Taste-Testing Travis Scott’s CACTI™ Agave Spiked Seltzer
Travis Scott has released a line of agave spiked seltzers. It’s a fact to which you have no choice but to respond, “okay.”
The seltzer, called CACTI™ Agave Spiked Seltzer, was introduced to the world with an ad spot during the Grammys. The ad comes from director Trey Edward Shults (Waves) (!) and features a cameo from our beloved Eric Andre; you may watch it here. The seltzer is 7% ABV and comes in three flavors: lime, pineapple, and strawberry.
Now, listen — I know the job of reviewing the merchandise output of famous entertainers seems glamorous, but it can be difficult. In this case, I know from a press release that this line of spiked seltzers from Anheuser-Busch is something Travis Scott “had a strong vision for” and “wanted to do for a while.” He says it was important for him to be “heavily involved in the entire creative process; from the flavor obviously, to the can design, packaging and the entirety of the brand world we’ve built.”
Now the difficult part. How does one “review” passion? How does one pass judgement on the driving creative force within an artist which has made manifest something he has wanted to do not just for a short period of time, but for a while? How does one assess the supposed value in a person’s creative output, from the flavor, obviously, to the can design, packaging, and entirety of the brand world? And moreover, how do I, someone who does not even like non-spiked seltzer, and who is likely not within the target age demographic for this product, attempt to critique the corporate American brand output of the person Forbes calls “corporate America’s brand whisperer”? It seems unfair to Travis Scott, to the notion of creativity, and to of course Anheuser-Busch.
And yet I must.
I want to say first that my problems with Travis Scott’s spiked seltzer stem primarily from the problem I have with seltzer in general, which is that it tastes bad. Bitter and false, artificially carbonated but lacking any joy; smug and boastful in the fact that it is not a sugary soda, while betraying the drinker’s obvious suppressed desire for a sugary soda. This is not the fault of Travis Scott. It is the fault of seltzer’s carbonic acid, which lends it a false and bitter taste, as well as the fault of humanity’s desire to be part of a group, in the case the group of people who “like” seltzer.
What is the fault of Travis Scott, however, is that he used seltzer as the base material in his CACTI™ Agave Spiked Seltzer. Unfortunate. But he did not ask for our input and the product has already been made. Now all we can do is judge it according to the rubrics Scott outlined.
- LIME FLAVOR: On the back of your tongue it does taste like lime. I wanted to start with a positive comment because I’m not here to be rude. You’d think lime flavor would lend itself nicely to blue agave, since that is how it behaves elsewhere, but I have no choice to report that it does not do so here. Bitter, weird, tequila; as if you poured tequila into a lime LaCroix. This might sound good to you, and if so I’m happy that you’ve found this as a source of joy, but I do not personally believe flavored seltzer is a good mixer. It is a mixer for freshmen in college who only have flavored seltzer in their dorm room and don’t want to go out to get something else because they are scared the RA will see that they are already drunk.
- PINEAPPLE FLAVOR: Okay, in this case I will say the pineapple flavor is strong enough that my mind perceives it as a cohesive drink rather than seltzer flavor and tequila flavor next to each other. This one is pleasant. The pineapple comes through. If Travis Scott were just selling pineapple spiked spiked seltzer the tone of this review might be quite different.
- STRAWBERRY FLAVOR: It is not this drink’s fault that it appears on the canned alcoholic beverage timeline after the “Strawberita,” but it is something it must reckon with. The Strawberita, a friend and a foe, is a beloved drink among many because it is so sugary that you almost die. This one tastes like seltzer — and you know how I feel about seltzer — mixed with tequila and hangover strawberry. It’s the CACTI flavor that makes me feel the oldest as it hits my aged tongue. Though now that I’m drinking more of it, I guess you do kind of get used to it. All of them definitely get you feeling drunk very fast, which is potentially the only line this review needed.
CAN DESIGN: I would say that the can design is adequate. It seems like a normal can, which is really all you need from a can. It’s tall and thin, which is the usual design of the spiked version of canned beverages, and it’s nice that we all have come to know that, and that it is reflected here. The mouth part is a normal mouth part.
PACKAGING: The box shows the cans on it, which is helpful for those who might be frightened at the sight of cans they’d never seen before. And it has cut-out handle parentheses on the top that remind me of Sigur Rós’s ( ); a nice callback to when I reviewed their line of CBD.
ENTIRETY OF THE BRAND WORLD: I have to imagine this alludes to the brand shop, which includes things like clothing, hats, a clock, an ice cube tray, a ping pong ball set, a soccer ball, and a neon sign for $350. Damn. I hope someone buys that sign. It makes me sad to think about CACTI neon signs sitting in a warehouse somewhere, full of neon potential, waiting and waiting and waiting for their new owners to take them home. “Why doesn’t anyone want me?” It’s not their fault. They’re worthy of love as much as anything is. Now I’m sad. Maybe you should buy one?
OVERALL REVIEW: I am not a fan of seltzer. However, I do like sparkling water.