REVIEW: Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback

All right Pepsi, this time I’m ready for your new…I mean, retro Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback sodas. I’ve got money to buy them and space to hold them, so I’m already several steps ahead of you. I’m going to hoard those Throwback bitches like I’m stocking up my fallout shelter for the next decade after someone releases a deadly virus that turns people into mindless zombies or whatever else video game designers think the post-apocalyptic future will consist of.

I already have a lot of regret from not stocking up on Crystal Pepsi, Pepsi Summer Mix, Pepsi Blue, Pepsi Twist and Pepsi Holiday Spice, although my stomach lining probably doesn’t feel the same way. At the time, I thought they were going to be around forever, so it didn’t dawn on me that I should buy out every store within a 50 mile radius. If only I knew then what I know now, I would be sipping on a vintage bottle of Crystal Pepsi as I type this, making retro hipsters everywhere jealous, and I would be making tens of dollars selling an occasional bottle or can on eBay to some kid who saw a segment about it on VH1’s I Love The 90s.

Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback takes drinkers to a time when sodas weren’t sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), instead they were sweetened with real, natural sugar. It was also a period when disco wasn’t annoying, Larry King had only three marriage under his belt and all it took for a woman to get a guy horny was to show one of her bra straps.

I thought using real sugar was going have the same effect a bikini has on Jessica Alba’s body — making them much sweeter. But the real sugar seems to mute the flavor of both sodas. Or maybe I’m mistaking that for the lack of bite these don’t have, but the HFCS versions do have, which for a few the bite feels somewhat like you’re a ShamWow spokesperson getting your tongue bitten by a prostitute.

Both sodas also seem to be less carbonated, which makes them easy to drink and smooth as it slides down my gullet. But perhaps it’s too smooth because I could see how some people might think they’re drinking a flat soda. At least all this smoothness and drinkability (yeah, I know it’s not a real word) makes my burps feel cleaner and less harsh.

If you were to have your own personal Pepsi Challenge blind taste test, you could definitely tell the difference between the Throwback versions and the regular versions. I could taste a difference and, despite my belief that the real sugar might be muting the flavor, I definitely prefer the Throwback versions because they have a cleaner and crisper taste than their HFCS cousins.

Unfortunately for me, the Pepsi Throwback and the Mountain Dew Throwback are only here for a limited time, so I’m going to start hoarding them in 3…2…1.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 can – Pepsi Throwback – 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 40 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein and 38 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine. Mountain Dew Throwback – 170 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 44 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein and 54 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.)

Item: Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback
Price: FREE
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Received from marketing firm
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pepsi Throwback)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Mountain Dew Throwback)
Pros: Cleaner and crisper than their HFCS cousins. Sweetened with real sugar. No HFCS. No bite. Easy to drink. Makes my burps feel less harsh. Sweet, sweet caffeine.
Cons: Dear Lord, they have a lot of sugar. Only here for a limited time. Some people might mistake the smoothness of the sodas as being flat. I miss Crystal Pepsi and Pepsi Holiday Spice. Getting your mugshot posted on The Smoking Gun. Disco.

39 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback”

  1. Hmm. The less carbonated and lack of bite is really a turn off for me. I can’t get these in Japan, but I don’t mind that after reading this review.

  2. That’s strange, I had a bottle of Mt. Dew Throwback and regular Dew, and compared the amount of sugars in the two, and Throwback actually had less. Less than what you listed for the cans, in fact.

  3. @skibs: Not unless I get to them first!

    @Orchid64: I think the Throwback Pepsi is similar to Japanese Coke, which I feel is easier to drink and has a cleaner taste, just like Throwback Pepsi.

    @Bunny: TOTALLY! I guarantee they’ll sell if they do a limited edition thing.

    @SixTimesBlue: The Throwback bottle lists info for 8 ounce servings and the whole bottle. The can is 12 ounces. So if you’re looking at the 8 ounces column, it should be less than what’s listed for the can.

  4. It would be nice if a mainline soda maker like Pepsi decided to stop using HFCS completely. I don’t think that’s going to happen though.

