Limited edition retro…throwback Ruffles and Cheetos! Have your nostalgia sensors gone wild yet? Are you ready to go out there and find these chips RIGHT NOW so you can pretend it’s…uh, whatever year these bags are meant to imitate?
I would love to tell you that year. Or anything else about these chips. The Internet seems completely devoid of information about their existence, minus this Flickr picture I found that showcases all the other retro brands I didn’t find; namely, Cheetos Puffs, Rold Gold Pretzel Rods and King Size Fritos. The photo also includes Taco Doritos, but I already reviewed those.
So this news post is sadly deprived of news, beyond the fact that I can tell you they exist. I can also tell you that I expected the chips to contain identical ingredients to a regular bag of Ruffles or Cheetos. The chips looked exactly the same as modern Ruffles and Cheetos. Going off of Frito-Lay’s website, the Ruffles contained the exact same and amount of ingredients as regular Ruffles.
The Cheetos are a little more interesting, however. I could taste no difference between retro and regular Cheetos, but the ingredients do appear different. Retro Cheetos use vegetable oil, while “contemporary” Cheetos use corn and/or sunflower oil. Retro Cheetos include cheddar cheese seasoning and cheddar cheese, while the regular Cheetos just have the latter. And finally, retro Cheetos list salt as the last ingredient, where salt falls in the middle of the list on regular Cheetos. So there do seem to be some differences, even if my palate is apparently not refined enough to taste them.
The back of the Cheetos bag also has Chester Cheetah goin’ all Uncle Sam, and also says, “Here’s to over 60 years of great flavor”. So Cheetos is having an anniversary. What about the rest of the brands? Who knows, the Internet won’t tell me. It is all mystery. But I figured they should be thrown up on the Internet, if only to catalog their existence.
Mountain Dew Throwback first came out with much to-do in April 2009. As you may have already been beaten over the head with, its big draw was that it was made with real sugar, instead of the high-fructose corn syrup that has taken over the lives of every American, caused an epidemic of obesity, and will probably kill each and every one of you reading this article, if the Internet and my television are to be believed. Way to go, fatties.
But wait! Salvation has arrived from PepsiCo, in the form of Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback! Even though they’ve been feeding you that deadly HFCS for I don’t know how long, they’ve decided to throw you a rope, and now you can enjoy your sweet, sweet soda without fear. Because sugar is natural, so therefore, giant amounts of it are good for you! Unlike HFCS. Stupid, deadly corn syrup.
But wait! PepsiCo apparently only wanted you to have a taste of the sweet life, because both Throwbacks went away in June of 2009, leaving you to drive your Jazzy right on back to the original Mtn Dew and its poisonous sweetener. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
But wait! Before you even had a chance to keel over from Type II Diabetes, at least, I’m assuming, Throwback is back! For eight weeks starting December 28, 2009 and ending February 22, 2010, you can satisfy your massive sweet tooth with real sugar and not syrupy suicide. If they keep this up, all you’ll have to do is buy a few dozen pallets of Throwback from Costco and you can ride out the drought until they re-release it again.
I didn’t have a website to vomit my opinions of food onto the Internet and generally insult many of my readers when the first Throwbacks came out, and I don’t generally drink soda, so I never got a chance to try them. However, BevReview and The Impulsive Buy did, so you can read their expert opinions on the original Throwbacks.
I chose to review Mountain Dew Throwback and not Pepsi, or both, because a.) I am a cheap bastard, b.) I never really liked the taste of Pepsi in the first place and find Mountain Dew to be less offensive, and c.) because it contains caffeine, and probably for some other stupid reasons I don’t know or care about, Mountain Dew has become associated with geeks and gamers, so I get to work in some jokes about mom’s basement and Cheeto dust and World of Warcraft. There. All worked in, now.
The original Throwbacks went retro in their packaging to help emphasize their regression back to using sugar, as seen in this ad:
The new Throwbacks have all new can designs, and while Pepsi went back to the late 80s style that I’ll always associate with the beverage, since my mom drank about a six pack a day during my formative years, Mountain Dew went waaaay further back, drawing from the original can design from the 1950s.
