A cider so foul-smelling it comes with a warning label.

The other day, our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato was casually watching people drain a pond on a Tokyo TV programme called Urgent SOS! when something caught his attention. The pond-draining segment, filmed at Tochigi’s Tochinoki Family Land, had inspired the creation of a collaboration beverage called Pond Water Cider, and it was being sold at novelty retail chain Village Vanguard as a fun drink for people with adventurous tastes.

As we all know, Mr Sato prides himself on his adventurous taste buds, which have tried everything from fish roe bubble teas through to onigiri rice balls made with salt from his own sweat, so our diligent reporter immediately picked himself up off the couch and headed off to Village Vanguard to purchase the pond water beverage.

Once he’d made his purchase he brought the drink home for a thorough taste test, and looking at the label it appeared to contain an aroma so fearful it came with a skull-and-crossbones warning label that said “Dangerous Smell!”

The drink, which went on sale in March, has already caused a commotion on social media, where the beverage’s foul smell has become a hot topic of discussion. However, despite the terrible odour, the drink is said to be surprisingly delicious. The only hurdle to enjoying the flavour is actually bringing yourself to drink the bad-smelling liquid, which is a challenge Mr Sato was keen to take on.

As a seasoned connoisseur of foul-tasting taste tests, Mr Sato scoffed at the reviews and the offensive odour warning on the label. “Surely this has to be an exaggeration of the truth, proffered by people with less experienced taste buds”, he thought…until he opened the lid and brought his nose close to the bottle.

▼ He took one whiff and immediately jerked his head back. The only thing he could think to say was: “It stinks!!!!!!”

Not only did it smell bad, but it had a tear-jerking sharpness to it, probably due to the fact that, according to the label, it contains apple vinegar. If he could compare the smell to anything, he’d have to say it was like a bad combination of vinegar mixed with dark green tea and something musty, all foamed up with carbonic acid.

▼ The smell is so intense that if you pour the liquid into a glass, the odour fills the entire room.

Pouring it into a glass certainly didn’t help things, as Mr Sato now had to get over the mental hurdle of drinking the liquid while the stank of it wafted all around him. Nevertheless, our reporter bravely scrunched up his face, reached inside for the reserves of mental strength that helped him eat 16-year-old instant ramen in the past, and took a sip.

▼ As he swallowed, he braced himself for the aftertaste of a sludgy, stagnant pond.

But wait…what was that? His taste buds weren’t swimming in pond water. In fact, they were kicking back in glee, coated in a refreshing fruity flavour instead. Heck, the reviews were right! The drink really was delicious!

Mr Sato isn’t always impressed with his culinary challenges but this one receives a gold star and a big thumbs up from our reporter. It’s been carefully crafted on all levels, even including a viscous texture to emulate sludge at the bottom of a pond, in order to engage all the senses while adding in an element of fear that turns an ordinary cider into a rollercoaster of a ride from start to finish.

Those who want to join the rollercoaster ride do so at their own peril. The Pond Water Cider can be purchased at Village Vanguard stores or online for 540 yen (US$5.07) each.

Photos © SoraNews24
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