Kill Winter With Orange, featuring Pepsi (Citrus 1893 Review)


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 historical reference to Pepsi’s infancy in the nineteenth century?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. 

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Taco Bell Got Lewd Again

I’m back at that review game. This post is being created in a different fashion than my White Label review, which was awkwardly tapped into my WordPress app. This draft started as handwritten. In the words of my fellow alma mater graduates: “Stay classy, SVSU.”

My tools of the trade as of this writing were the Tomsk Konstruktor TM (HB) grade, which does smell strongly of pine sap and freshly cut lumber. It’s very pretty as far as pencils go! Not much can beat Cyrillic in my opinion for the branding. I am also tag-teaming myself with a caffeine rush with both original Mountain Dew and coffee. Please note that the “tools of the trade” idea is a direct reference to the Erasable Podcast, which can be found here.

The Naked Chalupa from Taco Bell was released earlier this year as the newest weird food wrapping since the Quesalupa Venture of 2016. There was one limited release that I really loved, and that was the steak flatbread (hint, hint, Taco Bell people?). I liked the waffle and biscuit tacos, too, but I think a comeback of those is too much to hope for, especially when a reviewer talks about it using the word “regret”. Maybe I’m just buying into the opportunistic marketing of Taco Bell’s breakfast menu and Mountain Dew’s partnership, but I digress.

Personally, I hate the Naked Chalupa marketing pitch, with a passion. The last thing I need as a fellow on the asexual spectrum is the further sexualization of the world around me. I eat good food to get AWAY from that kind of experience. I’m hardly trying to re-create it!

The packaging of this thing follows that same idea of scandal and pornographic reference, with a “censored” print of the taco’s nether region in all its chicken-y glory. I must admit that while pixelated designs make my heart melt (blame it on my branch of service; semper fi), I don’t need the mental image of taco nether regions.

The chicken patty is a heavily seasoned, reddish wafer of breading and meat, and it is exactly as spicy as one would think. I think it’s buffalo chicken, but don’t quote me on it. The only things that bugged me about it were how thin it was and how dry – after I had eaten the thing, I felt grains in my mouth. Imagine chicken-bread. There, you go. Dry chicken might be the trade-off from having it be the taco shell, however.

What really brings this thing together is the insides: fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and the sauce, which is a very pale green and as spiced up as the chicken shell. More or less, the blending of sweet, fresh, and spicy make this thing a winner (of sorts).

Be warned, however: the Nude Chicken Wafer is a messy experience to eat. I had gone to town on a whim (my home office is in the rural colon of our Mighty Mitt) to get some Taco Bell, and I was indeed on the road, in my Marine Corps and university decals, my queer flag a-flyin’ in the sunlight, with a handful of pale green sauce and the veggies sprawled across my belly. It made me think of those trick glasses that leak your juice when you try to drink it. Ah, humanity!

One would imagine that the foil wrapping would catch the excess, and it does, but not when you are driving and there is no flat surface to be had. I would recommend the Lewd Chicken Taco for folks who want a fresh spicy experience, but you might want to wait until you find a tabletop to eat the thing on.

White Label: A Review

Here it is, finally: a review of Mountain Dew White Label. This comes as the companion to my personal fave, Mountain Dew Black Label. It’s advertised as being “crafted” (whatever that means) for a soft beverage. Frankly, I’m already impressed that they took more time on this line rather than having the same variants of corn syrup, not that there’s an issue with said corn syrup beverages. 

The can is white and bears a matte finish as well as the same design as Black Label, but in silver on white. I like the cohesive design.

White Label is billed as “mysteriously exotic” as opposed to “deeper” and “darker”. I wouldn’t have opted for that tagline, but I’m not working for the Mountain Dew people. Also, I got my fix at my alma mater. You won’t be seeing this on shelves til the second quarter of this year, or thereabouts. 

For the taste of the stuff, it is exactly what it says it is: tropical citrus. The top is pineapple with a grapefruit finish. Like Black Label, White feels heavier in the mouth than something like Sprite but is leaner than normal Mountain Dew products. 

The coloring is white, like salt water solution. 

I think this is a very good addition to Mountain Dew’s product line, and is an appropriate follow-up to Black Label. If you want to purchase some, though, that may be a whole different task. It is worth the trip.