Ya-hooo! Indeed! That there is Gran’ Pappy, the official mascot of Mountain Dew from way back in the day, smiling as he narrowly averts death by cork from a moonshine bottle. On the original logo, Gran’ Pappy had a gun, pointing at a fleeing figure who was presumably trying to steal his booze. I mean, soda. For those not in the know, “mountain dew” is, or was, slang for moonshine, so ol’ Gran’ Pappy there makes a great mascot for the soda. Of course, as time moved on, I’m sure the marketing team realized that associating soda with illegal hooch, guns and hillbillies wasn’t the best strategy, so Gran’ Pappy faded into the past, and the logo evolved, eventually becoming “edgy” and XTREME to appeal to young, fat video gamers. They even officially changed the name to MTN DEW in 2008, because kids these days don’t have the attention span for extra letters. And, of course, it’s easier to text message. You can see a nice picture timeline of the transformation here.
After spending several hours researching this bullshit for your benefit, let’s get to the fucking drink already.
Obviously, the packaging between HFCS Mtn Dew and Mountain Dew Throwback is different, but how do the flavors stack up?
First of all, I’d like to mention that I almost couldn’t get the cap off the Throwback, which would have resulted in much anguish on my part. The cap on Throwback is shorter, smoother, and has less ridges than the Mtn Dew cap. Subsequently, my frail, Victorian era-esque hands did not have the strength and lacked the purchase to open the bottle easily. Fortunately, I drew upon the strength within myself, my desire to get this fucking review over with, and was able to crack the cap.
There’s no real appreciable difference in appearance. They both have the citrus-y smell typical of Mtn Dew, but the original HFCS has a sweeter smell to it. Throwback tastes cleaner and feels more watery in your mouth, compared to the thicker, more syrupy feel of Mtn Dew. However, Throwback tastes almost identical to Mtn Dew. This could be because it contains orange juice concentrate, just like the HFCS version does. Apparently, this is something that was lacking in the Throwback of early ’09, which probably resulted in a difference in taste that may have put some people off. But I suppose I’ll never know, since I didn’t try it.
Something interesting I noticed while I was taking my pictures is that the Throwback seemed to lose its bubbles almost immediately, while Mtn Dew had big bubbles of carbonation clinging to the sides of the glass, occasionally breaking free and rising to the surface. Even as the two glasses sit on my desk while I write this, the Mtn Dew continues to show bubbles, while the Throwback looks as flat as if it had been sitting there for three days. Interestingly, however, Throwback doesn’t taste flat, but it does seem to be more subtly carbonated than Mtn Dew. While this doesn’t effect the taste, it does differ the texture, making it go down a little different than your typical soda, which can cause a carbonation explosion in your mouth if you’re not careful.
I think the addition of orange juice concentrate into the re-release of Mountain Dew Throwback was a smart move, because it results in a soda that tastes very similar to the original Mtn Dew. However, it does have a cleaner taste that goes down more smoothly and feels less like it’s coating your mouth with sugary syrup. The sweetness levels are almost identical; I feel like Mtn Dew is one of the less cloyingly sweet sodas, and the substitution of sugar for HFCS in the Throwback version doesn’t make it taste any more or less sugary. In the end, it’s a matter of preference in texture – original Mtn Dew feels a little thicker and more carbonated, while Mountain Dew Throwback goes down cleaner, but in a way that some Mtn Dew enthusiasts may say makes it taste watery. If forced to choose between the two, I’d go with Throwback, but just by a hair. I prefer the cleaner feel in my mouth, but in the end, the authentic Mtn Dew taste is the same in both of them. And, of course, it’s made with real sugar, whereas everybody knows high-fructose corn syrup causes bunions and what’s known as “Stomach Liver Hybridization”, among many other unspeakable things.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 pours onto the ground for Gran’ Pappy
Price: $1.49, $0.99 on sale
Size: 20 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Albertsons #980
Nutritional Quirks: HOLY SHIT IT’S REAL SUGAR
BevReview has also written a review of the new Mountain Dew Throwback.
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