On 3 February, Häagen-Dazs Japan released two new flavors to celebrate their 30th anniversary: Rose and Sakura (cherry blossom). Although they were unusual flavors in the realm of ice cream, in the more than capable hands of Häagen-Dazs they’re sure to be great… right?

■  Feedback

Over the past few days, ice cream fans in Japan have taken to Twitter to voice their reaction to these new creations. Here’s what some had to say:

“Awesome! My mouth feels like a toilet!”

“It’s actually delicious and the smell is quite nice so please don’t get angry, but my first thought when eating was; “This is some great tasting shampoo!”

“Häagen-Dazs Rose is really bathroom air freshener.”

“Häagen-Dazs Rose is diiiiiiisgusting. Air freshener. Air freshener I tells ya!”

With such rave reviews I had to try some for myself. A lot of the complaints seemed more directed at the Rose flavor rather than Sakura, but in the name of ice creamology I went to buy one of each.

Looking at the supermarket’s freezer section, it took a fair bit of willpower to bypass Häagen-Dazs’s more stalwart entires such as Cookies & Cream and Brownie in favor of some themed on flowers. Even as I stood in the check-out line sandwiched by housewives eyeing me and my two pretty pink ice creams tubs, I thought of racing back and getting some green tea instead.

■  Häagen-Dazs Sakura

I figured I’d warm up with Häagen-Dazs Sakura before taking on the rose flavor. From the tweeted photos it looked to be a brightly coloured sherbet. However that was just a fruity sauce layer on top of vanilla ice cream.

I was surprised after taking the first bite as it didn’t really taste like sakura at all. It had a strong fruity flavor to it that was quite nice. My first thought was raspberry, but then thinking about the name I figured it was probably cherry. There was also a mild flavor underneath that reminded me of bubble gum.

Checking the listed ingredients afterwards, it turned out that the top layer of sauce was a cherry and lemon purée blend. Raspberry sauce was marbled into the ice cream. The ingredients did list sakura powder, but having eaten the entire cup I still couldn’t tell you what sakura tasted like being buried under the fruit flavors.

Regardless, it was really delicious and well worth eating. An excellent ice cream snack overall.

■  Häagen-Dazs Rose

Now to see what everyone was talking about online. The Rose flavor had a layer of jelly on top as well. After all the “air freshener” comments, I was expecting to be hit with a potent smell, but nothing came as I peeled back the plastic seal.

However, after taking the first bite I couldn’t help but gasp. It totally tasted like rose. That taste isn’t really unpleasant in and of itself, but I could immediately understand what everyone on Twitter was saying. We so often connect the smell of rose to thing like air fresheners and shampoo that it’s hard to associate it with food after knowing it in those contexts for so long.

In stark contrast to the sakura flavor, the rose over powered the other flavors. But then as I continued digging and eating the impact seemed to subside. The ice cream began to take on a mild creamy taste.  By the time I took the last scoop my feelings totally changed. It turned out to be a pretty tasty ice cream as well.

■  Conclusion

Häagen-Dazs Sakura was hands-down the better ice cream, rivaling even the more traditional Häagen-Dazs flavors. They hit a home run with that one and should consider keeping it in the regular line-up.

Although nowhere near as good as Sakura, I thought the Rose flavor was a lot better than others had made it out to be. That being said, it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster and those with an active imagination might struggle to get that “air freshener” thought out of their heads while they eat it. But if you’re looking for a little excitement in your ice cream, you may want to give it a try.

Source: Twitter via My Game News Flash (Japanese)
Photos: RocketNews24