When I opened and smelled the Japanese Pepsi Shiso for the first time, I truly wondered whether or not a Japanese game show was going to break out around me called, “Nomimasu Ka?”, which in English means, “Will you drink it?”
(Note: My Japanese is EXTREMELY POOR. I have retained very little from my two years of Japanese language in college. So my Japanese above may not be correct.)
Every summer, Pepsi releases a limited edition flavor in Japan that can be described somewhere along the spectrum of unusual on one end and fucking weird on the other. In previous years, there’s been a Pepsi Blue Hawaii and a Pepsi Ice Cucumber, both of which landed on the unusual side of the spectrum.
The Pepsi Shiso is more on the fucking weird side.
I guess I find this bathroom cleaner-colored beverage very odd because I’m not familiar with shiso. But thanks to the information clusterfuck known as Wikipedia, I now know shiso is perilla in English, it is an herb in the mint family, and in Japan it is used in salads, spaghetti, meat and fish dishes, and occasionally used as a pizza topping.
Much like the other limited edition Pepsi from Japan I’ve tried, its initial flavor was a little off-putting, but the more I drank the better it seemed to taste, albeit still weird. Unfortunately, there isn’t any real shiso in this bottle filled with a liquid that’s colored like the radioactive rod that gets stuck in Homer Simpsons’ shirt during The Simpsons opening. Since I’ve never tasted shiso, I can’t tell you if this soda’s artificial flavor comes close to it, but I can tell you it tastes like sweetened grass. I also thought there was a cinnamon gum flavor as well, but mostly grass.
If I want drink something that makes my mouth feel like there’s a party going on in it, I’ll drink a rum and Coke or a Hawaiian Punch, but if I want to drink a beverage that makes my mouth feel like there’s photosynthesis going on in it, I’ll definitely drink a Pepsi Shiso.
Item: Pepsi Shiso
Price: 147 yen
Size: 490 ml
Purchased at: Received from Orchid64
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: A little cinnamon gum flavor. It taste a little better the more you drink. It feels like photosynthesis is going on in my mouth. Interesting. Wikipedia.
Cons: Unusual taste. Sweet grassy flavor. Available only in Japan (although if you check eBay, you might be able to pick some up). Doesn’t contain actual shiso. Bathroom cleaner colored. Radioactive rod colored. My knowledge of the Japanese language despite two years of it in college.