As of Sunday morning, Dr. Pepper has unveiled a decadent new flavor for the iconic soft drink, but there’s a bit of a catch. The limited time FANtastic Chocolate flavor will require some hunting by soda aficionados, and will end up only in the hands of Dr. Pepper’s most ardent fans. Luckily, we were able to snag some for the sake of tasting, and I can report that this is truly a unique dessert creation.
Dr. Pepper FANtastic Chocolate is pretty much what it sounds like—a new flavor that combines the red fruitiness and spice inherent in classic Dr. Pepper to combine it with what would seem to be a pretty natural flavor combination in the form of chocolate. The brown-fringed cans are perhaps not the most attractive thing we’ve seen in this industry, but really, how else would they look?
However, as the brand puts it, “the real victory will be securing this ultimate reward.” In order to get FANtastic Chocolate, fans will have to purchase Dr. Pepper products and join a new “Pepper Perks” rewards program. Customers will scan proof of purchase QR codes and earn points, and will then be able to exchange those points for FANtastic Chocolate—a rather shameless method for boosting sales if you ask us, but it’s not as if the brand is trying to hide it. The “Pepper Perks” reward program will also give entrants a chance to win a trip to the upcoming College Football Playoff National Championship. You can find more info on the program here.
As for the new flavor though, let’s get to tasting!
Putting your nose to this glass, you’re not going to be hunting long for the chocolate. It’s pretty unmistakable, although to their credit, I didn’t find this nearly so grossly artificial as I feared it might be. Rather, the nose simply has a pronounced tone of “cherry chocolate cordial,” and it’s also very reminiscent of a cherry or raspberry flavored Tootsie Pop. If you love those candies, the fudgy note here will be very familiar.
On the palate, the first thing you can’t help but notice is that Dr. Pepper FANtastic Chocolate has an extremely thick and syrupy texture, even for a non-”diet” soft drink. It is pretty darn sweet, as you would no doubt expect, with more of that bright raspberry and sweet dark cherry/chocolate character, but somehow it remains at least marginally drinkable in spite of itself. This is one of those cases where I thought every sip would be my last, but then continued to go back and taste it again, only to conclude that the sweetness really isn’t as overpowering as I would have feared. With that said, there’s no missing that this is “dessert soda,” albeit one that chocolate fans might really love.
Personally, I can’t help but think that a reduced version of it would be right at home over vanilla ice cream, or possible poured on top of heavily powdered Belgian waffles. But I guess we’ll probably have to wait till next year for a breakfast syrup-themed Dr. Pepper. In the meantime, keep an eye out for this limited release of FANtastic Chocolate.