Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review for Hydrive Energy--Antioxidant


CAFFEINE CONTENT

160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

Last time I have to say this: easy to get online, very difficult to find in the traditional fashion.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

Last time I have to say this also—I like these bottles; they effectively grab and you’re your attention without being obnoxious, and the slim profile is easy on the hands.

TASTE—8

Given their abundance, it’s understandable that red/triple/wild berry flavors get very tiring after a while—and that finding a good one is all the more exciting for the fact.  Having tried all but the electrolyte formula (my brother couldn’t find that one), a common theme in flavoring has emerged; Hydrive takes flavors that are typically over sweetened and juvenile and tweaks them to appeal to a more mature palate, resulting in an energy beverage that is both refreshing and easy on the stomach.  This antioxidant formula is no exception—you’ve got your raspberry, your strawberry, with maybe a hint of cranberry; each is a bit on the synthetic side but appealing nonetheless, and is just sweet enough to be able to enjoy it.

KICK (INTENSITY)—7

As do all Hydrive beverages with the standard 160 mg of caffeine, this offering’s boost is less than ideal.  If you’re only moderately tired this should help some, but if you’re really dead on your feet you’ll want to go with something more potent.

KICK (DURATION)—7

Three hours, no crash.

THE SHOT OVERALL—7.33

This tastes just fine, but I confess disappointment with its efficacy.  As I indicated in a previous review—I don’t remember which—at some later point, if I manage to find these again, I might drink two in one go, and will report on that then.  Until that time, however, you’re best sticking with Hydrive’s Extra Power formula—or something else altogether.


KEYWORDS: Hydrive Antioxidant energy drink review, low calorie, low sugar, hydration energy drink, thirst-quenching energy

Review for Hydrive Energy Extra Power--Blue Raspberry


CAFFEINE CONTENT

195 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

Individual bottles for retail are scarce; your best bet if interested is to buy them in 12-packs online.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I’m reaching the point where I feel bad repeating myself like this—it’s dreadfully monotonous to write and probably feels the same way reading it time and time again.  But…in case this is the first Hydrive review you’ve read: the labels on these are nice—straightforward, uncluttered, not boisterous.  The bottles are perfect for gripping, and are comfortable on the go, resting, whenever.  The only thing I have to say against this one in particular is that I’m not wild about this shade of blue with black—but that’s just me being nitpicky.

TASTE—8

The flavor profile is similar to that of most blue raspberry drinks (and I know you’ve all had them), though unlike those others it is vastly less sweet—which proves advantageous, as I have trouble getting most of those down (not so with my son, who delights in an occasional bottle of Hog Wash)—and works nicely for quenching one’s thirst.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8.5

After a number of less-than-stellar experiences with the other Hydrive beverages, it was nice to be reminded that there are beverages in the line that manage to excel in terms of performance.  If you like the idea of Hydrive (thirst-quenching, etc.) and are looking for a boost—meaning something that will really wake you up and make it so you can actually get something done, regardless of how tired you are beforehand—then you’re going to have to go with one of these extra power beverages.

KICK (DURATION)—9

Four hours, no crash.

THE SHOT OVERALL—8.5

I prefer the black cherry flavor, but if you’re thirsty and want a legitimate kick this will work just fine.


KEYWORDS: Hydrive Extra Strength Blue Raspberry energy drink review, low calorie, low sugar, hydration energy drink, thirst-quenching energy

Review for Hydrive Energy--Recovery


If you’re reading this review with the intent of finding out whether this drink works as a hangover recovery product, I’m going to tell you right off the bat that I won’t be reviewing it as such, but fortunately for you, your head, your stomach, and everything else, Big Red Boots of possessedbycaffeine.com has, and reported complete recovery.  If interested, you can get the full review here.  I don’t drink and don’t ever plan on drinking, and that being the case I never plan on having a hangover, and have no need for hangover recovery products.  I do, however, frequently find myself in need of something caffeinated, and with be reviewing this as a beverage that gives me just that.

