't taste too odd. This isn't chocolate snobbery on my behalf, although it is the source of a lot of chocolate snobbery here in the UK, but to us something like Hershey tastes odd.

Now if you ask someone why you will normally get the answer of Paraffin. Well of sorts. Paraffin wax is added to chocolate in the US to extend shelf live, I think it's also intended to stop it melting so quickly which I guess might be more of an issue in some parts of the USA than not so sunny Belfast. That being said on Hershey, I have a lot of time for the Minis. They were a semi-regular fixture in our house when my dad came back from business trips

The Mr.Goodbars are incredible.

I've totally lost my thread of thougt... YES THATS RIGHT REESES. Anyway Reeses is brilliant, wonderous infact and I just discovered their Whipped Bar.

In basic terms this is a Milky Way Bar that's got a thing for Peanut Butter. A Milky Way family torn apart by an affair with a jar of peanut butter. Imagine it the fun size Milky Ways crying over their broken home whilst Reeses Cup stands with their mother. Well you know what I'm happy, I'm happy for the new family as their offspring is something very special indeed.

Here is a cross-section picture of the bar

The Peanut Butter flavour isn't over powering but it's there. You know what this is and you wonder why on earth it wasn't here before. It's sensational. The bar might be whipped but it's your tastebuds that end up with whiplash. This is the best chocolate bar that I've had in quite some time.

Get this in your life. The only problem with doing that is it's import only at the minute and the main sites don't seem to carry it (our local convenience store chain Mace seem to be importing a lot at the minute which is where I got mine from) but we'll get on the case for you

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Guzzle Puzzle

The Natural Confectionary Company, they of TRUMPETS fame, have launched a new sweet recently. Not only is it a new sweet from them but it's also a new sweet concept as well.

It's called the Guzzle Puzzle and the aim of the game is flavour combination. Whilst this isn't something new, Jelly Belly have recipes etc for their flavours, the hook here is that these sweets have been designed to actively fit together in the style of a puzzle.

So despite the suggestive style of the sweets the crux of the matter is how do they taste

On their own they have the same gentle flavourings of the naturals confectionary companies other sweets. Smooth and satisfying. Very nice. That's not really the point behind this snack though, we're meant to combine them and I guess the best thing to do is to try the combinations that are advertised on the back of the packaging.

Those flavours are

  • Cinnamon + lime = cola
  • Orange + banana = bubblegum
  • Raspberry + lime = pink lemonade
Pink Lemonade :- I can see where they are coming from on this one but it's not enough. There's no hint of fizz and the limes not sharp enough. I mean if you compared it to something like Lorina Pink Lemonade (http://fizzness.blogspot.com/2011/07/lorina-pink-lemonade.html) I think you probably would say it fails to be that similar 5/10

BubbleGum :- I'm a big fan of the bubblegum flavour. Massive fan infact so this excited me. I didn't quite get how Orange and Bannna would make Bubblegum and to be honest. It didn't. Well nothing strong enough, if you really consider it you can get the hint of it definitely but is that enough? Not convinced 5/10

Cola :- This is better. I could genuinely taste a cola type flavour and it seemed a little stronger than the others. This is probably down to the cinnamon I guess which seems a little more powerful than the fruit flavours. Definitely the winner of the 3. 7/10

The problem isn't that these taste bad. They don't they are really nice but it's more the fact that Jelly Belly has really punchy flavours and that's the competition here. When you mix the Jelly Belly flavours there's no doubt and it's not a mild tone of the new flavour but again a good slap in the chops. That's the area this falls down and it's possibly because as the 'Natural' Confectionary company I think they don't like to overpower the flavours too much.

I would love it if they could strengthen the flavour and increase the packet size. I honestly think that's all that's missing but currently it's like a jigsaw puzzle with all identical pieces. Yes it fits together but it's not entirely satisfying.

Let's end on a high note though, the brilliant adverts voiced by the irrepressible Matt Berry from the IT Crowd

Cherry Vimto

I'm a big fan of Cherry flavoured drinks and I get a little buzz when I see a new one, or at least one that's new to me. I spotted Cherry Vimto this week and decided to give it a go. I'm not overly familar with the flavour of normal vimto, I've had it a few times but nothing about it has ever really stuck with me. Infact as odd as it may sound I think I'm a much bigger fan of the sweets than the soft drinks. Anyone else feel the same or prefer the cordial to the fizzy drinks?

You crack it open and there isn't a strong smell of cherry but that's ok I decided to take a swig and get to the heart of the matter. I was a little dissapointed, it's not massively dissimilar to the Cherry 7-UP we reviewed recently and that cherry taste overpowers most of the other flavours. You can taste blackcurrant on the back end of it and a hint of raspberry but the grape seems completely removed.

I think this might be another example of the extra flavour not fully merging with the others and just overpowering. Wasn't massively impressed and it might be because of it's beginnings as a cordial but it felt like someone had put a summer fruits cordial through a soda stream.

Dissapointed. I hear there is a stawberry flavour out though so I will give that a go

Rating :- 4/10 Dissapointing

Pom Bears - New Flavour

Pom Bears.

Let's take a minute to salute the brave potato based bretheren of bears who give their lives for our snack enjoyment. Lead by what can only be described as some sort of crazed Pied Piper of Potato Bears

these small bears are lead to factories were they are flavoured and packaged for human consumption.

What's more they taste great as well. It's a snack that's undeniably aimed at kids but succeeds on all levels with all audiences right? They are crisp, well flavoured and say it quietly not a full assault on the waistline and what's more they've only just gone and come out with a new flavour.

What is the flavour you cry? Don't shout this is a blog, this has already been written just saying stuff won't change the narrative. The new flavour is one of the holy grails of crisp flavours it is of course


Ohh yes. Who doesn't love a good pizza crisp? Well probably a lot of people as there hasn't been many good ones at all. We'll discuss it's place in the Pizza Premierchip ( <- hey you see that, that's jokes) soon but first we will deal with it on it's own merit.

The flavour of these is spot on. It's quite gentle but that's nice because often Pizza crisps is in an excuse to go mad with the garlic powder. They have kept true to their original target market of kids and made something that's a bit milder but therefore probably a little more socially acceptable to eat. You can taste something akin to Oregano although I'm unsure if that's exactly what it is, the tomato and cheese flavouring is there. I don't know if this tastes of a Pizza for say but it does conjure up similar notes to one.

I think this is great and might be currently the only pizza flavoured crisp on the mass market? Well worth a go if you are a fan of the two BIG BOYS in this area

Twiddling his moustache more than usual it's the odd looking, and a bit shifty if we're honest, pringle man. These were powerful and they had the great side effect of smelling so so bad that nobody would come near you, allowing you to finish your pringles in peace. God Bless Pizza Pringles. RIP HOMIE.

The top pizza crisp in the world for me, and it's hard to get them so that's why these Pom Bears are such a welcome addition to the family. The don, the ultimate it's CALBEE PIZZA CHIPS

These are ridiculous. You can get them in some Asian Supermarkets and if you see some grab some. They are brilliant. The best bit is these aren't even Calbees best chips. We'll do a review of what I think is their best chips in the upcoming days.

POM PIZZA RATING - 7/10 Great Alternative to Salted Pom Bears and fills a gap in the market. Well worth a try. Give them a go next time you're in your local supermarket


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

New Sensation

Walkers have launced a new Sensations flavour to go with their new packaging and here it is

Sweet Chipotle. Mexican food seems to be enjoying a further surge in popularity at the minute as shown by shows like Thomasina Miers on Channel 5 and the strength of the Wahaca chain in London. As a side note if you are ever near one do give it a go but definitely try their Habiscus Drink it's incredible. The american chain Chipotle also opened in London last year and so Walkers are absolutely bang on trend with this flavour in the same way they were with Sweet Chilli.

For those not fully in the know Chipotle is a Chilli Pepper, normally Jalepeno that has been smoked. It's famed more for it's smokey flavour than it's sweet flavour and it's the sweet flavour that really comes through in these crisps. They arent too different from the sweet chilli crisps if I'm honest but with a little more spice coming through. It feels like Walkers BBQ has been mixed with Sweet Chilli more than a brand new bespoke flavour.

I'm a little dissapointed if I'm honest.

