Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vio the Carbonated Milk: A Tasting

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 5:02 PM

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A few months back in our Best of NYC issue we warned informed you about a new beverage from the Coca-Cola Company called Vio. Touted as a“vibrancy” drink with a hint of skim milk, a few of us at the L (ok, maybe just me and co-intern Kate) could not wait to get our hands on this carbonated milk concoction. We devised an intricate taste test in which we would sample the four different flavors of Vio both by itself and then with other products you might usually put milk in such as cereal and coffee, and then maybe make ourselves a few afternoon White Russians.

Unfortunately, neither of us were ever able to find any Vio, despite the fact that New York was one of the first testing grounds for the drink. But today, as I was walking down West 4th St. to the F train, I ran into a group of hip, young, twenty-somethings handing out free bottles of Vio. I’ve never experienced divine intervention before, but this was damn near close. I managed to get my hands on two of the four flavors—Peach Mango and Tropical Colada—and so without further delay, I present to you a long awaited and well thought out review of Americas #1 carbonated milk based beverage.

Appearance—The Bottle
First off, Vio is hip. Really, really hip. The bottles all have the same cool, po-mo, minimalist-but-there’s-so-much-more-going-on-here design, but with different colors corresponding to each flavor. Emblazoned on a white background, the Peach Mango color scheme is soft and sweet, with plenty of soothing oranges and purples and pinks, while the Tropical Colada is cool and refreshing with blues and greens and even some yellow. Each bottle also contains Vio’s mission statement in what I'm guessing is free verse poetry form:

Give your mind and body a fresh sensation
The world’s first vibrancy drink
Delicious effervescent fruit flavor
Antioxidant vitamin C and 15% of your daily calcium
No artificial flavors or preservatives
100% different!
Full of vibrancy — no shaking required

Also, did I mention that the “i” in Vio is upside-down!!! How edgy is that??

Appearance—The Drink Itself
Peach Mango: Well it sure as hell looks milky. A little too milky. When I tilt the cup a wall of bubbles forms the side, which is incredibly disconcerting and a little disgusting. It’s a sickly pale orange and looks incredibly heavy.
Tropical Colada: Straight up looks like milk, but in the worst ways possible. Like old milk right before it congeals. Again, the bubbles kind of freak me out.

Smell
Peach Mango: It’s not as terrible as I thought it might be, but that doesn’t mean it smells like roses. It's sort of like melted ice cream, and carries heavy aromas of processed fruit-based flavors.
Tropical Colada: This smells awful. Straight up awful. That’s probably because I hate coconut. Kate says it smells like there’s non-alcoholic rum in it, and it’s almost overpoweringly sweet.

Taste—In Mouth
Peach Mango: Good god this stuff is way too creamy. It tastes nothing like peach or mango, and the combination of the milky and fizzy textures is just way too weird. My mouth kind of feels violated.
Tropical Colada: It’s pretty much just as bad, but this time a whole lot sweeter, like someone dumped thirty packets of Splenda into the bottle before it was sealed up. It kind of tastes like a Piña Colada, only a whole lot worse. And it’s more like a manufactured Piña Colada flavor—absolutely nothing natural about it.

Aftertaste
Peach Mango: Oh boy does this stuff refuse to go away. It's like there was really shitty party in my mouth and everyone is refusing to leave. It just lingers and once the bubbles are gone you’re left with uncomfortable sense of, “what the fuck just happened?” and “am I ever going to be able to taste anything else again?”
Tropical Colada: Unlike the Peach Mango, the carbonation hangs in there for just a little longer, leaving not only a milk-heavy aftertaste, but a disturbing tingling sensation on your tongue as well. Plus there’s also the same psychological aftertaste that you’re never going to be able to escape from this drink. Ever.

Well there you have it. Vio: Kind of sucks...a lot. Now if you’ll excuse me, my stomach feels weird and I’m really starting to wish I had brought some gum with me today—actually a toothbrush and some mouthwash would’ve been better.

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