CAFFEINE CONTENT

160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

Scattered, scattered, scattered.  If looking for a lone bottle I’d say you’re just about out of luck, though I would surmise that individuals looking into this for its hangover recovery properties are going to be more open to the suggestion of purchasing it in bulk from Amazon…so the difficulty of finding it the old-fashioned way doesn’t really matter.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

This has all the things I like about the other Hydrive bottles (clean design and nice-to-grip bottle), plus the added awesomeness of purple.  What more is there to say?

TASTE—8

The flavor profile of this one reminded me of grape Kool-Aid—though mercifully far less sweet and boisterous.  It’s still plenty full-flavored, even without the glycemic holocaust of all Kool-Aid’s sugar, and something I’d be just fine drinking again.  Oh…and it does a decent job of quenching your thirst.  Got to remember to put that out there.

KICK (INTENSITY)—7

Like Hydrive Extra Power—Black Cherry, I drank this Recovery formula in a time of great need.  My day had entailed helping a stranger change a flat tire only to find that their “spare” didn’t fit, removing an entire roomful of paneling as the beginnings of a remodeling project, and after all that making sure my 3-year-old son was fed and happy.  By the time late afternoon rolled around and the hour allotted for my run drew near, I knew I was in trouble unless I had some help.  As indicated, I don’t drink, but I figured that this would be an appropriate test for Hydrive’s recovery capacity.

Turns out it worked alright.  I wouldn’t say that I was overly energized, but I no longer felt drained, lethargic, and foggy, and was able to proceed with my 50-minute run without difficulty.  As I’ve said in previous Hydrive reviews—I generally prefer something more powerful, but in this instance, it did the job and I really have no room to complain.

KICK (DURATION)—7

Three hours no crash.

THE DRINK OVERALL—7.34

Is this a stupendous energy product?  No.  Did it work in my case?  Yes.  Do I recommend it?  Sure.


KEYWORDS: Hydrive Recovery energy drink review, low calorie, low sugar, hydration energy drink, thirst-quenching energy

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review for Hydrive Energy--Vitamin


CAFFEINE CONTENT

160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

I travel the northwest quite frequently and extensively, and I’ve never actually encountered this.  For me it took a sibling who travels weekly for a living to find them, so unless you know of a place nearby that sells them, you’re quite out of luck.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

Much like the others, I appreciate the clean design and slim, easy-to-grasp bottle, and like the others this holds a sort of appeal that is unique; in this case it looks to me like the sort of breakfast drink I’d grab if I woke up particularly thirsty.

TASTE—9

On top of looking like a breakfast drink, this tastes like a breakfast drink—and a particularly delicious one.  The advertised “citrus blast” consists of the flavors of mandarin oranges, tangerines, and maybe even some peach and mango—though those last two aren’t citrus fruits, they add appreciable dimension to the drink and have certainly earned their place in it.

KICK (INTENSITY)—7

I’m starting to wish that all of Hydrive’s beverages were as caffeinated as their Extra Power offerings; I’m really not all that impressed with the efficacy of the others.  This made for a decent mid-afternoon pick-me-up, but the appreciably functional period that I really savor in an energy drink lasted only about an hour—not enough time to get everything I need to get done taken care of by a long shot.  The other two hours I was awake enough, but still kind of dragging my feet.

As for the “vitamin” part of the formula—you get 200% the recommended daily value of your B vitamins, some calcium, and…25% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A.  Don’t look for much of a difference in terms of your boost, but if you find you’re seeing better at night when you’re drinking these, you might need to work some carrots into your diet.

KICK (DURATION)—7

Three hours.  No crash was experienced, but tired as I was it was really easy to tell when this had worn off.

THE DRINK OVERALL—7.67

Tastes pretty dang good, but works just alright.  If this ever pops up nearby I think I’ll drink two and report back on the difference, because I don’t think a single bottle is really good enough for much.


