In many ways Guaraná Jesus is like Vernor's Ginger Ale, which for most of its history was only distributed in its native Michigan and a few neighboring states, and which today still sells 80% of its volume in Michigan. You could say that Guaraná Jesus is to Maranhão what Vernor's is to Michigan, even more so.
I couldn't resist buying a can, as I'd never tasted the stuff myself - I'd only heard second-hand reports of what it tasted like. So, this morning, I decided to give Guaraná Jesus an official Flavors of Brazil taste-test. Here are the results:
Color: A truly shocking pink. It's a stronger color than I had been expecting based on the photos I'd seen. It's not a pale rose, it's a strong hot pink, verging on red in certain light.
Carbonization: The drink is very highly carbonated, with large CO2 bubbles in the glass. When poured, the drink doesn't develop a head, as Coca-Cola or other drinks sometimes do. The carbonization, to me, is similar to the way most lemon-lime soft drinks are carbonized.
Sweetness: Very intense. Like all Brazilian soft drinks, Guaraná Jesus is sweetened with cane sugar, not HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup). The label gives a calorie count for the 350 ml (12 oz) can as 170, which indicates a large quantity of sugar.
Flavor: Guaraná Jesus tastes nothing like the national brands of guaraná. The first flavor I picked up was a strong artificial-banana flavor, similar to the flavor of banana gum or banana popsicles. Next up, I detected some tutti-fruti (bubblegum flavor), and finally hints of spices - cinnamon and cloves. The flavor is complex, and the drink is highly flavored.
Verdict: Interesting, but it wouldn't become a "beverage of your choice" for me.