Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review for Victory Rebound--Tea & Lemonade


CAFFEINE CONTENT

Probably 160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—6

Not exceptionally common, but like the other Victory beverages, this one is probably going to be making lots of headway very quickly.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—6

More exciting than either the original or fruit punch thanks to the yellow, but still extremely generic.  Additional points off for the cheesy 99 cent stamp and failing to list the caffeine content.

TASTE—3

Seems that Rockstar Recovery—Energy/Tea/Lemonade was only the beginning of energy drink companies trying to get a cut of the profit Monster’s raking in from their original Rehab beverage by coming up with their own take (mind that I loved Rockstar’s version)—the Caffeine King reviewed two recently (put out by Red Rain and Gazzu), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Victory came up with their own take.  And true to the Victory trend, the flavor is crap.

Ever try paying for something with green Monopoly money as a kid, thinking your scheme was oh so clever and that nobody was going to catch on?  Somehow, I can’t help but feel that the same strategy was adapted and implemented by Victory, except rather than paying with green paper they’re throwing a couple of lackluster artificial flavors in with an energy blend and passing it off as a Monster Rehab alternative.

Who did they think they were going to fool?  Did they really think that Rehab drinkers, many of whom are absolute fanatics, would not be able to tell the difference between this piss-poor rip-off and their beloved beverage of choice?  In any case, this is a pretty pitiful drink as far as flavor is concerned, and an excellent reason to avoid the drink altogether.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8

It’s a pity the drink tastes so mediocre, because the kick is excellent—as intense as any Monster, and light years smoother than most.  D*** you, Victory!

KICK (DURATION)—9

Four hours, no crash.

THE DRINK OVERALL—6.67

Well, the kick is great, but in terms of flavor it falls so far short of the mark—no, scratch that.  This doesn’t just fall short of the mark.  It wasn’t even aiming at the mark.  It doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as the mark.  Any ambiguity as to whether I think you should drink this or not?  Good.

Now, the silver lining in all this is that I have one final Victory beverage to review, and it really isn’t half bad.


KEYWORDS: Victory Rebound Tea & Lemonade energy drink review, 5 calories per serving, 10 calories per can, low calorie, low sugar, diet

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review for Coyote--Mango


CAFFEINE CONTENT

About 160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—N/A

Again, I got these as samples, so again—no idea.  I know the company is based out of Indiana, so if you’re dying to try these you could make the trip there….

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I would say “no need to go over this again,” but this is my last chance to come up with something witty to say about the coyote on the can—something I wouldn’t care so much if it weren’t for the fact that I think that the bad*** coyote is something very befitting of an energy drink, in particular one that looks like the subject of the film The Hound of the Baskervilles 2250 A.D.  Cool design aside, this hits the right notes with plenty of Spanish text and the caffeine content listed.

TASTE—8.5

Ever had a mango soda?...me neither, actually.  This is about as good as I imagine them getting, however.  While the sweetness of these drinks (courtesy of cane sugar rather than HFCS) seemed a bit out of place with the Jamaica and Tamarindo flavors, it actually seems rather appropriate here (ever had a good, juicy mango?), and while it’s not quite a match for the real fruit, it tastes enough like it that I’d be more than happy to make these an occasional indulgence if they became available nearby.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8

Why only occasional?  Honestly, because of the sugar content.  I’m glad they elected to use sucrose as the sweetener rather than fructose, but it still makes for a really jittery ride unless you’re planning on burning it all off right after the fact….

KICK (DURATION)—8

…Which I honestly recommend, because otherwise you’ll crash hard after the three and a half hours of sugar-fueled energy pass.  As I’ve said, though, burn it off, and you’ll be crash free!

THE DRINK OVERALL—8.17

I have to hand it to Coyote for putting effort into their beverages—while most new companies are contenting themselves with Red Bull clones and crap fruit punch, Coyote has put out a line of three delicious flavors (with more on the way, hopefully) which stay true to their Latin inspiration and provide a decent boost in the process.  I’d love to see this company go somewhere, so buy up!


KEYWORDS: Coyote Mango energy drink review, sabor Latino, sabor verdadero, azucar de cana

Review for Coyote--Tamarindo


CAFFEINE CONTENT

About 160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—N/A

I would guess that since this is a new drink from a smaller company, it would be extremely difficult to find—but I don’t know.  Got mine in the mail.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I noted in my last review of one of Coyote’s products that I very much appreciate the graphic that sits front and center on the can, likening it to “the love child of a wolf and Optimus Prime,” though now I think it would be equally appropriate to say that it looks like the Chihuahua upon which Chuck Norris performed orthopedic surgery.  In any event, it is like the iconic Monster Energy M or the snake eye gracing Venom Energy drinks in that it fits the energy mold perfectly and would make a handsome addition to any gas station’s lineup.