KEYWORDS: Hydrive Vitamin energy drink review, low calorie, low sugar, hydration energy drink, thirst-quenching energy

Review for Hydrive Energy--Focus


CAFFEINE CONTENT

160 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

If you’re looking to buy individual bottles you’re basically out of luck—while they did sell a variety pack on the Hydrive website back in the day (i.e. about six months ago), they have shifted their sales section to Amazon and no longer do so now.  Best bet in terms of getting one’s hand on it is to take the gamble and buy a 12 pack online.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I like this bottle about as much as I liked the previously reviewed Extra Power bottle, just in different ways.  I still like the clean, uncluttered label, the slim bottle, and the listed caffeine content; the what’s different here is that the mellow shades of pink have the effect of making me think “hydration”—and let’s face it, when you’re really thirsty, that’s never a bad thing…unless something really hypertonic gives you that same idea falsely, which is not the case here.

TASTE—6

I didn’t really like this one.  That doesn’t bother me so much as the fact that I’m having such a hard time figuring out why.  I don’t think it’s something that I would really have all that much trouble drinking, but at the same time, it’s not something I’d enjoy for the taste alone.  I think it’s the execution of the strawberry and kiwi flavors; I almost wonder if they weren’t into emphasizing nuances of the flavors, and opted to emphasize all the wrong ones…that’s as close as I can come to explaining it.  Bottom line is that it wasn’t my favorite.

KICK (INTENSITY)—7

I elected to test this focus formula Hydrive beverage on a morning where I was going to three straight hours of afternoon meetings in which I generally had a hard time paying attention the whole time—on top of seeing how it would do at keeping me awake during a particularly sluggish time of day for me, I would be able to see how…well, focused I was.  Turns out that it performed just alright in the former category (it was a lot more anemic than I would expect, given the performance of the Extra Power formula), and in the latter it didn’t make an appreciable difference at all.  My thoughts are this—if you drink two, I imagine you’ll get a really substantial, invigorating boost, but if you’re looking for focus, you’re really out of luck—though I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the fact that the ingredients unique to this formula are panax ginseng extract and guarana extract.  Hardly anything special.

KICK (DURATION)—7

Three hours with no crash

THE SHOT OVERALL—6.67

Generally, I wasn’t terribly impressed with this one.  It didn’t taste all that great and the kick wasn’t nearly what it should be.  Hopefully the rest of the line does a little better, otherwise I’m going to have to recommend you stick with the high-caffeine formulas….


KEYWORDS: Hydrive Focus energy drink review, low calorie, low sugar, hydration energy drink, thirst-quenching energy

Review for Hydrive Energy Extra Power--Black Cherry


CAFFEINE CONTENT

195 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

I’ve never actually seen these anywhere…you know what?  Scratch that.  I did see it once at a gas station, but when I returned it was gone, and I never did see it there again.  My younger brother was, however, kind enough to pick me up the entire (save one) line when he came across it at a random stop in his line of work.  Thanks again, Burrhead.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

I don’t really have anything bad to say here.  The label’s clean and sharp, the slim 16 oz. bottle’s easy on the grip, and the deep red liquid is most appealing, the caffeine content listed…it’s a good bottle.

TASTE—9

As mentioned in my review of Mio’s Black Cherry energy additive, I’m not generally a fan of cherry stuff—most of the time makers go about it all wrong and turn their product into a sickly sweet mess. It has been done right before, though, and when it does it really hits home.  Fortunately for Hydrive, such is the case with their black cherry energy drink here—it is smooth and extremely refreshing (they weren’t kidding about this being a thirst-quenching energy drink) if a bit more synthetic and sweet than Mio’s product.  These are not huge flaws, and I wouldn’t think twice about buying Hydrive again if I was feeling in the mood for hydration, energy and cherries.

KICK (INTENSITY)—8.5

To give you an idea of the kind of scrutiny Hydrive was going to have to go through if it didn’t perform: my brother’s wedding Friday made for a late night, and the logistics of getting my wife to her sister’s wedding Saturday made for an early morning.  I’d done a lot of walking in the hot sun carrying my 3-year-old boy on my shoulders, and by afternoon, I was so exhausted that I unintentionally fell asleep on the living room floor for an hour or so. When I woke up, I was groggy, had a headache, and felt distinctly dehydrated.  In addition, I had a family barbecue that I would be going to in about a half hour, and I knew I would need to be in social mode for the duration.

I needed an energy drink.  And it needed to be a dang good one.

