I’m not a big soda fan. Most of the popular ones are just too sweet for my taste. So, other than using cola or lemon/lime soda as a mixer, I really don’t drink much of the stuff. But having said that, I never pass up an opportunity to try a unique flavor – and you can’t get much more unique than dandelion and burdock. When Fia and I saw this soda by Fentimans on the shelf at the Natural Living Center, we knew right away it was something we had to review.
Price: Although Fentimans packages its Botanically Brewed sodas in four-packs, the store where we bought them marks each bottle for individual sale (likely because of the unique nature of the flavors, and also because they’re more expensive than a mass-market soda). A single bottle was $2.05 – pricier than Pepsi or Coke at the grocery store, but honestly not that much more than drinks at a convenience store. Basically, this soda is priced like a microbrew beer.
Taste: The first thing that I noticed upon opening the bottle was that it smelled like cherry cough syrup – distinctly sweet and medicinal. Oddly enough, it didn’t actually taste like cough syrup. The strongest flavors were a generically herbal flavor with hints of anise (imagine the aftertaste of absinthe, or even Moxie with a bit of licorice added) and a lingering bitterness. The carbonation was fairly light – enough that the drink almost seemed a little flat. Overall, the flavor of Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock is relatively mild, but definitely distinctive. I didn’t mind it, but I can’t say I really enjoyed it either.
Presentation: Fentimans uses a custom-molded glass bottle for all of its sodas. It has the look of an old patent medicine bottle. In my book, custom glass always gives a product a few extra points, and definitely makes me a little more likely to purchase it. The label is a simple paper oval sticker with a predominantly typographic design. It’s basic and fairly clean, but the type seems a bit cluttered to my eye. Also, the shape of the label doesn’t really fit with the design of the bottle. I wouldn’t say it’s a poor design, but it’s not quite unified.
Would I buy it again? Honestly, no. This soda tastes too much like medicine or some sort of dilute bitters for me to really enjoy it. I really like that Fentimans is putting out interesting and unusual drinks, and I’m absolutely game to taste other varieties, but I won’t be buying Dandelion & Burdock a second time.
Rating: 2/5 Forks