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Confirmed sighting: Pepsi Max 3.0 "Chi"/ CTU-24 Energy Drink
Posted: 17:47 Thu 20-Dec-2007. Location: (CTU-24) 94p/ 440ml can in Camden Morrisons.
"Silas" reports: "Was offered a tasting of this ["Ginseng and Guarana"-enhanced sequel to Pepsi Max Cino] in Kingston on Saturday. It's Tuesday and I've just managed to get the horrible taste out of my mouth. Far too sweet - despite being 0 calories - and it has an awful smell. No image as they're still in the 'testing on consumers' stage and haven't even decided on the final name." So, instead the photo is of the apparently ready-for-prime-time CTU-24 Energy Drink, believed to be the UK's first fruit-flavoured sparkling beverage with counter-terrorist abilities - tie-in fans can also sup on the official Resident Evil T-Virus Antidote Energy Drink (£1.45 from Cybercandy) or, from cult box-office flop "Idiocracy", The Thirst Mutilator: Brawndo.
...Still, in slightly less occupation-specific refreshments: "Creme Brulee Latte too grown-up, insufficiently sweet. However, the Toffee Nut variant more than makes up for this with teeth-itchingly claggy effect. Marvellous. Now watch them discontinue it just when I get most dependent on it," decided "Chubworth" regarding Starbucks' latest - while "TalkShowHost" seems to have found the previously Tesco-exclusive Make Mine A Builder's Tea in ASDA (£1.28 for 80 bags), establishing: "The unique selling points of this Builders Tea are that it is really strong and that it was developed with builders as tasters. This does not actually sound as if it is the most appealing of pedigrees, but if I know anything about builders it's that they like a good cup of tea."
"The fact that it brews within 20 seconds is quite true, left any longer and it becomes similar to the classic cafe tea that many an elderly person would categorise as 'stewed'. Just because it brews faster it is no less tasty than any other teas that I have tasted. In fact it is a real advantage that it does taste the same as some of the more expensive teas as it is quite marginally cheaper. It will definitely be the regular tea for me from now on, especially since each pack comes with a useful building tip so that you can ruin your house attempting to follow it."
Confirmed sighting: Horlicks Extra Light
Posted: 22:16 Thu 06-Dec-2007. Price: £2.34/ 220g jar, 25p/ single sachet. Location: ASDA stores. Sub-flavours: Malt, Malt Chocolate, Dreamy Vanilla, Cosy Caramel, Heavenly Amaretto. Nutritional unusualness: "Less than 40 calories" per serving.
"TalkShowHost" reports: I've loved
Horlicks for years and would be one of the first people to agree that it helps contribute towards a good night's sleep. So when I saw an extra light variety I was braced for disappointment (not many brands survive the lessening of calories. Just look at
Walkers Lights, the diet Mars bars and the low fat Cadbury Dairy Milk - to name but three examples).
I must say that I was very impressed with the malt flavour. It was very creamy and has a milky texture to it - ideal for dipping a nice digestive or two into the mug. The chocolate malt is quite the opposite though. Whilst the flavour is okay, the consistency is horrible. Small amounts of the powder refuse to dissolve and seem to hover around on the surface to form a slimy skin. This is definitely not what I want before I go to sleep at night! I would definitely buy the malt flavour in place of the other Horlicks "calorie versions" due to the fact that it is actually nicer. The chocolate version has already been given to a neighbour with a lie that it is not that bad at all.
...Another characteristically impartial sighting from "TalkShowHost" here - though, in other malted alternatives, I can also reveal that Maltesers Hot Chocolate (Tesco, £1.69) is exactly like a cross between a Twix Super Thick Shake and those microwaveable Moment Du Chocolats, but with a sachet of meltable Maltesers in the lid. Oh, and has anyone here tried Galaxy Hot Chocolate Bliss?