If you want a real taste of Chipotle I would reccomend getting yourself some of the following hot sauce. The Chipotle one is great but even it probably fails to beat the Chilli Garlic

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Big Red reviews Big Red

Gerry got his mits on a lot of imported soft drinks from our good pals at American Soda recently and so will be hitting us up with some big reviews. Up first is the soft drink version of everyones favourite chewing gum.... no no it's not but it has the same name it's big red

A few days ago I took delivery of an exciting package of sodas imported from the good ol’ US of A (where the astronauts live) and let me tell you there aren’t many things that can fit inside a box that would get me more excited. Most of the drinks inside I had either tried before or at least heard of; Root beers, AW Cream Soda, various Mountain Dews and Dr Peppers but there was one stranger lurking in the box, Big Red.

This mysterious tin instantly stood out from the rest with its simplistic design and striking red colour as well as that catchy name, so it had to be the first I tried. Having never heard of Big Red I had no idea what to expect and my mind raced as I imagined what tasty treat I had coming to me, would it be strawberry? Cherry? Maybe even cinnamon like the gum it shares its name with?

Unfortunately it was none of the above, it was a red coloured cream soda, but a cream soda that was being under cut but something else, something over powering, something familiar. For a drink that had travelled so far to be in my hands it was ironic that its most striking flavour was very similar to a drink that could be found much closer to home, C+C Brown Lemonade.

C+C (Cantrell or Cochrane) is a Northern Irish manufacturer of soft drinks; they make the standard range such as orangeade, cola and white lemonade but also make a Brown Lemonade. Brown Lemonade? Yes you read that correctly, and no it isn’t cola flavoured, it is quite simply lemonade that has been coloured brown.

Legend has it that workers in the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast weren’t allowed to drink beer on their breaks, (probably because one time when drunk they forgot to iceberg-proof the Titanic) and weren’t keen on soft drinks because they thought it made them look feminine.. (Smart bunch of lads these guys)So along came C+C with a brown lemonade designed to be drunk from a pint glass and look like a pint of grog. Opinion is mixed as whether the Brown Lemonade actually tastes any different to the white variation but I fall firmly into the yes camp, the difference is slight, perhaps caused by the different colourings, but definitely there.

This is where the similarity between Big Red and Brown Lemonade makes sense, just as Brown lemonade is lemonade tainted by its colourings, Big Red is a cream soda that has been changed by its red dyes. The pleasant creamy flavour is never allowed to completely shine through and is instead affected by a slight chemical tinge and a very artificial tasting sweetness. It is not a bad drink by any stretch of the imagination, just a shallow one that has sacrificed its integrity for good looks

Note: I had always thought brown lemonade used brown sugar. Seemingly not

So does anyone taste the supposedly unique aspects of Big Red? Can a discerning Cream Soda drinker tell us pfffttt nonsense there's something funny going on big red mountain? Let us know

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Jones So Happy Soda Limited Edition

I need this in my life.

Jones have absolutely done it again.


Look at how bloody cute these are. Let us annoy Jones Soda until we can get them here in the UK.

Fizzness Brain Dump : Wouldn't it be great to have Facebook Fanta?

So as promised we have a musing or brain dump from us on a prospective facebook tie in that would get us very hot under the collar.

Facebook Fanta.

It's simple it's alliterative and it's what I want. Fanta is a funny brand. It's so engrossed into peoples minds but it seems a bit samey and a bit flat despite it being the mainstream brand that brings us the most new flavours in the UK.

That's a positive we're already used to fanta bringing out new flavours (Fanta Beach being our summer flavour this year http://fizzness.blogspot.com/2011/06/beach-please-new-fanta-flavour.html) so it's not going to throw people massively.

Here's where we start to break new ground. I want electric blue colour. I want it to jump off the shelf into my eyeballs making hot and sweaty love to my retinas. So that's a must. Once again this is an easy fix as Fanta have already done this shade of blue before elsewhere around the world

For some reason that shade of blue normally gets targetted as raspberry. It's one of the worlds many wonders that this happens but this shade of Fanta was Raspberry flavoured. The incredibly powered Dew Voltage (OHH SWEET JESUS IT'S GOOD) is the same as is of course the blue slush puppy (also known as a component of the Purple Urple). So we need to go a bit left field on this one and for that reason we're abandoning fruit all together. Yep I know Fanta is the fruit soda brand and this is an odd one but it's limited edition and it's checking how the market would react to non-fruit flavoured Fanta.

