Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Royal Tru-Orange Soda

On my previous post I had mentioned buying another obscure soda that was of the more classic variety-so here it is. Royal Tru-Orange Soda.
After doing some research(as I tend to do, especially when it concerns foreign-made sodas), I discovered that this drink originated in 1922 in the Philippines and originally included bits of orange pulp-thus the "tru-orange" label. It is also owned by Coca-Cola and features labeling similar to the Fanta line.
A quick check of the label confirms it is bottled with cane sugar, and contains 10% juice. Gives you a bit of viramin C as well. The most interesting thing, however, is that it contains something called "ester gum solids". Whenever you make a soda containing oils for flavoring, you need to include some kind of stabilizer. Most sodas in the United States use brominated vegetable oil-and upon further research I found BVO to be dangerous in large amounts(4-8 liters of soda a day). Ester gum solids are the natural alternative, and much safer. I personally noticed a huge difference in mouth feel.
Anyways, we finally get to what this soda tastes like. In a word-it's orange-tastic(I didn't say it was going to be a real word). This is hands down the best orange soda I've ever had. I would go so far as to say it is an orange soda that even fruit-flavored soda haters would enjoy. It's crisp, refreshing, and the sweetness is perfectly balanced with the sweetness. Most orange sodas leave you with this melted-popsicle syrupy thickness in your throat along with an oily film on your tongue-not so much here. Somebody did a(non-lemon lime) fruit-soda very, very right for once.
Plus, there's more history. Royal Tru-Orange was banned from entering the United States in 2004 by the Food and Drug Administration. While Coca-Cola explained this was due to different labeling procedures, they obviously corrected it well enough that it found it's way into my local asian grocer. Or, then again, maybe not. I may have just reviewed my first bootleg soda(is that even a thing?)

Packaging- 3.5/5
It's uninspired and kind of tacky. Granted, it has to compete with some other pretty bright packaging in the Asian market, so I guess it kind of has to be. 

Aroma- 4.5/5
Smells like a freshly-peeled orange. It loses half a point for not doubling as potpouri as a real orange would.

Taste- 6/7
Best orange soda I've ever had. Sweet, tart and slightly sour.

Overall- 14/17
Packaging was meh, but the smell, taste and mouth feel were amazing. The ester gum solids should be an across the board replacement for BVO, which doesn't seem too hard a thing when the E.U. doesn't allow BVO and neither does India. 

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