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Friday, October 15, 2010

Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda

There are days when being the Quaffmaster comes with a fair amount of stress. As an example: today, my "to-do" list includes:
1) Pick up "Shade's Children" and "Gateway" from the library
2) Return approximately 65 pounds of books to the library
3) Package auto parts to return to the vendor
4) Rent a tuxedo
5) Purchase components for this year's Halloween costume ("Groovus Maximus, the Beatnik Centurion")
6) Really seriously think about getting around to grading some papers

Plus, there's the work at the Lab. If only I could find some way to make the quaffing and reviewing of soda include some sort of mellow relaxation...

Wait. What's this? Here, in the back...
"Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda".

Perfect. A review title which will get me arrested.

I'm excited about this one. When I spotted it on the shelf at BevMo, I couldn't pass it up. Now, while I am reasonably widely-experienced in the realm of Weird soda, I am effectively completely naive about other I drink very little alcohol, smoke no tobacco, and have had no experience with anything else. Even so, I couldn't help but think that "Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda" was meant to refer to something else.

A closer look at the label:
"Take a moment for yourself. Enjoy euphoric relaxation that's all natural, plain and simple. Consume Responsibly - Limit 2 bottles per day. Excessive use or use with prescription sedatives may cause drowsiness and impair ability to operate a motor vehicle or heavy equipment."
I think that I need to take a good, close look at the ingredients list for this one.
We've got water, cane sugar, passionflower extract, caramel color, kava extract, phosphoric acid, citric acid, and natural flavor.
Apparently, kava is a Pacific island herb whose roots can be used to prepare a mild sedative drink, so we can probably assume that's the active ingredient. I'm keeping an eye on the "natural flavors", though...

The Kibbitzer-in-Chief says, "Should I make some brownies for this review?"

She does make some darned fine brownies, especially for someone who doesn't like chocolate.

Oh, as an extra bonus, we have another guest reviewer at the Lab today. Flip-Flop Girl, a good friend, is visiting with her children. Let's see how she likes this one.

Where and when: Purchased at BevMo, October 2010
Color: Moderately-dark caramel.
FFG: "Well...brown?"
K-i-C: "Yep. I guess it's a tiny bit red. Watery prune juice color."
Scent: Sweet, moderately spicy. Herbal and cinnamon notes, lemony.
K-i-C: "Woo! It..."
FFG: "To me it smells like stale Pepsi."
K-i-C: "It doesn't really smell like anything that special."
FFG: "It smells like a soda that's been left out all day."
K-i-C: "It's been relaxing."

It is similar to Pepsi, but more volatile, a bit heady.

FFG: "There's something else I'm trying to identify..."
K-i-C: "It's got kind of a caramel smell to it."

Taste: Stronger citrus than I was expecting, more orange than lemon. The initial taste is of citrus, followed closely by a slightly more bitter fruit.

FFG: "You know how you were saying it looked kind of like prunes?"
She's's is a pruniness, maybe raisin-y. I think the passionflower is pretty strong. So it goes from orange-passion to prune, still not unpleasant, but definitely unusual.

K-i-C: "I don't feel more relaxed."
FFG: "Maybe you haven't had enough yet."

Oh, isn't that ALWAYS the way these things start?

There's a very, very faint hint of bitter in the later taste. If I close my eyes, it reminds me slightly of the Abbondio Chinotto, but not nearly so strong. The taste interacts nicely with the smell; the cinnamon and spice of the scent combines well with the citrus and prune. More pleasant than I would have guessed.

The K-i-C and Flip-Flop Girl say the prune comes before the citrus. I guess I'm outvoted.

And then the chickens (yes, the Lab has chickens) mounted an escape attempt. The ensuing chaos may have impinged on any putative relaxation effect, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience nonetheless.

JAT: "Bleah."

Quaff rating: I'm torn between 3.0 and 3.5. I'm going to go with the 3.0, based on the opinions of the K-i-C and Flip-Flop Girl.
Cough rating: 1. The raisin flavor is a bit odd.

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