Bubly’s a little hit or miss for us here at the Bubbleverse. While some of their flavors are standouts, or even unique in the field (like the Blackberry), others leave us unimpressed.
This one left us dreading having to finish the can.
Cherry is a flavor that’s been around for a looong time. Who hasn’t suffered through decades of cherrytrosities? Candy, medicine, soda: while most are terrible, in our opinion, there have been some standouts along the way, like Cherry Poptarts and Wild Cherry Pepsi.
We guess we’re taking this trip down memory lane because the bubly cherry just took us back to 1987 and the launch of Cherry Nyquil.
The cough syrup is strong in the nose. The cute little poptab says “heyo” when what it really means to say is: time to take your medicine.
The first notes are also awash in this medicinal vibe. We mentioned Wild Cherry Pepsi up there, and we have fond memories of destroying our teeth with bottle after bottle of WCP in highschool. Which makes this all the more weird and tragic, because bubly is actually made by Pepsico. They had the secret key to the cherry kingdom in 1988! And then, apparently, threw it all away in 2020.
Blessedly, the Nyquil flavor fades quickly, but what it leaves in its wake is sheer bitterness, both on the tongue and in the soul. Just a thin, watery bitterness that takes too long to fade away.
There’s really nothing else we can say about this one. Other than that the color of the can is pretty ugly, too.
You can stop reading here, and head over to the Waterloo Black Cherry, which is actually amazing.
Or maybe you’re one of the apparently millions of people that like this type of artificial cherry flavor (it has to be popular right? Or why are they so ubiquitous?) and this review so far has you salivating.
But we’re going to take the rest of this time to talk about cherry flavor, because this travesty at least piqued our curiosity about why it’s so damn difficult to get right.
Actually, first, we just had a chilling thought: what if this IS the same flavor that’s in WCP, but it’s just overwhelmed by the high-fructose cola onslaught? It’s sad to watch your heroes die.
What is Cherry Flavor?
Anyway: the molecule most responsible for cherry flavor in the United States since the 19th century is benzaldehyde. Which is fascinating, because benzaldehyde is better known as “bitter almond oil.” In fact, in Europe, benzaldehyde is not used in cherry flavor because of the cultural associations of the taste of benzaldehyde with the taste of almonds. Where Americans taste cherries, Europeans are more likely to taste almonds.
But benzaldehyde is definitely present in cherries: in the pit. At some point, the American idea of cherry was more closely intertwined with bitter wild cherries and cherry liquor, which have significantly more benzaldehyde than the Bings and Raniers that we know and love today.
The more you know 💫.
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavor