Since Pepsi hasn’t come out with a new “product that sounded good in theory, but when you think about it, the theory itself wasn’t very good either” product, I was not surprised to hear of yet another fringe drink from them.
Diet Pepsi Jazz is a very strange concept. The two varieties are Strawberries & Cream, and Black Cherry dot French Vanilla. It’s not Black Cherry and French Vanilla; there is a bold dot (.) between the words.
This is a reference to a dark era of America, when prohibition forced jazz musicians to turn their backs on the evils of gin martinis and whiskey. During this time, many new soda varieties were born. Many of these varieties were created not because they tasted good, but solely as a quick attention grab from the public, in order to take any possible market share away from Coca Cola. In fact, this abundance of cola consumption is believed to be the primary force behind jazz’s smooth sound. When the musicians would come crashing down after their massive caffeine rushes, they would play in small bars, moderately pacing their music due to exhaustion.
I don’t actually think that is true. All I know about jazz is what I learned from That Thing You Do!, when Guy goes to the Blue Spot and meets Del Paxton, and he’s too distracted by his man crush to sleep with Tom Hanks’ wife.
Point being, I have no idea what the logic behind Diet Pepsi Jazz is supposed to be. Strawberries & Cream sounds like a good flavor, but diet? And mixed with cola? The Black Cherry dot French Vanilla flavor makes sense, since Pepsi is doing its typical “the other company came out with a flavor, now we have to” response to Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke.
Since it’s a new product and I’m an idiot, I bought both flavors.
The packaging is fairly unappealing. The shiny faux-foil wrapping is somewhat eye catching, but that is cancelled out by the unattractive colors. Also, the rather vulgar looking splash of cream is unsettling.
Opening the Strawberries & Cream bottle, it started out very poorly. The soda stinks, literally… a very noxious fake strawberry odor. I remembered how much I disliked the smell of Berry Krispies and wound up liking them, so I decided I wouldn’t hold the Jazz’s smell against it. (I really would, I was just pretending not to.)
The first sip involved the usual procedure: fear, consumption, brace for taste impact, information processing. The results are in!
With a product as potentially frightening as this, that really isn’t a bad result. It’s basically a diet cherry vanilla cola with (are you ready for this?) strawberry instead of cherry. The strawberry flavor is very reminiscent of the dried strawberry pieces in Strawberries and Cream oatmeal. Would I recommend it? I’d say it’s worth a try, it’s unlikely you’ll hate it, and you might wind up really liking it.
After Strawberries & Cream, Black Cherry dot French Vanilla (BC.FV) seemed rather anticlimactic. I have already tried Coke’s variety, and cherry vanilla doesn’t fill me with as much dread as “Strawberries & Cream”.
The BC.FV flavor is much more subdued than Strawberries & Cream. It’s a black cherry flavor with only hints of vanilla. It is a FAR better flavor than the Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi.
Surprisingly, both varieties were quite good. I see myself drinking BC.FV more (as in, if it’s laying around… I don’t see myself buying it again), but Strawberries & Cream would get thrown in the rotation once in a while. My advice is try them, but make it quick, since this line will probably fade out quickly, get the axe, and get replaced by another novelty soda. You know, the usual routine.