REVIEW: Mountain Dew Violet (Japan)

Mountain Dew Violet  Japan

I love Mtn Dew Pitch Black, but I’ve had a difficult time finding it ever since it last reared it purple head back in 2016 as part of the brand’s DEWcision campaign where it was pitted against Mtn Dew Baja Blast to find out which flavor would become a permanent member in the lineup.

SPOILER ALERT: Pitch Black won, but it seems Baja Blast is the real winner because it has come back again and again in bottles and cans, while Pitch Black appears to have crept back into the vault inside Mtn Dew Mtn.

Pitch Black is still on the Mtn Dew website and when I asked on Twitter if anyone else has seen it, almost all of those who replied also haven’t seen it. Oh, you say you can easily find Pitch Black near you? Well, lucky you, you purple-Dew drinking punk! I don’t have that high fructose corn syrup sweetened luxury. Even PepsiCo’s product finder says I’m screwed.

But earlier this year, Mountain Dew Japan rolled out the grape-flavored Mountain Dew Violet that I hoped would be like my beloved Pitch Black. But I am not so desperate to find that out by flying to Japan to pick up a can. However, I’m curious enough about it that, when asked by a friend if I wanted one she purchased while on a recent vacation, I made the strenuous effort to venture outside of the house for the first time in a week or so, exposing myself to a battering of the sun’s burning rays on my pale skin, to pick it up from her.

Mountain Dew Violet  Japan Glass

Although much longer than the last time I’ve been out in the sun, it’s been a while since my last sip of Pitch Black, but some memories of it came rushing back with my first sip of Mountain Dew Violet. But, to be honest, I don’t taste any Mtn Dew citrus. I also don’t get the sour bite that 2005s reformulated Pitch Black II had.

The grape is so pronounced that I imagine some folks might confuse this with straight up grape soda. It tastes as if someone, and I’m not pointing fingers at Mr. Melon because he has the body type to do so, squeezed the life out of Alexander the Grape and into a can.

As someone who likes grape soda, it tastes fine. But I Dew wish it had more of a Dew flavor. I also wish I could find Pitch Black, PepsiCo.

Thanks to my dear friend Stefanie for transporting this can from Japan to my hands.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 350 ml can
Purchased at: Received from friend
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (100 ml) 20 kcal, 0 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.09 grams of sodium.

REVIEW: New Coke (2019)

New Coke  2019

As an older millennial, born in 1985, I never quite know how I should think of the ‘80s. Am I an 80’s kid? On the one hand, I distinctly remember hiding my He-Man themed Slap Bracelet in my Transformers Trapper Keeper because some kid two towns over had allegedly accidentally slit his wrist with one. Further evidence: that Trapper Keeper would later be lugged home in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles duffle bag and the map on the classroom wall still had an ominous swath of red labeled “USSR” on it.

On the other hand, my ‘90s kids sense of ironic detachment says it’s kinda sad so many of my early memories are dominated by commercial properties. Plus, I only saw The Breakfast Club last week, and still haven’t seen Labyrinth.

Whether I’m a child of the ‘80s or not, there’s one relic from the era that I regret missing: New Coke. The soda always seemed to symbolize something essential about the ‘80s. It’s an updated, new take on a decade’s old classic, ready for the next generation and eager to face a hopeful future. Yet, it failed.

(‘90s kids says, “Dude, it’s just flavored sugar water, get over it and go live an authentic life!”)

Ever ready to capitalize on nostalgic desire, Netflix and Coca-Cola have collaborated on the Stranger Things 1985 Limited Edition Collector’s Pack featuring New Coke. Will trying it fill in some ineffable hole from my childhood? Let’s find out!

According to internet lore, New Coke was actually Coca-Cola’s attempt to replicate Pepsi’s sweeter tasting formula, which performed better in blind taste tests. You can thank my internal internet-obsessed ‘00s teen for that factoid.

New Coke  2019 2

So, this seems like a perfect opportunity to perform a comparison: New Coke vs. Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola Classic.

Before tasting, I gave each a quick sniff. Coke Classic has a very mild scent, with both Pepsi and New Coke being much sharper. As I taste each, this pattern remains. Coke Classic is less sweet, with a rounder flavor. New Coke and Pepsi are sweeter and have a more acidic bite. I can see how Pepsi would perform better in a taste test. It’s also more carbonated, so it’s more exciting to drink in the moment.

