Sometimes it’s hard to find new brands when shelves and hearts are lined with case after case of LaCroixs and bublys. Often, finding the smaller, boutique, artisanal brands takes some concerted effort and peeled eyes.
So it was a sight for sore ones to cast our gaze upon Boylan’s clean, throwback bottles, tucked away on a discreet endcap away from the Hall of Commodity Brands.
We almost thought that the arrangement of Boylans could be a section of tonic waters or artisanal sodas, given the iconic vintage bottle look. (And indeed Boylan’s popular offerings include tonics and classic cane sugar sodas, like root beer and cola).
But of course, we are not about the sugar in The Bubbleverse, so we were relieved to see that what our eyes were feasting upon was the real deal: Flavored Sparkling Water.
(The pretty glass bottles and circular logo also gave us some old school Hiball packaging flashbacks, and our hearts always melt over anything that reminds us of those glorious days. Confidential to Hiball: Bring those glass babies back!)
So yeah: we love Boylan’s timeless bottling and packaging.
It’s serving us milkman realness and bopping over to the soda fountain for a milkshake vibes. There’s a mid-century Americana feel that exudes the Rockwellian reverie of American kindliness and beneficence. Yeah, maybe it’s all a facade, but it looks the part, right? We’ll drink that fantasy up.
And this vintage-hued branding makes total sense given that this brand was founded in 1891 by a pharmacist (one Mr. Boylan) who created a birch-derived “elixir” that he then sold out of the back of his wagon.
We love a brand that stays true to its roots, and selling birch serum out of the back of one’s wagon is exactly the kind of old-timey backstory we live for.
And that’s not just the only throwback thing about Boylan!
They even utilize a method of carbonation referred to as “Pinpoint Carbonation,” which definitely evokes in our mind’s eye an image of a dashing man in a pinstripe suit, adorned with a boater hat, hand-carbonating perfectly essenced water in elegant glass bottles.
And… you guessed it: Pinpoint Carbonation is a vintage carbonation process. Pinpoint carbonation is a slower carbonation process that creates smooth, tiny bubbles five to nine microns in size, which gives a crazy effervescence. The internet has threads of devotees to Pinpoint Carbonation, nerding out over this meticulous and hallowed art.
One manufacturer’s description states that pinpoint carbonation allows for “intimate gas-to-liquid bonding,” and uhh…what can we say about that phrase, other than it echos in our dreams forever now?
But enough with the preamble, let’s take a swaller!
We love that when you pop the top, the bubbles fizz up to the top of the bottle cheerfully, welcoming you to the Boylan seltzer journey that awaits.
And the aroma is right there alongside those perky bubbles. The nose on this bottle is equally cheerful, an effervescent airy raspberry aroma waft up to say hello. It’s like an actual raspberry was dropped into the bottle.
But just one.
We weren’t sure what we were going to get with a company known for Birch Beer and Soda, but consider us impressed.
This is a sophisticated and subtle execution of a raspberry, a creation of a deft hand versed in the magic of flavorcraft. Boylan’s raspberry is peak summer. Juicy. You can imagine the real thing dripping down your chin.
There’s no real tartness to this raspberry, and while we love tartness in general, we actually don’t miss it here. This is the highest expression of the ripe and delicate fruit. The moment when it peaks in full, tender lusciousness, right before it tips over into the inevitable decay.
But what’s most important to note is how ephemeral the flavor at play is: just like the lifespan of the raspberry itself, it’s rendered in grace and effervescence. All of this is done with the lightest of touches. This really is just one single raspberry dropped in, not crowded and overwhelming with the whole pint.
We feel strongly that this is what LaCroix aspires to.
Some commodity brands go for loud, in-your-face explosions of aromatics and flavors (yes, we’re talking about AHA). But brands like LaCroix, as we’ve discovered throughout our Bubbleverse Contemplations, are actually thinner, whispier expressions of flavors. Nods to the real thing, but quickly dissolving into indecipherable ideas of unfinished flavor formations and citric acids.
But not here.
And circling back to the bubbles, we were today years old when we realized we love Pinpoint Carbonation. Because of the aforementioned pinpoint carbonation, the bubbles in this don’t stop.
And that’s part of what makes Pinpoint Carbonation so magical. One pinpoint bottler even claimed that they opened a bottle, took a sip, screwed the cap back on, and it was still carbonated four months later! 🤯
Be still our hearts. Much like that gas-to-liquid bonding, Pinpoint Carbonation has inspired in us an intimate brand-to-bubblenaut bond.
Ultimately, Pinpoint Carbonation is a small-batch and more time-intensive process, so it makes sense that not all carbonated water manufacturers want to spring for it. But we’re so glad that Boylan did!
We tip our boater caps to Boylan for their impressive seltzer achievement: The last sip is as fizzy as the first, and the subtle raspberry is juicy til the end.
Basically, this is a pink, raspberry-hued dream, and we don’t want to wake up. Luckily, we don’t have to.
Much like the idyllic fantasy of Soda Shop America itself, this captures till the last drop. But unlike Rockwellian America, Boylan is the real deal.
Carbonated water, Natural Raspberry Flavor