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Ice Cucumber Pepsi Hits Japan

Ice Cucumber Pepsi
as seen on Pepsi’s site

There’s a new product hitting the shelves of Japan for a limited run this summer: Ice Cucumber Pepsi.

The gimmick product is being produced by the sole Japanese distributor of Pepsi products, Suntory Limited, a company best known for whisky and beer (you may remember their product from Lost in Translation). Apparently Suntory and Pepsico sat down to come up with a completely new seasonal product and settled on the rather unexpected cucumber. The company has already committed to produce a fixed number of bottles, with the product being rolled out to coincide with the hottest time of year in Japan, which is also (of course) the best season for soda sales.

The somewhat radioactive-looking teal liquid is being sold only in half-liter bottles for 147 yen (with tax—about US$1.20). The label features a bold (and English) “Ice Cucumber” and the following descriptive text in Japanese: “‘CUCUMBER’ means cucumber in English, and this surprising combination of cola and cucumber is a refreshing cola!”

So how does it taste?

Business Media Makoto, a business news site, offers a detailed review (J). According to the writer it smells something like cucumber; sort of grassy. They say it tastes something like Pepsi’s cola, and while it doesn’t taste much like cucumber, it does have a cuke-ish aftertaste. After drinking some, they claim the subtlety of the flavor comes out, and brings to mind something like cucumber, the white part of watermelon rind, or maybe diluted melon-flavored shaved ice.

This does not, admittedly, sound terribly appealing, but their reviewer says it’s actually better than expected although it’s pretty sweet. Commenters elsewhere on the web mostly say that it only smells like cucumber and tastes more like melon (as in cantaloupe, a popular flavor in Japan), although one person did say it reminded them of Ramune, a classic, fruity Japanese soda.

The drink does not, by the way, actually contain any cucumber—the label just lists artificial flavors and fructose.

Whether this wacky new flavor will appeal to overheated soda-drinkers looking for something different remains to be seen.

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