Noting the big ol’ “extra power” on the bottle, I figured this would be a good choice.  I drank it down pretty easily (see the above paragraph if you need reminding already), and halfway through, I felt the makings of a good rush coming on.  Feeling encouraged, I finished the bottle, and pretty soon I knew I was going to be just fine.  My headache was gone, the cobwebs evaporated, my body hydrated, and I was generally rearin’ to go.  The initial rush did taper off a bit about a half hour after I finished, but I was still in top form notwithstanding, so I bear Hydrive no ill will.

If you find yourselves in situations like the one I just described, this should work wonders.  If not…should work for whatever you’re up to as well.

KICK (DURATION)—9

The barbecue lasted a grand total of four hours—and so did the drink.  No crash to report.

THE DRINK OVERALL—8.83

I’ve heard good things about Hydrive’s drinks, and the line is sure off to a great start with this extra strength black cherry beverage.  It’s like a small red, PET-bottled Statue of Liberty, beckoning the sleep-deprived, the thirsty, the cherry-craving huddled masses come and drink deep of its waters, wherein there is found energy and quenching to spare…alright, that’s enough.  Hydrive Extra Power—Black Cherry’s a bang-up energy drink.  That’s all you need to know; go out and buy yourself one already.


KEYWORDS: Hydrive Extra Power Black Cherry energy drink review, low calorie, low sugar, hydration energy drink, thirst-quenching energy

Review for Nawgan--Kiwi Strawberry


CAFFEINE CONTENT

110 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—3

Nawgan’s made some headway since the first two beverages I reviewed last year, though it is still not terribly common I still find them at odd grocery stores once or twice throughout my travels.  Finding this one at Safeway was a first for me, however, so interested parties should 1) plan on keeping their eyes open, or 2) buy it in bulk online.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—7

White and green bands are a bit on the plain side but still work reasonably well in this case, and, of course, the brain/maze is kinda cool.  Not much more to say other than that, except, perhaps, that otherwise informed people should be aware that this is an energy/mental performance beverage—something you might not garner unless you plan on stopping and taking a look.

TASTE—8

I didn’t really enjoy my Nawgan experiences last year, but this one actually tastes pretty good.  Whereas in the other two the flavor seemed to receive treatment as a tertiary consideration (behind the energy/concentration blend and the low-calorie…ness), thought actually seemed to be put into this one, and there were actually a few pleasant surprises in the can—most notably the greater emphasis on the kiwi to match and balance the usually aggressive strawberry flavor and the imperceptibility of the stevia.  If only for the flavor, this is worth trying at least once.

KICK (INTENSITY)—6

I didn’t really give Nawgan much consideration as a mental performance beverage last time (Nawgan contains the compound citicoline, which is supposed to have some brain-boosting functions and help you concentrate…if we’re being really technical); I was more interested then in whether it would keep me awake when I was really tired.  So…this time I drank it to see if it would help me focus on tasks that required sitting and thinking.  Truth be told, I didn’t notice any appreciable increase in cognitive function, focus, etc.—but I did feel slightly more awake.

KICK (DURATION)—6

Effects lasted somewhere shy of three hours.  No crash was observed.

THE DRINK OVERALL—6.67

Tastes good, works okay.  Try it out once and let me know what you think.

WEBSITE: nawgan.com

KEYWORDS: Nawgan Strawberry Kiwi energy drink review, low calorie, mental performance beverage

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review for Kick


CAFFEINE CONTENT

80 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

According to the company website, Kick is “the fastest-growing British energy drink in the USA and Africa, and is available in over 10 countries.”  In spite of this rather enthusiastic claim, I notice the distinct lack of a Beatles-esque invasion of British energy drinks into US markets, and I doubt that the relatively fast stateside growth of Kick energy drink translates into any kind of ease in acquisition.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—7

Looks to me a lot like an energy drink—how’s that for descriptive?  In all seriousness, there’s nothing here to be critical about, but nothing to laud, either.  Maybe if it had an impressive set of British cheekbones I’d have something to write about….

