At the Weird Soda Review Tasting Labs, we try to be aware of our roots. We attempt to properly recognize where we came from, and to do all appropriate honor to our ancestors. For indeed, they are the very wellspring of our life,the providers of sustenance in our childhoods, and the instillers of all of the neuroses and psychological disorders which give our adulthood such flavor.
Yes, I'm talking about our parents. Today, I am deeply honored to be hosting my very own parents, visiting from my ancestral homeland of Topeka, Kansas. RoTalMomska, my mother, and Sergeant-at-Arms, my father, have been visiting for a few days, hanging out with the grandkids and studiously avoiding me whenever I approach with a bottle and a certain manic gleam in my eye.
Well, no more!
They're leaving today, and I have cornered them. Plus, I won't drive them to the airport until they participate in a Review. However, in due deference to the debt I owe them (and hoping to avoid disinheritance), I have decided to exercise some discretion and offer something which I have some reason to believe will be good. We're going to try some Hank's Gourmet Vanilla Cream Soda.
As my hypothetical loyal readers know, I am particularly fond of cream soda, and have greatly enjoyed exploring the many varieties thereof. I don't think Ive ever tried Hank's, though, so this should be fun.
When: purchased December 2009 by the K-i-C at some mysterious location which she refuses to divulge
Color: Transparent. Could have the very faintest hint of yellow, but probably not.
RoTalMomska: "The same color as the glass it's in." Yep, I got my scientific nature from somewhere.
Lead Assistant Taster: "Clear with bubbles."
Sergeant-at-Arms: "Enduring bubbles."
Scent: Sweet, slightly sharp.
LAT: "Smells like vanilla soda."
LAT: "Vanilla cream. OH! Oh, oh! It just has a bit of a Coke smell."
S-a-A: "Bubble gum?"
LAT: "No, more of a spicy smell."
I don't smell the Coke, but the vanilla is definitely there. Sweet, and I do smell the bubble gum.
Taste: Definitely of the sweet vanilla variety.
Interesting. I don't taste it...well, maybe.
LAT: "A more pear-ish vanilla cream soda."
S-a-A: "A little bit of the bubble gum."
LAT: "I like it a lot!"
RTM: "I find it unremarkable. Pleasant, but unremarkable."
Me: "Remarkable is usually a bad thing in Weird soda."
RTM: "I would like this better if it had a bit more of a bite to it."
S-a-A: "Yes, it's a little too soft. Like bubble gum. After you chew it for a while."
It's very, very sweet, with a light French vanilla flavor, and a fairly strong bubble-gum note. We've seen that bubble gum before, and I don't usually like it. It's more like the Faygo than anything else.
I wouldn't call this "gourmet". It's not bad--pleasant enough--but really not subtle or unusual. It's a very sweet, bubble-gum, light vanilla cream soda. However, the LAT and JAT are currently waxing rhapsodic about how wonderful it is, and how when they are adults they will place themselves into abject poverty due to having spent all of their money on Hank's Vanilla Cream Soda, and will gladly sell all of their vital organs to survive save only the pancreas, because they need the insulin due to the high sugar content of Hank's.
Inspecting the ingredients label for evidence of some sort of age-specific addictive chemical, the only thing I find which is unusual is the final ingredient, "quillaia". I've never heard of it.
But Wikipedia has.
Apparently, it's an extract of the bark of the soapbark tree, and is used to make sodas foamy.
So what is Hank's made of? A children's rhyme comes to mind...
"Sugar and soap. Is it worth it? Nope.
That's what Hank's Gourmet is made of."
Quaff rating: 2.5. Not unpleasant, but too sweet.
Cough rating: 0.5. A tad overwhelming.
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