  5. @Chuck – I agree.

    I love that companies are starting to introduce items without HFCS…even if for a limited time…at least it’s a start.

    You can get Coke with cane sugar in the bottles from most Mexican markets any time of the year…and other places around Lent.

    I want to see them bring back Crystal Pepsi (did they make a diet version?)

    If you do stock up, I’d love to see a picture of your stash 🙂

  6. As someone who unfortunately had to live through one of the worlds worst periods, I can assure you that disco has always been annoying.
    I still wake up screaming sometimes only to realize that it was just a nightmare about disco.

  7. I’d take real sugar over high fructose corn syrup any god damn day. I heard somewhere that a teaspoon of HFCS is worth about 12 teaspoons of sugar or something. Either way, sugar tastes better.

  8. I like a strong bite in my soda a real throat burner
    Like sand paper or burning gasoline or Sandra Boyals eye brows. Do you remember cherry nehi now that Soda could burn though your throat. Oh the throwback pepsi not harsh enough for me YOU can have my share.


  9. @Chuck: Who knows? If these things prove popular enough, they might just switch over, which will make sugar growers happy, but corn growers pissed off.

    @Bear Silber: I don’t think they made a diet version. The original apparently wasn’t popular enough to warrant one. But if they bring it back, I hope they include a diet version. I’d stock up on both.

    @kfonda: I have nightmares about the Backstreet Boys…not the boy band. 🙁

    @brad: Sugar makes Corn Flakes so much better. HFCS doesn’t.

    @Neil the hammer: I remember drinking root beer Nehi. I thought it was like Shasta. Cheap.

  10. If I ever–even for a moment catch a glimpse of these out of the corner of my eye… I will buy out whatever store it ends up being’s entire stock. Even if I don’t have a method of transporting them to my house, I’ll buy it all; I want the throwback-ness that much.

  11. It’s about time mountain dew sweetened without HFCS is a completley experience than with, Word son, this makes me wanna break out some old school jams

  12. @NobleArc, The Lazy Canadian: Pfff…Not unless I beat you to it. Sure, I don’t have a passport to get into and out of Canada, but I’ll just sneak in.

    @Villain was born like this…: How old school? Tone Loc old school? Lionel Richie old school? Or Earth, Wind & Fire old school?

  13. I bought a 12 pack and I am in heaven. It is tryly the way it was when I was a kid in the 1950’s
    I am a diebetic and using the HFCS is a whooping 215 blood sugar after an hour. The Sugar version , I tested in at a wonderful 145 . I should be able to enjoy 3-4 cans a week of the Throwback. It is much better than the guy that wrote the view indicated. Not sure what planet he came from

  14. From my understanding, bottles always have more carbonation than cans. Something to do with the bottling process. So, it would make sense that the canned goods don’t have that carbonation bite you like. I always go for bottles over cans, I like the extra bite too.

  15. @Allan: Enjoy it while you can. You have 8 weeks.

    @RossS: Tried the bottled versions and I thought they were like the canned version.

    1. Bought 3 12/cans of Pepsi & I am very disappointed with the taste. Tastes like nothing & leaves a horrible taste I your mouth. Its that new natural sugar Pepsi, I was a loyal consumer of Pepsi but now I think I am going to switch to coke.

  16. I have tried Pepsi with real sugar in three other countries, and each had a taste much more similar to our version with HFCS, so I am not quite sure what they are trying to accomplish with Throwback. Did it truly taste this much different long ago?

    Additionally, if you had stocked up on any of those sodas from the past — you would know that old soda loses its flavor relatively fast. We broke out some Mountain Dew Game Fuel in August of last year for a special event and it was absolutely disgusting. Sorry for being the destroyer of dreams.

  17. I accidentally bought the throwback Mountain Dew, and immediately tasted the difference. It tasted like swill. I’ll never buy that again. I think it’s called “throwback” for a reason.

  18. I got a Mountain Dew Throwback recently by accident…it tasted like off brand soda! It was gross! If I wanted that tast I would have spent less money on the store brand.

