Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Unicorn Kisses and Dragon Whisper Dreams - Do Kids Even Like Seltzer?


Impossibly Good Polar Seltzers -
BJ's Whole Sale

I hate buying food online, so even though I was dying to try Polar's unicorn-themed seltzer, I decided to wait until I found it in stores. After a few years of casually checking the seltzer aisles of every store I went to, I was at BJ's grabbing supplies for my hoard of cats and my foster cats (yeah, that's a thing I do now, my animal-insta is @pepperjackpoms), I saw this box-set of mystical seltzers aimed at kids. Unicorns included! Even though I felt like the price tag was a bit steep for 4-packs of itty bitty seltzer cans, I didn't want this to slip through my fingers, so I bought it anyway. 

Do kids even like seltzer? I mean, I know it's trendy for adults right now, but as a kid I hated the stuff. Is there a market for this or is the main target chumps like me? 

Whomever their target audience is, they really went all out on this packaging. Look at these things! 


Each side has a thoughtful design that is eye catching, and works from pretty much every angle, there are whimsical little backstories/phrases/blurbs, the cans have the same fun illustrations more blurbs, and they all look childish but cool and modern at the same time? It almost seems like a shame to break these boxes down and put them in the recycling. I haven't gushed over packaging in a while, but this is gush-worthy. Kudos to the Polar design team.  

I am going to go in blind and make guesses and then see if Polar lists any of these actual flavors.  


Pixie Lights:
as a concept, this is the weakest. The "pixies" look like hipster lightning bugs that would ride mopeds ("Fire flies" to those of you on the westcoast.) Actually they kind of remind me of the great Gazoo, from The Flintstones. When compared to dragons, mermaids, and unicorns, pixies seems pretty "meh." 

The is an itty bitty almost illegible memo on the can. It says, "A fruity recipe of epic yumminess without weirdness (like nuts, sugar, grapefruit or pixies.)" ...okay? Kind of a cute food-allergy disclaimer, but grapefruit is an odd inclusion. 

There is another blurb above the nutritional information: "Where there is sparkle there is twinkle, thanks to the endless work of the pixie army. With effervescence and speed, the polar pixies deliver light and tingle to every seltzer. Shhh, listen. You can hear them working."  This is marketed to children, so I like that they included larger words, and I love all the effort put into these as far as the illustrations and packaging and everything, but in the end this is a drink. It should taste good, right? So, how does it taste? 

Opened, it smells sweet and a bit like mandarin oranges and maybe cherries? Kind of like a less bold red-Hawaiian Punch. Taking a sip, I think I was fairly spot on. I get seltzer-version of red fruit punch for sure. It tastes like red, but like, a seltzer version of red. Does that make sense to you? The more I sip though, the more orange it tastes? But not a bold, adult, zesty orange, more like a sweet-citrus like clementine or mandarin. Imagine if Ecto Cooler was made into a less fun, sugar-free, seltzer version of itself. I like this flavor quite a bit, but I still don't see actual kids liking it. 


Dragon Whispers:
Get it? Whispers? Because it's Seltzer! This design looks simple, but everything about it is well thought out. The shapes are simplistic, but modern, and geometric enough to evoke spikes and scales without being really obvious about it. The colors, purple, orange, and gold, evoke a feeling of magic. Overall a great illustration and design! Kudos to Polar's team! 

This can and the same teeny tiny disclaimer, but with "pixies" swapped out for "dragons." Do kids today even know what a grapefruit is? I didn't know what they were, or tasted like, until I was like, a teenager. Am I missing something? 

The other flavor-specific blurb is: "Gliding above the green mountains these golden winged creatures unwittingly singe the forest tree tops with their fiery tongues. To protect the evergreens, they cool their breath with ice-cold seltzer." Okay, kind of an obvious marketing write-up there, but I still appreciate the use of larger words. They're trying. 

Opened, this one smells kind of "purple." But more of a red-purple, like maybe a raspberry or blackberry is involved, does the color of the illustration actually correlate to the flavor? Or is this all the power of visual suggestion? 

Something about this is familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It smells like a familiar berry candy, kind of like a Gummi Lifesaver or something, but it's not quite there. Taking a sip, there is some kind of berry or fruit here for sure. I want to say blackberry mixed with something brighter. Maybe a hint of lemon? A blackberry lemonade? I mean it's seltzer, so like it's name suggests it's more of a "whisper" of a flavor, but I think I would put my money on blackberry for sure. Again, not sure if kids would like this, but I am into it, although I liked the more citrus-y pixie flavor more.  


Mermaid Songs:
 Never been a big mermaid person, but I dig the swirly patterns and illustrations on this one. 

The flavor specific blurb on this one is: "Along cape cod, where the summer sun reflects deep into the ocean, mermaids dance and sing while enjoying the sparkle of seltzer like the humans on the shore." Started out decent, but the ending is a little weak. 

Opened up, it smells kind of fake, faker than the other two. It kind of making me think of the white mystery push-pop. Which I don't think we ever got an answer for. It's fruity, but vague, sweet, but kind of complex or unique. Maybe a strawberry lychee or something? 

Taking a sip, it's pretty vague too. Maybe strawberry mango? Raspberry mango? I kind of feel like mango is in there somewhere, because it's giving me Trader Joe's Mango Mango vibes, but it's a bit sweeter than that, like some kind of berry? It's good, and I like it more than the dragon, but not as much as pixie.  

Finally, the one I've been waiting for... 

Unicorn Kisses: This design is simple, yet so whimsical. We have unicorn silhouettes, simplified pastel rainbows, and fluffy white clouds. I've never been a horse-girl, or a unicorn-girl, but even I can appreciate that this can is magical.  

Our unicorn-specific blurb this time around is, "Once upon a time, our great-great-grandfather came upon a unicorn with which he traded his pocket full of rainbows for sparkle that one day would become Polar seltzer." Another start strong but weak commercial finish. I think the lightning bugs might have the best blurb of them all, but it's same to say unicorns and dragons got the best can designs.  

Okay I know I said this about one of the other ones, but THIS one definitely smells like gummi bears. I'm not sure what particular fruity flavor of gummi bear, but it does smell distinctly like a gummi candy. I love it and it reminds me of JuiceBar fragrances from my preteen years.  

It smells incredibly sweet, like candy, but it's a seltzer, so it doesn't really taste like that. It tastes fruity and sweet, like a seltzer version of strawberry cotton candy. Like if you cleaned out a cotton candy machine with seltzer water and only the smell remained, but there is a tangy kind of sour finish, like unripe melon. Could it me a strawberry cantaloupe? I like it, and it is a lot of fun, but not something I would want to drink all the time. 

So after a few google searches, and lots of people like me guessing, I couldn't find any definitive flavors for these. 

Then again if they just flat-out said what they were, sales of this product would really suffer. The whimsy and fun of the mystery is what motivates buyers, I mean, it certainly got me. 

Personally, I don't think kids like seltzer, but if they do, this is a great product. It's just a little pricey. I wouldn't buy these mini-packs again for my own consumption, but I would definitely buy them again to have in a cooler at a party. They're light, fruity, playful, and would make great mixers. 

Have you tried any of these? If so, what do YOU think they taste like?  

Fans of these would also like: Bowl and Basket Seltzer Party, La Croix, Aldi Seltzer Flavors, or Dry Watermelon and Dry Pineapple Drinks
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