However, last year they went in the opposite direction and introduced a blast from the past: Taco Flavor Doritos. This flavor originated in 1967 and persisted at least into the late 1970s, but was eventually retired.
The re-introduction of the Taco Doritos was an instant hit. Originally packaged as a limited edition, Doritos almost immediately announced that they would be keeping it on store shelves, and to this day I still see that alluring retro bag as I walk down the chip aisle.
The Taco Doritos did not come without controversy, however. Billed as the original flavor, the comments section of my review blew up. Battle lines were drawn. Some loved them, said they tasted just like the original, and expressed nostalgia as they remembered eating them ask kids.
Others were not so pleased. “These taste nothing like the original!” They shouted angrily from the rooftops of their Internets. “There’s sour cream in these! There was no sour cream in the original Taco flavor!”
It was a tortilla chip nation divided. However, to Doritos, it was money in the bank. Going off the business model that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, they’ve recently released two new/old limited edition retro flavors: Sour Cream & Onion and Salsa Rio, complete with retro packaging. I swear, the packaging is the real allure. Even I cannot resist its siren song.
Sadly, like Taco Flavor Doritos, I never had the opportunity to try either of these flavors, so I’m flying blind as far as their authenticity when compared to the originals. And again, like the Taco Flavor, I ask you, the reader, to tell me in the comments section if they got it right or not. I am looking forward to it. Imagine I just said that in a Mr. Burns voice with my fingers steepled. Muahahahaha.
Limited Edition Doritos Sour Cream & Onion
Those who so hated the addition of sour cream to the Taco Doritos won’t have a leg to stand on here. Personally, I had some trepidations about this flavor. I don’t know why, but it just seems like sour cream and onion should stick to potato chips and leave the tortillas out of it.
It must just be me, though, because there’s an entire Facebook page devoted to bringing them back. Congratulations to the 511 people who Liked this page! You succeeded! Or it was just a coincidence. Either way, now your page is USELESS.
From what I can tell on the Internet, these were introduced in the late 70s and were discontinued in the early 80s. Because of this, I can legitimately say that I never had a chance to experience the original Sour Cream & Onion Doritos, unless I had an irresponsible mother who fed me Doritos as a baby. From what I know, that did not happen.
As a fun treat, I found this delightful old commercial for Sour Cream & Onion Doritos, wherein a Gene Shalit lookalike (I’m sure he gets lots of work) knocks over a table and causes a butler to faint with the power of Doritos crunch. You’re welcome.
Like the Taco flavor, I can tell from several websites even beyond Facebook that there are people passionate about these Doritos and they must all be over the moon that they’ve been re-released. I’m sorry that I can’t give you a comparison, but I can give you my opinion. And pictures of chips.
I’m happy to report that sour cream and onion isn’t weird at all on a tortilla chip. At least, not the way Doritos makes them. Unfortunately, they taste almost indistinguishable from Cool Ranch Doritos. Honestly, if I were blindfolded and forced to eat these chips, first of all, I’d be terrified and confused, and second, I would immediately guess Cool Ranch. If a gun were to my head, I would be dead. Over Doritos.
If I really stretch it, I guess there’s a little bit more of an onion flavor than in Cool Ranch. I was pleased to see some heavily powdered chips in the bunch. There’s something about seeing a Dorito loaded with little flavor bits that makes me happy. But…what’s that? Red? What’s red doing on a sour cream and onion chip? Is the onion red? Ah well, who cares. Slightly more oniony Cool Ranch. You could do worse.
Limited Edition Doritos Salsa Rio
There’s also a big following for Salsa Rio on the Internet. I should probably just stop mentioning that, because I’m beginning to think that every discontinued junk food has about 500 “BRING IT BACK” websites and petitions. Some of these people sound almost desperate. It’s creepy.
Salsa Rio apparently had a short run from the late 80s to early 90s, which means I technically could have tried the original, but I was still young enough that I have the excuse that I had no idea they existed. My dad did all the shopping, and once I expressed an interest in a certain junk food, he would always make sure I had it. Forever. I think it took me three years to get him to realize I was tired of Cool Ranch. God bless him for trying.
I have no awesome Gene Shalit-related videos for Salsa Rio, but I like the fatass tomato on the front of the bag and the name itself. Salsa Rio. River of Salsa. It evokes Willy Wonka-esque visions in my mind of salsa rivers running through fields of flowers made of tortilla chips. The grass is luscious, fragrant cilantro. There’s wallpaper that tastes like onions and garlic when you lick it.
I should probably just stop there.
Man, these chips look muy caliente! This bright red is usually reserved for something like a Tapatio or Flamin’ variety of chip. What really hits you first, though, is the tomato flavor. That may not sound appealing, but there was a strong backup team of onion, garlic, and a variety of spices that I couldn’t identify but knew were participating.
There actually is a bit of heat, although nowhere near the mouth-blistering heat that the eye-searing color might indicate. There’s no substitute for a real, quality salsa, but Salsa Rio does its best to replicate it in powder form. All the flavors blended really nicely, and I found myself reaching into the bag more than I thought I would.
There’s nothing wrong with Limited Edition Doritos Sour Cream & Onion; I just can’t get over how similar they taste to Cool Ranch Doritos. Maybe it was those three years it took to convince my dad to buy a different flavor of Doritos for me, but my mouth got bored with Sour Cream & Onion pretty quickly. I’m sure the bag won’t go to waste, but they just didn’t bring anything new to the table.
There are many flavors of Doritos that I haven’t had in a few years, but I found Limited Edition Doritos Salsa Rio to be a refreshing change of pace from the usual recycled flavors that Doritos spits out. The flavors were bold, the powder was plentiful, and all the different salsa-like elements worked well together. That little kick of heat was like icing on the cake.
Sour Cream & Onion could remain limited and I wouldn’t mind that, but I’d actually like to see Doritos go the Taco Flavor route and keep Salsa Rio around. At least until my Junk Food Betty and the Salsa Factory fantasy comes true.
Limited Edition Doritos Sour Cream & Onion and Salsa Rio Tortilla Chips
- Score (Sour Cream & Onion): 3 out of 5 Cool Ranch rip-offs
- Score (Salsa Rio): 4.5 out of 5 giant tomatoes
- Price: $4.29
- Size: 11 oz. bag
- Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
- Nutritional Quirks: Despite neither Sour Cream & Onion or Salsa Rio having cheese as detectible flavors, both list cheddar and Romano cheeses as key ingredients. Doritos makes lactose intolerant consumers sad.