It’s kind of wild to us that there aren’t more forays into blackberry sparkling water.
Blackberries are objectively and inarguably the pinnacle of the berry kingdom, which is funny because technically they aren’t berries, they’re an “aggregate fruit, composed of small drupelets”.
Also included in the “technically not berries” category are strawberries, raspberries, and mulberries, while bananas, pumpkins, and deadly nightshade are all true berries. (We eagerly await bubly’s new offering, “deadlynightshadebubly”)
If this is shattering your conception of reality, that’s fitting, because like colloquial classifications of berries, bubly’s contributions to the sparkling water cosmos are also wildly inconsistent.
The nose is fairly faint, perfumey, powdery, pastel. It’s strongly reminiscent of the Clearly Canadian Mountain Blackberry that we weirdly drank a lot of as children, accompanied by notes of Flintstone Vitamin and those little Haribo gummy berry candies.
One of the reasons blackberries are the best berry is the range and juxtaposition of various flavor sensations, from deeply sweet to bitter, juicy and sour. Bubly’s blackberry is like a low-poly rendering: many details omitted, but they still manage to achieve a certain fidelity to the queen berry.
Most notably, the flavor here is very balanced! While a lot of bubly’s flavors are one-dimensional one-note flatlands, they’ve managed to at least pop into second- or even third-dimensionality with the blackberry.
And it’s not overly sweet-tasting! There is an undercurrent of purple fructose, but overall the impression is the crisp tartness that makes blackberries so salivatory.
We’re not sure exactly how they hit that tartness, which we’ve never gotten in a sparkling water before, but they pretty much nailed it. Where other brands might take a sour shortcut, the blackberrybubly manages to invoke the tangy pucker unique to a freshly picked from the side of the road blackberry.
There’s another flavor note haunting the brambles, and it took us a while to wrap our tongues around it: grape Kool-Aid. It’s really subtle, way in the background, and maybe we might be hallucinating? Let us know if you pick up on this too.
Either way, we love this one.
While we wish the overall range was just a little wider, hitting some of the more extreme edges of blackberry flavor, our only real complaint is that the aftertaste is kind of thin and bitter. And the more we really sit down with various bublies, the more we notice that they all share this characteristic.
We’re actually starting to think it’s the water that bubly uses! It seems like less of a lingering flavor, and more like we’re starting to see behind the curtain at the bubly factory.
Bubly is apparently launching a line of flavor drops to add to your sodastream, so it will be illuminating to see if this phenomenon persists once we’re in full control of our water source. Stay tuned!
But ultimately this is a digression into the aggregate weeds. Truly, what’s remarkable is how well bubly has managed to render a single berry in a can.
We have tasted the all the Berry Mishmashes out there, and we have a theory that the ubiquity of generic berry offerings (for example, LaCroix’s Berry and Waterloo’s fleeting Summer Berry) are produced because planting a stake in the ground for a Solo Berry is trickier and harder than one might expect.
Lacroix even cuts their raspberry with cranberry, and their blackberry with cucumber. Seriously, take a look and you’ll notice that almost every brand pairs their blackberries or raspberries with another flavor. It’s like seeing the Matrix.
So kudos to bubly, more or less alone in the bubbleverse, for bravely submitting single berries, naked in their full, drupelet splendor.
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavor