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Monday, July 21, 2008


DEWmocracy Now!

Through a series of events I became the owner of three trial "candidate flavor" cans of Mountain Dew. There's a website where drinkers can vote for their favorite. The winner will go on to become a full-fledged Mountain Dew offshoot.

The cans were sent to me under the condition that I write about them on the blog. Because I'm not one to risk enduring the ire of PepsiCo and because I'm consumer whore at heart, here's a careful, mature and scientific analysis of each flavor conducted in the most professional, scientific and controlled setting possible. By "most professional, scientific and controlled setting possible" I mean in the middle of my living room during an otherwise boring Saturday afternoon with Navy Seals playing in the background.

Bill, a friend of mine living and working in DC, also got suckered into this and we decided to collaborate on a taste test via Instant Messenger. Obviously, we took all of this -->Very Seriously<---. After all, soda taste testing is SUPER IMPORTANT BUSINESS. We immediately determined that no professional evaluation of new soda flavors would be proper without working booze into the mix. He grabbed a bottle of bourbon on his end and I went in search of what I had lying around: a bottle of mescal a friend brought back from Mexico last winter and a bottle of Captain Morgan's "Tattoo" Spiced Rum.

The Mountain Dew test flavors included "High Voltage," "Revolution" and "Supernova." We decided to test them in the order of how likely they'd be to kill us, based on the names alone. No one could live through an encounter with a supernova and revolutions have killed a lot more people than electricity. So we went with "High Voltage" first.

No good came of this. Here's my report of our findings:

Test flavor # 1: Mountain Dew High Voltage

Color: light blue, not unlike Windex

Bouquet: Like a Pixie Stick with a twinge of Windex left forgotten in an abandoned green house for two decades.

Taste: Weak. Was this the best that the flavor scientists working in a bunker a thousand stories below PepsiCo's corporate headquarters could throw at us? This flavor my tongue feel like it was being punched by apathetic kittens. After two more sips I wasn't feeling very "xtreme," which I'm pretty sure is how Mountain Dew is supposed to make me feel. Neither Bill or I were in the mood to BMX bike down the side of a dam or jump out of an airplane with a lion (the lion being the only one with a parachute). On a 1 to 10 scale, Bill gave this flavor a 4. I went with a 2. How could something with this much caffeine make me so damn sleepy?

Taste with mescal: Like fermented baby powder. Not that I've ever had the pleasure.

Taste with spiced rum: Very, very bad. Like burning.

Taste with bourbon: "Tolerable," according to Bill.

Test flavor # 2: Mountain Dew Revolution

Color: Similar to that of Windex. Yes, just like the last one.

Bouquet: Like the smell of sweat dripping off the brows of thousands of angry revolutionaries, the hearts pounding to the same beat of a bloody coup d'état. Er, wait, scratch that. It smelled more like a package of Sweet Tarts left out in the rain.

Taste: If revolutions were soda flavors Mountain Dew's Revolution would taste more like the Bay of Pigs than the American Revolution. While maybe not quite as unsuccessful as the Bay of Pigs, it certainly wasn't on the level of the Bolsheviks. I decided it was the soda equivalent of that student revolt in Les Miserables. While not at all successful, at least Mountain Dew's Revolution has some heart. And if Andrew Lloyd Webber gets bored and eccentric in his later years he may just write a musical about it. Do you hear the people sing? Singing the songs of angry, caffeine addicted sugar addicts? Bill compared the flavor to the sexual revolution but later decided it was only worthy of the acoustic version of the Beatles' "Revolution." I gave it a 6, Bill went with a 5. After further discussion, we determined that America's founding fathers and their wooden teeth couldn't have handled the soft drinks of the 21st century.

Taste with mescal: Much like I would imagine the ectoplasm of Karl Marx's ghost. Now I know what Bill Murray's character in Ghostbusters felt like after getting attacked by Slimer. Then again, he probably didn't swallow any of the green ghost's goop.

Taste with spiced rum:
Actually, not bad. I think Che Guevara's zombie would like it.

Taste with bourbon: So says Bill "viva la Mountain Dew Revolution (with bourbon)."

Test flavor # 3: Mountain Dew Supernova

Color: Like super-cheap convenience store wine.

Taste: Like super-cheap convenience store wine after being filtered through a Slurpee machine. Bill: "I must say, I don't care for... that thing it does. Which I'm not sure what that is." Me: "COUGH! COUGH! GAG! PUKE!" At the very least, it lived up to its name. Somewhere, as I'm typing these words, a bartender is mixing this flavor with Brut to make a "Champagne Supernova" in the hopes of making a mint of off people who don't throw up in their mouths a little bit at the mere thought of Oasis so they can...throw up in their mouths a little bit. Bill gave this one a 2. I gave it a 4, for at least doing what Mountain Dew should: make its drinkers feel like they've just popped a fighter pilot "go pill."

€Taste with mescal: Let's just say I felt the need to apologize to my sink before dumping combo mescal/Supernova down it. If a gigantic "xtreme" slug/sewer overflow monster pops out of the Willamette riding a skateboard in the near future I just might the person to blame for its creation.

Taste with spiced rum: Like expired napalm.

Taste with bourbon: "Just weird and bad."

For a final test, we tossed all three flavors together and mixed them with our respective liquors. Mine concoction caused me to lose the senses of touch and smell for about 10 minutes. Bill's response: "I CAN'T SEE!"

There you have it, PepsiCo. Make what you will of our incredibly serious and totally scientific conclusions.

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