For a cultural snackologist like me, these Japan-only flavors offer fascinating taste bud sensations. So when I saw the newly released Pepsi Special in my local supermarket, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to buy a bottle. But is it any good?
But, when I opened the top, a faint familiar waft hit my noise: Pepsi smell. I took a swing, sloshed the fizzy drink around, and could taste it: Pepsi taste.
For carbonated connoisseurs like me, there's a clear difference between Coke and Pepsi. Coke has a slightly spicier note, while Pepsi has a slightly sweeter flavor. Pepsi Special, however, has that very dry Pepsi flavor similar to what you find in Pepsi Next. This is a cola for adults.
For a moment, I actually thought I was drinking Pepsi Next. And the finish had that artificial finish Pepsi Next drinkers have grown accustomed to (not that regular Pepsi is all natural!). And if you live in Japan and drink cola, chances are you are drinking more Pepsi Next, because, for some reason, regular Pepsi is often hard to find.
Okay, fine! What's the big deal, you say. Well, what makes this Pepsi Special so special is that, as previously mentioned, it contains a dietary fiber supplement that actually makes it harder for the body to absorb fat while eating.
So conceivably, you could drink this while stuffing your face with pizza and reduce your fat intake.
In Japan, Pepsi Special is actually designated as a "food for specified health uses" and is regulated by the Japanese government. There's even a seal of approval on the label! This isn't the first cola of its kind in Japan, but it's one of the first.
The timing for Pepsi Special could not be better, especially with cola coming under fire in New York City and sizes being closely regulated. Pepsi Special seems to prove that it is possible to produce a "healthy" cola that tastes, well, pretty much like cola.
Yes, the flavor is artificial (mmm, toxins), and noticeably so, but if you have a hankering for a fizzy beverage and want to chow down on fatty food, Pepsi Special appears to be a viable healthy alternative to whatever you are guzzling right now. Healthy Pepsi, imagine that! You don't have to, Japan already did.