A bit more internet research reveals that cola flavor is actually a combination of vanilla, cinnamon, and citrus. The citrus element of Pepsi is supposedly more lemon-forward, with Coke Classic relying more on orange. This unverified and poorly sourced research conforms to what I already thought, and so I will believe it. I would bet the primary differences between New Coke and Coke Classic are that the former is sweeter with more lemon in its cola formulation.

New Coke  2019 3

Additionally, Coke Classic has some caramel flavor that’s lacking in Pepsi. If there’s a difference between New Coke and Pepsi, it’s that New Coke also has some of this caramel flavor.

It turns out there’s a reason they don’t make New Coke anymore. It doesn’t deliver anything that Pepsi doesn’t already, and Coca-Cola Classic is better than both. (Don’t @ me Pepsi fans. 2019 adult me doesn’t need to be dragged through the mud on social media.)

Purchased Price: $19.85 (Included in Stranger Things Collector’s Pack)
Size: 12 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Cokestore.com
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates (includes 42 grams Added Sugars), 0 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Liberty Brew

Mtn Dew Liberty Brew

What is Mtn Dew Liberty Brew?

Honoring all fifty states Dewnited under the Dew Nation flag, this limited edition brew promises to do its country proud by packing each bottle with 50 different flavors and enough Blue #1 to put Old Glory to shame.

How is it?

Much like shave ice in Hawaii, which you can mix and match all kinds of syrups, it’s hard to decipher where one flavor in Liberty Brew ends and another begins. If I had to pick, Blue Raspberry is probably the most prominent one of the bunch, but everything’s so blended together that it’s hard to pick any individual taste out.

Mtn Dew Liberty Brew Glass

Lacking the slight citrus-lime punch featured in regular Mountain Dew, Liberty Brew somehow seems even sweeter by comparison, and no aspect of it made me want to finish my bottle. Actually, it kind of reminds me of a melted Blue Raspberry ICEE, just without the disappointment of anticipating a frozen treat and finding out the machine is broken.

Is there anything else you should know?

This is a drink best enjoyed in one sitting. Despite the cap, it gets flat pretty quickly, and I thought it began to taste unsettlingly close to cough syrup once it wasn’t fizzy anymore.

Conclusion:

Despite its distinctly patriotic branding, I’d skip on offering Mtn Dew Liberty Brew at cookouts and gatherings this summer. Just stick to buying the original stuff.

Purchased Price: $1.88
Purchased at: Walmart
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (1 bottle) 280 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of sodium, 75 grams of total carbohydrates, 75 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Cyclone

Mtn Dew Cyclone 2 Sign

What is it?

The gods of sugary soda-crack Mountain Dew have bestowed a “citrus punch” flavor variation upon the Club Chill dispensers at Speedway gas stations.

How is it?

I was expecting the signature Dew combo of vaguely citrus tang and who-knows-what (sweat?) plus some hints of generically unidentifiable fruit, because that’s my impression of the word “punch.'” But it turned out this Dew SCREAMED raspberry. I could pick out some citrus in the background, knowing it was in there, but in a blind taste-test, I would’ve said, “Ohh – raspberry! Nice.” This is a tasty soda, but “citrus cyclone” it ain’t. Strange, since I think raspberry is a better selling point than punch.

Mtn Dew Cyclone 3 Disp

The flavor here had a little more bite and brightness than the regular Dew. I enjoyed it and it was a nice change from the soda flavors I’m usually drawn to (cola/lemon-lime), but it was just intense enough that I didn’t want more than the 22-ounce cup’s worth. The raspberriness landed somewhere between actual fruit and those candies that your grandma left in her candy dish so long they fossilized, but you ate them anyway.

Mtn Dew Cyclone 4 Cup

Is there anything else you need to know?

This is a REALLY red drink. Like maroon. Crimson. Burgundy. With summer white shirts and pants, one spill and you could look like a stabbing victim. Make sure the lids are tightly sealed on those Club Chill cups, friends.

