Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review for The Magic Buzz Energy


80 mg or so, I think.


Found this at Winco, so this is pretty easy for me to get a hold of.  Don’t know if others will have as much success, given that the chain is largely limited to the western states.


The Magic Buzz looks about like an all-natural energy drink should—it’s got all the colors down, and has a mellow sort of look that seems to suggest that this isn’t your ordinary energy supplement, but one that you can rely on for a smooth boost of energy rather than a harsh, caffeinated blast.  My only concern is with the name…when you take a name like “The Magic Buzz” and put it together with the term “all-natural” and a 70’s hippie VW bus, what comes to your mind?  My point exactly.


I really love idea of healthy, all-natural energy.  Knowing full well that this practice of mine isn’t the healthiest in the world (being the one pock mark on the Mona Lisa of my diet and lifestyle), one can understand why anything that can help take the edge off it would be more than welcome.  I think a number of people share my sentiments, so you would think by now that most companies would have come up with a way to deliver such a boost and not make it taste so dang bad.

I have experienced firsthand just how delicious healthy food can be—I can’t for the life of me figure where people get the mindset that it has to be crap in terms of health to taste good.  The people at The Magic Buzz seem to be under the assumption that most (healthy eaters and non-healthy eaters alike) think this way, and that those that eat well are perfectly fine with having their taste buds scorched to bits.

Now, The Magic Buzz isn’t that bad—I have all my taste buds sitting on my tongue as we speak.  But the tropical fruit flavor is rather harsh, and is not helped in the least by the medicinal taste of the energy constituents present.  So by most energy standards, this might be alright for you—but it certainly won’t taste the part.


In addition to hoping that my energy supplements taste good, I also like it when they work.  Now, I’ve had relatively low-caffeine products that have worked fabulously, so sensitivity really isn’t an issue for me—which works to my advantage and that of my readers, because I can say with relative certainty that this falls pretty flat when it comes to kick.  The boost was perceptible, but not really intense enough to make much of a dent on the fatigue of a long day, or help me focus on my studies.  Just goes to show that “there” doesn’t mean “enough.”


I think I felt the meager effects for about an hour and a half.  Not cool.


I like what you were going for, Magic Buzz guys, but this is not a final product to be satisfied with.  Take it back to the drawing board and start from scratch.  Work on the flavor, up the caffeine—and use caffeine from green tea; the hydrous stuff is just marvelous.  If you do decide to do that, contact me and let me know once you think you know you’ve got it down.  I’d be happy to revise my review at that time.

KEYWORDS: Magic Buzz energy shot review, all natural

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review for Tigers Blood


Somewhere around 100-120 mg


This is a gas station acquisition—you know, one of those shots you find alongside all the energy tablets, chlorophyll pills, male enhancement products, and all those other bizarre impulse buys you are all the more likely to buy after your brain has been turned to mush by 12 hours on the road.  Keep your eyes peeled, and for the love of Mike, stay away from the Shlong-a-Tron!


This bottle is, in a word, annoying.  I like that the fact that it looks so different from other shots, which makes it easy to spot among the multitude of 5 Hour clones, but the partiality ends there.  First off, it’s “Tiger’s Blood”, not “Tigers Blood”—there’s no reason or excuse for the retarded grammar here.  Second—the tiger illustrated on the bottle looks to be severely inbred…I don’t know that I want to drink inbred tiger blood.  Third, the rubber stopper’s a pain in the butt to get off.  I love the idea behind the shot, but as far as execution of the packaging is concerned, this is a colossal flop.


Actually doesn’t taste all that bad—not remarkable, mind you, but really not bad.  You into the flavor of strawberry syrup, only not nearly as thick?  That’s about what Tigers Blood (bugger that lack of apostrophe!) is.


Not too shabby—expect a decent, mid-level boost, sans jitters.  Excellent for a trip to the gym/recovery after that dang Amp you reviewed hours earlier that sent you crashing to the ground after it wore off.


Three hours, no crash.


If you can find it for cheap, this isn’t half bad.  Give it a whirl.

WEBSITE: None to be found…

KEYWORDS: Tigers Blood energy shot review

Review for SK Energy Extra Strength--Berry


Uncertain; probably 160-200 mg.


SK energy shots are by and large pretty scattered, but if you keep your eyes open and stop to look frequently you’re bound to come across it at some point.  I found mine at Walgreens—which seems to vary quite a bit in terms of its inventory from store to store, so I don’t know if that helps or not.  Look to spend $3+ regardless….


