The bottle I’m holding in my hands right now is a time capsule to my distant, not-so-illustrious past. I’m not talking about wine. Half the time I’m crossing my fingers to drink things far older than any lifetime I’ve ever lived. I’m not talking about expired cough syrup- that capsule to my past is more like an old VHS of fuzzy nights with carnies. Man, going to The Gathering of the Juggalos was a bad idea.No, I’m talking about Mountain Dew Pitch Black. Yes, loved ones, let’s go on a journey. A journey to a place where the grass wasn’t always greener, but where the Dew flowed like whiskey, ten o’clock at night was the witching hour, and 1992 was just a number. I was fifteen.A grizzled old twenty now, I look back on my days of caffeine fueled adventures and rides in cars with dem olda boys and I sigh with happiness, knowing now that because Mountain Dew Pitch Black is here, albeit for a limited time, I can go back there with a single whiff. This new release shouldn’t scare you- for me, it is the Dew of those endless glory days, resplendent in Chuck Taylors.Too young to care about Code Red and too old to fumble with Baja Blast, I turn to that period of enlightenment where, ironically, my world was cradled by Pitch Black. For me, this is pure sensual nostalgia- the rush of the bubbles hitting my nose as I’d stifle the noises of carbonation backstage at a show, the pungent, citrusy grape scent with a hint of spices that reminded me less of cheap grape soda than hundreds of melted down grape gummy bears, and that flavor- not saccharine, but tart. Not wine-like, but deep. While I’ll admit that my favorite incarnation of Pitch Black was Pitch Black II, which carried more bite than its predecessor, I am more than satisfied to have this in my hands, new and pure, without having to buy old, unopened bottles of this on eBay and risk stomach pumping.Under natural lighting, it’s almost raisiny in color.
For those of you who haven’t tried this, it’s a unique flavor- Mountain Dew, a citrus-based beverage, combined with grape flavors seems more akin to a new flavor of jungle juice than a beloved soda, but the combination works. The sweet sugar of the grapes balances out the citrus zest and creates a fantastic amalgam of taste. As I uncork- er, uncap a bottle of this today, these sensations come flooding back to me all at once. The main difference I can detect is that the current Pitch Black formula has the same light nectar of flavor that the previous two had, yet lacks a good deal of the carbonation. I can’t determine the reason for this, yet after a half hour of savoring this, it has gone rather flat. A marketing ploy to encourage me to purchase more? Absolutely. I would gladly feed into such a thing.So maybe I’m putting a lot of energy into waxing nostalgia about this soda. Representation of youthful innocence, blah blah, but the truth is, it makes me immensely happy to be able to sample a bit of my own beloved past once again. How many of you have longed for Micro Magic, String Thing, and Pop Qwiz, only to know in your heart of hearts, that you’d never see them again? Though the release may be a little premature to inspire serious elegies, it has been enough of a treat to make me long for the harried, though thankfully quenched, days of my youth. If Frito Lay takes the bait and comes out with their guacamole Doritos again, I can pair the two and really go back in time.
Special thanks to Mountain Dew for granting my pathetic adult Make A Wish request! FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS, if you want a chance to win a bottle of this magical stuff, keep a close ear and eye on the page in the next week…if you’re not already following, do so right here!