Back in September 2004, it was reported that Dr Pepper was going to launch the second flavor extension of their famous brand (the first being Red Fusion). They set up a limited-run “Fountain Classics” line, which enables them to promote the new flavor for a short period of time and make some money (much like what Pepsi is doing with the Mountain Dew franchise). The flagship of this new initiative is Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, which has been available in limited markets for a while and just now started showing up in Chicago.
I’m part of a family of serious Dr Pepper drinkers; my dad loves the beverage and it’s one of my wife’s favorites as well. Plus, you have to root for the Dr Pepper brand. It’s not Coke or Pepsi and does offer its own unique flavor that is often imitated. (Now, if they would just bring back the whole “I’m a Pepper” ad campaign, that would be sweet!). I like the fact that the beverage is different, which is probably an ideological reason to drink it.
So how does it taste? Well, first off, it smells pretty much like the original Dr Pepper. And that first sip? Not bad. It’s predominantly the traditional Dr Pepper flavor, however the aftertaste is noticeably different. DP usually has a “bite” to it, but the Cherry Vanilla version mellows that out with an obvious overtone of vanilla flavor. The cherry flavoring is ever so slight, much how it was substantially weak in Red Fusion. I had a hard time picking it out.
Overall, I was happy with the taste experience, though I expected a little more in the flavor department to differentiate from the original. On that note, I felt the packaging could have been done a little differently as well, given that the color and iconography almost too closely resemble the original. If I wasn’t looking for it, I don’t think I would have found this beverage, as it blends in too closely with regular Dr Pepper. I’d buy it again, but don’t know how successful this will be to the folks at Cadbury Schweppes, makers of Dr Pepper.