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Friday, July 16, 2010

Jarritos Variety Pack: Strawberry

It's cleaning day at the Lab. My mother (RoTalMomska, who has been a guest reviewer before, with the Dry Soda Co: Juniper Berry) will be visiting the Lab for a few days, and the tottering piles and strata of Lab debris (entirely scientific, I assure you!*) might not present the most welcoming atmosphere. Thus, the Lab staff has been busy with scrubbing, polishing, and disinfecting** endeavors.
It's hot, though, and time for a break.
Thus, while the Lead Assistant Tester and his friend .$O" (that is his chosen pseudonym, not a failed attempt at HTML) work their way through Guitar Hero***, I have decided to continue the Jarritos odyssey.

Today it's Strawberry (Fresa).

Welcome to the tasting!
It gets Weirder every day.
You learn to quaff the oddest things
With tuna melts for pay.
If you got a hunger for what you read,
(which may not seem likely).
You can have anything you want,
And write a guest review for me!
In the tasting...welcome to the tasting!
It'll bring you to your n-n-n-n-n-knees.
Some more Jarritos, please!

Where and when: Donated by Jarritos
Color: Transparent red with a hint of orange.
Scent: Sweet, darkish, a bit of strawberry sundae syrup.
JAT: "Cherryish. Cherry Coke-ish."
LAT: "Bleah. Syrupy."
Taste: It's sweet, but not overwhelmingly. There is a hint of fruity taste--could be strawberry--but it passes oddly quickly. Somewhat tart, but again, not as much as I would have expected. The taste fades, leaving just the impression of having quaffed, but not a lot of evidence.

I guess strawberry is closer than anything else, but it's not all that strawberry-ish. It's not all that anything-ish, really. It's like slightly acidified club soda which has just a touch of strawberry syrup in it.

JAT: "Meh. Eh. *ptui*"
.$O": "Mmmm! Mmmmmm! Ah!" *sighs* "Best thing I've tasted in years!" *quaff* *squeak with delight* "Well, months. Weeks? It's good." *quaff* "Mmmmmmh!"

Well, I guess that's a mixed opinion.

K-i-C: "Tastes like a raspada. It should be colder. And chunky."

It's tasty, as far as it just doesn't go very far.

Quaff rating:2.0. Tastes okay, but not worth it. .#O" might disagree.
Cough rating:0.0. Nothing to object to either.

*And amenable to investigation by archaeologists.
**In certain cases involving the bathroom, this can involve either large rifles or unspeakable occult rituals involving the summoning of the Great Old One L'y-Sol.
***Unfortunately, there is no option to do "I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper, He's a Pepper, She's a Pepper...wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jarritos Variety Pack: Lime

Today, there's Jarritos Lime.

The first thing that pops to mind about this one is the translation. The label claims this is "Jarritos Lime (Limon)". My Spanish is extremely poor, but that didn't seem quite right--I would assume "limon" would be "lemon" in English. So I talked to my wife, whose Spanish is better.
Me: "How would you translate 'limon'?"
K-i-C: "Lemon."
Me: "Not 'lime'?"
K-i-C: "No, that's 'lima'."

I figure that to be safe, I should get some other opinions.

Me: "lemon lime"
Google Translate (English->Spanish): "lima-limon"
Me: "No, not the combined flavor. Lemon. Lime."
Google Translate (English->Spanish): "Limon. Lime."
Me: "Okay, let's go backwards to check. Limon. Lima. Lime."
Google Translate (Spanish->English): "Limón. Lima. Lime." (Yes, I double-checked.)

Okay, that didn't help. So I did a Google search, and ended up reading an argument about the proper translations of English "lemon" and "lime" vs. Spanish "limon" and "lima". According to at least one person in that argument, in Mexico, "limon" refers to the English "lime", while "limon real" refers to the English lemon (and is rare in Mexico). "Lima" refers to some other citrus fruit.
Except, apparently, in Michoacan, where "limon amarilla" refers to the English "lemon" and "limon verde" refers to the English lime.
Except, apparently, in Puerto Rico, where "limon" refers to the English "lemon" and "lima" refers to the English "lime".
Except, apparently, in Venezuela, where "limon" refers to a small green fruit (probably the English "lime") and "lima" refers to some very rare fruit which you never see.
Except, apparently, that in many areas "limon" refers to any number of citrus fruits, including English lemons and English limes.

