Discover more from The Retroist
Coca-Cola Starlight Review
I am a daily drinker of Coca-Cola and so when I hear of a new variation, I usually approach it with a mix of excitement and cynicism. Typically, those are easy to understand, Coke and vanilla or Coke and cherry. In my head, I understand what they will be before tasting them. Time and again though, while I like the addition of new flavors to the mix, I always come back to the original.
So when I heard that Coke was going to release a brand-new flavor with a mysterious name, I didn’t know what to think. Starlight? What does that even mean?
The photos they released early stated it would be “Space Flavored.”
That description means absolutely nothing to me, and at the same time it was evocative enough to light a fire under me to pick some up.
Recently, many “Limited Edition” product rollouts have been handled poorly. Focusing on influencers and media outlets with little availability for the public. I am happy to see that, at least so far, Coca-Cola Starlight is more broadly available.
I went to a local supermarket yesterday and found some in the refrigeration section in 20 oz bottles and in mini-cans on the shelf. Timing was good for me because I happened to be at the store at the same time as the Coca-Cola delivery person.
I asked them about the local availability, and they said it should be pretty broad. He had made deliveries to several local supermarkets already and would be continuing to do so for the rest of the day.
On the way home, I stopped by as many stores as I could, this included three supermarkets, a gas station, a convenience store, and Target. Only the supermarkets had Starlight. I am not sure if this is going to be the trend, but I think if you are going to track it down, a supermarket might be the best place to start this week.
I picked up a few 20 oz bottles and not the mini-cans. The bottles are standard Coke Bottles with a nice label that has a spacey background.
As you can see, it labels this as part of their “Creations” line of products. Coca-Cola Creations is a new initiative from the company that will use the Coke brand and attach it to limited-edition releases and experiences across the digital and physical world. I am not at all interested in whatever digital experiences they cook up, but if they release more experimental products, I am all for it.
One criticism I have is related to the smallness of the “Starlight” part of the label. It’s tiny compared to the Coca-Cola logo. It is even smaller than the recycling label. With such a great name and branding potential, I think the Starlight name should have been more prominent.
The Coca-Cola Starlight Store Display
After visiting a few stores, I finally found some cubes of minis set out for sale and a Starlight Display of 20 oz bottles near the register with a great topper.
And here are the boxes of Minis both on the shelves and stacked in a cube near the register.
Tasting Coca-Cola Starlight
I chilled both a regular Starlight and Sugar Free Zero one to get it nice and cold, so I could drink it without ice. Pouring both of them into an 8 oz glass, I am struck with the color, which is a very unCoke-like deep red. It’s the first hint that this is going to be something different.
The smell is not particularly strong. Smell is very subjective, but I would describe this as mildly sweet. It smells different from Coke, although I was not able to put my finger on how to exactly describe it. This made me more intrigued, and it was time to taste it.
The first sip was…confusing. I was anticipating Coca-Cola, with something else thrown in, and this was not that. I am certainly getting hints of Coke, but it is not the dominant flavor.
But what is the dominant flavor? I want to give a clear answer like, raspberry or cinnamon, but it is a bit more complex than that. Sure, it has some Coke in it, but like so many other unique soft drinks, Starlight has a bit of a fantasia quality about it. A mix of flavors that combine into something new.
Fortunately, I believe that something new can be described in an existing product not produced by Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper. To me, Starlight tastes like they took some Dr. Pepper and added just a bit of Coke to the mix. The result? It’s pretty good.
I would describe the taste as rather mild and while it is certainly sweet, I have had more sugary tasting beverages. The end result is a nice drinkable soft drink that would probably go well with whatever salty snack or meal you wanted to pair it with. This could be especially welcome by anyone who likes Dr. Pepper or if you are a Dr. Pepper fan, you might hate it because it is not quite Dr. Pepper. The choice is yours.
According to Coca-Cola, Starlight is going to be available for the next six months. I imagine that its level of success will determine the availability of future “Coca-Cola Creations.” So if you like interesting soft drinks, why not give it a try. If you do, please comment below, I would love to hear what you think.