The first Quil product from Vicks, NyQuil, dates back to 1966; it was successful enough for the company to introduce a non-drowsy formula, which they had the temerity to call DayQuil. They followed up with a version of NyQuil without any of the cold-symptom ingredients, sold strictly as a sleep aid, which was dubbed Zzzquil.
Now your basic Zzzquil comes in a 12-ounce bottle that sells for around $9. It contains a fairly common Active Ingredient, diphenhydramine HCl; the 30-ml cup contains 50 mg of the stuff, the equivalent of a couple of Sominex tabs, plus various flavorings, none inspiring, something to make it look nice and murky, and 10 percent alcohol. And that was just fine for a while; subsequent variants came in gelcap form, and there’s even a version with melatonin. What we didn’t have was a version lacking both the murky colors and the little swig of ethanol.
And then yesterday the young lady bringing out the grocery order from Walmart showed me the NewQuil, still with the triple Z, but mostly translucent and utterly lacking in booze content. Still a 12-ounce bottle, still around $9, though Voldemart marks it down to $7.99 or so. I have no idea how well it works; the same first-cousin-to-Benadryl main ingredient remains at the same level. But it’s now on my shelf, so I will have to try it eventually.