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On one of our camping trips up in Aviemore about 3 years ago, my partner and I found this intriguing looking bottled beverage in the Glenmore shop right next to our campsite. The brand name was Fentimans, one I had never seen or heard of anywhere. What captured our attention most was the name of the drink itself, which is of course, curiosity cola.....curiosity indeed did get the better of us and we decided to buy a couple of bottles to try.
The Fentimans brand name has been around since 1905 when a gentleman's agreement took place between Thomas Fentiman and a fellow tradesman looking for a loan which saw the formulation of Fentimans botanically brewed Ginger beer. In exchange for the loan a unique recipe for ginger beer was handed over as security and this started what is now a very unique and original range of drinks due to the small fact that the loan was never repaid. Inspired by his Prize Alsatian Fearless, Thomas Fentiman came up with his logo which still remains strong today. With a range of botanically brewed drinks including the original ginger beer, curiosity cola, Seville orange Jigger, Shandy, Victorian Lemonade, Dandelion and Burdock and rose lemonade. All of these beverages are botanically brewed which basically means the beverage is brewed using natural herbs and plant roots mixed with other natural products such as yeast and sugar, and when completed is left to ferment in large vats for 7 days from start to finish. Although brewed in this way the alcohol content of Fentimans drinks are no more than 0.5% due to the addition of mild carbonation in the process.
Fentimans curiosity cola is available in 275ml glass bottles which are very traditional in their appearance. An oval sticker on the main body of the bottle identifies the flavour of the beverage while the Fentimans logo is wrapped around the bottle neck. When we first started drinking fentimans a few years ago, we first thought we needed a bottle opener to get into it as it was a crimped on bottle cap that was used, but it turned out it was a screw cap in disguise. These days the bottle cap has been replaced with a more modern metal screw top lid which repeats the Alsatian logo on the top.
Curiosity cola looks exactly the same as any other brand of cola and would be difficult to differentiate without tasting the liquid itself, unless of course you notice the sediment that lingers on the bottom of the bottle. Fentimans believe that there's no point in botanically brewing a product if you're going to take the raw materials that produce the original flavour straight out after brewing so they've left those all important ingredients in, so it's important to remember to upend your drink before tasting to ensure the sediment is mixed through revitalising the flavour.
The fragrance emitted from the liquid is unmistakeable....it's cola of course, but this does't smell like any old cola, it smells sweet, like gummy cola bottles and I find myself instantly nostalgic, taken back to my childhood when I'd spend my pocket money on penny sweets from the local newsagents.
Well enough about the origins, packaging and appearance, i'm sure you're all curious to find out how it tastes. My personal opinion is that this is the best cola on the market today. Some might say it's a premium brand. The flavour itself is almost identical to the gummy cola bottle sweets, with a lovely vanilla flavour backed up with the slightest hint of ginger, this is a very refreshing drink, I only wish it came in bigger bottles, as 275ml does't last very long at all. With some carbonated soft drinks I find that they can be very fizzy when first opening but as fentimans is only lightly carbonated I find the fizz to be just about right in this beverage. Described as an adult soft drink with some under 16's referring to the cola as "gross", I think this is a truly original and authentic tasting soft drink, much better than coca cola and pepsi and it comes highly recommended by both me and my partner.
Fentimans unfortunately is not widely available, but it can be found in Tesco and every time we get in our monthly shop we buy a small stock of this delicious beverage. As it's so expensive this is a luxury for us with a single bottle costing £1.15 a bottle this is more expensive than your standard 500ml Coca cola branded colas so you could argue, premium quality cola for a premium quality price.
Each 275ml bottle will cost you around 130 calories and contains 31.9g or sugar and carbohydrates....not the greatest drink for your teeth....the other nutritional information is too irrelevant to even mention. With ingredients consisting of Fermented Ginger Root Extract, Carbonated water, Sugar, Catuaba Extract, Gurana Extract and cola flavouring along with some caramel colouring and caffeine.
Do I recommend
My Partner and I have been enjoying this cola soft drink for years now and hope to continue to enjoy it for years to come as it is a firm favourite in our household. Although a little on the pricey side, it really is well worth it just to be taken back in time to revisit your childhood. A refreshing drink that simply does not last long enough.
I agree with Richada, Fentiman's ginger beer is quite nice, but I would add that it would need to be, for the price! I'd rather pay a little more for a glass bottle of CocaCola, still be a little cheaper than the Fentiman's variety. Super review.
LadyValkyrie 23.10.2011 18:12
I fancy trying some of this.
RICHADA 21.10.2011 18:29
Love Fentimans ginger beer, but wouldn't fancy their Cola. A very good review. R. xxx