Saturday, December 10, 2011

Izze Sparkling Clementine Review

Excuse the photo quality, I had to use my phone
Izze is a soda that I have been drinking for years, most notably their Pomegranate soda. I remember early on that was one of my first "weird" sodas that I tried out. This particular soda was bought by me from the Starbucks at my college. I got to use my monopoly money to buy it too so it was basically free!

Bottling is utterly boring. There is a minor bulging from where it transitions from being a perfect cylinder for labeling and the neck. Neck is fairly broad and very straight. Very sharp turn on the neck implies that it is trying to be a straightforward soda. Not a thin tall neck for something fancy and not a broad neck for something bold like a strong root beer. Just in between. It appeals to mass market well (this is Izze after all) but I don’t like it too much to be honest.

Labeling is of course amazing. Their logo is simply, colorful and invokes the idea of fruitiness well. They have a whole marketing term and graphic artists and stuff to figure this all out so I’m not surprised at all. The coloring is absolutely perfect too. This is awesome but I am not surprised again, this is a well-funded soda, not some tiny indie thing. The red and orange perfectly complements the coloring of the soda itself and the white border gives a nice clean look to the overall logo. For a fruit soda this is great, very clean, very colorful, invokes the idea of the soda perfectly.
Simply and cute logo

Apple and White grape juice come out above Clementine on the ingredients. This is actually a really geat idea and something I have seen before. Apple juice is so mild and cheap that it adds a nice little sweet flavor while being filler. White grape juice is similar, it is a nice and simple flavor that won’t get in the way of the clementine and should accentuate it in all reality. Sparkling water is fourth on the list, which is really cool; this is going to taste much more like a sparkling fruit juice than a fruity flavored soda. That was also the point of the apple and grape juices make it a juice instead of just a sugary soda. Really a great recipe, this strays far away from something like a Faygo grape soda, which I love.

Again, sorry if you can't read it
Their little marketing blurb backs up all what I wrote. “We stay true to the fruit. Izze is all natural. No refined sugars. No caffeine. No preservatives. It’s 70% pure fruit juice. With a splash of sparkling water.”

After seeing the ingredients I believe it too, very cool to see this in the world of HFCS taking over.

Strong marketing because this is from
a major company
Sugar count is really low as one would expect, only 27g. It is common to see upwards of 40g in something like a faygo soda of comparable size. Calories are on par with what I expect at 120. Somewhat low, but because the sugar is so low it makes sense. This is certainly going to be a much more healthy alternative to a standard sort of ultra sugary soda.

Twist off of course, I like that they label it so I know. With things like the Jarrito’s I had I expect a twist off and was wrong which was sort of frustrating but also I enjoyed it. I do prefer twist off to pop off. Nice simply pop and the scent is wafting, very very strong smell on this I love it. Not much carbonation on opening, as expected. This is a juice, not as much a soda.

That flavor is fantastic and reminds me thoroughly of the Cas Cal. It is much more citrusy than the Cas Cal but that sort of mixture of fruit juices with apple juice as a base all has a fairly similar flavor. Carbonation is fairly non-existent. I don’t even notice it chugging and putting the bottle on the table fairly hard really results in not much more than a small flurry of bubbles popping up to the surface.
Lack of HFCS is perfect. I wouldn’t want this sticking in my mouth and it lends a very clean flavor that washes down nicely. The very slight bite of the citrus acid is fantastic to remind you of the soda without being over bearing. It is a little bit thinner than I would like. It doesn’t have HFCS to thicken it and since they are essentially watering down juice it comes out a bit more thin than a fruit juice would. This gives it very little presence as it is in your mouth and as it goes down. I think this might be a situational soda.

The flavor is so good. This really is a soda that is done very very right. The only complaint I could think is that I wish it did have more presence. However I feel like that might be more of a stylistic choice than anything else. The fact that it is thinner than say a bold root beer or a pure fruit juice makes it so that it is absolutely perfect for washing down food. I imagine this soda is intended to go with meals and for that purpose it is absolutely perfect. My recommendation then would be to not have this soda on its own, the flavor is good but I got used to it quickly. With some sodas like the Jarrito’s or the Cas Cal the flavor was subtle enough and washed out of my mouth quickly enough that I kept wanting to drink more to get a handle on what the flavor actually was like. This has less of that since I know what it tastes like pretty much after the first 2 or 3 gulps. Fantastic soda nonetheless, my hat goes off to Izze. They have chosen to use their money and success well to create a better product rather than just copping out and going for a HFCS lame fruity soda. I am going to look into the history of the company a bit as well. I imagine they started out as a small independent bottling company and their initial ideas behind the soda were held true even through the company’s massive success.