...and the argument continued.

As to what this is, please allow me to quote Lt. Commander Data, whose summary applies well here:
"It is green."

Where and when: Donated by Jarritos.
Color: I'm tempted to call it "lime green", except it's not. It's very close to the Gatorade sold as "lemon-lime". Pale yellowish-green, slightly translucent.
Scent: citrus, tart, but not extremely sour like a limon. (Ha ha!) A bit sweet, slightly bitter. Probably lime.
Taste: Similar to the scent, but a bit more sour. Pleasant, very sweet, somewhat heady but with no lingering on the tongue (like the Guava did). Kind of similar to lime jelly candy--not the Jujyfruits version, but the soft, sugar-crusted Sunkist type.

Pretty nice. Like most Jarritos I've had, a bit overly sweet, but pleasant enough.

Quaff rating: 3.0. Tasty.
Cough rating: 0.5. Still too sweet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jarritos Variety Pack: Mandarin

You may have noticed that the Kibbitzer-in-Chief was not quoted in the previous review (Jarritos Guava). If you read that review, you now understand how valuable her input is to the reports issued by the Lab, and the problems that can arise without her presence.

She was not exactly pleased with the results*.

In any case, she's here now, and so with a more sober mind we shall move on to the next item in the Jarritos pak: Mandarin. Whether a mandarin orange is the same thing as a tangerine is apparently a source of some debate, but most sources I have found suggest that mandarin and tangerine are, if not identical, then very closely related.

So we'll call this Mandarin and/or Tangerine flavor.

Where and when: Donated by Jarritos
Color: Translucent bright orange. About the same color as freshly squeezed orange juice, but more translucent and no pulp.
Scent: Pretty close to actual tangerine.
K-i-C: "It smells familiar. I'm trying to place it."
Me: "Tangerine?"
K-i-C: "Could be."
Sweet, a strong bitter citrus undertone.
Taste: Fairly mild. Quite sweet, but not utterly cloying. The bitter citrus is more understated here, with the dominant flavor being a fairly mellow, not-all-that-tangy pleasant citrus.
K-i-C: "The guava was better."
It's sweeter than the guava, and more artifical in taste.
JAT: "Mmm! Tastes like Orangina."
I disagree; Orangina tastes very much like actual orange juice, with the full tang and bitterness thereof. This forgoes most of the complexity of real fruit for a dominant sweetness and mellow mild citrus. You wouldn't mistake this for carbonated fruit juice.

Quaff rating: 2.5. Not bad, but could be better.
Cough rating: 0.5. Not sweet enough to provoke an adverse response.

* I believe the exact quote when she read it was "Eww. That's really disturbing," followed by some odd sidelong glances and suspicion.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jarritos Variety Pack: Guava

Second in our perusal of the Variety Pack donated by Jarritos is Guava, or Guayaba. I haven't had a lot of guava sodas (or juices, for that matter). When I have, the main impression it has left on me has been of slightly sweet musky thick pulp, which--while possessed of a certain cheesy-romance-novel sensuous quality--is nevertheless not exactly my favorite thing.

However, in honor of that particular tenuous connection...I think we have found a suitable theme for today's review.


Sunset was Joanne's favorite time of day. As she walked through the gardens in her royal-blue track shorts and lace-trimmed halter top which showed off the exquisite contours of her supple, tanned leather harness, the gathering cool of the approaching dusk allowed her to release some of the tension in the strong yet feminine muscles of her upper back. Beads of sweat fell from the honey-colored bangs in front of her eyes and ran down into the shadowed valleys beneath her collarbones. It had been a long day, but he never minded performing the..."special services"...she was uniquely suited to render to the master of the house.
Even when she had first come here, little more than a girl, she had loved the lush gardens around the master's house. She remembered that day so clearly--how she had stood in the dress with that preposterously short skirt, feeling so exposed and vulnerable, feeling his gaze travel over her. His eyes, looking up at her, and his voice, husky, saying that yes, she would do, she would serve well--and her surprise and finding herself not appalled, but actually eager...


