Because there's nothing better than eating food blind, Frito-Lay has sprung a trio of mystery Doritos Jacked flavors on the public, challenging us to be purchaser, taster and executioner. I have tasted all three, and I know which two deserve to die.
"There's nothing as bold as stepping into the unknown, and crunching into an unknown mystery chip with over-the-top flavor is one way we're inviting fans to be bold with the Doritos brand," explained Ram Krishnan, Frito-Lay vice president of marketing in the press release announcing the "Bold Flavor Experiment." I think he's right. I can think of many things bolder than that, and several less bold activities, but I think they've found a unique spot on the boldness scale to call their own.
Here's how it works. Curious shoppers spend either $4.29 or $1.49 on a bag of corn chips — bigger, bolder corn chips, mind you — with absolutely no idea what they are going to taste like. Starting April 29 they'll vote for the lesser of three evils at the promotion's official website, and Frito-Lay starts giving out daily prizes of $1,000 in gold as an apology to everyone involved.
Here they be, the flavors three:
If you're anything like me, your mind immediately went "Cool Ranch, Mild Cheese, Nacho Cheese." If so your mind, like mine, is very, very wrong.
The Doritos Jacked line isn't your standard flavor-powdered corn chips. They are larger, thicker, and the flavor combinations are meant to punch your mouth in the neck. Your mouth-neck. Something. Anyway, via Google search I am seeing Ranch-Dipped Hot Wings and Enchilada Supreme, which seem pretty jacked to me.
As for these new, mystery varieties, I have tasted all three as a public service, and I will now reveal what I believe they should be called (Frito-Lay plans on revealing the actual flavors when the voting is over).
Flavor 855 — My Mouth Hurts And Cheese
The first of the three I sampled. Upon putting one in my mouth for the first time my thought process went something like this: "Well, that's a pretty mild tasting OH MY GOD OW." Ingredients include tiny bits of hell, lava, and paprika. I've been getting used to hot lately, in the interest of fair and balanced Snacktaku reviews, and this is the wrong sort of hot. There really needs to be a warning on the front of this one. I pulled one out of the bag just now to show my sister-in-law, and then threw it away instead of eating it. That's a big step for me.
Flavor 404 — Citrus BBQ
A little heat, a lot of tang, and distinct notes of lime and orange juice, which is good because lime and orange juice are both listed in the ingredients. Out of the three varieties, the bag containing these chips is the only one that's almost empty. It tastes like having a cocktail at a barbecue, and like having a cocktail at a barbecue it's not the sort of thing that I'll find myself doing on a regular basis, but I wouldn't actively avoid it.
Flavor 2653 — Burnt Chocolate
Three of the ingredients of flavor 2653: brown sugar, chocolate liqueur and cocoa powder. Given the Jacked line's predisposition towards Mexican cuisine, I'd say Frito-Lay was attempting some sort of mole sauce combination here. There's promise there, when the first bit of the chip powder hits your tongue. Sadly, it all resolves into what I'd imagine cocoa powder would taste like if you ate it from a used ashtray. So yeah, not good.
Of course with all things taste-related, your mileage may vary. My wife's sister enjoyed Burnt Chocolate, preferring it over Citrus BBQ. My wife, on the other hand, hated them all and Doritos in general. She's so lovable.
It wouldn't be a "Bold Flavor Experiment" if the Frito-Lay people weren't taking risks, and they've certainly taken several here. Will those risks pay off? That depends on how many of you decide to ignore my warnings and strike out on your own.
Snacktaku is Kotaku's take on the wild and wonderful world of eating things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands. Past critiques can be found at the Snacktaku review archive.