Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Vintage: Mountain Dew Pitch Black (re-release)
Famous for releasing flavored versions of their products, Mountain Dew released a variation for Halloween of 2004 called Mountain Dew Pitch Black. Pitch Black claimed to be flavored with "black grape". While black grapes aren't technically a thing, I imagine PepsiCo simply refers to very dark heavily-sugared varieties of red grapes.
The combination of grape with Mountain Dew's pan-citrus flavor doesn't seem like it would work, but it does. This is because while the drink is dark purple and would indicate overwhelming grape flavor, the grape is restrained in the recipe and manages to accent the Dew in a "this doesn't really taste like grape" kind of way. Pitch Black was one of the best sodas of all time, in my opinion.
A year later PepsiCo released a sequel to Pitch Black: Mountain Dew Pitch Black II. The flavor was mostly the same, but this time it contained a kick of sourness like an under-sweetened lemonade. While novel, I felt the change was for the worse.
But in a move blessed by the angels, the company brought back the original Mountain Dew Pitch Black for a few months in mid-2011 as a Limited Edition "Back by popular DEWmand."
I can't say for sure if this Limited Edition Pitch Black is identical to the original, but it sure seems like it. Like Dark Berry, this Dew is sweetened further past the original formula. The flavor of the mix doesn't actually taste like grape soda, but instead of a generic "berry" that's sweeter and heavier than what your average berry product might taste like. The peppery sweetness weighs down the bright citrus and transforms it into a different animal. I'm not sure a blind taster would be able to tell that this is a Mountain Dew. Overall, a fascinating study in what a Dew can be, and I urge PepsiCo to, if they can't bring it back again, at least continue to innovate on this level.
I only have one 20oz bottle of this 2011 Limited Edition left, and it's already gone flat. I'll see how long I can make it last.
Mountain Dew Pitch Black: - Outstanding
Original Mountain Dew(for comparison): - Great