That same husky voice drew her from her reverie, making her gasp. It was as though she was feeling his arms again, his hands on her neck, her shoulders...

"Joanne, come on. We have so much more to do today."

With a start, she realized that it WAS his hands she felt, as he sat in his usual place. His heels kicked at her sides, urging her to go on, to go further, and she responded with her usual desperate eagerness to please.

She stepped further down the row, a delicious shiver of pleasure racing from her neck down her spine to a deeper core within her as the whine and buzz of the motors sounded just behind her left ear. The tiny puffs of ozone from the sultry, overheated circuitry tantalized her, making her tremble. The burnished, articulated bionic arm extended langorously up, and delicately plucked the guava from the branch where it had slowly ripened over the months before. Now it sat in the sharp-edged hand, its slightly wrinkled skin pressed firmly to the gleaming metal surface of the seven digits and palm within which is was held, in an inescapable embrace.
But why would it want to escape?, she thought. Why would it want anything else?
The master's voice sounded from just above her head.
"My batteries are running low, but I think I want one more. Hold this one for me, won't you?"
The arm swiveled gracefully and released the fruit, and it fell into her arms. For once, she was the one to hold it, to feel it against her own milky, smooth, scented skin. The guava--this guava, this very symbol of fertility--she couldn't wait any longer. She had to possess it, to consume it, and she couldn't wait any longer.

The juices ran down her chin as the pulp rose to the surface, responding to her insistent squeezing. In the total abandonment of her enjoyment of the guava, her eyes closed, long lashes catching the last rays of the setting sun filtered through the leaves of the garden, she didn't feel the weight shifting in the harness.
When her eyes opened, she found herself staring into the half-metal, half-flesh face of the master, who had climbed from the harness onto the top of her head. His four legs clutched gently at the elegant shape of her head, and the red gleam from his right ocular prosthetic reflected the warmth of his cybernetic heart as he watched her sensual pleasure with evident enjoyment.

"I hope you saved some for me," he crooned delicately.

Where and when: donated by Jarritos
Color: Translucent pink. Not quite hot pink. Maybe the pink of the blush on the cheek of mind.
Scent: Unexpectedly not that sweet. Melonish, mild, a tiny bit acrid. Fruity.
Taste: Rather a lot like the scent. The initial taste has a core of sweetness, but the sides are fairly tart, and there is a lot of melon-y volatility. It's pretty good. The aftertaste doesn't get very tart--no more than the initial tartness around the side. The headiness does linger, interestingly, and feels like it's staying in the top of my mouth.

I like this one quite a bit more than the fruit punch. This actually tastes a bit like fruit. It's still quite sweet--maybe just a touch too much so--but not as cloying. Much more refreshing.

Quaff rating: 3.0 Quite nice.
Cough rating: 0.5 Maybe the tiniest bit too sweet for me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jarritos Variety Pack: Fruit Punch

The other day, the Lab computer system alerted me to the arrival of an email. Now, this is not such an unusual event; we receive email on a semiannual basis* regarding our reviews. However, despite our busy schedule, I felt it was important for me to see what sort of correspondence awaited.

Lo and behold, we had received email from Jarritos itself! Not only that, but the folks at Jarritos were offering to send us samples of their product for review.
Now, I was somewhat surprised by this. Jarritos is a major soft drink maker; their products are ubiquitous in Mexico (and much of Southern California). I've had several of their flavors before, and reviewed one (Tamarindo) for the Lab.
A couple of quotes from that review:
"There's a strange aftertaste, too--to me, for reasons I'm not sure of, it made the image of licking a basketball come to mind."
"...that sour/bitter flavor is probably what makes me think of pre-vomit saliva, and what makes the K-i-C think of armpit sweat."
"Tastes kind of good, but not as good as bad."