Confirmed sighting: Schweppes Winter Blend Lemonade
Posted: 18:59 Tue 27-Nov-2007. Price: £0.89/ 1.5 litres. Location: Morrisons, Camden. Nutritional unusualness: Contains sweeteners (aspartame, sodium saccharine), 4.2g sugar per 100ml.
reports: Well, it doesn't look like we'll be toasting the Christmas season with Relentless Juiced, Fanta Still (in Orange Citrus or Orange Tropical), or Pepsi Raw, but instead you can always raise a glass of this
"Warming Aromatic Bitters and Zesty Lime" version of the same company's Summer Punch Lemonade. Even cold, it tastes a bit like Mulled 7-Up, but it's still preferable to (for instance) Non-alcoholic Koppaberg Pear Cider (£1.39, Tesco), or the prospect of Hot Dr Pepper - plus, it's got less than half the sugar of most full-strength sodas, rivalled only by the (curiously not-really-advertised) 3.5g sugar/ 100ml of Caffeine Boost Lucozade.
...In rather more alcoholic alternatives: I've only tried the "Sweet Lime" and "Apple" flavours of Cobra Bite (£3.74/ 4x 250ml bottles in Tesco, also available in Lemongrass) - Sweet Lime's pretty good (if expensive compared to Becks Green Lemon), and the Apple one's like Snakebite without the (optional) blackcurrant. Speaking of which, Tesco believe that they're "the first retailer to bring mulled cider to the market" (at £2.99/ 75cl), and I'm determined that this is going to be the year when I finally try Marks and Spencer's controversial mulled white wine - most likely by sticking a mug of it in my microwave rather than one of the glamorous scenarios depicted in Marks' TV ads (apparently it's OK to turn up to an office party in your underwear if you're a model of some kind, yet inexplicably not so advisable for the rest of us...)
International sighting: Pepsi Summer Mix
Posted: 23:54 Thu 25-Oct-2007. Price: $1. Location: Chinatown, San Francisco.
"Our Pepsi Summer Mix was a limited edition for the season that had survived into the start of October by hiding in the corner of a dusty fridge. It's regular Pepsi with a strong taste of Starburst (Opal Fruits). Nice, but toooo sweeeet," begins "charl", before adding her voice to fans of US Coca Cola Cherry Zero, finding it to have "much of the yummy flavour of real Cherry Coke without the heavy sugar syrup flavour. At zero calories, the only question is why it's not available in the UK...
Although perhaps with the recent mangled translations of
Diet Coke Plus and
Diet Coke with Cherry on this side of the Atlantic, maybe it will taste best in the imagination of Snackspotters. One more crushing disappointment may be too many."
...Speaking of which, Everything-a-Pound shops are the only places I can think of suggesting to "Maureen", who declares last year's
Pepsi Max Cino to be: "Absolutely delicious with brandy or whisky, hadn't noticed it was a different bottle (so cannot remember where I bought it), have been searching ALL supermarkets and every shop in four different towns. Help..."
Confirmed sighting: Coca-Cola Diet Coke Plus (UK vs USA)
Posted: 22:07 Fri 12-Oct-2007. Price: 90p for 350 ml (on special offer at 69p); $1.75 for 20 fl.oz. Location: Boots, Sheffield; Philadelphia airport. Nutritional unusualness: 35% of your RDA of the specified vitamins (UK); 25-37.5% of your RDA of specified vitamins/ minerals per bottle (USA).
"Great taste of Diet Coke plus a little something for vitality and wellbeing," claimed "Kev Jobbie" after paying 92p for the UK version in Somerfield, Redcar, but only "charl" came up with a full transatlantic comparison, commenting: "Two varieties of Diet Coke Plus should equal doubleplusgood. In practice, the two British varieties achieve the goal of simultaneously sucking and blowing. Diet Coke Plus Antioxidant (green tea and vitamin C) has clearly not been tested on a functioning-palate live human audience. It tastes of real Coke mixed with too-strong green tea. Classify as undrinkable - a real rarity in modern chugging. Diet Coke Plus Vitamins (niacin, B12, C) has sensibly avoided adding extra flavours, but tastes of the heavy syrup usually associated with real Coke."
American take on Diet Coke Plus is so superior that it makes you wonder how just how bad the connection for the transatlantic recipe telephone call was, or who lost the key for the encrypted email and just decided to guess.
It contains niacin, B6, B12, magnesium and zinc and somehow manages to taste just like Diet Coke wearing a funky blue bottle cap. Bad British Coca-Cola (again), no biscuit."
