Fentimans are a classic British drinks brand. Their Victorian-esque branding evokes images of women in fancy summer dresses and well-dressed gentlemen with perfectly groomed moustaches enjoying a lavish picnic in a country garden. They are entitled to this image as they have been making drinks in Britain since 1905. Golly gosh!
I’ve picked up 5 of their drinks, representing half of their range, as Waitrose didn’t sell the other 5 unfortunately. Fentimans specialise in botanically brewed beverages which essentially means that they infuse, blend and ferment natural ingredients to get the best flavours. Nothing artificial here. It is worth noting that whilst they make drinks in the UK they do source high quality ingredients from around the world. They do however have some truly British flavours from Dandelion & Burdock to Wild English Elderflower, which is the one I am starting this review with.
Wild English Elderflower
I’ll start off by saying that Elderflower is rarely a drink that I’ll deliberately pick – it’s not that I don’t like it but 9 times out of 10 I will prefer to drink something else. If you’ve never had an elderflower-flavoured drink before it is very light and refreshing. It’s also a very summery drink – I don’t think you’d drink this at Christmas. I would probably only drink this on a hot day during a barbecue or picnic… and if there was nothing else available. However, please don’t get me wrong, this is a very nice elderflower drink but it’s just not a flavour I am a massive fan of.
Dandelion & Burdock
This is a quintessentially British flavour but what the heck is burdock? Some kind of plant allegedly! I remember drinking this when I was younger as we used to get big bottles of the stuff from the milkman (remember them?) along with bottles of cream soda, limeade and cherryade. You’d think that a drink made from plant roots wouldn’t taste particularly nice, and it is a bizarre flavour to try and explain to someone who hasn’t had it before, but I’d say it’s a cross between Vimto and root beer. This is one of the nicest dandelion & burdock drinks that I have ever had the pleasure to drink as the botanical brewing process gives it a delicious flavour that is very strong. Some might say that it tastes medicinal but I’d say that it is truly delightful.
For me, drinking ginger beer conjures up images of The Famous Five on one of their adventures. Fentimans Ginger Beer is very tasty. It’s not overly sweet but it does have a strong ginger flavour – more so than the Gingerella that I reviewed recently from Karma Cola. It does have a bit of a kick from the ginger but it isn’t going to turn your mouth into a blazing inferno. I downed the bottle fairly quickly which, I think, is a sign of how good this is!
This is pink lemonade but not pink lemonade if that makes any sense. Pink lemonade is traditionally made with raspberries, cranberries or event strawberries but this is flavoured with rose oil and coloured with red cabbage extract. This tastes like a very nice traditional lemonade… with rose – as you would expect. It’s hard to say much else about it really! It’s a shame that I don’t like the flavour of rose very much as I find it a bit too floral and it reminds me of an old lady’s perfume. However, if you like Turkish Delight then you’ll probably like this. I found this one to be quite curious so it should have perhaps borrowed the curiosity moniker from the next drink…
Lastly, we don’t just have cola, but Curiosity Cola. I wouldn’t say it’s curious, but it’s very much cola. Like all the other drinks, this has a very strong flavour and it tastes distinctly like old-fashioned cola. If you’ve ever eaten a cola bottle, that’s what this tastes like. Of course it would be remiss of me to not compare this to Coca-Cola or Pepsi as the two biggest cola brands in the world. I have to say that I think I might actually prefer Curiosity Cola for it’s pure depth of flavour and the fact that it doesn’t taste completely artificial. That said, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a classic Coke as I tend to drink Coke Zero, Coke Zero or Pepsi Max, so perhaps it’s just the sugar that’s delighting my tastebuds. Would I buy this again? Absolutely. Of all the drinks tried this was my favourite.
All in all I have been extremely impressed by these drinks from Fentimans and they were some of the best drinks that I have tasted. It pleases me to see a company still making these traditionally-flavoured drinks in the UK using old-fashioned techniques that make a massive difference to the taste. All the drinks have bold flavours and taste exactly as they should. I am personally not that partial to elderflower- or rose-flavoured drinks but if you do you will love these. However, as far as the other 3 flavours go, I’ll definitely be buying them again. If only they sold cans or large bottles!
Product Information (at the time of writing):
- Made in the UK.
- £1/bottle Waitrose.
- Wild English Elderflower: 36 kcal/100ml or 99 kcal/275ml bottle.
- Dandelion & Burdock: 45 kcal/100ml or 127 kcal/275ml bottle.
- Ginger Beer: 39 kcal/100ml or 107 kcal/275ml bottle.
- Rose Lemonade: 51 kcal/100ml or 140 kcal/275ml bottle.
- Curiosity Cola: 44 kcal/100ml or 121 kcal/275ml bottle.