Introduction written by MJBurroughs
Mtn Dew just doesn’t capture my imagination anymore. If you’re a long time reader of TehBen, you’ve probably noticed we don’t talk about the Dew nearly as much as we used to. New Dews aren’t a call for celebration anymore, and I couldn’t really even tell you the last one that I’ve been truly excited about. Some of that, as we’ve stated last year, is solely the fault of the company thanks to exclusivity agreements and market saturation that would make other soda brands blush. While some of that goodwill is being mended thanks to efforts such as the Baja Deep Dive sweepstakes, other ideas have simply taken the piss. Mtn Dew sold as an alcoholic beverage was pretty much the last straw for me. By selling booze with a renowned soda name on it, a move that would once have been called by many as dangerous and enabling to minors, the company has decided to take away every little bit of consumer imagination (or desperation as most cases would have it) and promote hard dew as a lifeless soulless marketing stunt to further pick the pockets of the good people in the Mtn Dew Can Collectors Society(tm).
Still, some of this blame has to be shared amongst Mtn Dew’s competitors as well. There have been something like five brand new Coca-Cola flavors this year alone, most with stupid as hell names with minimal descriptions like Starlight, Dreams, Kumquat Manifest Destiny, Bolivian Self-Determination…and so on. The best we can hope for anymore is to buy one at the local Wawa for $3.49, take a sip, and tweet out that the flavor is ”…fine.” Mystery flavors don’t work unless you make it a national conversation, and for that we still at least have one to talk about.
The trees are finally beginning to turn and there’s a cooler bite in the breeze finally which can only mean one thing: Fall is finally on our doorstep, and with that comes one of our favorite things to discuss here at TehBen.com. Mtn Dew VooDew 4 is of course the fourth year for the Dew creating a candy based mystery flavor and selling it around Halloween with some of the best artwork to feature on a soda package each season. There’s nothing to sell the market on anymore. Simply make the packaging look badass and change the flavor somewhat while keeping that enticing “frosted c**” off-white appearance to the 20oz bottles as our Jenn Coulter likes to say. This year’s flavor appears to be getting more wide appeal as the taste is not only more palatable, but more desirable on the whole to the soda market. Every member of TehBen’s Writer’s Room has genuinely sampled VooDew 2022, and most of us have something to say about it. Let’s talk about the mysterious taste and once again take a futile attempt at figuring out the flavor!
Let’s get the elephant out of the room real quick like. I am a well-known and extremely vocal hater of the VooDew formula since it’s inception. While I absolutely love that they are devoted to producing a specialized Halloween flavor for the spooky season, I’m bummed that so far 3 years out of 3 has given us nothing more than a novelty drink that usually gets tossed out the second my official guess has been committed to the digital realm. I made a grave mistake with VooDew 2019, I bought two twelve packs and they lived long healthy lives in my garage refrigerator for upwards of two years until they were dumped after a 4th of July barbecue when children happily chose to drink fucking Fresca over VooDew. While I will try hard to be impartial with my guess, just be aware that I am predisposed to hating the milky white soda since I am convinced all three years and editions were the same repackaged disgusting crap all three times. Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, here’s my review and guess:
My son took a whiff of the single 20 ounce bottle I bought and immediately screamed “SOUR PATCH KIDS!”. This is a boy who has sugary foods sitting comfortably on every level of his food pyramid, so his guess definitely carries some weight. I, however, find it to smell something more along the lines of the stuff that is used to fill Stretch Armstrong dolls. As I took my first drink, the only flavor profile that filled my mind was Apple Sour Punch Straws. This soda is cloyingly sweet and has a sour aftertaste that sticks around in the back of your throat for far longer than you’d ever really want it to. This stuff (to the surprise of absolutely no one) is fucking gross and is the polar opposite of anything that could be considered refreshing and/or satiating. I had three other people in my household try some and all three were equally unimpressed. As far as looks go, I love what they did with the 2022 label art and Zune inspired colors but everything else about VooDew 2022 is fucking terrible. “Once a hater, always a hater” I told myself as I dumped the rest of this vile candy bilgewater down the garbage disposal.
I also have no educated guesses as to what would would be used with this as a tasty mixer since it’s really hard to combine anything with liquified sour candy. I suppose that you could just pour some vodka in the rest of the bottle and make yourself a Harbor Freight (a shitty screwdriver).
Mystery soda flavors always throw me off, because I always think it’s supposed to be an actual, discernable flavor. You know, like, “oh, the mystery flavor is lemon!” I expect there to be a puzzle to solve; a right answer. You swish it around in your mouth a bit and eventually realize which fruit or candy or whatever is being emulated. I expect there to actually BE a specific flavor.
