In the past, I made "vanilla Coke" by simply adding vanilla flavor syrup (the kind used to flavor coffee, Italian sodas, etc.) to a normal can of Coke. And I'm not alone - many restaurants have offered the same thing for years. So naturally, when Coca-Cola announced the launch of Vanilla Coke, I was not extremely impressed.
The official launch date in mid-May rolled around and I didn't really think about it. Occasionally I'd see a post on a discussion board about how incredibly good it was, or how it tasted just like creme soda. Well I like Coke, my own "vanilla Coke," and creme soda. So when I saw it in a store for the first time in late June, I decided to buy some and try it.
It tastes exactly as I expected - like Coke with some vanilla flavor syrup - which means that it's pretty good. Despite some people's preconceptions, it's not really a huge difference. Just a slight vanilla taste, detected more on the aftertaste than the initial sip. If you don't like regular Coke, you won't like Vanilla - and if you don't like creme soda, you may want to pass on it as well.
Hopefully Coca-Cola will not follow the "lead" of Vanilla Ice by later renaming this product "V-Coke." If that happens, I will stop buying it.
Until then, I can gladly recommend this product. It's cheaper, easier, and more portable than making it myself. No surprises, no radical changes, and no outrageous claims - this is a simple addition to a basic staple drink of America. Let's hope it lasts longer than Crystal Pepsi.*
* Pepsi will be releasing some new products as well, but I will not review them because that would require purchasing and drinking them. Pepsi is welcome to send me a free evaluation sample so that I might review the packaging, but that's about all.