...While, in other ostensibly good-for-you sodas, "zeddy" provided this rose-tinted view of Rubicon Pomegranate (4% Pomegranate juice, 49p, Asda, Livingston, Scotland), wondering: "Whatever next? Fizzy pomegranate! Do you think they ferment the seeds? It actually tastes good (if you like pomegranate, that is) and the fizziness addeds a touch of sharpness that you don't get with the still varieties. Possibly the point of no return for pomegranate juice then."
Confirmed sighting: Coca-Cola Relentless Inferno
Posted: 17:46 Tue 02-Oct-2007. Price: £1.10/ 500ml. Location: Somerfield, Newquay. Nutritional unusualness: Similar to original Relentless - 100% RDA of "pantothenic acid", plus a staggering 52g sugar per can.
"John Rosevear" reports: Just cracked open the new orange Relentless drink and it tastes very good. The can design has been lightened with an orange glow (probably to signify the orange flavour) and it tastes quite similar to orange Tango but still has that Red Bull-like after taste. Quite refreshing compared to the original Relentless flavour.
...Thanks to first-time spotter "John Rosevear" for submitting this fittingly bonkers product name (and our 900th posting!), which even comes with an endorsement by the long-dead Lord Byron on the can.
"Robbo" and "Sandy" have already mentioned the additional health-benefits promised by Diet Coke Plus ("one with vitamins B3, B12 and vitamin C, and the other containing antioxidants with added green tea and vitamin C") - while, in other hints of citrus, Chocolate Orange is the latest Limited Edition from the recently-redesigned Frijj brand (£1.08, also in Somerfield), and I think Becks Green Lemon is now my favourite of the lager-'n'-lime alcoholic alternatives, though do look out for the UK launch of artificially-sweetened Magners Light.
Confirmed sighting: Coca Cola with Orange
Posted: 14:43 Tue 26-Jun-2007. Price: £0.89/ 500ml bottle. Location: Lothian, Borders and Angus Co-op, Inverurie. Nutritional unusualness: 108 kcal, 26.6g sugar, 0g fat/ saturates, trace salt per "250ml serving".
"Joshua Field" reports: Saw this today having moaned at other shops about their lack of it so had to buy it! Smells quite like a cheap brand orangeade and, in my opinion does not taste as good as I hoped it would. To me, it has very little taste and is like sparkling spring water - very gassy. However, it comes in bright orange bottle so easy to spot it on the shelves. Would not buy it again, will stick to Coca Cola original or
Coke with Lemon.
...First-time spotter "Joshua" sums up the general disappointment here - I thought it had the cheap artificial-orange flavour of 1970s Fanta, a product which
"Zeddy" discovered has since evolved into Fanta Maldives Shokota (Citric and Elderflower taste) (0.50 Euros, Local Spar, Menorca, also available in "Japan Sandia-watermelon", and "a red grapefruit one from somewhere else"). "Tastes of the world by Fanta. Something to do with Caravan Island? Not too bad tasting and a bit different from orange or lemon varieties," the Zedster concludes, before also locating longer-lasting Wimbledon sponsor Robinsons Smooth Juice (£1/ l litre, Tesco, Lanark, in Apple and Blackcurrant, or Orange), with the words: "Spotted today in Tesco. Seems to be a premium version of the diluting variety they make. Sold at ambient then chill once opened."
Confirmed sighting: Volvic Revive Citrus Kick
Posted: 18:39 Thu 14-Jun-2007. Price: 49p (half price promotion) for 500ml. Location: Morrisons, East Kilbride. Sub-flavours: "Berry Blast" - which I'm sure is a name used by another drink I can't recall. Nutritional unusualness: "+ GINSENG and GUARANA".
"Stephen Craig" reports: Looking for all the world like a urine sample that would have you fretting and scurrying for the doctor, the Volvic branding is rolled out onto this luridly hued still drink - eyeing up a share of the Powerade/ Lucozade Sport market. And, er, there's not much to say. Despite the foul taint of Acesulfame K, it's almost drinkable. Not quite as immediately refreshing as similar drinks on the market (slightly less salty for one), it also manages to taste almost entirely unnatural (although there's a tiny hint of grapefruit in there - which suggests it may be the dominant part of the citrus flavouring).
