Fentiman's - part deux
And I mentioned, that I am not totally convinced of the other flavours... Let me now and here explain why.
First to the great ones: Rose Lemonade is really nice... however I have to come across one rose drink, which doesn't taste really good. A couple of years I have reviewed [and tried] Sence - also a drink which is based on Bulgarian roses - and it was lovely. Fentiman's Rose Lemonade is not different - maybe slightly too acidic. Anyway - it is just great [however also very simple to replicate - citric acid, sugar syrup, carbonated water and rose water is all what you need...].
The Curiousity Cola is also nice - it is a bit more standalone and unique as other cola sodas- but hit the right spots. Only problem still is: the original just taste better and - well like the original.
Cherrybark Cola - is another good soda. While I've expected it to taste like cherry cola, it rather taste like cherry infused Dr. Pepper. But natural and better. I am not a big fan of the Dr. - however the Fentiman Cherrybark could convert me... you just need to really like cinnamon- as this is one of the predominant aromas.
Now - to the ones, which I don't prefer - but I also say why [and that my "dislike" is not necessarily a bad thing]: Fentiman's Victorian lemonade taste like a lemon soda with lemon juice. Strong acidic and with a quite pronounced sour lemon character. However the reason, why I don't prefer it, is the "brewed" taste. For me it taste, as you would let a lemonade stand too long in the warmth. These aromas are just ticking the buttons in my head, which are usually reserved for "the beverage which are past their freshness". I tried to "ferment" lemonade with a probiotic culture "harvested" out of yoghurt and I ended up with a very similar result. This is great for me to see, as I thought, the fermentation was not good - hence I was on the right way. On the other side, I am just not up to the taste [yet?].
For me even worse is the Fentimans Mandarin & Seville Orange Jigger. It taste extremely close to the result, what you get, when you ferment orange juice. And while there are a ton of people in the internets who love it - I am not one of them. It just taste off for me... I just think, that pruno (prison wine) might taste similar...
Also not my taste: Dandelion & Burdock. There - not the fermentation aromas are disturbing. But in my eyes, it is not a flavour, which "comes together". There are some burdock and/or dandelion beverages around, which taste ok. But I believe that root beer or sarsaparilla beverages have an overall better, rounder, fuller and yes- better taste. Anyway Fentiman's Dandelion & Burdock seems to be not a round recipe, but might just try too hard to create a complex drink.
One of the holy grails: Ginger Beer.
I dare to say, that I like it, but don't love it! I believe, that homemade fresh ginger beer [or ginger soda, if you want] is just so much better. The brewing doesn't really bring anything great to the party.
I have grown my "ginger bug" at home - but was never so sure about its taste. Again Fentiman's reassured me, that I am not on the wrong way - because Fentiman's Ginger Beer just smells and taste like the heavily fermenting ginger bug. Which is again slightly off.
I will soon post the rest of the flavours.
It really seems, that the "clear" sodas [or non fruity] sodas of Fentiman's taste fresher and not as brewed as the ones, which contain some fruit [or other vegetal] matter. And maybe I am on to something, as fermentation practice suggest, that you should filter the drink as much as you can for a good result.
Fentiman's is using ginger bug to brew their sodas - which might be or might not be the perfect symbiosis of microorganisms.
I believe, that they are not yet at their perfection. They could try to use other microorganisms to get other characters in some of their brews [kombucha scoby, water kefir tibicos etc]
Like previously reviewed Tonic is definitely great - and until cinchona bark [or natural extract] becomes widely available, it is one of the few tonics which are really worth to upgrade with.
Like said, the only downside is slightly too small bottle, which makes it tough to drink a properly measure drink.
The rose lemonade, was the most surprising for me. While not perfect, it is different and very enjoyable, bravo. And yes the colas are also nice.
I believe, that there definitely has to done some more testing with fermented beverages - and this seems not only apply for me personally but also for commercial brands like Fentiman's.
At this point, I am just happy, that there is a brand, which is different enough, to stand out of the average joe sodas of the multinational brands!