REVIEW: McDonald’s Sweet Autumn Shake

McDonald's Sweet Autumn Shake

As I’ve stated before, there are certain flavors that remind us of the seasons. You can’t deny eating red potatoes roasted with sea salt and rosemary doesn’t remind you of the winter. It’s rustic and familiar. Think about the taste of fresh lemonade. Its tart body, quenching and refreshing, brings about memories of hot summer days basked in the scent of fresh cut grass.

Food and memories have a symbiotic relationship. Most of us hold fond recollections of these moments. I am, however, left with one question. Why does McDonald’s hate the fall so much? Why?

If the clown had his way, memories of the autumn would include the flavor of overly sweet and creamy burnt vanilla. I think Ronald was abused as a child. How else to explain his coiffure that just asks for attention? You see, he has returned the favor by antagonizing us with their new Sweet Autumn Milk Shake.

The new M83 album is so good and I would rather talk about that but my job is to tell you my thoughts on this miserable experience. Also, does anyone miss the way McDonald’s shakes were served in their regular cups? I do. I am not a fan of their “McCafe” branding. The dollop of spray-can whip cream with a maraschino cherry plopped on top. I understand it’s supposed to emulate the countertop diner milkshake but there was something charming about slurping a strawberry milkshake in the ordinary cup.

So this limited edition flavor was found at one of the kindest McDonald’s I have come across. My wife has celiac (allergic to glutens) and cannot have the biscuit or hotcakes, and they always offer her an extra sausage patty or hash brown. If she was nice, she would let me eat her biscuit but instead she is a jerk. I was surprised to find the shake in my city but this one being next to a renowned media entertainment college, it makes sense.

The college demographic is more likely to try new things and I believe this particular establishment is frequented by many afflicted with the munchies. It’s a very smart location to test out some new stuff. (Note to those that go here and are reading this, stop consenting to searches by the cops, you do no favors to your criminal defense case in allowing it.)

Anthony Gonzalez really found a good balance of ambient and 80’s homage on M83’s new release…alright, alright…back to the milkshake. This will be the last “nice” thing I can say in this article: This McDonald’s is very sweet to their customers. However, this pales in comparison to how sweet this crappy shake is.

McDonald's Sweet Autumn Shake Top Shot

The color of the shake is orange, a bit like their Arctic Orange Milkshake. I thought it would be more of a reddish orange to mirror the autumn leaves but it was a scary bright orange. I saw this as an omen but I promised to consume things for you guys no matter how wary I am.

I understand that it’s called the Sweet Autumn Milkshake but I had no clue this was actually a warning. It was so sugary, my teeth hurt. The shakes come in small, medium or large but you would be advised to drink just the small one unless you want to slip into a type 2 diabetic coma. If you’re like me, you may not drink any more than five slurps.

I assumed the vague “autumn” flavor would be pumpkin pie-ish and I was right but you need to work at it. Picture a pumpkin pie that was baked too high and too long, then topped with cheap vanilla ice cream and maimed further with sugar cubes smashed into its flesh. God, this shake made me want to go to the nearest dog park and toss the concoction at a teacup yorkie, kick the owner in the ghoulies and then defecate at a nearby tree in shame. This was awful.

McDonald's Sweet Autumn Shake Whipped Cream

The taste of vanilla was immediate and as subtle as a chainsaw, a very sweet heavy fake tasting vanilla invaded my tongue. Where was the fresh autumn taste I was promised by the website? I even mixed the shake myself to raise the intensity. I did not taste anything but vanilla and the whipped cream was getting in the way.

Then like a cheap shot or perhaps a “Dear John” e-mail one gets after coming home after work. It was an unwelcome surprise and then the constant nature of suckness which the rapidly expanding universe couldn’t even contain revealed itself. There it was, a faint pumpkin pie flavor that gave way to an intrusive burnt gingerbread aftertaste. The charred smokiness ran everywhere and it was one epic fail of trying to capture the flavor of crust. Another sip only intensified this acrid taste. A third made me want to pull out my teeth Oldboy style.

