Crystal Pepsi must be jealous of the reduced sugar Pepsi Next. During its year of existence, Pepsi never released other Crystal Pepsi flavors. Diet Crystal Pepsi doesn’t count.
But the reduced calorie Pepsi Next has been around for just four months and it already has two new varieties — Cherry Vanilla and Paradise Mango.
I know that probably would make Crystal Pepsi so mad it would want to pop its top, but it would struggle to do so because, after 20 years, all its carbonation is gone. Well, at least there is some love for Crystal Pepsi, in the form of a disorganized effort to bring it back via numerous Facebook fan pages.
Cherry vanilla is a flavor we’ve seen before from Pepsi. Remember Pepsi Cherry Vanilla and Diet Pepsi Cherry Vanilla? You don’t? Well, the Internet does and so do I. Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla smells more like Pepsi Vanilla than Pepsi Wild Cherry, but in my mouth the vanilla and cherry flavors are equally balanced. Because of that, it has a milder cherry flavor than Pepsi Wild Cherry. There’s a slight artificial sweetener aftertaste, but it’s far less harsh than Diet Pepsi.
As for Pepsi Next Paradise Mango, its aroma didn’t register as mango to my nose, instead it smelled more like apricots. Because of my past experiences with mango flavored beverages, I presumed this soda was going to have an extremely artificial mango flavor, but I was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case. I don’t know how the mad scientists at Pepsi did it, but they created a cola with a nearly authentic mango flavor. I say, “nearly” because its aftertaste is a bit artificial and the soda as a whole becomes a little more unnatural tasting the warmer it gets.
Now this is the part of the review where I bring up aspartame and high fructose corn syrup. Just like regular Pepsi Next, both of these flavors contain the sweeteners. If the comments in our original Pepsi Next review are any indication, people have strong negative opinions about them and they like to share those opinions with other people. For those of you who don’t want to look back through the 100+ comments, here’s what I vaguely remember the comment thread looked like.
Commenter #1: “Aspartame is evil!”
Commenter #2: “High fructose corn syrup is making everyone fat! It’s evil!”
Commenter #1: “No, aspartame is evil!”
Commenter #2: “No, HFCS is evil!”
Commenter #1: “ASPARTAME!”
Commenter #2: “HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!”
Commenter #1: “Oh my God, you’re so hot when you’re angry! Let’s make out!”
Commenter #2: “Okay!”
Commenter #1: “Mmmmm.”
Commenter #2: “Mmmmm.”
Commenter #1: “Oooh baby, you have a fine, tight aspartame.”
Yup, I believe the comments went something like that.
Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla & Pepsi Next Paradise Mango are both really good. I want to say they’re a step above regular Pepsi Next, but that could be my taste buds talking who are slightly tired of Pepsi Next since I’ve been drinking a lot of it over the past few months. These two new Pepsi Next flavors should continue to make Crystal Pepsi jealous because they’re good enough to ensure the Pepsi Next line will exist longer than Crystal Pepsi did.
Disclosure: We received free Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla & Pepsi Next Paradise Mango samples from the fine bubbly folks at Pepsi in order to do this review. They came in a nice plexiglass box with a beach scene at the bottom of it with real sand. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to do with the box.
(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)
Item: Pepsi Next Cherry Vanilla & Pepsi Next Paradise Mango
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Received from the folks at Pepsi
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cherry Vanilla)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Paradise Mango)
Pros: If you enjoy Pepsi Next and your taste buds want more variety, these will do nicely. Less sugar than regular Pepsi. Equal balance of cherry and vanilla. Nearly authentic mango flavor. Going to be around longer than Crystal Pepsi.
Cons: 38 mg of caffeine per can. Slight artificial sweetener aftertaste. Too many bring back Crystal Pepsi Facebook fan pages. Mango flavor becomes a little unnatural as the soda gets warmer. Those who hate aspartame and/or HFCS will not like it.