Street King energy shots have undergone a bit of a de-evolution in terms of their packaging.  While I do love the steel grey background and the stout 2.5 oz. bottle, I could do without 1) the boisterous red “EXTRA STRENGTH” bands, 2) the casual font used for the word “energy” and 3) the base yellow and blue color of the logo—the gold on the older shots just looked all that more striking.


You 50 Cent fans might be disappointed that at least in this respect, your favorite rapper/marketing mastermind has sold out—this is a 5 Hour Energy clone.  Now, I have to grant the company this—this is the best of the lot that I’ve had, being more convincingly berry and somewhat less bitter than most.  The company guarantees a refund if it is not the best energy shot you’ve ever had (just have to send back the bottle, which I won’t do because I’d lose the spot in my collection), so if you’re going by 5 Hour clone standards, that shouldn’t be a problem.


I don’t know what it is about green tea caffeine that makes it work so well—but I love it.  This shot, which is powered exclusively by the green tea stuff, does not deliver a jittery blast of energy—it is actually quite muted until you get yourself moving around, at which point something (don’t ask me for mechanisms; I have no idea) gets the caffeine working and you find yourself doing everything that you otherwise do (from going to the gym to cleaning up around the house) in an extremely facilitated fashion.


I got a pretty solid four hours of energy out of this shot, after which I did not crash at all—though I was quite ready for bed when the time came.


If you are 1) wealthy enough that you can buy these frequently without thinking about it, and 2) a 5 Hour Energy clone fanatic, this will probably be the best shot you will have ever had.  Otherwise…well, I have mixed feelings here.  On one hand, I don’t like the taste, and the price frankly blew.  On the other, the energy boost is nothing short of fantastic—I would seriously love to experience something along these lines more often.  I’m going to leave my input at that and let the consumer decide if the price and taste are worth the kick, as I myself am not certain that I would say it is.

As a final note, a portion of all profits from the sale of these shots goes to the United Nations World Food Programme.  If you’d like to donate more than the quarter that the company does per shot, follow the link below:

KEYWORDS: SK Energy Shot Berry review, Street King Berry energy shot review, green tea caffeine

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review for Mountain Dew Game Fuel--Citrus Cherry


121 mg


This may have something to do with the fact that I wasn’t aware that this product existed until a few of weeks ago (special thanks to Avery, gentleman and reviewer extraordinaire at for posting a review on it), but man alive, this thing was a bugger to find!  It took me weeks of stopping at gas stations before I finally found a place that still carried it, so however common it was during its promotional run, it’s basically gone now.  Fans need not worry, however; chances are it will be back soon enough.


(It occurs to me that you might have a better idea of what to look for if I had taken a picture of this thing while it was full.  I didn’t, so picture this thing filled with a violently fluorescent red-orange liquid.)

This is pretty typical Dew fare in terms of looks—obnoxious “MTN DEW” spelling, bright colors, faded sunburst background, gamer-oriented imagery (Master Chief from Halo 4 this time around), and a general XTREME look.  I get bored very quickly with this “United States of DEW” and “DEW or DEW not…nah, just DEW!” kind of fanfare, but I guess there are enough people out there who are suckers for it that Mountain Dew gets away with it.

On the plus side, I do think the raised “MD” on the gripping portion of the bottle is pretty cool.


Mountain Dew drinkers are a particular lot—they like their sweeteners high-fructose, their flavors artificial, enough preservatives to mummify you from the inside otu and a spectrum of dyes that will have you urinating a kaleidoscope of colors for weeks after the fact.

That said, if you’re a Dew drinker, then you’re probably going to love Game Fuel, which is essentially Dew with 30 mg more caffeine/bottle.  I do like the cherry citrus flavor, but I had only a few sips to enjoy it before the onslaught of fructose overwhelmed me and all but made me sick to my stomach.  Like I said, Dew drinkers will probably love it and take it down by the gallon, but I would love to have seen 1) a LOT less sugar (and ideally, use sucrose rather than fructose), and some sour to the mix to balance out the excessive sweetness.

Now, I did surprise myself recently by buying a regular Mountain Dew (Review the Dew energy rant coming soon) and actually enjoying it—but it was on ice, which might have had some effect on my perception of the sweetness.  Maybe if I get the chance, I will buy another bottle of this and see if ice helps any.


So…30 mg more caffeine than regular Dew!  When I found out a product like this actually existed, I actually found myself excited at the prospect.  Now…how does it deliver?

Honestly, not all that much more than the regular stuff.  It makes a difference to be sure, but the little bit of extra buzz is countered by the general ick I felt after downing 77 g of fructose in that 20 freaking oz. bottle.  Now…from what I’ve seen, most of this drink’s target demographic will probably take down an average of three or four of these at a time (though some might not be so sparingsee Figure 2 to the right), which would probably deliver a decent buzz…assuming their pancreas survives the experience.


Three hours, I think, with plenty of crash to spare.


I guess the answer to the question of whether I recommend this could be best answered with the counterinquiry “are you a Mountain Dew fanatic?”  If so, then this is the bona fide nectar of the gods, delivering all the sickeningly sweet…goodness (?) of Mountain Dew plus some additional caffeine.  If not…probably best to shy away from this one.


KEYWORDS: Mountain Dew Game Fuel review, Mountain Dew Halo 4

Zen Force Extra Strength--Peach/Mango


I would say approximately 200 mg if I were to guess, but who knows?


Most common at smaller grocery chains in Idaho and Utah—so for me, getting this is a cinch.  Everyone else (from what I’ve been able to tell) must order it online.


I lauded the packaging of the original strength bottles for the vibrant colors and for its business-like appearance, with no gimmicks or attention whoring elements to be found.  This extra strength bottle takes that latter attribute to the next level, which notwithstanding its less eye-catching black background manages to communicate to the consumer that it’s reasonably serious about what it does, and while it’s not (spoiler alert) a supremely potent shot, it still earns the regard it instills upon inspection.


Looking over the bottle as I was about to pour the contents into a shot glass with ice, I got kind of excited—the corresponding flavor in its original strength was simply called “Peach/Mango” while this one is called “Great Tasting Peach/Mango” (emphasis added), and while I wasn’t sure why they would hold out on the flavor until the extra strength shot, I was excited for it!  Turns out, though, that this wasn’t actually the case—not that this shot tastes particularly bad, but it has acquired some of the bitterness that comes with the extra strength territory…I guess you can only add so many energy-promoting ingredients before that becomes inevitable.  But other than that, it tastes just like the original—just make sure you shake it, so you don’t get a huge swallow of bitterness at the end.  Better to taste a bit throughout.


As per the instructions on the bottle, I drank this a half-hour before I went to the gym.  I remember feeling the energizing effect coming more quickly than the original strength shots, but other than that, I didn’t notice a huge difference in intensity.  Shrugging, I got dressed and headed to the gym.

Then I freaking tore my workout to bits.

This is the sort of thing that’s pretty hard to describe.  I didn’t feel particularly wired, but I broke my personal record on Jacob’s Ladder for distance covered, lifted every weight with greater ease than I had previously, and then after the fact was able to comfortably jog back to the locker room and head home, where I was able to spend the rest of the day in a state of high productivity, cleaning the house and getting the laundry done in a most time-efficient manner.

Like I said, this isn’t a remarkably intense shot, but in terms of sheer functionality, it is very nearly unmatched.


Five very solid hours passed before the effects gently wore off without a crash.


If the original strength shots work for you, go ahead and go with those—the less caffeine it takes to get the job done, the better.  But if you find that they fall a bit short, there’s always Zen Force Extra Strength and it will almost certainly do the job for you.

KEYWORDS: Zen Force Extra Strength Energy Shot review

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review for Zen Force--Peach/Mango


I actually don’t know; my guess is about 100-120 mg, though I will say (to make sure I don’t lose your attention after guessing a low caffeine content) that whatever the dosage, it has to be enough to perform very well in the kick department.


Smaller grocery chains in Idaho and Utah carry it more than anywhere else (apparently it’s also being sold in Hawaii), though if you don’t live there, it’s available for purchase online, and is fairly inexpensive.


This shot has everything going for it that the original Tropical Berry shot did as far as looks are concerned—simple, but bold and business-like—only thing I don’t like as much is the background color.  I prefer the blood red to the creamy tomato soup red-orange in the background here, but it’s still not a deal-breaker.


This is another shot I’d had previously, and hadn’t been terribly pleased with—the first half of the bottle was agreeable enough, tasting a great deal like those gummy peach rings you can find in the candy isle of just about any store, but soon yielded to some unfortunate medicinal bitterness that I disliked more than I had liked the peach ring flavor.  Trying it a second time over ice, I found it to be much more agreeable—the medicinal bitterness that had dominated the room-temperature bottle was only detectible at the finish, and I actually found myself enjoying the shot (nothing to floor me, but still good enough to be alright with).


In terms of kick, this wasn’t any different than the original tropical berry flavor—it wasn’t immense or formidable, but it did make my trip to the gym as easy as anything else I’ve had, and what’s more, it didn’t for a second feel jittery or overcaffeinated or wrung out—just alert and with a good, very natural-feeling level of energy.


It’s almost always a pity when one’s caffeine fix is over—one second you’re flying high, next you’ve crashed and feel like a burning mass of wreckage scattered over an empty field.  But…this doesn’t happen here.  The natural-feeling energy level lasts a full five hours, and like one’s natural energy it doesn’t send you crashing to the earth after the fact—just ready to sleep like a normal, non-caffeine addict.


As long as you drink this cold, the flavor’s not bad; but regardless of how you drink it you’d be hard-pressed to find a more well rounded shot.  As with the tropical berry flavor I’m making this a staple for my trips to the gym, and wholeheartedly recommend you try it for yourself.

If applicable to you, note that this also makes for an excellent way to wean yourself off of caffeine if you are an an addict.

KEYWORDS: Zen Force Peach Mango energy shot review, low carb, low calorie, diet, all-natural caffeine, green tea energy

Review for Zen Force--Tropical Mixed Berry

It’s not everyday that one runs into the founder of an energy product company, but that’s exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks back when I went to the local Broulim’s one night to get a few things for dinner.  I caught Jasen Lavoie just as he was taking down his display near the exit, and after shooting the breeze for a bit (we’re both from New England and would rather not be living out West, where it’s all desert-y, tree-less and far less humid than we would like) he was kind enough to provide me with samples of each of his products.

What I didn’t tell him was that I am the administrator of this site and the samples he so generously gave me would become subject to public review—which wasn’t the most honest thing in the world, I’ll admit.  Fortunately, it works out very well for him, as the shots performed very nicely indeed….


Probably not the highest in the world—my guess is around 100-120 mg.  Nice thing though is that it’s caffeine from green tea, which at least feels different when I drink it vs. the anhydrous stuff most drinks have.


Emerging gradually—easy enough to find here in small-town Idaho, but you may have to wait a while if you live outside of Idaho, Utah, or Hawaii (!).


The first thing I really have to say about this shot is that it looks freaking cool.  I love the tall bottle, I love the bold shade of red, and I love the clean, focused appearance.  I spotted this from about 50 feet away, and was almost immediately drawn in.  Kudos for the packaging.


I’ve had the chance to try Zen Force before (back when it was called Zenergy), and I honestly thought it tasted okay, though I couldn’t help but think that it would have tasted even nicer on ice.  Well, with the sample Mr. Lavoie provided, I decided to do just that—I stuck half an ice cube in a shot glass and poured this over it.  Once it had a chance to chill, I took a swig, and can confirm that if you are able to chill this, it tastes a little bit better and doesn’t have much of a medicinal aftertaste.  Either cold or warm, though, this tastes light years better than most shots—kind of like liquid pina colada lifesavers.


As far as intensity is concerned, this isn’t one of the more potent ones I’ve had—but that’s okay.  This shot provides functional energy, and I’m hard-pressed to think of one I’ve liked having more before my morning workout than this one (Mr. Lavoie emphasized that this is the sort of thing to take before undertaking intense physical activity, a point I decided to put to the test).  I don’t think I go easy on myself when I exercise—I go 30 minutes on Jacob’s Ladder, and then spend about an hour on the weights.  With this shot, all of that seemed just that much easier—when I left the gym, I found that I wasn’t nearly as worn out as I usually was.  So if only for that, this would be my go-to shot for my daily trips to the gym.  But, there is more.


For having as little caffeine as I suspect this has, I sure felt great for quite a while—about five hours, to be exact.  And the thing is, once the effects of the energy blend wore off, not only was there no crash, but I felt light years better than I usually do after the caffeine wears off—not in the least worn or ragged, which leads me to believe that this is probably far easier on the system than most energy products.


I think the taste still leaves something to be desired, as I wouldn’t really go back to it for the flavor, but I freaking love the functionality of this shot—I love smoothness of the boost, I love how enabled I felt but not at the expense of my health/energy levels, and I love how dang long this lasted—and did I mention these are only 99 cents where there sold?  As far as function is concerned, you’d have to be insane not to go with one of these shots.  I strongly recommend you give them a try if you can find them nearby, as this is a rare sort of company that provides a great product and really deserves to thrive.

KEYWORDS: Zen Force Tropical Berry energy shot review, zero carbs, zero calories, zero sugar, diet, all natural caffeine

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review for Spike Hardcore All-Day Energy

I have mixed feelings on how much I freaking love this energy shot.

On one hand, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve enjoyed a rush quite like I enjoyed this.  It’s exceptionally intense, exceptionally long-lived, and I was having a blast for every freaking second of the 12 hours I was experiencing it.  My joyful abandon was only muted by the realization that I was doing something a bit reckless—this is absolutely not a shot for the casual consumer; in fact, I can think of only a few groups of people for whom I actually would recommend this.

More below….


350 mg


Only available at 7-Eleven.


Spike proudly makes some of the most potent energy products on the market, and you can tell that just by looking at them—dark colors warning labels, jagged spikes…it’s enough that it even gives seasoned caffeine critics like the EDjunkie and Big Red Boots pause.  I’ve got to give it props for being so dang effective, and for looking like something that could prove dangerous to the unsuspecting consumer—seriously, they need to check driver’s licenses for this sort of thing!


This one really surprised me—what are the odds that I had not one, not two, but three winning shots sitting in my closet as I was contemplating ceasing reviewing them?  This is pretty good—it’s not as harsh as one would suspect, given the plethora of the energy ingredients, and on top of that, the red apple/strawberry flavors actually made me wonder if Spike actually did care about how their supplements taste, which is something I’ve doubted in the past.  It’s good enough that upon the first sip the idea of drinking half and saving the rest for later (as is recommended) seems kind of laughable (how are you supposed to resist downing the whole four ounces?), which is where things get very, very interesting.



This…this is a real energy shot.  This is the sort of thing that the likes of 5 Hour Energy and all its knockoffs should be ashamed to share the shelves with; ever since I’ve tried this I can’t help but snort every time I pass them in stores.  If you want a raw, almost unbelievable rush of energy from your shots and all others have fallen short, this might be the way to go—but beware; if you’re just being cocky this will have you strung up by your balls before you know it.


12 hours.  Do I really need to say anymore?  If so, then let me say that I felt the full effects for about seven hours, a only slightly more subdued rush for the three hours after that, and an above average one for the final two, after which there was no crash.


Spike Hardcore All-Day Energy Shot has successfully secured itself a place as one of my all-time favorite energy products, but even I’m smart enough to use extremely sparingly, and then only in the event of absolute need—I mean, probably need this kind of energy for this long only a couple of times a year.  I’m going to abstain from concretely recommending/not recommending it, and let that speak for itself.


KEYWORDS: Spike Hardcore All-Day Energy Shot review, zero carb, zero calorie, zero sugar

Review for Liquid Nitro Lean Energy Shooter


200 mg


Big at Circle K’s in Washington (at least), but elsewhere it’s pretty hard to come by.


Not much to say here that wasn’t stated in my review of the original Liquid Nitro Energy Shooter—I like the simple, old-school Liquid Nitro design and I like the tall, 3 oz. bottle; the only thing I would do is add the pictures of the fruits from the other energy shot—might tone down the red a bit and make it look nicer.


So turns out that in terms of flavor, this is exactly the same as Liquid Nitro Energy Shooter.  Does this bother me?  No.  I was glad to have the chance to partake once again of the flavor that opened my eyes to the fact that not only do energy shots not have to taste like the medicine cabinet threw up into the berry flavoring, but can taste really, really, really delicious—the only way to describe this shot is as ‘three full ounces of melon and berry deliciousness’…and from there, I can only say you must try it for yourself.


Turns out that as far as kick is concerned, this is also exactly the same as the original—a beautiful, non-jittery blast of energy that will blow you out of your sleepy stupor and have you buzzing joyfully about whatever it is you need to get done.


Four hours, no crash!


So now that I’ve reviewed this shot, you’re probably wondering: how is this any different from the original?  Well, it has to do with the “lean” part more than anything else.  See, after drinking it, I wondered the same thing.  I looked over the ingredients to find that it contained exactly the same fruits, and the nutrition facts were all the same; turns out that this shot contains Super CitriMax and ChromeMate, which are supposed to decrease appetite, decrease fat production, etc.  I don’t think I noticed any of the effects (not surprising, since I only had one), but I can tell you that this shot is good enough to be made a staple in any energy junkie’s regimen; if you find that the extra weight controlling ingredients work for you, then so much the better!

KEYWORDS: Liquid Nitro Lean Energy Shooter review, low carb, low sugar, diet
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