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Sunday, August 2, 2009

NuGrape

I've often found the qualifiers applied to food products and flavors interesting. My personal favorite is "Fancy" ketchup. I've noticed that, in general, the little ketchup packets one gets with drive-thru fast food are labeled as "fancy" ketchup. What, exactly, makes it fancy? In what way does it differ from other ketchup? Can you ask for something else?

"Would you like fries with that?"
"Yes, please, but I don't really feel worthy of the fancy ketchup. Could you make that the 'plebeian' ketchup?"
"I'm sorry, sir, we're out of plebeian. We have 'unadorned' and 'quotidian', though."

There are other examples. And then, there are the qualifiers which denote changes in a product's formula. New Coke, for example. Or Pepsi Throwback, for going the opposite direction. I think it might be fun, given a successful brand, to put out a new label which indicated that no changes had been made whatsoever.

"Ask your doctor if Tagamet HB: Static is still right for you."
"Try our newest offering, the McSameAsBefore. The burger you loved...still."
"It's Doritos X-TREME Immovability...still in Nacho Cheese flavor!"

Well, in this case, we have NuGrape. This is a product of the Orca Bottling Company, who specialize in cane-sugar-based old-style glass-bottle heavily-hyphenated soda. As to what makes it "Nu", I am unclear. The bottle proudly proclaims "Since 1921", which is not particularly Nu in my book. It also describes itself as "A Flavor You Can't Forget". This, perhaps, explains is; those who first tasted it in 1921 are still--to this very day--experiencing the flavor as Nu. Or perhaps I've missed the whole point. Perhaps "Nu" does not refer to its novelty, but rather refers to the Greek letter "nu" (or ν), which refers to frequency (of electromagnetic radiation, for example).
They're hoping for a high-frequency-of-drinking soda.
Now I get it.

Where and when: purchased April 2009 at Galco's, Los Angeles
Color: Very dark purple. Bluish-purple, like a very ripe blueberry.
Scent: Allow me to quote the K-i-C, who did not, in fact, smell it, but was simply in the same room where I poured it.
K-i-C: "Eugh. Ugh! Oh, God, that reeks."
It does have a rather strong smell, similar to other grape sodas but stronger. It smells a bit like fruitcake, actually. Yes, the kind with brandy. A very rich aroma.
K-i-C: "It's stinking up all my air. Drink it, fast!"
I don't mind it as much, but the K-i-C really hates the smell of this stuff. Interesting.
Taste: Oddly, the first thing that comes to mind when I drink it is not grape, but bread. I'm not sure why. There is a definite synthetic grape flavor (although less synthetic than some--although this has no grape juice, it simulates grape juice better than most sodas). The initial taste goes through some complex sweet shades, then moves into the mid-taste, which is--again--bready. I'm not sure how else to describe it. It's deep, complex, and mildly sweet, but with some amount of non-sweet taste threaded through it.
It's both less sweet and less acid than a typical grape soda. Deeper and richer. More foodlike. It's pretty good, but more dangerous; this is a soda which might interact badly with some foods. And some spouses, apparently.

I'm enjoying it, mostly. There's something in the mid-taste which is very strange. It's not bad, but it's insistent; I can't ignore it. The aftertaste is a bit tart, and almost savory. It doesn't taste like mushrooms, but it doesn't taste completely unlike them, either.

Weird. I'll have to mull this one over.

Quaff rating: 3.5. Interesting, pleasant, and very distinctive.
Cough rating: 1.0. The complexity of the taste includes some thing which may not belong in soda.

1 comment:

  1. A good grape soda, overall. I like it.

    ReplyDelete

 
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