TASTE—8

You ever have a tamarind soda?  Then you more or less know what to expect here.  This is essentially a supercharged version of that drink, with a flavor that’s perhaps a bit sweeter than most and not so heavy on the tamarind or the carbonation.  In this I found it to be a hair unbalanced; next to the tamarind sodas I like I found it kind of lacking.  This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it; I found the tamarind flavor appropriately Central American in its execution and it’s something I would buy if it became available nearby, but I do have to be honest in saying it isn’t one of the best I’ve had.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8

You want a rush?  This will give you a rush, one of the most jittery I’ve had in a long time (courtesy of the 200-ish calories worth of cane sugar).  If that’s how you like your drinks, then Coyote certainly won’t let you down.  Personally, I prefer to slug drinks like this down before the gym so I don’t have to feel too guilty.

KICK (DURATION)—8

In taking this down before the gym, you not only burn off the calories (assuming you’re doing intense enough exercise), but you also avoid the crash that awaits you at the end of the three and a half hours.  I’ve had these both immediately before the gym and several hours before, and I can say the former is definitely preferable.

THE DRINK OVERALL—8

While it’s not anything I’d call life changing, Coyote—Tamarindo is still a pretty solid beverage, and one that I could see myself trying again in the future if it became available nearby.


KEYWORDS: Coyote Tamarindo energy drink review, sabor latino, sabor verdadero, azucar de cana

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review for Coyote--Jamaica


CAFFEINE CONTENT

Not totally certain; my guess is between 160 and 200 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—N/A

I got these as samples—so I’m not sure.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I really like it when I have reason to believe that a company has put some thought into their packaging, (as opposed to contenting themselves with slapping some random design on the front, i.e. Rip It)—I take it as a sign that they’re not just in the game for the money, and actually care about putting out a decent beverage.  Given the name of the company it makes sense that an image of a coyote would be included, but to put one there that looks like the love child of a wolf and Optimus Prime…that’s a nice touch.  Functionally all the ducks are in a row also—caffeine content included, Spanish/English labels to make sure that the drink’s Latino target demographic knows what they’re getting into, etc.

TASTE—9

When I was in Guatemala, I fell in love with a beverage called rosa de Jamaica—hibiscus tea, for those of you non-Spanish speakers.  I loved its decided tartness, I loved the subtle earthiness, and I loved the understated berry-ness (no berries in there, but cranberry is the closest flavor I can compare it to).  I loved it so much that I would brew myself about a quart of it at night, knowing full well that I would be up at least twice during the night to take a leak, but not caring as long as I had my hibiscus deliciousness.  Naturally, I became very excited at the prospect of a drink that combined 1) one of my all-time favorite beverages, and 2) caffeine—one of my other favorite things.  This being said, you know that I am not bs-ing when I tell you that this is a very delicious beverage, because I would be ripping it to bits if it weren’t.  It’s like a very sweet hibiscus soda more than anything else—and I do think it loses a bit of its dimension in the heavy sweetness, but all in all, it’s still very pleasant and well worth one’s consideration if you can find it locally.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8

In terms of energy, you can expect a very jittery, sugar-fueled rush, comparable to some of Rockstar’s beverages.  This is definitely the sort of drink that I would recommend drinking before embarking on some strenuous physical activity (the gym or heavy yard work), simply because I don’t like the feeling of the sugar percolating into my system (though I very much appreciate it was cane sugar vs. high-fructose corn syrup) and prefer to burn it off.

KICK (DURATION)—8

Three and a half hours of energy can be expected, after which you will experience a noteworthy crash—unless, I found, unless you do go to the gym right after the fact and burn off all 200 calories through vigorous cardio.

THE DRINK OVERALL—8.33

Even if it doesn’t deliver the most exciting burst of energy I’ve ever experienced, the unique flavor is a winner, and earns this drink an enthusiastic recommendation over the sugary rank and file.


KEYWORDS: Coyote Jamaica energy drink review, sabor latino, sabor verdadero, azucar de cana, realmente es una bebida deliciosa, y lo recomiendo mucho

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review for Monster Rehab--Pink Lemonade


CAFFEINE CONTENT

160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—8

Being a new item, this is a challenge to find; assuming it is a success I would guess that future readers will be able to come by it very easily.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—7

“Pink” and “Rehab format” are not the first things that come to my mind when asked to come up with a winning can design.  It’s not that the combination is bad—it’s just that they don’t really do each other justice.  Pink belongs on the likes of Rockstar Pink alongside a straw, or gracing a can of Lighter Spider—Widow Maker.  The Monster Rehab layout is at its finest with a vivid dark orange, bringing out the black “M” and giving its background the appearance of smoldering embers.  Together…they’re just okay.

