Review: 7Up Ten

After enjoying Sunkist Ten, we continue our look at the 2nd Generation of “Ten” flavors from Dr Pepper Snapple Group with a look at 7Up Ten. Along with the aforementioned Sunkist flavor, it joins A&W Ten, Canada Dry Ten, and RC Ten in testing following the successful launch of Dr Pepper Ten.

7Up Ten

7Up seems to be the product that can’t catch a break these days. It’s dwarfed by Sprite and Sierra Mist in U.S. sales, and seems to undergo a new formulation every other year. We’re fans of the current version, which arrived in 2010, and seemingly brought back some of the distinctive flavor that set apart 7Up from the other lemon limes. New line extensions have been added with varying success, such as the decent 7Up Mixed Berry and the atrocious reboot of Cherry 7Up. I’m not not sure who thought it was a good idea to dress the brand up as a freak show with the release of 7Up Retro in cans (thankfully, the bottle was classy). Great taste there, just oddly marketed. With the mixed bag of quality execution, one has to wonder about the fate of 7Up Ten.

The Ten Lineup

Like Sunkist Ten, 7Up Ten borrows from the design cues of Dr Pepper Ten, namely with the use of a grey color on the label. This provides a counterpoint to the expected green 7Up branding, but does a nice job of setting apart the drink from the existing original and diet versions. The addition of the “TEN” label is the same style at Dr Pepper Ten, though it doesn’t thematically blend well with the existing 7Up look. As established in the “Ten” lineup, the packaging proclaims that 7Up Ten offers “10 Great Tasting Calories.” Remember, this drink is not only sweetened with both aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), but also high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), with the thinking that this allows for better, non-diet flavor.

So what about that taste? To better gauge the flavor and offer comparisons, we tasted 7Up Ten side-by-side Diet 7Up. Additionally, since the target audience for 7Up Ten is probably converting folks from full calorie 7Up, we had a bottle of that handy as well. When you pop the tab on 7Up Ten, you are greeted with a very sweet, almost candy-like scent. This differs slightly from Diet 7Up, which tends to smell just like the 7Up you expect. The look and color of the drink is the same no matter what version you choose… it’s clear and bubbly.

The flavor itself is much different, however. While Diet 7Up has noticeable medicinal flavoring and obvious artificial sweetener aftertaste, 7Up Ten does a much better job of masking that experience. For one thing, it’s a lot more lemony in taste, quite a bit more than even full calorie 7Up. The drink is also quite sweet, considerably more than Diet 7Up. The flavor profile is therefore slightly different than the 2010 reboot of 7Up, but in this case, it works. While you can still taste hints of the artificial sweeteners, it’s nowhere near as bad as Diet 7Up. (It should be noted that the sweeteners became easier to pick out the warmer the drink got; we found the best results when cold). In effect, 7Up Ten creates an alternate reality take on a no/low-calorie version of the lemon lime classic. The increase in sweetness and lemon flavor make for an excellent drink!

7Up Ten
Filtered carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, potassium citrate, potassium benzoate (preservative), natural flavors, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)

A 12 oz can contains 10 calories, 45 mg sodium, and 2 g carbs (2 g sugars). Caffeine free.

For those interested in a comparison…

Diet 7Up
Filtered carbonated water and contains 2% or less of each of the following: natural flavors, citric acid, potassium citrate, potassium benzoate (protects flavor), aspartame, acesulfame potassium, calcium disodium EDTA (protects flavor)

A 12 oz can contains 0 calories, 45 mg sodium, and 0 g carbs (0 g sugars). Caffeine free.

I was skeptical when I saw another rebooted version of 7Up in the pipeline, but 7Up Ten does deliver the goods. If you can afford the 10 calories, it’s far superior to Diet 7Up.

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