I am tired of the pumpkin pie flavor and it seems like we are inundated with many variations of a product that scream with it. However McDonald’s really did distinguish themselves by adding that unique burnt flavor that I think no one has been craving. Congratulations Ronald, we feel your pain.

Picture a dinner with your girlfriend’s parents, and just as you’re about to suggest a Chardonnay…your uninvited friend who’s always hammered is at the bar and notices you. He invites himself to the table, stumbling, hi-fiving everyone, telling an embarrassing anecdote or two then drunkenly pulls out his long john silver and pees everywhere including on your face. Yeah, that’s what happened to my taste buds. It went from boredom to disgust.

McDonald's Sweet Autumn Shake Melted

I applaud McDonald’s trying to give us more than the flavor of custardy pumpkin pie by injecting a touch of baked crust but this was a disaster. You would do much better buying a vanilla milk shake and then adding some pumpkin pie spice. It doesn’t sound appealing but it has to better than this thankfully “limited edition in limited areas” offer.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounce shake – 540 calories, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 50 mg of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 87 grams of carbohydrates, 73 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Sweet Autumn Shake
Price: $1.79
Size: Small/12 ounces
Purchased at: McDonald’s (home of that creep Grimace)
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: It’s available only for a limited time. It is sweet as the shake’s name advises. M83’s song “Reunion” is so dreamy, shoegazing is still alive! The whip cream on top is yummy. That it is available in limited areas. Oldboy is an awesome film.
Cons: It’s available at all. It is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really sweet and then burnt. Golden showers and consenting to a search, in that order. Getting dumped by e-mail. Did I mention that the shake is really sweet? And then a burnt flavor?

15 thoughts on “REVIEW: McDonald’s Sweet Autumn Shake

  1. it sounds like you hate this sweet autumn shake as much as i hate the shamrock shake. oh, i get pukey just thinking about that disgusting mess. and the color makes it worse. i share your pain. i cannot imagine this could possibly be as disgusting as the shamrock shake. but i won’t be testing that theory.

  2. Is it just me, or do all of their shakes taste like a creamy, gloppy, slop nowadays?… I remember back to the ’70s & ’80s when their shakes actually tasted like a good milkshake should. I can’t really say that anymore.

  3. I never had to get so far into reading one of your reviews to get to a pee/poo/sex/shameful experience reference. Gotta admit that scared me for a bit.

  4. I have had one shake since they switched cups and I hated it. The whipped topping separated into a globby mess and the shake melted really fast. Plus I wasn’t forewarned about the maraschino cherry and I loathe them with the fire of a thousand suns. I am glad for the review because it reminds that I hate them.
    PS. I love “Midnight City”.

  5. Call me crazy, but I LOVE this shake and have been reccomending it to all my friends. It is intensely orange which threw me off at first, but it made sense in a way because its orange like a pumpkin which is associated with Autumn. If I were to describe it, it is like Pumpkin Pie and Eggnog had a baby. I love it. But I do agree it is sugary, but that can be expected with a shake. I think the price is great for what you get. I have bought at least 10 so far and will continue to look forward to this seasonal treat (:

  6. Yay for the Oldboy reference :).
    I haven’t seen this advertised in my area and I’m glad. I don’t trust McDonalds shake concoctions anymore.

  7. McDonald’s just sucks in general. It’s good to have once in a blue moon, but you begin to realize how fake and disgusting the food really is once you start eating it more. I don’t know about other locations, but the McDonald’s I worked at always had low-quality food and shit-quality service. If you ever get a job at one of the shitty establishments that the world refers to as “McDonald’s,” you will quickly realize how utterly disgusting that place and the food it serves really is.

    In regards to the shakes, I actually do like the taste of them, but only for a few sips. Once you get to the fourth/fifth sip, you just want to throw it away because of how sugary it is.

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