Not since New Coke has a soft drink lowered the bar of expectations quite like Lemongina and its great taste of topsoil.

Back in March 2015, Suntory took its licensing of popular French soda Orangina and created the spin-off drink Lemongina. Upon hitting the shelves, it immediately caused a stir. However, rather than everyone clamoring about Lemongina’s great taste, there were several complaints of it tasting like soil.

Not only that, it seemed that only some people were tasting dirt in Lemongina while others simply tasted lemon. I was one such dirt-taster, but oddly enough found it rather delicious in an earthy or fresh-greenhouse kind of way. Our Japanese correspondent Mr. Sato was also a dirt-taster but had a much more adverse reaction.

So, of course we’re going to let him taste test the new Honey Lemongina to see if it still tastes like a bag of dirt.

We purchased a bottle of each drink, which aside from different labeling, appeared to be exactly the same as the other.

However, in a futile attempt to put off drinking this stuff as long as possible, Mr. Sato insisted on examining the bottle more closely. “Hey, the new one looks a little more whitishy…” he exclaimed to no one in particular, but soon after concluded, “no, I guess not.”

First, Mr. Sato took a drink of the original Lemongina just to remind himself of how much he hated it. Oddly enough, this bottle of Lemongina hit him even harder with sourness. An intense tingle darted into the bottom of his mouth and along his jaw like an electric shock. Mr. Sato attributed this sensitivity to a severe lack of vitamins brought on by heavy smoking.

Then, as the sour discomfort passed, the familiar aftertaste of soil emanated from the back of his mouth. Nothing has changed with the original Lemongina it seemed.

So, it was time to move on to the new Honey Lemongina. Upon opening the bottle, Mr. Sato was hit with a sour but much more mild aroma. There was a sweetness to this drink that made it much less offensive to our reporter’s nose than its older spin-off sibling.

Mr. Sato also sensed the aroma of medicine such as a cold-compress in the Honey Lemongina. Although disconcerting, this kind of smell is a common complaint Japanese people have with various carbonated drinks such as root beer and Dr. Pepper.

Enough smelling had been carried out however, the only way to truly know the score is by drinking…

Mr. Sato wasn’t attacked by a bolt of sourness this time around and was relaxed by the mellower sweetness of Honey Lemongina. But then, just as he swallowed, that familiar taste of soil appeared again. This time, however, Mr. Sato said it was more like “soft dirt.” Whether that means it’s better or worse is anyone’s guess.

Still, despite the reputation of tasting like earth, Lemongina has been a mainstay of supermarkets and convenience stores across Japan for the past year, so lot of people are clearly enjoying it. Does that mean the country needs two Lemonginas though?

Let’s ask Mr. Sato.

Original article by Mr. Sato
Photos © RocketNews24
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