  19. i tried both throwbacks the other day. the mountain dew tasted pretty much like regular dew to me but the pepsi tasted kind of like a coke&pepsi concoction. i thought it was better than regular pepsi. im definitely gonna go get my hoard on.

  20. Tried my first “Pepsi Throwback” here at work, sold in the vending machine for $1 (20 oz. bottle). Great first impression: smoother and “less thick.”

  21. unimpressed with Mountain Dew ‘throw back”. Tastes sort of like a slightly tangy Sierra Mist or a ‘fuzzy/fizzy’ 7 up. And it’s got a third less caffeine than the regular.

  22. I am sipping a Pepsi Throwback right now. It is more Coke-like than typical pepsi (AKA better) and it is fizzy as all get out to me (burned my gizzard), but I don’t typically drink soda much anymore. From what I remember of it, I think this would be more drinkable with a meal and less like liquid candy.

    I have heard rumors that Coke is ditching the “Classic” on regular Coke branding so that they can reintroduce Classic with real sugar.

  23. “Additionally, if you had stocked up on any of those sodas from the past — you would know that old soda loses its flavor relatively fast.”

    Not entirely true.

    My remaining cans of Crystal Pepsi taste just like that cross between Pepsi and Alka-Seltzer that they always did.

    On the other hand, my 1991 12 oz glass Jolt’s have lost all their uber-cola goodness and simply taste like flat battery acid.

  24. I agree with DJ & John. I think it’s terrible.
    @Neil the Hammer- great comment. LOL. I agree

    I didn’t realize how different it would taste & was just thinking it was the original can when I bought it. I only got it because I didn’t see any of the regular. I wish I had looked closer & read the box. Now I’m stuck with 11 cans that I’ll never drink. If you’re a huge pepsi fan, as I am, you will not like this stuff. To me it tastes like ginger ale with a touch of pepsi added in. Not very good at all. I much prefer the taste of high fructose corn syrup as sweetner, I guess. Who knew? Scale of 1-10, I give it a 2. Yuck.

  25. Just because it’s “natural” sugar, doesn’t mean it’s cane sugar. Most times you see “real” sugar, you are actually getting beet sugar, because it’s cheaper. These throwback sodas piss me off because they are not really a throwback. If they were, they’d be made with cane sugar, and they’re not.

  26. I know this is an old article, but here in Michigan, at least in my area, Pepsi Throwback is now permanent, although I’m not sure about Mountain Dew.

  27. The Throwback version is NOT the original version. It has little flavor and a chemical aftertaste. I wasted my money on it about fifteen months ago at Krogers. I had the FIRST mountain dew delivered to my dad’s bar, “The MIdnight SUn” at 1531 N. California Ave., in Chicago (60622). It was heaven in a bottle. That ice cold emerald green bottle was so beautiful, I hated to let go of it, watching the sun dance off the bottle. Now, it’s horrible. What were these morons thinking when they screwed up the taste? I got mad. Went to the generic version. Then the chemical aftertaste started showing up more and more in those. So now I just don’t drink pop, at ALL. Just tea, …then I bought honey… only it wasn’t honey, it was ‘flavored honey.’ So now I am drinking the tea unsweetened, and imported from Peru (tastes better than Lipton). Guess the company doesn’t want my business..

  28. I love mountain dew throw back. It has sugar as opposed to corn syrup.
    It tastes better and does not have the side effects of corn syrup.

  29. I have been drinking mt dew for over 40 years, back when 8oz bottles were a dime. I do not understand how it can be a throwback with a combination of cane sugar and beet sugar, which was not around in the 60s and 70s. The original recipe was made with pure cane sugar. Beet sugar has a bad after taste like an artificial sweetener such as aspartame, which is in diet drinks. If Pepsi wants a true throwback they will have to start with removing the beet sugar and stop trying to fool people with promoting it being made with natural sugar. This throwback is an abomination. The original makers are rolling over in their graves.

  30. The new old cans taste terrible! Seriously, there is something wrong with the taste! Horrible.

  31. I am going back to Coke! Can’t stand the retro cans of Pepsi. Bring back the dark blue real sugar taste!

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