We like to drink Mountain Dew, but we’re pretty neutral on the regular Mountain Dew itself. Much more interesting is their large selection of flavors – the classics like Game Fuel, LiveWire, Code Red, and so, so many more. Plain Mountain Dew seems flat in comparison. Sure, sometimes there’s nothing you’d like more than the fresh taste of Green, but then you can just have a crisp Sprite or something. Why settle for less? Give me a glass of White Out and I’ll be happ- oh right, they discontinued White Out, and discontinued so many other limited-time flavors because we can have nothing good in the world for more than a moment.
In that vein, Pepsi has seen it fit to bring back the VooDew, the “mystery flavor” soda that was released last year for the Halloween season. With Fall somehow having come back again, VooDew has come with it as surely as the changing colors of the leaves.
The gimmick of VooDew, as we already defined, is that it is a “mystery flavor” which means it doesn’t taste like much at all. Last year it was revealed to be candy corn, an obviously Halloween flavor that is so flavorless that it probably could have been anything. What flavor could it possibly be this year??? Let’s find out!
Before we get into the VooDew itself, we’d like to remark that Vodou is a very real and living religion that is not something that can be used as a spooky label for a limited time soda. The appropriation of Vodou and the related Louisiana Voodoo is little more than another form of blackface, the usage of a “mysterious other” to spook uninformed White people for advertising dollars. Vodou is not mysterious, nor an “other”. It is a living religion with many practitioners that form a living and thriving culture in their own right. We know that calling PepsiCo out for appropriating Vodou is a gesture at best, but we would like to make our position plain on this topic if we are going to be buying their product regardless.
We didn’t have the first VooDew, so we don’t really have anything to base our assumptions on. It’s a “Mystery Flavor”, so it comes in Mystery Flavor White, the slightly cloudy pale color that all Mystery Flavors seem to come in. We wonder if this is the natural color of the soda without food coloring added, or if it is modified to be especially pale. The can’s art is a highlight, with a cloaked figure in bold green and red flashing a peace sign while their face is obscured with a question mark bearing the “VOO DEW” insignia. The peace sign is naturally representing the number 2, as the first VooDew had the same ghoul in simple orange, hand extended naturally.
On first sip, we were blown away by how sweet this Dew was. Yes, all Mountain Dews are tooth-crackingly sweet, but this was the exact flavor of a handful of skittles. It was citrusy, sparkly, with a slight creamy undercurrent that held the whole thing together. It’s actually very good, if you like sweet and fruity sodas like Big Red or Faygo. The VooDew has got a sour tang to it, unlike the previously mentioned sodas, keeping it from tipping over into cloying.
It took us several sips to determine what the flavor of VooDew 2020 is, but once we figured it out, it was inarguable. It’s caramel apple. It has to be. Last year was candy corn, and the ghoul on the can was pure orange – this year, it’s red and green, just like apples. The creamy undercurrent is the taste of caramel, and the citrusy, sour taste is a dead ringer for a green apple Skittle. It has to be festive, fall-themed caramel apple. Looking across the internet, most people seem to agree on this front, but also agree that it tastes like Skittles. It’s kind of uncanny, really. If you handed this can to us and told us it was a Green Apple Skittle Soda, we would believe you without question – and like it.
What is it with “Mystery Flavor”, anyway? We always end up loving Mystery Flavors no matter what they are for. Dum Dums, Air Heads, remember Mystery Flavor Oreos? Those tasted like churros. The best mystery flavors are the factory reject ones that are more than one flavor blended together. Those are always the best. VooDew fits in perfectly with our love of Mystery in food. All food should be Mystery Flavor. It would make life a lot more fun.