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

Monday, January 28, 2013

When Ephemeralness Becomes Permanence

Just this weekend my consumer sense tingled as I passed a product package that registered as different to the corner of my eye.

It turned out to be Birthday Cake Oreos, as has previously been seen... but wait!  This product packaging recognizes that it is no longer 2012, Oreo's 100th Anniversary year, but also this packaging does not say "Limited Edition"!

Could Oreo have made Birthday Cake Oreo cookies permanent due to their success?  Let's hope so.  A cursory search on the interwebs do not officiate this permanence, but I will keep my eye out for news.

Will I take down my Birthday Cake Oreo review if it's gone permanent?  No.  That post was the very first one on this site and I can't bring myself to remove it... but also, as a detail of policy, I will only remove Presumptive Ephemeral Nom posts if I see that they are indeed permanent.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale

Each year during autumn and winter Canada Dry issues a cranberry version of their ginger ale for the holiday season and the ensuing cold months.

I'll usually buy a bottle each year for novelty, but I'm not sure it's worth much more than that.

The aroma seems unchanged.  On the sip, you can tell the stuff is more sour than the original.  It actually then begins to give you a fairly accurate flavor of cranberries, subtle as it is, but then spicy ginger soon takes over the delicate fruit.

This product's redeeming qualities are that it looks gorgeous in the glass at your holiday dinner table, and it goes quite well with a bit of gin.

Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale: - Good
Original Canada Dry Ginger Ale(for comparison): - Good

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pop-Tarts Spookylicious

The 2012 backlog continues!  We're throwing in a Halloween edition which I didn't pick up until after October.

Once again, these Pop-Tarts are a bit obnoxious with the amount of frosting and sprinkles, and while these additions add little to the experience, they are adorable and aren't really detrimental to the product.

The bite is soft and fudgey.  The chocolate filling is less sweet and more of a dark chocolate variety than most other chocolatey Pop-Tarts.  It's pleasant, but unremarkable.  The restrained sweetness is a nice surprise, but the filling needs just a bit more flavor.

When toasted, the gooey fudge increases viscosity and tastes a bit more like dark chocolate, devoid of a sweetness which I think it needs more of.

These pale in comparison to Pop-Tarts S'mores, which is a shining example of the order of what this snack could have been.

Pop-Tarts Spookylicious:- Good
Original Pop-Tarts S'mores(for comparison):- Great

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jello Seasonal Release Instant Puddings

The 2012 posts are going to continue for a bit... there's a backlog of Ephemeral Noms!

For several years now, Jello has issued several special flavors of instant pudding for the autumn/holiday season.  These are most (if not all) of them.

Candy Cane - My distaste for peppermint notwithstanding, this stuff just isn't that good.  The sweetness of the pudding does poorly in balancing out the onslaught of mint/menthol, which is so strong that you can feel it in your nasal passages, not unlike horseradish or wasabi.  It's like the Jello company ground up a bunch of candy canes straight into this mix... even the chalkiness is present.

Pumpkin Spice - The aroma is of earthy cinnamon as you dig into this stuff.  The flavors here are a valiant try: cinnamon, nutmeg, perhaps allspice, and sweet pumpkin.  What the hell... do they dry pumpkin flesh and grind the stuff into this mix?  The flavors are pleasant, but the sweetness needs to be amped in order for them to really sing.

Gingerbread - This one is a hit.  Rich and deep spices assault the tongue in harmony: ginger, clove, allspice, cinnamon, molasses.  It's quite sweet, and it delivers the rest of the complex flavors perfectly.  I could eat this stuff until I got sick.

Jello Candy Cane Pudding: - Passable
Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding: - Good
Jello Gingerbread Pudding: - Great
Original Jello Vanilla Pudding(for comparison): - Good