I’m on a shopping trip with my dear buddy bro when I see this bright orange can amongst the Mountain Dew tallboys. I’m a sucker for Pepsi products and the color orange, so of course I made that my purchase for the night.
In case you haven’t heard of this new fantastical cola unicorn, Pepsi 1893 was released (in my location of Midwestern Winterfell) in spring, 2016, and was modelled after Mountain Dew Black Label in the vein of using bitters and herbal components in a can with that Pepsi bite. I think it’s genius. My hipster side fangirls each time I roll through the pop aisle. Craft is the shizznit, and you can’t tell me otherwise. Did I mention that the line name is. historical reference to Pepsi’s infancy in the nineteenth century? It’s totally a reference to Pepsi’s infancy in the nineteenth century. *swoon*
This line of Pepsi product uses Kola nut extract, aromatic bitters, and flavoring to create their variants, of which there are now three: original (the pop after my own Irish Slav heart), ginger (nah, son), and now citrus. The citrus 1893 is the newest on the scene. I had this can opened and at my side on and off for a few days, it being days because I limit pop content when I’m doing training at the Marine RSS.
The packaging is, in my opinion, perfect. The color choice gives me life. Between my stationerds on Instagram tagging pics with “Kill Winter With Orange 2017” and the winter Field Notes featuring orange accents on chrome, the timing for this release was spot-on. It’s one shade darker than hunter orange, and the graphic looks wrapped between the nutrition facts and the product specs. It sticks out to the eye and is just a good color anyway. When I cracked the can there was a grapefruit aura at the opening.
The 1893 is quite literally a one-two punch. First is that blast of – surprise! – grapefruit flavor, light and not the sour bane of my childhood in pulpy juice form. The second part of this beverage comes on at the back of the mouth and as the after taste, and if you aren’t used to it you will hate it. It’s a stabbing, dry, broad Kola nut that is, in comparison, easier in just the black cola variant. This second sensation completely overrides the citrus flavor, but was more than likely intended to as a member of the 1893 line.
The top of this drink reminds me of Mountain Dew White Label, and if I had to choose between White Label and citrus 1893 I would take the former, if I wanted just the citrus kick. However, 1893 is a perfectly wild card option when you want something strong. There is always time for robust flavors.
Be forewarned when trying this product: you will only smell the grapefruit and the Kola finish when this can rides shotgun. That mega-Kola explosion is not evident until it is happening, and your snoot will be none the wiser.
I am very glad that this wasn’t another orange extracted soda a la Sunkist-Crush-Fanta. Orange fruit is good, but you can only reproduce it so many times.
I do recommend this product for people who like the bold taste: my ginger ale, black Guinness draught people. This is not a flavor profile for the faint of heart, including me, but if you’re taking a trip to the wild side and switching up your Pepsi content, this will be an undeniable adventure for your carbonated soft drink game.