Pepsi vs Throwback vs Kosher vs Natural
Well, after many weeks and much scrounging up and down the Hudson Valley region , we were finally able to do a side by side comparison of these four varieties of Pepsi, plus also a comparison of Mexican Coca Cola vs Coca Cola (HFCS version). It took us three days or so to come down from the sugar buzz enought to write this but these are the thoughts...
Of the four Pepsi's: one had HFCS and the other three were made with sugar.
We liked them in the following order: Throwback, Kosher, HCFS and Natural (tied for last). The Throwback and the Kosher were very close. I think the Kosher had a bit more carbonation, but the Throwback had a slightly cleaner and truer cola taste.
The HCFS Pepsi had a pronounced chemical aftertaste that was unpleasant and much more obvious when side by side with the others.
The Pepsi Natural was very strong tasting and too cloying. I thought it tasted like ginseng cola but had none listed as an ingredient, although it did have apple extract and kola nut listed as ingredients. They really need to work on this - too strong, too sweet, and not cola-y enough. I wanted to like this one but could not even finish the couple ounces I poured to taste.
The Coca Cola tasting yielded a similar result - the HFCS version of Coke was not as bitter in a pronounced way but the Mexican Coca cola was smoother and had no bitter aftertaste in any way. Overall the Mexican Coca Cola was the winner of the day.
Of course after all this - I will also say that I do not regularly drink any soda, and when I do, I opt for the diet varieties, so this was all purely a CH experiment in the interest of foodie science. I suppose we should have done it blinded, but that seemed a little but too much of a to-do. But I can maybe make a case for no (or less) bias...as a taster.
[Probably this post belongs on the General Chowhounding Board but I can't figure out how to move it...and I don't want to re-type - LJN]
I've done almost the same comparison (sans Kosher), and I find my results a bit different. I much prefer the Natural over HFC for probably the same reasons you disliked it. The reduced carbonation and the sweetness are bonuses, in my book, and the flavor is truer, I believe to kola than cola.
If your criteria is whether it tastes more or less like the baseline HFCS version of Pepsi, Coke, RC, or whatever, then I suppose the difference of opinion makes sense. I just think that in a bare taste test, Natural wins.
Throwback is now in most stores and many convenience stores. I found it at a couple Hess gas station marts. Kosher cans we found at passover time at a kosher grocery in Pittsburgh actually. But it was also around in 2 liter bottles at kosher food sections. Check out kosher deli's or markets for it. Pepsi Natural is very hard to find in this area and my SO got one through a Pepsi employee connection. IMO - not really worth the effort, but you may find it in Whole Foods or somewhere like that.
Mexican Cokes have been found in the HV in a few locations in small Taco places, and mexican groceries.
Like I said - it took us awhile to scrounge them up...