I adore bubblegum-flavoured treats, from Dirkie condensed milk tubes back in the 90’s to Ola’s Rich ‘n Creamy Magical Unicorn bubblegum ice cream. Whenever I see something in the store with a bubblegum flavour, I have to try it, and I generally tend to love it. So why is it that Barr’s Bubblegum soft drink left a bad taste in my mouth?
Barr isn’t a brand of drink that’s locally produced in South Africa. I found a few of their flavours at my local Spar store in the imports section.
Barr Bubblegum looks amazing
I absolutely love the design of the can. It’s bright, colourful and is incredibly eye-catching. I wish more South African brands would adopt this kind of look, instead of the dull drab look of Coca-Cola and Pura Soda.
The liquid also has a pleasant blue look that’s reminiscent of Sparletta’s experimental Bubble Blue drink from the early 2000s. According to the packaging, it’s coloured with “Brilliant Blue.”
But how does it taste?
The first thing I noticed is that the drink smells a lot like Aquafresh’s old Superstar toothpaste for kids. This isn’t necessarily bad as I used to love it. Who else would just eat the toothpaste instead of brushing their teeth? Just me?
Barr tastes like a typical British cooldrink: there’s no added sugar (or high fructose corn syrup like the US) and it contains only sweeteners, in particular, acesulfame k and sucralose.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had Barr’s Bubblegum drink. I meant to review it in 2018 but never got around to it. I also hated the drink the first time around. However, I found that Barr has created a slow-burner of a taste that gets better over time.
The flavouring is bubblegum, but it’s a very cheap mixture. After the first sip, I immediately tasted a combination of sweetness and saltiness, which I found odd and attributed to the lack of sugar. The carbonation also seems to take the edge off of the overall taste.
It was satisfying at first, but eventually became a chore to finish. I don’t say this very often (or almost ever), but I feel like the can should have been smaller.
At 45 pence, it’s a cheap drink. It’s not going to win any awards, but I can also see (and taste) why Barr has been around for so long. While I do recommend you give it a go and I have changed my opinion of it since 2018, I won’t be picking it up again.