Sunday, March 7, 2010
Pepsi Max Cease Fire
This new Pepsi Max flavor completely flew under my radar until I saw it today while on a review hunt at Target. (I told you guys I look for stuff everywhere and always!) It might also be because I tend to be more on the lookout for new Coke products. I have to give Pepsi their due, however: as much as I may prefer Coke Zero over all else, when it comes to flavored colas (vanilla, lime, lemon etc) I have to hand it to Pepsi. In those cases I think they do the job far better job than the other guys. (I still love you, Coke Zero.)
Pepsi Max Cease Fire is a calorie free, lime flavored cola. (Pepsi in fact already makes a lime flavored version of the regular Diet Pepsi that is quite good.) The hook to this product is that not only is it the first of the flavored entry in the Max line, but if the Pepsi website and the package blurb are to be believed, it is supposed to be able to extinguish even the hottest of spices that can be eaten along with it.
Uh-huh! I will be the judge of that one.
First, the soda on its own:
It smells pretty much like regular Pepsi Max, but with the tiniest bit of lime. It tastes pretty much like standard issue Pepsi Max, too. The lime is subdued and comes mostly as an aftertaste -- an effect that, in some cases, can work quite well. (For example, DRY Sodas -- see my reviews here, here, and here.) What wasn't working for me was that instead of having a sharp citrus zing or bite, the lime aftertaste reminded me of cheap lime flavored lollipops. It's not bad, but if I want a really good lime cola I'll stay with the regular Diet Pepsi with lime. I am not sure why they went with such a sweet, artificial-tasting version of lime over something a little more authentic. I can see where people who like a sweeter taste would prefer this version, though.
The carbonation is on the low side, even for a Pepsi product. It's not a deal breaker for me, but I do like my soda to either be completely flat or at least as bubbly as a normal Pepsi.
So let's talk about the claim that the soda can ease the burn of hot (spicy) foods...
I may just be -- depending on your point of view -- either the best person or the worst person on the planet to tackle this. As is well documented on this blog, I looooo-o-o-ove spicy hot food. I love hot sauce. I have yet to find anything that has been hot enough to make me cry for water. (And yes, I can even eat Dave's Insanity sauce by itself by the spoonful.)
Looking around my house, I tried to find something up to the challenge. To keep it in the Pepsi family, I decided on testing this on a packet of Taco Bell FIRE sauce (which, for the record, I personally do not find to be very hot, but I know a lot of people do). This may be why I am also the worst person to try this test -- I have a really high tolerance for what I consider spicy, so maybe read my results with that kept in mind.
I just squeezed the contents of the packet directly onto my tongue and held it there for about 20 seconds prior to swallowing the sauce. We did attempt photos of this event, but there was just no way to do it with out it looking like something from the world's most messed up porno, so you will just have to use your imaginations. (Y'know, that thing we played with before we had cool stuff to play with...?)
So did it cool my mouth? Honestly...since on my personal scale of hotness I consider Taco Bell FIRE sauce to be mild, no, I didn't notice a cooling effect. What I did notice is that the lime flavor seems to become more pronounced, and it did seem less sweet than it had before the hot sauce.
It's a neat idea and it's not a bad soda. I just don't think it was nearly as good as it could have been. The lime is just too sweet -- which I don't understand, because the lime in the Diet Pepsi is so good. It also just seems under-carbonated. If anyone with less of a tolerance for heat/spice tries this experiment, I would love to hear your comments.
Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine. Sugar free.