Mtn Dew Cyclone 5 Closeup

Conclusion:

If you’re a Dew fan, love raspberry candy, don’t mind the potential of looking like a horror movie extra, and live near a Speedway, you should definitely try Mtn Dew Cyclone.

Purchased Price: 79 cents (all sizes)
Size: 22 oz. cup
Purchased at: Speedway (Exclusive)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (12 oz) 170 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 45 grams of total sugars, 45g of added sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Sweet Lightning

Mtn Dew Sweet Lightning  KFC Exclusive

What is Mtn Dew Sweet Lightning?

The marketing materials describe this latest Mountain Dew concoction as having a “sweet peach and smooth honey” flavor, a description which seemingly does its best to match the drink’s shockingly bright orange hue.

How is it?

Well, it definitely is sweet. It’s far more toothaching than any recent Dew flavors, at least since the holidays. As a plus, the Sweet Lightning doesn’t have the Robitussin DM-lite accents that those Christmas ones did.

Mtn Dew Sweet Lightning  KFC Exclusive Closer Up

While, admittedly, it’s a little difficult to pinpoint either the peach or honey flavors over the first couple of gulps, to be honest, at first I thought I was drinking some sort of European tangerine drink and walked over to the machine to double-check. Eventually, though, when you know what to feel around in the back of your mouth for, its shocking sweetness actually provides some much needed balm for those customers snacking on KFC’s salty poultry, or, God forbid, its moderately hot chicken items.

Is there anything else you need to know?

In case you couldn’t guess, Mtn Dew Sweet Lightning is available exclusively at Kentucky Fried Chicken and its soda fountains for — say it with me now — a limited time only. Additionally, did you know that KFC doesn’t offer a small size for its drinks? I just learned that as I forked over two bucks for a medium.

Conclusion:

Mtn Dew Sweet Lightning  KFC Exclusive Close Up

Mtn Dew is doing its very best to appeal to those with a sweet tooth in the KFC audience that aren’t digging into the new Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits — oh boy, myself included — with this fun summertime flavor that manages to combine two disparate tastes into what, at first sip, tastes like neither.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable.

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REVIEW: Dr Pepper Dark Berry

Dr Pepper Dark Berry

What is Dr Pepper Dark Berry?

Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors has added another – the ominous “Dark Berry,” which is inspired by the upcoming independent arthouse film, “Spider-man: Far From Home.”

WARNING – This review contains SPOILERS!

Relax, one guy who hasn’t seen Avengers: Endgame yet, I’m just reviewing a soda.

How is it?

To me, it smells like Dr Pepper with a drop of Robitussin – a mix of everyone’s two favorite syrups, corn and cough.

Dr Pepper Dark Berry in Glass

I had a hard time even deciding if it tasted more than just a sweeter regular Dr Pepper, but the linger of the “fruit” additive started to take over. It was definitely “berry,” but which?

The answer, while not in the ingredients, can be easily found online, I just wanted to guess first.

I locked in on possibly blueberry…and black cherry?

SPOILER ALERT – Spider-man kills Than…Relax, that one guy, I’m just messing with you.

The titular “dark berries” are blackberry, black currant, and black cherry.

I hate to be swayed, but it made perfect sense. I realized it tasted like three-parts Dr Pepper mixed with one-part Cherry Coke, or like one of those old-timey Boylan’s style Black Cherry sodas you always see in Jewish Delis and trendy bagel joints.

So, while it’s not really that “far from” regular Dr Pepper’s normal flavor, it’s still worth a few sips.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Dr Pepper Dark Berry Ticket Deal

While I’ve seen some Spidey characters (particularly Mysterio for obvious reasons) popping up on promotional cans, I managed to buy the lamest bottle ever. Although, there is a movie ticket deal on the label, so that’s kinda cool.

Conclusion:

Dark Berry is the Andrew Garfield of Dr Pepper flavor variants. It’s still pretty good, but probably too saccharine, and will ultimately be forgotten. There have been superior Spider-men and Dr Peppers.

I look forward to Mr. Pibb’s collaboration with DC.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Bottle) 260 calories, 0 grams of fat, 95 milligrams of sodium, 71 grams of carbohydrates, 70 grams of sugar, and less than 0 grams of protein.