Here we go down another can of bubly, Pepsi’s bubblin’ baby in their relentless foray into the seltzer world.
A foray that we suspect is motivated by the ever-expanding financial possibilities of sparkling water universe, because let’s be honest, everyone wants a piece of that billion dollar LaCroix pie. Bubly is not here to create non-GMO, herbal greatness like Dram or Aura Bora.
So, sadly, we continually feel a bit cynical about bubly’s arrival onto the scene.
You know how sometimes you hear a song, and you think to yourself, “Why does this song exist?” This clearly took effort to record and produce, and yet…why. This has added nothing to the canon or the conversation. Why did someone bother?
Much like a mediocre song, there is something about bubly’s flavors that always feel like an afterthought.
But maybe this raspberry will be different. We hope, because hope springs eternal for us bubblenauts. We’re always willing to try with bubly, again and again.
So we pick up the can and read the pop tab that says “ayyy”. We think they mean it to sound like “heeyyy”, but you might also interpret that as “AY!” like you’ve touched something hot or horrible, jumping away as quickly as possible, as if you’ve suddenly realized it’s the bubly Cherry or Lime in your hand.
But Raspberry starts off much more promising! The nose gives us candy raspberry, and it’s not bad. There’s a genuine full, cartoonish fruitiness to it that we would recognize anywhere as Raspberry. This is a solid and intriguing start. We can’t think of another sparkling water that has quite this note.
So now we plunge in, like a dagger through the heart. And lo and behold, by the pricking of our thumbs, some Capital R Raspberry this way comes.
(You know it was only a matter of time before we got Shakespearean. We’ve already forced some British Romantics down your throat, so why stop there? If you think this site is ultimately just us working out some AP English angst, you’re right. And this bubly Raspberry sort of takes us there.)
Bubly is never the most complex flavor out there, but they do always manage to execute One Solid Note of whatever fruit they’re doing, and the note they choose is usually fruit-forward and ripe. We like it. There is something unique and delectable about the raspberry that they’ve conjured.
The bugaboo here is that the bright buoyant raspberry dissolves, almost immediately, into thin, reedy acidity, leaving you with chalky, Flintstone vitamin vibes, as you wonder what happened to the berry you were so excited about.
We realize that in the real world raspberries lead problematically fleeting existences. They are the quickest fruit to decay, and if you don’t pound those Driscolls in a day, you’re gonna be left with a sad, mushy moldberry in your fridge. Maybe this is the experience bubly was going for?
Because here’s the dilemma with this bubly: like a star-crossed love, the promise of sweet, summer berry is gone too soon. The tragedy of an ill-fated plan to have a satisfying raspberry experience, replaced with sinister chemical aftertaste.
We’ve noticed that, with the exception of the bubly Blackberry, which is one of our favorite commodity brands to keep stocked on the shelves, Bubly loses its flavors pretty quickly, and we are often left swirling on citric acid or whatever the aromatics become as our Raspberry Ophelia drowns.
Now: we don’t hate this. But we start with optimism, hoping that the love we feel for this candied gem is going to end in happiness. We’re committed to the can, even though we know in this first act where this is heading: Tragedy.
In the words of Shakespeare, soliloquized by the doomed Macbeth:
“It is a sparkling water sold by a giant soda company, full of promises and citric acid,
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavor