Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review for Blue Sky Blue Energy


84 mg/8.4 oz. can
164 mg/16 oz. can


Another one that’s plenty hard to find, at least around here.  On the western seaboard, it’s found at every Safeway store I’ve been to, so if you live near one of those, this shouldn’t be hard to find.  Otherwise, you’re pretty well out of luck.


I like the look of this one…nice blue color, mountains in the lower background, lightning bolts, etc.  It’s a nice change from yesterday’s Spike Hardcore Energy—The Original (which may be in part responsible for today’s headache, the kind I tend to get when I sleep poorly).  Rather than saying “I WILL kill you,” as Spike did, this one’s message is a little more mild, promising a needed boost rather than caffeine Armageddon.


Above the supplement facts to the right of the front of the can are the words “WILD BERRY FLAVOR”, so I more or less had an idea what to expect…or so I thought.  I open up the can, and…what the frick?  Do I smell Red Bull clone?  I take my first sip, and—sure enough—it’s the traditional energy drink flavor, a little less sweet than Monster Energy or Knockout Energy and definitely less bitter in terms of aftertaste than Red Bull itself.  Another interesting thing…the drink’s not even blue.  It’s a reddish-greenish-I-don’t-know-what-else-ish color.  All that aside, even as unoriginal as it is, I do like the flavor, and it is different enough that those who find something unsatisfactory about Monster Energy or Red Bull might find something to like in Blue Sky Blue Energy.

8.4 OZ. CAN


You’re not going to get a whole lot in terms of energy from the 8.4 oz. can alone—enough to perceive, but not enough to actually do a whole lot.


Hard to gauge, but definitely less than an hour and a half.


Get the 16 oz. can if you can.

16 OZ. CAN


The 16 oz. can packs a passable punch, producing a noticeable increase in energy with side effects more along the lines of increased chattiness than an excess of jitters.  While it’s not the strongest thing I’ve ever experienced by a long shot (which today I’m okay with), it is still acceptable, managing to outperform in this regard at least a few of its peers toting the same flavor or a variant thereof.


The highest point of energy didn’t last especially long (perhaps an hour or so), though a passable state of alertness lasted a good few hours before it started to wear off.  The end period of effectiveness was fairly uneventful, coming without a crash and leaving me feeling more or less normal, if a tad sleepy.


Okay…so out of this experience, we get that the traditional energy drink flavor and wild berry flavor may be the same thing, at least according to the Blue Sky Soda Company—who knew?  My preoccupation with the Red Bull flavor aside, Blue Sky Blue Energy didn’t lack much and I did enjoy drinking it, and don’t have any reservations against recommending it to those who are willing to give a modest variant of the traditional energy drink flavor a shot. 

KEYWORDS: Blue Sky Blue Energy Drink review, Red Bull clone, traditional energy drink flavor, wild berry

Review for Spike Hardcore Energy--The Original


350 mg


Like so many of the energy drinks I’ve acquired lately, this is one I’ve only seen once, and that was at a 7-Eleven in Richland, Washington.  Unless my experience is not representative, you’re going to need to look long and hard before you find this.


This is one of the more effective designs I’ve ever seen on a can—the name of the drink boldly displayed diagonally front and center, jagged spikes in the background, warning labels on just about every available surface…even the color scheme seems to scream that this stuff means some serious business.  Truth be told, the whole getup has an almost intimidating look to it, which I consider to be appropriate, given the exceptionally potent nature of the drink.


The taste was mostly strawberry-oriented, with some red raspberry in the mix.  The sweetener blend used in the drink was not at all disagreeable, though the aftertaste stuck around a little while.  There’s a high level of carbonation to the stuff, also, which made it so that it wasn’t exactly the smoothest thing in the world going down.  The end result is about average on the “agreeable” scale.


Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve committed to limiting myself the 1-10 scale for taste and kick (or 0-10, since Rockstar 2X got a rating of “0” for taste), but HOLY HUMPIN’ HANNAH, THIS IS SOME FREAKIN' HARDCORE STUFF!  I don’t know how else to describe it.  I was rarely sitting still so as to get the full effect of it, seeing as I was too busy moving trying to expend all the energy by moving virtually all the furniture out of my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment single-handedly.  Whenever I would be standing still, I was shaking so badly and was so beyond jittery that it was actually alarming.  The drink earns all the warning labels that they stick on the can—this is not a drink to be trifled with or drunk casually.


Again with the out-of-range rating on the drink…alright.  Let me give you some idea of how long-lasting the effects of the drink are.  I drank this at roughly 3:00 P.M.; by 3:15 P.M. the shakes had already began.  Went over and started moving; was done by 8:30 P.M., after which the physical exhaustion of doing so much for so long had already set in.  Does that mean I was crashing?  No.  It was about 12:30 A.M. before I could manage to get to sleep.  That’s about nine and a half hours of effectiveness.  Nothing I’ve had before even begins to compare.


So as you can see, I haven't given an overall rating to Spike Hardcore Energy—The Original.  The reasoning for this is the fact that the rating system is flawed to an extent, in that there are certain things that it doesn’t take into account but often need to be set forth.  For example: Venom Energy—Death Adder is, in my mind, the finest energy drink I’ve had to date.  It gets a 9.33 out of 10, so just short of perfect.  The score, however, does not take into account the sheer quality of the beverage—the kick the drink managed to produce, though not the most intense I’ve had, was still an experience that was second to none, producing a level of alertness and functionality that most drinks tend to fall short of or overshoot, contenting themselves with either mediocrity or excess.  The same principle applies here—the rating does not take into account the fact that this drink is supremely and unnecessarily potent.  We are at the point where discussing the taste is inane, and where there's really no sense in giving it a rating out of 10 for effectiveness.  All you really need to know about it is that it is powerful to the point of brutality, and for this reason, I do not recommend it unless you have a physiology that renders you all but impervious to the effects of caffeine and need something that will keep you awake, or, if it’s the only option you have, don’t go and down the entire can.  It is definitely not your standard energy drink, and should not be treated as such, but with due respect and caution with regards to the exceptionally high caffeine content it possesses.

Looking over this review, it seems more like a public service announcement than a review.  Oh, well.  So be it.


KEYWORDS: Spike Hardcore Energy Drink review, Spike Shotgun Energy Drink review, Spike Original Energy Drink review, warning, contraindications

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review for Jamba Strawberry Banana


80 mg


Available at Jamba Juice locations, but I haven’t seen them elsewhere.


By and large acceptable.  The graphics are fairly standard, but the color scheme is nice and Jamba-esque, eliciting thoughts in the mind of both health and deliciousness.  In this respect, I deem the getup a success.


As was the case with the crisp apple version of this drink, the taste is quite badly marred by the unnecessary addition of the natural (and thoroughly vile) sweetener Stevia rebaudina.  Without the stuff the drink might have tasted alright (I’m not as much a fan of the strawberry/banana combination as I am crisp apple), but as is the stevia aftertaste is extraordinarily unpleasant and exceptionally distracting.


Very mild (though effective) in its action, but plenty adequate if a small boost is all that is needed.


Duration is passable, but this drink should be passed over in favor of something more long-lasting if one needs to stay awake for an appreciable amount of time.


I would feel at least alright about recommending this drink if it didn’t taste as bad as it does, and it wouldn’t taste so bad if it weren’t for that blasted stevia.  If stevia doesn’t bother you, more power to you; give this a shot.  But if you, like myself, find the stuff to be overwhelming or just plain disgusting or both, I’d definitely pass this stuff over.

KEYWORDS: Jamba Juice Energy Drink review, Jamba Strawberry Banana Energy Drink review, Jamba Energy Drink review, Nestle, stevia, Stevia rebaudina

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review for Jamba Crisp Apple


80 mg


I’ve only ever seen these at Jamba Juice locations, which are blessedly relatively common here (power-sized protein berry workout…mmm).  Troubles finding these may arise if you don’t live near one.


Kinda generic looking, but other than that, the color and Jamba designs are enough to catch and hold one’s attention, particularly if you’re a fanatic for the chain.  Which I am.


Three words: STEVIA FREAKING REBAUDINA!!!  Yes, stevia…that “natural” and entirely unholy sweetener that companies feel the need to stick into their products to cash in on the “healthy” trend, notwithstanding the fact that U.S. troops found large caches of stevia during the Iraq campaign (for that I have reason to think that Saddam must have had W.M.D’s on the brain) and it is thus clearly NOT something you want to ingest.  I really hate the stuff, and its presence in this drink is entirely unneeded (22 grams of sugar in the 8.4 oz can) and the result the equivalent of a pock mark on the face of the woman in the Mona Lisa.  I love apple-oriented stuff, and if the stevia weren’t there, I could very much have enjoyed the drink, with all its tartness and apple deliciousness.  But it was, and rather than relishing it I was trying to get it down about as fast as I could so as to bypass that Stevia taste.


Not especially intense, even though I wouldn’t say that it’s a bad kick.  It’s just mild-acting, and if a moderately clear head is all you really need, then you should probably look into a drink with this kind of kick.


Even if I wasn’t at my most heightened state of awareness, this stuff did wake me up a bit, and once I got to that point I did stay awake without too many problems.  It is similar to Team Realtree Outdoor Energy (a superior energy drink; read the review here) in that it gives an actual jump-start rather than delivering a synthetic temporary boon.


From this experience, I have reached one definitive conclusion: stevia sucks.  It is a destructive substance which ruins just about everything it worms its way into.  Without it, this wouldn’t be a bad energy drink, and one that I’d be perfectly happy to recommend.  If you like or at least don’t have a problem with stevia, ignore everything I said and give this a shot.  Otherwise, stick to the smoothies.  You’ll like ‘em more.

KEYWORDS: Jamba Juice Energy Drink review, Jamba Crisp Apple Energy Drink review, Jamba Energy Drink review, Nestle, stevia, Stevia rebaudina

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review for Liquid Ice


114 mg/12 oz. can


Pretty hard to track down, all things considered.  Picked up my can in a gas station off the interstate in Missoula, Montana.  Haven’t seen it before or since.


Definitely eye-catching, if nothing else can be said about it.  I like the color scheme, I like the broken-ice design surrounding the vertical logo; only complaint I have is that it looks a bit pixilated when you look up close.  But as I said, it appears decidedly out of the ordinary, and stands out impressively in a refrigerator full of the usual, the sight of which is becoming increasingly tiresome.


Pleasant but difficult to describe; it’s definitely sour with an agreeably understated sweetness, but the flavor itself is hard to place a finger on.  My best guess is blue raspberry, perhaps with a hint of blue agave.  The aftertaste is a little heavy, but other than that, it’s plenty agreeable.


The kick is more than adequate for most situations, bringing the drinker to the point of being particularly awake and somewhat jittery.  Impressive that it manages to deliver more than some mainstream drinks that tote a greater amount caffeine than Liquid Ice does.


The duration of effectiveness was similarly impressive—Liquid Ice kept me going for a good few hours, with only a small crash after the fact.


The more I try these less common energy drinks, the more my distaste for the omnipresence of the mainstream comes out—take Liquid Ice as an example; it has a relatively low caffeine content, but delivers an formidable kick nonetheless, and it possesses a unique and thoroughly refreshing flavor, but notwithstanding all this most places I’ve been seem to prefer to carry the products of major companies than take a risk and allow something else to earn a place in the spotlight.  In my mind, Liquid Ice is far more deserving of a consumer’s attention than most conventional energy drinks, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it above the usual (i.e. Red Bull, Amp know what I'm talking about).


KEYWORDS: Liquid Ice Energy Drink review, high performance
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