I am absolutely thrilled to introduce our first guest review! Cameron, who has commented several times on other reviews, has offered his opinions on the melon flavor of Ramune (a common and oddly bottled Japanese soda). Here he is; everything from here on out is Cameron:
I've been enjoying this blog for quite a while now and have communicated a few suggestions to The Quaffmaster but have decided to step into the light in order to share my experience with a couple of decidedly weird sodas that I came across while poking around my local Cost Plus World Market. Expect a subsequent review or two in the near future.
The first is sitting in front of me right now. It is one of two flavors that I picked up from the Shirakiku brand, known only as 'melon'. I've never trusted generic food names plopped upon specific foods (fish sticks and meat loaf spring to mind as worryingly under-described). I wasn't particularly scared about a melon flavored soda. Further adding to the mystery is the label which isn't overly helpful at determining what sort of melon I should expect as it features what looks like either a mutant or unripe cantaloupe with the characteristic textured skin but green flesh. There are some Japanese characters prominently featured on the label which may yield more information, but alas, I do not read Japanese. The word 'refreshing' is repeated on the bottom of the label which may or may not bode well for the soda.
The bottle is truly remarkable. I can honestly say I've never experienced or even heard of a beverage container like this in my entire life. The top of the bottle is shrink wrapped like any typical water bottle, concealing the weirdness within. The wrapper is plastered with some very specific instructions on how to enjoy this beverage:
How to open
1. Remove the seal from the top. (okay, no surprises here, oh wait, as I unwrap the seal a piece falls onto the table)
2. Detach the plunger from the center of the cap. (plunger? oh..if you push on the center of this ring thing it splits into two)
3. Place the plunger on top of the bottle. (I should note that the top of the bottle is ordained with a transparent but optically distorting window into the fluid below. And lookie...this plunger fits in the center thing)
4. Press down firmly with the base of your palm to release the marble. (should I be pushing this hard? I have visions of sweetened broken glass flying everywhere. oh wait...*plink* down goes the marble into a specially designed groove two thirds of the way up the bottle where the bottle necks down into a smaller than marble opening)
5. Throw away the seal, cap and plunger.
6. Have fun drinking Ramune.
From what I can gather, the plunger was held upwards by the pressure of the drink and perhaps a little gasket thing too. Amusingly, when I pour it into my cup, complete inversion temporarily reseals the bottle and halts the flow of the liquid.
I shall adopt the Quaffmaster's standardized review structure for the rest of my guest review:
Where and when: Bought at Cost Plus World Market this morning
Color: Green. Jolly Rancher green, but liquid.
Scent: A very light artificial fruitiness
Taste: Bitter and not nearly as sweet as the color would suggest. Despite the label's proclamation, this is not refreshing. The lack of sweetness allows the peculiar bite and bitterness to dominate. There's some sort of artificial fruitiness in the background that could conceivably be termed melon, but I don't see it. Certainly nothing resembling actual melon. The bite fades fairly quickly into just bitterness which then fades further into a not-awful generic sweetness aftertaste. Luckily the bitter doesn't stick around too long, though it's just as present with subsequent sips.
Quaff rating: 2.0. Not too enjoyable to drink
Cough rating: 1.5. The bitterness is distasteful but not long lasting
Upon noticing the marble sitting in its semi-circular one dimensional hammock, I began contemplating the best way to recover this unique souvenir. Despite the admonishments of both the shrink wrap seal and the label itself, I tried to pry the cap off. This didn't work. I plan to break the bottle after I finish the review to obtain my marble. How annoying is it that child safety features designed to save the lives of small children will actually force me to endanger mine so I can play with the shiny thing rolling around in the bottle?
I shall transcribe both warnings in order to absolve the Skirakiku brand, Nishimoto Trading Co. LTD of Santa Fe Springs, CA and the Quaffmaster of any legal responsibility related to my impending trip to the emergency room.
DO NOT SWALLOW THE PLUNGER. Throw it away immediately after opening.
Adults should open the bottle for small children and supervise drinking
Do not try to remove the marble from the bottle to avoid injury
Do not freeze the bottle or store it in direct sunlight
Do not consume if the marble is broken, missing or descended before opening.
Do not swallow the plunger. Throw it away immediately after opening
CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE, OPEN CAREFULLY
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