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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bravo Kolashampan

The Weird Soda Review Testing Labs pride ourselves on our cosmopolitan attitudes. We're equal-opportunity quaffers; it can come from anywhere, and we'll quaff it. We've already tried things from a number of places. Today, though, we have something which claims to be from El Salvador.
It comes in a clear bottle, and it's labeled Kolashampan. It further claims to be "La Original", and to be "Sabor Unico de El Salvador" (which translates to "The Unique Flavor of El Salvador"). The name "Kolashampan" is superimposed on an irregular outline which, on further research, seems to be the outline of El Salvador.
One gets the impression that this is a soda strongly associated with the nation of El Salvador, possibly uniquely so. In fact, this could (based on the translation of the label) actually be El Salvador-flavored soda. That's even weirder if you continue the translation of the Spanish, but let's not go that far. Weird Soda is one thing; blasphemy is quite another.

Yes, I agree that the Biotta Digestive Drink is, in and of itself, the very incarnation of blasphemy against any Deity which could be considered benevolent. But let's move on. This looks to be Weird enough as it is.

Two more pieces of data to consider when assessing this Weird Soda:
1) It is bottled in Los Angeles
2) I had a chance, purely by accident, to show this to someone prior to drinking this. She recognized it--she had actually had it before.
In more than one guise.
She was from Colombia, and had been all over central and south America. She informs me that there are sodas named after several countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, etc. All of them look like this, except the names are different. And, according to her, all of them taste exactly the same. She was unable to describe how it tasted, except to say that it did not taste like Orange Crush.

It's some sort of El Salvador-flavored Soda Borg, gradually taking over the Americas.

I am so looking forward to this. Bring on the Salvador!
Where and when:purchased sometime in April at Galco's, Los Angeles, CA
Color: bright orange, clear, slightly brown-tinged (as opposed to red).
Scent: bubble gum, quite strong.
Taste: Not like Orange Crush.
There is a bubble-gumish taste to it, but it's not as strong as the scent. Behind the bubble gum, and emerging slightly after, there is a very sweet yet slightly citrusy taste. It reminds me of candy orange slices, or maybe those weird circus peanut candies. The bubble gum is unpleasant, but the unusual semi-citrus which follows is kind of nice. The carbonation is strong, and adds bite to the citrus. However, I wouldn't call this a citrus soda at all.
It's actually quite a bit like Juicy Fruit gum.
Despite the name, it tastes nothing at all like either cola or champagne.
Not much of an aftertaste, just the gradual fade of the circus peanuts. Maybe just the tiniest hint of a bitter edge in the very delayed aftertaste, but it's so faint as to be almost nonexistent.

So there you have it. The unique flavor of El Salvador (which is not only unique, but identical to the flavors of Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia at least) is Juicy Fruit, or maybe circus peanuts.

Quaff rating: 3. Reasonably nice.
Cough rating: 1. I'm not all that fond of Juicy Fruit.

Aftertaste Update, about two minutes later: I suddenly got a bizarre bitter/sour taste. It sprung out of nowhere, seizing my taste buds in its sinister biomechanical grip. The Kolashampan nanoprobes have undoubtedly taken deep root in my esophagus, and are gradually working their way up past my tonsils . The taste is possibly that of my own blood, being assimilated by the SodaBorg of Central and South America. It is my own unique taste, that of my very flesh, blood, and sinews, and with the last shreds of my consciousness, I can taste it becoming one with the Kolashampan.

19 comments:

  1. I've seen these before. IIRC they are produced by one or more subsidiaries of Coca-Cola.

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  2. This is definitely a Salvi soda. Even if it's bottled in LA. You'll find it at any Salvi restaurant and there are strong associations between it and the country of El Salvador. It's not just a marketing ploy on the part of the company.

    I think you've nailed the flavor. It definitely tastes like Juicy Fruit so it's hit or miss.