I have finally learned, after many years of Voo Dew and other “mystery” promos, that I should stop trying to guess the mystery flavor. That first year, it was “candy corn” – a pretty solid, real thing that you could actually potentially guess. Then, in 2021, the flavor was announced as “Fruit Candy Chews.” 2020 was “Fruit Candy Explosion.” They’re bullshitting me. They threw a bunch of expired syrup together and then decided to call it “fruit candy [noun],” pretending that these sugary ambominations were intentionally crafted. What the hell is the flavor of “fruit candy”? What fruit?! What does an explosion taste like compared to a chew?!
Anyways, this year, it tastes like “Sour Patch kids that I left in my hot car for three months.” They’re going to say it’s “Fruit Candy Machine” or some shit. It was okay, but I wouldn’t seek it out again after trying it that first time.
This year’s VooDew flavor comes in a regular option, as well as a zero sugar. My taste test started with zero sugar – and it had me second, third, and fourth guessing what it could be. Originally, it did remind me of the Raspberry Lemonade “Spark” flavor. There was something sour and sweet about it, and my guess remained stuck on the tip of my tongue. While the flavor was there, the limited carbonation was making it harder to pinpoint a specific taste. My partner was experiencing something a bit different than me, more along the lines of a blueberry/Dark Berry Bash familiarity. This made it even harder for us to agree on what it could’ve been.
Moving on to the regular VooDew, I was surprised at this flavor profile being much more specific. The last time I experienced this much of a differential was the Major Melon release. I actually preferred the Zero Sugar with major melon, but with this year’s VooDew, the regular option has that necessary carbonation that pops all the flavor profiles on your taste buds in just the right way.
Based on the comparison of the regular and sugar free options, it definitely reflects some kind of sour gummy candy. The Zero Sugar isn’t bad – it’s enjoyable even – but if you want the best experience and don’t have restrictions then going regular VooDew is the way to go this year.
This season’s voodew is not my favorite. After Major Melon and Dew Spark were so well-received by my palate, VooDew 4 was a serious let down. To me, it tasted like knock off sour patch kids. When there’s brands like Ghost and Bang really dominating the flavors and making them exactly or damn close to the exact thing, VooDew falls short in that regard. Either make it exact and discernible or make a completely new flavor like the aforementioned melon or spark. Sometimes they nail it, this time however, the missed the mark.
I bought a 12 pack of cans after traveling across state lines, as I typically do when doing one of these reviews. 20 oz bottles are convenient and lovely, but with only one proverbial bite at the apple it can be hard to figure out the flavor, or even figure out if I like it. VooDew Two took at least 2 cans before I could actually say I enjoyed it, assuming the first can killed enough taste buds for them to wave the white flag or surrender. VooDew 2022, however, was a treat from the first sip. Not too sweet and has that ever elusive “drinkability.” The flavor profile also seems easier to guess this year. First couple years I may have appeared very confident, but I was frankly guessing and just hoping I could manifest my stupid, stupid ideas into existence. VooDew 4 feels a little more like it’s trying to be guessed accurately than keeping a closely guarded mystery. When I drink one, I think of old movie theaters I went to as a kid. I think about the cheap sour candy I still buy to this day at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in 3 pound bags. Most importantly, I think of that red Sour Patch Kid when it’s lost just its first layer of tart sugar. First they’re sour, then they’re sweet, and last they’re in my can of Mtn Dew VooDew 4!
So there you have it, five different writers with five (similar) guesses! I’m no betting man, but I feel pretty confident that Sour Patch Kids in varying states of decomposition are the safe money bet in Vegas for the secret flavor of VooDew 2022.
Normally, I’d say it’s a good idea to leave these sort of monumental challenges to dedicated soda bloggers such as ourselves, but feel free to leave YOUR GUESSES in the comments as well! We’d love to hear how this newest formula of VooDew affected both you and your garbage disposal! The actual secret flavor will be revealed midway through October and hopefully it will add a small layer of hopefulness to your Halloween season as you cart your children around the neighborhood trying to get as many fun-sized Butterfingers as humanly possible.
Be sure to follow all of our AWESOME writers/soda bloggers on Twitter!
Teh Ben: @TehBenSVX
Jenn Coulter: @spooky_coochie
Jessica Nicole: @OhThatJessUgh
Deb Broadwater: @DebNicole38_23
Matt Burroughs: @MJBurroughs