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Friday, March 20, 2009

Safari Mist Pear Lychee

As we approach the vernal equinox, we here at Weird Soda Review feel that we should in some way recognize the approach of spring. Libations must be brought to the altar. Let there be free flow of joy, in celebration of the season! And along with the free-flowing joy, how about a seasonally-appropriate Weird Soda to top it off!

Apple Beer? Nah, doesn't really seem spring-ish. Cream soda? As much as I like it, we need something with more of a "new growth, buds on trees, nymphs and shepherds frolicking on the greensward and singing fa la la la" vibe.
And what says nymphs and shepherds like Pears and Lychees?

Where and when: purchased 3/12/09 at BevMo, Escondido, CA
Color: cloudy pale beige. Lead Assistant say "murky swampy brown", while the K-i-C summarizes it as "Silt". It does seem to have tiny chunks and fine sediment in it, mostly suspended, but some settling to the bottom. The label notes that "Fruit may settle to the bottom. ROTATE BOTTLE GENTLY, DO NOT SHAKE". I'm going to assume that the sediment and chunks are fruit, rather than (as they more closely resemble) Ritz Cracker backwash.
Scent: strong fruity scent. Definitely pearlike (although tart, not like a sweet Bartlett)
Taste: very sweet, with a strong component of tropical fruit. Carbonation is light. Reminiscent of pear (Bosc or Danjou) and strawberry. I've never actually tasted lychee, so I can't speak to whether it tasted like those. The K-i-C has tasted lychees (and hates them), but can't comment either, as to her it tasted mostly like Splenda before she (with difficulty) swallowed it.
It does taste like rambutan, and I am told that rambutans taste a bit like lychees, so maybe that says something. As to how I know what rambutans taste like--it's a long and sordid tale, involving (oddly enough) a homeschooling math curriculum.

There is a strong taste of sucralose in this, which makes sense, given that the supplemental sweetener to the pear and lychee concentrate is, in fact, sucralose. I think it would have been better without it; it's overly sweet this way, and the odd sucralose aftertaste isn't all that pleasant. But the strong pear and rambutan/strawberry/possibly lychee flavors are nice, and would have stood better on their own.

The label notes that this is "a blend of effervescent fruit nectars crafted by nature...Originally formulated along the tropical shores of Southern Africa, these luscious fruit drinks provide a thirst quenching elixir unsurpassed in tasting excellence". It's currently bottled by EBeDee Beverage Company in Burlingame, California.
I am developing a hypothesis as to Weird Soda evolution. Note that in two of the Weird Sodas reviewed to date, we have evidence of ingredient migration from South Africa (the rooibos tea in Kombucha Wonder Drink and the unspecified formulation of Safari Mist Pear Lychee) to other locations around the world (the Himalayas and Burlingame, CA, respectively). More research is needed, but I suspect that a careful perusal of the ingredients of some of the truly Weird Japanese sodas might find that some of the components (horseradish, or maybe beef ribs) originally came from South Africa.

I can see myself presenting a talk at a conference now ("South Africa: The Ancestral Homeland of Weird Soda? ")

Quaff rating: 3. I kind of like it, even if the K-i-C and Lead Assistant Tester refused to quaff more than a single mouthful. Nice fruit flavors.
Cough rating: 2. Far too sweet, with an odd artifical aftertaste.

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