For the last few Christmas’s my best friend Dustin has purchased a basket of sodas for me to review. We don’t usually exchange gifts until middle to late January and I don’t usually start reviewing them until February. I tell you this seemingly pointless information because I’m about to review several Christmas themed sodas and I didn’t want you to think that I was slow to the draw. Today’s soda is Taylor’s Tonics Cranberry Dream. We’ve reviewed Taylor’s Tonics before and they’re always both unique and powerful. The flavors aren’t always my favorite, but I always appreciate the amount of effort they put into each one. Seeing Cranberry Dream in my fridge I figured I’d be consuming a cranberry soda and nothing more. Looking at the ingredients label I found that I couldn’t be further from the truth. The ingredients are as follows:
Sparking Water (Infused with Wildcrafted Balsam Fir Needles, Ginger, & Allspice), Evaporated Cane Juice, Coconut Water, Cherry Juice, Cranberry Juice, Natural Douglas Fir & French Vanilla Flavors, Extract of Orange, and Citric Acid.
I immediately notice two things after reading those ingredients. The first is that there are an insane amount of flavors in what I thought was just cranberry soda. The second thing I notice is that this is also flavored with CHRISTMAS TREES! Honestly I have no idea how tree translates into soda, but I’m excited to find out. Holding the bottle up to the light I glance at the peach colored soda and remove the festive green bottle cap.
The smell is fantastic. It smells like a candle store during the holiday season. The sweet aroma hits your nostrils with such a mixture of scents that you’re nose isn’t even sure where to start. The ginger, allspice, and vanilla are the most discernible fragrances coming out of the bottle. I do find it odd that I can’t even smell the titular berry, but honestly this smells so good I don’t even care. I’m not sure how a scent this interesting will translate to taste… I guess we’ll find out together.
Good news everybody, it doesn’t taste like a tree. Taylor’s Tonics Cranberry Dream has now surprised me in all three sections of this review. At first taste the ginger and allspice hit my tongue for what I thought was going to be a harsh ride. Wrong. While the two spices made themselves at home on my palate they both gently went to sleep upon arriving. The cranberry is noticeable, but again not tart in the slightest. I’m guessing the cranberries are muted by the amount of vanilla in the beverage, which by the way works fantastically well in this soda. The last few sips I’ve taken did have hints of tree and I must say that I liked it. Picture yourself outside in the forest… the Piney Woods if you will. The air is crisp and quiet, the only thing around you are pine trees and that one bird that you can’t quite identify. After you come to the realization that you’re never going to figure out what kind of bird that is, disappointing your Ornithologist dad once again in the process, you take a deep breath. The crisp air combined with the surrounding trees coats your mouth with a distinctive taste. That taste is nature and it makes you feel alive. That is what the tree taste of Taylor’s Tonics Cranberry Dream likens to. Even though the orange extract is one of the last ingredients its flavor still reaches your mouth. In fact I can taste every single ingredient on this label, like identifying instruments in an orchestra… you just have to sit down and really listen. Well I’m listening and I love what I’m hearing. Cranberry Dream is one of the most impressive sodas I’ve had since I’ve started this site. If you see a bottle you should pick it up and listen to what it has to say.
Verdict – Buy Stock in the Company!
*One addition. By the time I was finished writing this review I had only one gulp left in the bottle. I posted the review and then took said gulp. This gulp had a lot of sediment in it and was not pleasant. I'm not changing the rating of the soda based on this, but if you do try it you might want to skip out on that last taste.*
The usually talkative Twist was even at a loss for words.