Friday, July 03, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

In Japan, one can always easily spot the signs of the changing seasons. You can tell spring is coming when the plum blossoms open. You can be certain spring is over when the humidity leaps dramatically and it rains every other day for a month. And you can tell that summer is on its way when a particularly unappetizing new flavor of Pepsi comes out.

Chorus, Isolate, Confirm has made a yearly tradition of blowing the lid -- or the cap -- off these bizarre concoctions. It's the closest I ever come to being an "investigative journalist." I'm your Pepsi correspondent in the field.

Last year it was Pepsi Blue Hawaii (do not mix with other cleaning agents), and the year before that it was Pepsi Ice Cucumber (for external use only). This year Pepsi continues its dynasty of beverage terror with Pepsi Shiso.

Shiso is the Japanese name for perilla, a plant normally used as a garnish for pasta or salad (and not normally used as a flavor for a carbonated drink). Like fennel and cilantro, perilla is one of those plants that doesn't necessarily taste like something that's meant to be eaten. For me, the taste of perilla brings back an ancient memory of being two years old and eating a leaf from a random plant in the backyard, just to see what would happen. As such, Pepsi Shiso sounds on paper like a flavor disaster waiting to inevitable failure that might as well be called Grass Cola.

It sounds marginally better than, say, teriyaki birthday cake or caramel-dipped charcoal briquettes.

Now for the surprising part: In practice, Pepsi Shiso isn't that bad. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's the best limited-release Pepsi flavor I've tried so far. The shiso flavor keeps it from being too sweet, which is exactly what last year's Blue Hawaii had going against it. This blows Pepsi Blue Hawaii out of the toilet bowl, and it makes Pepsi Ice Cucumber look like Asparagus Banana Ketchup Sprite.

Does that mean I'll be buying any more of the stuff before it disappears from store shelves? No. In fact, in keeping with tradition, I'm unlikely to even finish the one bottle that I did buy.

1 comment:

Limo said...

Hey Jesse!
You forgot Yoghurt Pepsi from not long ago