Pepsi Shiso is the newest flavor of Pepsi in Japan, and it went on sale June 23rd, 2009.
I had never heard of Shiso before hearing about this, so I have no idea what real Shiso tastes like. The Wikipedia article states that while it’s a member of the mint family, it is not, in fact, a mint. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me that this was not simply mint Pepsi. Pepsi Shiso doesn’t taste like mint at all.
The first thing that came to mind is “herbs”. At certain points while drinking, I could imagine the taste being that of simply grass or leaves, but there was always a little bit extra flavor in there to bring it above such generalizations. It doesn’t taste like tea. It tastes like you walked into the herbal section of a health foods store, so if you like that herbal taste, than you might enjoy this.
My only problem with Pepsi Shiso is that they’re calling it Pepsi, and this isn’t the first time that I’ve made this complaint. With a lot of the other brands such as Coke, Dr Pepper, or Mountain Dew, their flavor variations still retain certain characteristic of the original flavor, but these Pepsi ones always seem to just go off in some random direction. I can’t really say that this tastes like “Pepsi and herbs”, because there’s not really any “Pepsi” in here. It tastes like a carbonated herb drink, yes, but no Pepsi, so I find it odd that they are calling it that. Perhaps they felt like the drink couldn’t stand on its own without relying on some Pepsi brand recognition with a dash of novelty, and I must admit, that I would not just up and buy some other herb flavored drinks if they were sitting right there in shelves next to the other drinks.
Pepsi or not, this is still an interesting drink to try out, but I wonder how much of that interest is simply because of the Pepsi logo on the bottle and not the “Shiso” itself.
2006-2009 Limited Edition Pepsi flavors
It looks like this will be the last Pepsi flavor that I can personally try in Japan without having to get someone to send me a bottle (and paying dearly for it). Whether or not they can be called “Pepsi” is up for debate, but I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of them. Also, yes, my favorite out all of them is the 2008 Pepsi Ice Cucumber. I’m still hoarding a bunch.