TASTE—8

From what I understand, pink lemonade is essentially just colored lemonade, with its trademark hue coming from a variety of sources, ranging from raspberry to artificial dye.  I don’t know what Monster used to make theirs, but the result is just okay.  It’s got the earthy deliciousness I associate with any Monster beverage, highlighted excellently by the taste of the lemons, but alongside that, you get a very peculiar aspect to the flavor that I’m not quite fond of—the best way I can describe it is “fake-tasting,” kind of like they took a spoonful of Country Time pink lemonade powder and dumped it in there.  Delicious as the earthy lemon flavor is, I have a hard time getting around that synthetic pink lemonade flavor they add to it, and I can’t honestly think of a reason why I would buy this above the excellent original Rehab beverage.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8

Typical of a Monster Rehab, you get a decent, wide-eyed buzz characterized by an absence of jitters.  If you’ve had a Rehab before, then you know exactly what I’m talking about; if not then I’ll just finish by saying it’s worth the experience—though from a different Rehab beverage.

KICK (DURATION)—8

Three and a half hours, no crash—which will suffice for most day-to-day situations.

THE DRINK OVERALL—8

Monster Rehab—Pink Lemonade is an alright beverage, but is still by and large a needless addition to the Rehab line.  It performs as well as any of them, but is more average in terms of its pleasantness—and after three of the previous five have landed themselves spots as some of my all-time favorite energy drinks, “average” just doesn’t cut it.  Might be worth one try, but it’s still not something I think I’ll be revisiting in the future.


KEYWORDS: Monster Rehab Pink Lemonade energy drink review

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review for NOS Zero


CAFFEINE CONTENT

…160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—5

NOS Zero is essentially just a replacement for NOS Sugar Free, which was never as popular as any of the others.  One or two stores are bound to have it nearby, but you might have to make a couple of stops before you can get your hands on it.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I really do love the new can NOS is releasing their zero calorie beverage in—enough that the one I bought has been sitting on my desk, rinsed and clean, serving as a decoration for the last couple of days.  The old can was sort of a gold standard in bland—lots of bare aluminum and watered-down text.  Gone now is the silver of the bare can, replaced by an attractive mid-grey highlighted excellently by nuances of orange and black.  Particularly noteworthy is the quadrate orange “ZERO” placed cleverly within the logo proper, which gives it an edge lacked by the NOS Sugar Free (which contented itself simply with the words “sugar free” in black, bland lettering).  All in all, this can was an excellent move on NOS’s part, and one sure to revive interest in the beverage…now I only wish I could say said interest was completely deserved.

TASTE—9

NOS Zero is (so far as I can tell) the exact same beverage flavorwise as NOS Sugar Free—which I consider equal to the original NOS in terms of agreeability (notwithstanding a slightly watery texture that I didn’t appreciate all that much).  Essentially, it tastes like a soda made of passion fruit and guaranĂ¡—and if that sort of thing appeals to you, I can all but assure you that you will love NOS Zero.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8

Here is where things go terribly, terribly wrong with NOS Zero.  I’ve always loved the idea behind NOS—you would be hard-pressed to find something so caffeinated for so cheap so easily as NOS, which has always made it kind of a wonder beverage in my book.

NOS committed its first offense by discontinuing the old version of their bottled beverage, which sported a whopping 359 mg of caffeine, with a new version containing the (for NOS) standard 260 mg—so you got the same kick as a can, but for more money and with more HFCS.  I could have overlooked that (so far as I’m aware the bottles aren’t even available anymore, so the “new formulation” therein is kind of a moot point) if they did not now have this atrocity to answer for—NOS with only 160 mg of caffeine per can.

What were they thinking?  They have taken what was once a great idea and a solid beverage and have drained the very essence out of it.  Sure, it still tastes very good—but there are plenty of beverages out there with roughly the same caffeine content that taste even better—if I want a boost that’s on the high end of average, I will buy myself a Monster Rehab—Rojo Tea or Monster Rehab—Orangeade over this any day, no contest.

I assume that NOS’s rationale behind this is to expand its appeal to more caffeine-sensitive crowds and in so doing boost their revenue—but they have sold their souls to do it.  What’s the point of having a purebred if you’re just going to neuter it?

KICK (DURATION)—8

Three and a half hours.  No crash, but no enthusiasm here either.

THE DRINK OVERALL—8.33

NOS Sugar Free might have been packaged bland, but in terms of functionality it is still head and shoulders above this new version, which is essentially a sheep in wolf’s clothing (though admittedly a tasty one).  Take your beverage back, NOS, and don’t you dare show yourself again until you’re bringing Zero back with 260 mg of caffeine.

WEBSITE: drinknos.com

KEYWORDS: NOS Zero energy drink review, zero calories, zero carbs, zero sugar, diet
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