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Tuesday, July 23, 2002, well
over a year since the last event. I'd actually had the soda for a
while, but I was waiting for a visit from our dear friend Gordon Merrick.
Lo and behold, the week before he was scheduled to visit, I got an email
from this lady who works for the local TV show Chronicle, and she
was doing a segment on fake Dr Pepper! And a collector referred her to
me! Talk about perfect timing. So, I gathered up the gang and the beverages,
and got ready for the media circus (well, this lady and a camera guy,
Guide to the Guests:
(1) Texan, (2) Archenemy-Associated Band Member, (3) Roommate, (4) Sibling,
(5) Some other friend who does not fall into the above categories
The Captain Boothnavy Swallow (2)
Craig (2, ex-3)
Damascus Trolley (2, 3), who was wearing a corduroy blazer and montreal
expos hat. i should have taken a photo.
of Belgian Waffles (2, and while not a Texan, a Pepper expert nonetheless)
Gordon Merrick (1, 2, ex-3)
Heath (ex-3, and birthday boy)
Les Enthusiasm (4)
Miss Lunarkitty (1, ex-3)
Rock Stone (2)
The selections this year came from Mark Edwards, a
faux Pepper collector from the Reno area. As a special bonus, The Duke
brought his collection of international Dr Peppers as well! Winners in
red, losers in blue...
|Diet Dr K
|Diet Dr Rocket
|British Dr Pepper
|Dutch Dr Pepper
|Japanese Dr Pepper
Craig and Swedie, Heath, Miss Lunarkitty, Les Enthusiasm, and Meaghan.
More cherry- or berry- tasting than Dr Pepper.
Rock Stone described it as "melted Swedish Fish." Pretty decent,
though. The main thing about this beverage is the can. It has guns on
it! And a guy with a handlebar moustache and funny hat. And the slogans
"Double barrels of flavor" and "Have a real blast."
People were pretty divided other whether or not the violence was a good
thing. It was very Wild West looking, except that it had a fuschia-and-teal
Hm. This one didn't score too badly, except looking
over the evaluations, I'm getting comments like "semen," "ketchup,"
"cloves," "just plain shoddy," and "as bland
as Seth's music." The Duke pointed out that "Best Yet"
does imply room for improvement. The label had interesting lightning-bolt
typography. Which isn't to say it was necessarily good, but it was nice
to see that someone put in some kind of effort.
and DannyGold are old-skool Doctor taste testers.
This was compared to cardboard, cotton candy, dishsoap, a black vortex
of cigarette ash and malt, and bug repellent. "This shit's totally
welfare" said Damascus Trolley. My bro theorized that it was >9
on the pH scale. Several people commented on the unpleasant aftertaste.
Pretty much the only positive comment came from Angela, who said that
if she were a rapper, Dr. Hytop would be her name.
This one sprung a leak in the mail. So we just judged the label design
and name, neither of which we were too impressed with. Damascus made some
inexplicable comment about it being endorsed by near Hall of Famer Dwight
Becky, and Ruben. It had gotten very crowded in my room.
OK, in all fairness, this is a diet soda being judged against
regular ones... but... EEEEW! I mean, come on, Diet Dr Pepper is actually
quite good. But this... "rancid," "one of the worst things
I've ever had to drink," "fermented rhubarb...that's gone bad,"
"I like everything and I hate it," "the worst tasting
soda I've ever had," "like those early NASA rockets that exploded
shortly after take-off," "i would send this back," "carbonated
hershey squirts," and "wet llama, with cinnamon. and pez aftertaste."
So I'd have to recommend against purchasing this particular product.
I really cannot fathom why this did so okay in the label design category.
Oh, it made my head hurt. A haphazard collection of nasty type (a rad
(but in a bad way) geometric one, with what Delilah though was the Spicy
Doritos font) set against what Heath thought looked like a colonoscope.
But some people liked it. Go figure. There is no accounting for people's
tastes. And it tasted kinda like Smarties.
and Rock Stone, finding something to be very amusing.
A fair amount of people commented on
its nice smell. So I guess if there were a smell category, it would have
won. My bro said it was like gargling with potpourri. It apparently also
contains some key ingredient that made Miss Lunarkitty hysterical with
laughter. I think this ingredient may be mustard. Not exactly something
one would want in a beverage (unless you want something to drink with
your hot dog). Anyway, the label had a certain naive charm in that sort
of ugly-yet-appealing way. A big scripty W with wavy lines and polka dot
bubbles. If it were a shirt, I would wear it.
Wow! An unprecedented
sweep of all categories!! This was good stuff. Delicious and uncannily
Pepper-like. The label design was noteworthy in its simplicity (one might
even consider it a bit severe, with its Futura type and geometric design).
I really liked its lack of ugly fonts, goofy bubbles, distracting backgrounds,
and extraneous ornamentation. Other people thought the design was perhaps
more appropriate to "a can of motor oil," "Borax,"
or "cheap beer." And what a great name! The extra P at the end
really makes it. Although the store brand itself is called "Smart
and Final" which sounds vaguely threatening and yet exciting.
Merrick (sporting less facial hair than in past Pepper events) (which
is a good thing) and Heath.
Everyone was kinda wondering what
made this more Xtra than regular Mr. Pibb. Unfortunately, Mr. Pibb is
not available in this area, so we could not compare them side by side.
It was yummy, anyway. Many people commented on the "zing." And
Heather enjoyed the funny WWF-inspired label design.
"Shaving cream and tabasco sauce,"
"burnt cork or charcoal briquettes," and "rotten vegetables
and smelly magic marker." Although this didn't actually do too badly
in the taste category. Bill and the Duke
both really liked the bubbles on the label, although Annie claims that
she actually thought of the bubbles first. At least there wasn't a zebra
on the label, though. That would have been crossing the line.
Duke offered up his international Dr Pepper selections.
This one came in an adorable mini-sized
can. Cute! But wow, this sure tastes different from American Pepper. According
to the label, it is a "fruit flavoured" soda. It's really pruney.
The Duke also detected currants and blueberries. And Meaghan thought it
The cool part about this one was the Dutch on
the label. What a crazy language! The label explains it as containing
"plant extracts." Bizarre. Gordon Merrick thought maybe they
used canal water in it. But I think he meant it as a compliment.
There's not much Dr Pepper to be found over there,
but I did come across it in one vending machine in Tokyo. Unfortunately,
the can sprung a leak, so we did not get to taste it. This can had the
Pepper logo with little katakana translation underneath, and the the other
side featured an illustration of a sassy blue-haired gaijin girl who seemed
to be about to take off her shirt. Which people
generally seemed to like. I would be more into it if it looked more anime,
but I guess the whole point is that they wanted it to look American.
looks almost normal-size next to the little teeny can!
Anyway, that concludes the 2002
event. Maybe if this thing makes it onto TV, i'll be able to post some
video here. In the meantime, if you'd like to share any of your own regional
contributions for next year, E-mail me at email@example.com.
Lunarkitty looks like a cute flapper doll in this picture. Craig and
Heather seem to be preoccupied with something outside my window.