It's most comparable in flavour to a chemical-laden freezepop/ ice pole/ whatever you want to call them that would be bought in a giant box from a supermarket 20 years ago. But if you actually consumed the contents of the yellow-ish ones before freezing them. As such, it's probably more palatable than some of the rival brands as a regular non-sports drink, but the artificial sweeteners ensure that even that, well, isn't actually that palatable at all.
...And, I quote, "not much to say" there from "Stephen Craig" - though I did like the easy-action sports-caps on these, along with the fact that Volvic are re-introducing full-sugar versions of their Touch Of Fruits (or should that be "Touches of Fruit"?). Elsewhere, "Scott" got in touch to ponder how much longer we can be deprived of Japan's Pepsi Ice Cucumber - or, for that matter, Selfridges' pioneering cucumelon hybrid?
International sighting: Diet Pepsi Jazz/ Coke Vanilla Zero
Posted: 20:32 Thu 17-May-2007. Price: (Pepsi Jazz) £1.10/ 355ml. Location: Cybercandy, Covent Garden. Sub-flavours: Black Cherry, French Vanilla, Caramel Cream, Strawberries and Cream. Nutritional unusualness: Barely a significant source of anything.
reports: The US import previously described by "Chubworth" as "interesting" - I've only tried the Strawberries and Cream one so far, but it tastes just like a mix of artificially-sweetened
Fanta Strawberry and Vanilla Coke. Speaking of which, "Vanilla Coke has made its long-awaited comeback to the US!", rejoices "Tom Lythe", after paying $2.50/ 12pk in McKinney, Texas. What's more, he "can happily say that the formula has not changed and that there isn't a diet coke version. Just a
Vanilla Zero edition which is better than the diet was!"
...In other strawberries-and-cream combos: I haven't tried the banana flavour, but I'm disappointed there's hardly any mention of the definitely-noticeable sweeteners on the packaging of Masterfoods Starburst Thick Shake (and it still contains almost as much sugar as the Mars one); while the imminent prospect of Orange Coke will be facing up against not only Citrus Tango, but also - for over-18s - four
fruit-flavoured variants of Cobra Beer (in sweet lime, blood orange, apple, or lemongrass, apparently).
Confirmed sighting: Schweppes Straightcut
Posted: 22:16 Thu 10-May-2007. Price: £0.73/ 1.25 litre bottle (introductory offer). Location: Sainsbury's, Finchley Road. Sub-flavours: Lemon; Slimline Lemon; Slimline Grapefruit and Mandarin; Pomegranate and Blueberry. Nutritional unusualness: From 1.1g to 23.9g sugar per 250ml serving.
reports: I don't know what this means for their tasty Summer Punch Lemonade, but Schweppes explain that these are supposed to have flavours that are "for adults - just that little bit more sophisticated that the usual", and should be served in a "freshly iced glass" with "a slice of fruit" (in case you thought a "Straightcut" was some sort of skateboarding manoeuvre). In practice, the two dual-fruit combinations taste like slightly diluted cans of Rio, and I confidently predict that both other options will closely resemble the "weak lemon drink" of Simon Quinlank infamy.
...Still, in other flavoured fluids: "stimulating plant extracts such as ginseng and guarana" will apparently invigorate consumers of new Volvic Revive (in Citrus Kick or Berry Blast, in shops from May), though probably not as much as GlaxoSmithKline's imminent Lucozade Sport with Caffeine Boost;
bloody Innocent Smoothies are rebranding their stupid
Juicy Water line-up as the (equally daft-sounding)
This Water range; while over-18 drinkers may prefer "citrus-flavoured, half-strength" Beck's Green Lemon lager, not to be confused with the USA's pioneering alcopop Smirnoff Raw Tea (in Lemon, Raspberry or the "previously unreleased" Green Tea).
Raspberry Cheesecake/ Coconut/ Rum and Raisin Carte D'Or
Dormen luxury handmade crisps
Betty Bassett's Red Liquorice Allsorts
Wrigley's Extra Ice Mint tins
Mr Kipling's Big French Fancy
Smarties Party Ice Cream/ Calippo Fizz
Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Ginsters microwavable ready meals
Carte D'Or sorbets/ Raspberries and Meringue Haagen-Dazs
Minara Micro Meals in a jar
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