Guess who's back? Back again!
I'd heard a rumor that Crystal Pepsi, the great failed beverage project of the early 1990's, was going to return last summer, but I didn't see it and began to think it was a myth. Then I spotted this bottle in the supermarket. Whoa, I said, and Dude, and put it in the cart. The checkout lady was stunned; she'd never heard of it, didn't even know the store had stocked it.
What is it? It's supposedly a cola that happens to be clear, no caramel coloring or anything else that would give it a hue. I am old enough to remember the first run of Crystal Pepsi, but if I tried it back in its original 1992-1993 run, it left no impression on me.
Pepsi never stopped believing in the product, I guess, or thought that 90's nostalgia was good enough for a short burst of sales before taking it off the market again. The big change from the original Crystal Pepsi is caffeine, which it did not have back in the day but does now.
Crystal Pepsi looks like nothing and tastes the same. It has less flavor than rock candy, which at least tastes like the cane sugar from which it is made. This is no diet soda, but it doesn't even taste like sugar. Corn syrup has very little flavor. Maybe my taste buds have become jaded, but it seems that there's just no there there.
I think I never did try Crystal Pepsi in the 1990s; its lack of flavor would have disappointed me then too. Sort of an anti-impression. I think I would have remembered that.
Ultimately I think Crystal Pepsi is a waste of empty calories. I don't want to get all philosophical on you, but: Cola that doesn't look like cola is kind of neat, but cola that doesn't taste like cola is not cola. It's not really anything.