We were served a small sample cup of a PSL at the tasting event, along with a few accompanying pumpkin pastries. It smelled like a PSL, looked like a PSL, and tasted like a PSL. In fact, we didn't detect anything discernibly different about the flavor. It was overwhelmingly "basic" -- just like its artificially flavored and colored predecessor.
The new PSL tastes exactly like the old PSL -- and this is coming from a former Starbucks barista who knows his way around a PSL. When you dive mouth-first into the fall-flavored orange tidal wave next month, you won't miss any of that spicy, sweet, pumpkin-y goodness. We even tried the new PSL sauce in a Frappuccino as a test -- and that tastes the same, too.