I can only imagine what went through the minds of the corporate officers of Jarritos in deciding** to offer me a sample pack.

Corporate Researcher: "Hmm...ladies and gentlemen, it appears that an anonymous person in north San Diego county has posted unfavorable comments about our Tamarind flavor!"
Marketing executive: "Ye gods, man, surely not! Why, this is an atrocity! A disaster of epic--even Biblical--proportions! The thought of someone...disliking...our soda..." [breaks down in a storm of piteous weeping]
Corporate president: "There there, O Noble VP of Marketing. All is not lost! Surely, by some malign providence...I wouldn't be surprised if it were owing to the agency of an ill-natured fairy...this 'Quaffmaster' was the recipient of adulterated soda."
All: GASP!
Corporate president: "Alas, it may be so. Quickly, mobilize the Postal Division. We must send this 'Quaffmaster' samples drawn directly from the pure wellspring of Jarritos itself, that he may see the error and remove this besmirchment, this unspeakable blight, this HIDEOUS CYCLOPEAN STAIN OF SHAME AND HORROR from our corporation. Indeed, until this is done, let all of the bottles henceforth be shipped wrapped in black ribbon, bearing the legend 'Honor Requires It'."

Clearly, I would have to honor this peace gesture.

After a short wait, a box containing a variety of Jarritos flavors. I will now embark upon an odyssey of Jarritos flavors, ending in a return to Tamarindo, and reporting at each stage of my journey.
And, as usual when reviewing sodas sent by corporate sponsors, I will attempt to ensure the high standards of objectivity you have come to expect by inviting the contributions of GALT, our official anti-bias artificial personality.


Well, we'll begin with Fruit Punch (a.k.a. "Tutifruti").

Where and when: Donated by Jarritos
Color: Bright red, fairly opaque. Really, an impressive scarlet.
Scent: To my surprise, when I try to twist off the cap of the bottle, it doesn't come off and I damage my fingers. Amazing--I'll actually need the bottle opener.
Quaffmaster: "Lead assistant taster! Fetch me the bottle opener!"
LAT: "Yes, master!"

The scent is a bit darker than most fruit punches--more berry, less citrus.
LAT: "I can smell it from here. Smells like Cherry Coke, except more watery."
Maybe. Kind of like a very strong red Gatorade, with a bit of grenadine.
Actually, on second smell, it's more like Welch's grape soda than anything else. I used to have Welch's grape soda by the pool, when I was a kid. That smell, the smell of hot concrete and chlorinated water...they all go together...


Yes. Anyway.

Taste: Hmm. Not what I expected at all. Very sweet, almost syrupy, with a moderate amount of carbonated bite. The major flavor is berryish or cherryish, not grape, and it's pretty thick. It lingers strongly in the mouth. Not unlike grenadine, but a bit thicker. Aftertaste is somewhat orangeish. Pretty strong, and would be too sweet to be a good thirst-quencher. On the other hand, it's a fairly nice strong cherry taste. Not sour cherry, or even black cherry--it's more like maraschino cherry. Artificial-tasting, but it is made with real sugar.


No, it's not that bad, but it is awfully syrupy.

Me: "LAT, would you try this and give me your opinion?"
LAT: "No way."
Me: "Oh, come on."
LAT: (quaffs) *grimace, spit* "Very sweet."
JAT: "Mmmm! Good." *pause* "For some reason, the taste is familiar."
LAT: "I like it." *quaff* "It's not bad." *pause* "It's kind of good, sort of."

I guess the LAT has mixed feelings.

K-i-C: *quaffs* *grimaces* *gags* "Here you go." *hands the bottle back* "Oh God, the aftertaste is awful. Is there anything real in that?"

A bit more grape-y than Hawaiian Punch.

Delayed aftertaste: pretty sour.

Quaff rating: 2.5. The taste is okay; I've had much worse cherryish things.
Cough rating: 1.0. Very syrupy, which doesn't bother me that much, but would undoubtedly bother others. Such as half the Lab staff.

*If that.
**Because I'm absolutely SURE this decision was made at the highest levels of the Jarritos corporation.
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