My World Tour of Sodas Of That Are More Popular Than Coke In Certain Countries makes its second (and final) stop today, with Scotland’s IRN-BRU. I was looking forward to this because it’s got a punchy, bad-ass name, and the can declaims “ORIGINAL AND BEST,” which is the sort of no-nonsense, declarative hyperbolization I respond best to.
The smell immediately reminded me of Inca Kola, so maybe I’m completely losing it, or maybe there’s actual science at play here, I don’t know. But anyways don’t worry because the taste is nothing like Inca. Unfortunately the taste is somewhat flummoxing, and thanks to the limits of the English language, you’re not going to like how I describe it. It’s basically a plain, sugary flavor, with like a light, cumulative orange melody playing somewhere in the background. Imagine if you will a watered-down orange soda, without the water-y taste. Or a lightly-carbonated version of the orange drink you got a soccer games in elementary school. You never scored one goal, did you. I’m sorry.
In summation, Irn-Bru is original and curiously engaging without actually being good, and I’m hard-pressed to figure out why the good people of Scotland prefer it to Coke. [Gonzalo, please insert a joke about haggis here.]
I’m sure we can now look forward to a flurry of outraged comments from the kind of blindly-devoted groupthinker this sort of “kooky” off-brand drink is likely to engender. Welcome Juggalos, and readers of McSweeney’s.
11 thoughts on “Irn-Bru”
I just read a reference to “Irn-Bru” in the new Anthony Bourdain book, and thanks to The Knowledge For Thirst I instantly understood what the fuck Bourdain was talking about, thereby thwarting his attempt to make me feel like a small and ignorant Ugly American with his high-toned obscure foodie talk. Thanks, The Knowledge For Thirst!
This deserves way more than two stars. It has caffeine, which is at least worth a star.
I describe the flavor this way: Old school, plain Bubble Yum with an orange hint the second third through. Or in more modern terms, FUCKING AWESOME.
Less-carbonated creamy soda plus some tangy orange right there in the b/g. also good with vodka. how my great aunt drinks it. and also also good for hangovers. not with vodka. or whatever. your life.
The interesting thing with my experience of this soda was that it started off tasting like blurb’s description – bubble yum with a hint of orange – but after drinking it for a week (I was in Glasgow for a while). The flavor changed to just a mild carbonated and very sweet orange, and at this point I noticed I was completely addicted to it. I had a hard time giving it up when I left the country. Perhaps the daring folks at Knowledge for Thirst have built up an immunity to these things, or else they are still secretely quaffing the Irn-Bru several times daily.
For those unacustomed to the taste of Irn-Bru let me enlighten you….. It’s not supposed to taste nice so regardless of how many times you waxlyrical trying to describe it’s taste you will fail.
Irn-Bru was produced by George Barr for one purpose and one purpose only……. to ease your aching head after a night of too many beers and prolific quantities of whisky ! It’s Original and it’s the Best…….. HANGOVER CURE in the entire WORLD !! Don’t believe me ? Go and get rat arsed and try it out for yourself the next morning !!
Irn-bru is complete and utter muck but it tastes so good. I also consider your description of it to be a bit naff. I will admit I couldn’t do any better but only because as you say there are no words in the english language to descripe it. Also as Jeremy mentioned you will get addicted to it if you drink it for any length of time. I’ve been drinking it all my life and I’m an Irn-Bru fiend. The russians also love it. I’m not sure how acurate this is but I heard that it’s the most popular drink in Russia
Irn Bru is just one half of the whole picture.
The other half is Bell’s 8 yrs (economy class) whisky!
Put together it’s unbeatable.
G&T, eat your heart!
i stopped drinking this about 6 years back, but ive rediscovered it recently and i cant stop drinking it! Its so nice take have a glass of Irn Bru on a hot day and totally beats coke on taste. i would describe it as having a multi fruit flavour with a nice fragrance too. this and canada dry are my all time fave soft drinks!
Well Well Well,
It’s Original and it’s the Best………..Damn right it is, jus get absolutely wasted at the weekend, wake up the next day feeling rough as houses, drink copious amounts of Irn Bru, then hey presto, as if by magic, your back in the game again!!
As previous comments have said its the one and only drink that can out beat coke in the market in a single country, that doesent mean it has to taste like coke……. thats the whole point, we wont somethin different, plus i love it as its known as ginger!!! growing up as a lad it was always reffered to as ginger, presumably because of its colour!!, my da always used to say ” go grab a bottle of ginger from the van son”
I’ve always thought it tasted a bit like old chewing gum actually. which may indeed sound rather disgusting but irn-bru IS my favourite drink. diet irn-bru is better than the regular stuff but i know I’m in the minority with that one.
however it tastes NOTHING like oranges.
and re: the other comments; not only does it cure hangovers (only in glass bottles or cans though – the plastic bottles don’t contain as much magic for some reason) but its the best thing to drink when you have a cold or flu or are just generally feeling a little ill.
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