    I would also recommend you try to find "Rojita", a soda I had once in Nicaragua. I'm sure you can find it in a latino supermarket or something similar. Just any soda that is red, but not like strawberry or cherry. I don't even know what it's supposed to be only that it's red. And probably easier to find is an apple soda from Mexico that is easily available at latino grocery stores or the latino section of a supermarket.

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    1. Love Rojita. Sitting here in m back yard in Managua, Nicaragua drinking a big glass of the stuff. I don't even want to know what's in it 'cause I am sure it's bad.

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  3. I can believe it about it really being Salvadoran; thanks for the confirmation! That's not the kind of information I'm in a position to verify.
    I'll keep my eye out for Rojita. There are several Latino markets around here, and I make the rounds every once in a while.
    About the apple soda--do you mean Sidral Mundet? If so, I did try it, and liked it a lot. Or maybe Manzanita Sol? I haven't tried that one yet. Is it good?

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  4. I think the flavors are alike but not the same from other countries. Kolashampan is only exported now a days is kinnda weird to see people that still drink it. If not, is not as popular as it was before. I really like it, is one of my favorite drinks after smoking a joint.

    Ps.I moved from El Salvador 3 years ago.

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  5. The bravo kolashampan isn't the original original it's just a copy of the original one in el salvador but it still good

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  6. It tastes like a mix between bubble gum and cough syrup. If you smell it, it's not just bubble gum, it has that cough drop/cough syrup flavor as well.

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  7. You should try Salva Cola if you can find it. I lived in El Salvador for a few years and grew to love Kolashampan and Salva Cola.

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  8. they say its made from mamey which is a salvadorean fruit which has that color an maybe that smell. Its nice. I dont know the diference between Bravo kolashampan and Kolashampan but i can say that since is not made by "la constancia" here, it must be another soda. The one from here, and I can say that very clerarly, is absolutely not the same of the other countries flavors. really,....is unique. I think the one made in L.A. is a product made for salvadoreans living there ( as long as L.A. is our 15th department they say...) as a nostalgic product. Made is just quite similar.

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  9. El Salvador did invent Kolashanpan. And all of the similar Kolashanpan drinks around Latin America DO NOT taste the same. It would have been more accurate if you would have done some research before writing this. Here's an old video that shows it's been around for a long time.

    http://youtu.be/2uZ7IznAE1Q

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  10. there is a fruit called "Coyol" from el salvador. I hope i spelled it correctly. Some salvadoran friends told me that's where the flavour comes from. I'll have to research it to find out.

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  11. Ill rather have a tecate

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  12. I'm Puerto Rican and I grew up drinking "Kolashampan". It's found all over Latin America but the original is from El Salvador. I live in an area of the eastern U.S. where there are a lot of Salvadorian ppl and they all drink it. Rojita is amazing too by the way! What do you think of "Malta"? Not really a soda, but a malt beverage popular in Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. I recommend you try it...Malta India is the best!

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  14. You definitely nailed the taste. Similar sodas can be found in other countries, Jamaica has Kolashpangne from D&G [I think that is the name of the bottler] and in Colombia there is a version called Colombiana.

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  15. do you do wine as well??? with this much accuracy, you should LOL

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  16. I'd like to correct everyone . Its called Kolashanpan.Not Kolashampan. For theSalvadorians on here commenting. Chow

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  17. six years later...if not more...
    The taste is that of mamey. Kolashanpan is made from Mammea americana.
    It's a very unique flavor just like many other tropical fruits.

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  18. I actually write from El Salvador. The one you tried is NOT the original one. The real thing is bottled in El Salvador by Embotelladora La Cascada (www.lacascada.com.sv), and it is deeply embedded in the salvadoran popular culture(just ask any salvadoran).

    I´ve tried the one you sampled and it´s not the same.

    Fun Fact: The flavor of this soda, that has prevailed in spite of fierce competition by the dominant brands (Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc.), is to this day a big mistery for all salvadorans, who have been unable to pinpoint exactly what it is made of.

    My guess is that among its ingredientes are Dulce de Panela (a kind of brown sugar related to molasses) and Mamey fruit (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammea_americana).

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