Flavoured lube taste test

Which brand slid into first place?

Fine dining, chocolates, champagne – there’s plenty to savour about the holiday of lovers. But what happens after you get home from the big date?

In honour of Valentine’s Day, and in an effort to put the “service” back in “service journalism,” we put our finely-tuned palates and years of professional expertise to use sampling eight of the finest flavoured personal lubricants Toronto’s sex shops have to offer. Don’t say we never did anything for you.

web Wet Wild Blueberry.jpg

Wet Wild Blueberry

Available at Condom Shack (231 Queen West, 416-596-7515, condomshack.com)

Natalia: Smells like cough syrup.

Sarah: It does. Do you think we’re gonna get sick from eating this much lube?

N: It does taste sweet, with a vague berry-ness, but it’s also really bitter, at least if you eat this much of it.

S: Should we start eating less?

N: As opposed to, like, an entire teaspoonful?

S: It kind of tastes like a shitty sucker. Like a lollipop you get for free at the doctor’s office.

N: Or like shitty pancake syrup.

S: It’s really cloying. 

N: Yeah. I’m still ridin’ that aftertaste. 

Rating: NN

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Sliquid Swirl Strawberry Pomegranate

Available at Come as You Are (comeasyouare.com).

S: It smells like strawberry Hubba Bubba. I know because I ate a shitload of that when I was a child. [pause] Tastes like it, too.

N: Bit of a lighter consistency than the last one. 

S: It’s not as goopy and slick. Which is somewhat ironic, given the name.

N: The weird chemical bitterness isn’t there on this one. But I’m not getting much pomegranate.

S: It tastes like strawberry to me. I feel like pomegranate is always tossed in as the second flavour – raspberry-pomegranate, cranberry-pomegranate.

N: It does contain pomegranate flavouring. This is less artificially based than the last one.

S: I definitely like this way more. Not only does it taste like what it’s supposed to, it doesn’t stick around in this uninvitingly awful way.

Rating: NNN

web Wet Passion Fruit.jpg

Wet Passion Fruit Punch

Available at Condom Shack.

S: I’m excited for this one. I like passion fruit a lot, so my expectations are high.

N: Smells like nothin’. [pause] Tastes like lip gloss.

S: It does taste like fruit punch. Mostly it’s just sweet. It’s not even that fruity.

N: Little bit of that medicine-y aftertaste. 

S: It’s weird that it doesn’t really smell like anything. This one’s kind of disappointing. It doesn’t taste like passion fruit at all.

N: It’s hard to pick out specific flavours in (artificially flavoured) things like these. You start to think, “Does it really taste like what it says on the label, or am I imagining it?”

S: Your brain understands the difference pretty quickly between candy strawberry and real strawberry. It’s not the same flavour. But the strawberry one we tasted delivered on that candy strawberry flavour, and this is not delivering on candy passion fruit. It’s kind of like a cop-out – when you say “passion fruit punch,” you’re setting up expectations. It think it’s kind of boring.

N: This lacks both passion and punch.

Rating: NN

web Annares Ginger Kiss.jpg

Anarres Ginger Kiss Massage Oil

Available at Come as You Are.

N: This one’s made in Toronto and comes in a fancy artisanal bottle. It’s actually a massage oil, not a lube, with sunflower seed and jojoba oils, vanilla and ginger root. So this is some hippie shit right here.

S: Is this safe to use as a lube? [We wouldn’t risk it – Ed.] 

N: [Shakes bottle for at least a minute]

S: You gotta dash it like a bitters bottle.

N: If you had somebody you wanted to massage, after 20 minutes of you shaking the bottle, they’d be like “Fuck this – I’m going home.”

S: Your candles would burn down to nothing. 

[Upon closer inspection, the directions suggests users actually remove the pouring nozzle from the bottle before use, since the product is so thick it won’t flow out freely — an odd and counterproductive packaging decision.] 

S: This is overwhelmingly gingery. Holy shit, we didn’t need more than a few drops.

N: It’s good. There’s something a little mentholy. Hint of Vicks VapoRub. But it’s ginger-forward, for sure.

S: It actually tastes like ginger was ground down, boiled and used in this. The ginger spice comes through, which I like. This is the most wholesome so far.

N: You could use this as a syrup in something.

S: Should I make us some old-fashioneds?

Rating: NNNN

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Hathor Aphrodisia Chocolate Orange

Available at Come as You Are.

N: This is vegan, stevia-sweetened and paraben-free. It contains Siberian ginseng and horny goat weed. [We giggle.] It also has organic coconut and orange flavour.

S: I smelled both of those things right away. So far I’m impressed. It’s a little… opaque? Which I’m finding a bit of a turnoff. [We sample it and grimace.] Smells way better than it tastes.

N: Way better. The coconut is there. The orange is there. But….

S: It’s bitter up front. What is that?

N: All the stuff that makes it lube, I guess.

S: I had high expectations, and it just hit me with a bitter blast….

N: [Giggles like an idiot at ‘bitter blast’] 

S: What we really should have done is get drunk before this.

N: There’s still time!

S: We got plenty of Ginger Kiss left.

N: I’m not sure if this is worse than the blueberry one.

S: Maybe it’s the horny goat weed that’s making it bitter. There’s a “scapegoat” joke in there somewhere. 

Rating: N

web Wicked Cinnamon Bun.jpg

Wicked Aqua Cinnamon Bun

Available at Condom Shack.

N: It’s vegan, paraben-free and gluten-free! I can’t tell if it’s super-, super-naturally based, but then again, it’s not like there’s cinnamon bun extract you can put in this shit. Okay, so this has a looser consistency than the last one. Smells like cinnamon and vanilla.

S: Doesn’t give you the satisfying waft you get when you walk past the Cinnabon in Dufferin Mall!

N: Know what? It’s actually not bad. Kind of like a cinnamony maple syrup. I’ve been trained so far to expect a hit of chemical flavour, but this one doesn’t really have that.

S: Now that I’ve had a little more, the cinnamon really comes through. And the icing – I don’t know if that flavour is just icing sugar or vanilla, but it’s pretty good. I’m shocked, because I thought it was going to be disgusting. This whole experience has been fucking with my mind a little bit.

N: I’m stealing more.

S: She went back for seconds! Do you think it’s weird that we enjoyed the cinnamon bun one the most, and cinnamon buns are at the highest popularity they’ve been at for a while?

N: Maybe we’ve just been trained to prefer it for that reason.

S: You have any poké lube?

Rating: NNNNN

web Sliquid Cherry Vanilla.jpg

Sliquid Swirl Cherry Vanilla

Available at Come as You Are.

N: Back to the Sliquid. Hopefully they repeat their strong showing.

S: I have a personal issue with fake cherry flavour. I don’t like anything that says “cherry” on it that isn’t an actual cherry. This smells like Dr. Pepper, kind of.

N: Ooh. Okay, I actually really dig this.

S: It’s not bad. Maybe there’s enough vanilla in it to balance the cherry out.

N: It’s kind of hitting me with a weird aftertaste. But that could just be the cumulative after-effects of eating this much lube. Or it could be that it’s sweetened with aspartame – like with Sweet’n Low, you get that bitterness.

S: It’s, like, nutty. There’s almond or something at the end. But that’s sometimes the flavour you get from cherry pits, like in Maraschino liqueur. It even smells like those Italian almond cookies. 

N: I can’t tell if it’s naturally or artificially flavoured.

S: I think it is natural, because of that cherry pit flavour.

N: This is why I wanted you on board today.

S: Yes. I’m getting all the nuances of the cherry vanilla lube.

Rating: NNNN

web Wicked Mocha Java.jpg

Wicked Aqua Mocha Java

Available at Condom Shack.

S: This is the one I’m most curious about. I want to know if someone could pull off coffee-ish flavoured lube.

N: Damn, this smells like tiramisu. 

S: It totally does! It smells kind of boozy. Is that just me, because it’s happy-hour time?

N: It tastes like it, too! Tastes like Kahlúa. Hand to God.

S: It’s really good. Wicked’s killin’ it. 

N: This might be another five-out-of-five.

S: Strong showing. It’s weird that there’s a little coffee cup with chocolate shavings on the package, but it delivers on that!

N: Does what it says on the package. You could make a dope White Russian with that.

S: The Dude would approve.

Rating: NNNNN

Closing thoughts

S: I guess I’m impressed with how true some of the flavours were. 

N: Same. I came in with low expectations. It proves that, although not all super-processed stuff is good, not all super-natural stuff is either. 

S: I wish I could say this was educational. I hope it helps somebody, somewhere. 

N: I look forward to going back to reviewing things I can actually derive sustenance from.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the Ginger Kiss Massage Oil was identified as manufactured by Rhea Moon. It is made by Annares.

nataliam@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco

drinks@nowtoronto.com | @S_Parns

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