Japan’s nostalgic grape and orange flavours are all grown up.

Despite being a drink that’s familiar to people from a lot of countries, Fanta in Japan is a whole other ball game. With a whole slew of unusual flavours, the fizzy beverages are particularly popular with the younger generations, but now the brand is appealing to more mature palates with a new “Premier” range.

Back in March last year, the first flavour in the range, grape, was released, and went on to become the brand’s most successful release in ten years, with 33.8 million bottles sold by January 2021. Our reporter Saya Togashi missed the memo on that one, only learning about the Premier collection this year, when a new orange variety was added to the lineup on 1 March, and a “fresher, renewed” grape was also released at the same time.

▼ That was a good excuse as any for Saya to try them out, so she picked the new varieties up from the store for a taste test.

With adults in their 30s and 40s drinking less carbonated drinks then they used to, but still holding an affinity with the brand from childhood, the Premier range is said to be bringing older Fanta fans back to the fold. Saya was curious to see if the new series would win her over, and because she wanted to find out what made the Premier so different from the regular variety she grew up with, so she added a regular orange Fanta to the lineup to compare the two against each other.

▼ The packaging of the Premier (left) was more subdued, with Saya saying it reminded her of a classy table wine.

At 380 millilitres (12.8 ounces), the Premier variety is a little smaller than the 500-millilitre regular variety, but Saya didn’t mind this as she finds it hard to get through half-a litre of drink at any one time anyway. Pouring both orange liquids into a glass of their own, she could see the adult flavour on the right was noticeably brighter in colour.

Both drinks had a nice fizz to them, and Saya immediately felt like a child again as she took the original in her hand for a first sip.

The super sweet, artificial orange flavour took her straight back to her school days, and looking at the label she was surprised to find it contained only one-percent fruit juice.

▼ Regular Fanta (left) and the Premier version (right)

So what about the Fanta Premier? After taking a quick look at the label, where it read “16-percent Fruit Juice”, Saya immediately knew this would be a very different drinking experience. According to the company, the Premier version uses a new manufacturing method that incorporates two types of orange pulp–large and small–and crushed juice from whole oranges.

Minute Maid is a well-known fruit juice brand here in Japan, so seeing the logo on the label suggested this new Fanta lay somewhere between fruit juice and fizzy drink. It certainly looked different to the regular version, because looking at the liquid inside the glass revealed little pieces of pulp floating on the surface.

The Premier had a deeper, more complex taste than the Fanta Saya was used to, with a gentle mixture of sweet and sour flavours. The carbonation was surprisingly modest–so much so that she would go so far as to say it was lightly carbonated, but that was great as it allowed for more of the juice flavour to shine through.

Taking a look at the label again, Saya noticed some fine print that she’d previously missed, which read “Before drinking, please invert bottle once without shaking.

▼ That’s when she noticed the same message was written on the cap as well.

She couldn’t believe she’d missed that seemingly important detail, so she decided to have another go at the drink, this time following the instructions before pouring the liquid into her glass again. The difference could be seen immediately.

▼ Look at all that pulp!

This second tasting was much more exciting than the first, given the fantastic texture created by the combination of fizz and pulp. The bubbles seemed to be finer too, tingling on the tongue like juicy sparks.

Saya was surprised to find herself completely won over by the Premier Orange and highly recommends it to anyone looking for a classier, more grown-up type of Fanta. The grape version is equally excellent, as it retains its familiar flavour while concentrating on quality and freshness, using fruit that’s been processed within 24 hours of harvesting.

Now we can’t wait for more flavours to be added to the range, because an adult Socata and salty watermelon would be the perfect partner for cocktails this summer!

Photos © SoraNews24
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