I've had two ideas for what to me is reprsented by this colour. One is a bit odd and one is a common flavour which is probably my all-time fave.

We would either go for Mint or Bubble-Gum

Hold up hold up. Mint isn't as crazy as it seems.

This is a mass market soda Pepsi launched in Japan. Despite it advertising the flavour as cucumber a lot of people thought it was more mint flavoured. Aside from that Mint Soda or Mint Cordial is quite popular in Europe (mainly France and Italy I believe)

Above is an Italian Mint Soda (now on our list of future reviews I may add) so despite this being an odd flavour it might well work as a Europe release as well as a UK only release. Mint has plenty of upsides but I know a lot of people will see it as fizzy mouthwash and move on.

Bubblegum. Ahh Bubblegum the sweetest of all flavours. The intense power of bubblegum flavour is not lost on me. I'm a big fan of the flavouring despite it normally being the reserve of small independent bottlers. Jones Soda have developed an incredible bubblegum flavour and it's stocked well in this country now which is a sensational thing and I'm a big big fan of it but maybe it's time for it to go mainstream.

Can you imagine shelves stocked with Fanta Bubblegum? Ohh man I'm giddy at the prospect already.

How could I choice between both well that's where Facebook comes in. Fanta should create pages for the two flavours and see which gets the most votes. The one that wins becomes the democratic soda of choice.

Now who do I see to get my cheque?

What do you guys think? Would you like to see Fanta 2.0?

Blue Skittles Uk Review

In a very astutue tie in with Facebook we in the UK have seen the launch of the blue skittle.

And the thing is they havent really been that forthcoming with what the actual flavour is. There's been a lot of suggestions and quite a few not so positive ones at that so we at the fizzness blog decided it was high time that we ran it through the most discerning flavour machine in the planet.

That's right Flava Flav

Known for his incredible palette and discrminating tastes we knew if anyone could solve the problem it would be Flava Flav. Unfortunately though he isn't returning my calls so we'll have to make do ourselves at the minute.

I decided for the 1st taste it had to a blue one on it's own. It's a strong flavour and that's great. To me it's Cherry Cola or more accurately Cherry Dr.Pepper. I think there are almondy hints throughout (possibly why a lot of people are complaining about it tasting like marzipan) but the strongest flavour is without doubt the cherry.

I like it. A lot. I could eat a whole bag of them however there is one problem. On it's own the Blue skittle is great but with it's skittle bretheren something goes askew. I don't know if the Blue is super strengthed due to it being a limited edition type deal but it does not sit well with the other flavours to me. It overpowers and confuses them.

All in all I like the flavour but it's not much of a team player.

The facebook tie in combined with the 'Midas Touch' adverts seem to be creating a real buzz around Skittles again. They've done very well recently and I hope that continues, this tie in has given me an idea or two about other facebook tie ins we might hopefully see. I'll try and get something together for the 1st one later on today

DISCO INFERNO : Relentless Inferno Review

Had my very first can of Relentless Inferno today and enjoyed it. Inferno is an orange energy drink from Relentless. It seems to be going in a slightly different direction than a lot of "ME TOO ME TOO" energy drinks in that rather than shooting lightning bolts out about the caffeine amount they decided to concoct something that had a strong flavour.

The 1st thing that hits you when you open the can is the colour, it is a natural orange and that's comforting. It's pretty common for Energy drinks to either follow that default Red Bull colour or some hazardous neon colour to make it seem more energetic. This looks like a normal soft drink and if it's an early morning coding help (as was the case for me this morning) it helps you to not question what terrible turn your life has taken.

The taste itself is powerful. It's orange but more than that. It's perhaps "Blood and Guts" Orange rather than just Blood Orange you know. You can taste Guarana well so I think and it gives the drink a meaningul after-taste but that's something you expect off an energy drink and this kind of rides out the flavour pretty well.

For me this is probably the best tasting energy drink on the market now, although it is close between this and Dew Energy. Not sure how well it would hold up as a mixer on a night out as I think it's flavour might be a little too strong for that but as a straight up energy drink when it's too early in the morning to be thinking about whatever it is you are supposed to be thinking about then it doesn't get much better than this.

Highly Recommended