TASTE—7

What does one expect from a British energy drink?  Well, like all Americans, I have a number of positive stereotypes regarding British culture—felt robes, witty banter about Oxford’s superb performance in rowing, tea and crumpets, etc., so I’m expecting something good, something worthy of Sherlock to keep him awake on the case, or something to make The Doctor declare, “Pass me a Kick, Pond!”

Kick is a Red Bull clone.

I know—letdown, huh?  After all that, the fastest-growing British energy drink in America is a Red Bull clone.  To be perfectly fair, I found it to taste exactly like Red Bull, which most clones do not—and I say this just in case you’re a Red Bull consumer and desire to drink the same stuff out of a different can.  I don’t, so once my supply is gone (it came in a four-pack) I don’t think I’ll be revisiting it.

KICK (INTENSITY)—5

Kick isn’t anything special either, and is almost as much of a letdown as the taste.  It’s enough to make you feel slightly more awake, but not enough to proffer you any sort of boost in function.

KICK (DURATION)—5

Ballpark of hour and a half, two hours.  Don’t think that just because it’s weak that you can’t crash, because you really can.

THE DRINK OVERALL—5.67

Aside from its make there’s really nothing inherently British about this drink (so the novelty appeal ends there), and as far as taste and kick are concerned this is a tremendous letdown.  Don’t get too excited to find your four-pack of British energy; I’d pass it over for the multitude of tastier and stronger energy beverages out there.


KEYWORDS: Kick energy drink review, British energy, International energy

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review for Jolt Energy Gum--Spearmint


CAFFEINE CONTENT

Est. 80 mg/serving (two pieces)

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

Fairly sparse, much like any Jolt product.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—7

As far as looks are concerned, I really don’t feel there’s a lot to comment on here.  Aesthetically it’s short, sweet, and to the point, if a bit on the cartoony side of things; functionally it’s got all its ducks in the row with the exception of a declared caffeine content.  The only clue you have is the statement ‘two pieces of Jolt gum = one energy drink’ on the front of the package, which is about as vague, though markedly less self absorbed, as the ever-popular “about as much caffeine as the leading premium cup of coffee.”  Seeing as this usually translates into about 80 mg, I took it upon myself to make the educated guess of 40 mg/piece.

TASTE—3

In addition to being a bit of an energy drink aficionado, I consider myself a connoisseur when it comes to chewing gum.  Having been a chain chewer since mid 2006, I’ve had a lot of time to figure out likes, dislikes, and explore the nuances of flavor, texture, and potency of different brands and flavors of gum—which more or less means that I know what I like and why.  That being said, I’m excited for my first shot at an energy chewing gum, and am very much looking forward to experiencing a product that delivers a delicious taste, pleasant texture, decent caffeine boost, and freshness of breath.

This is not that product.  It is an absolute mess, the sort of thing conceived by people who obviously have no idea what they’re doing and apparently don’t care, much like what you would expect if Ford decided to start making pool tables.  Let’s go over it bit by bit so you get the idea.

First things first—you stick this in your mouth, and you immediately notice that this is a good deal tougher than most pieces of gum; kind of like it’s held together with a small amount of rubber cement.  Hoping that it’ll get better with some chewing, you go at it for a minute or two, during which it turns to mush and almost disintegrates on you.  About this time the flavor starts to come out, along with a healthy degree of caffeine bitterness.  The bitterness lasts about ten minutes, and the flavor only about 30 or so, after which you find yourself chewing what seems to be the piece of a truck tire.

Does this sound remotely like anything you want to experience?  Even for curiosity’s sake, it’s a high price to pay; think twice before buying.

KICK (INTENSITY)—4

On top of its strongly disagreeable flavor, this gum does a pretty lousy job as an energy product if you’re looking for anything serious in the energy department.  Will you feel ever so slightly more alert?  Sure.  Will it actually wake you up?  Not by a long shot.

KICK (DURATION)—4

Best guess is about an hour of efficacy.  Like my last review (Energy Gummi Bears), no need to comment on the lack of crash.

THE PRODUCT OVERALL—3.67

Jolt has failed and failed catastrophically with their energy gum; even if it is convenient the lousy payoff just isn’t worth it.  Avoid.

WEBSITE: joltgum.com (aside from Spike Energy, probably the least informative energy product site I’ve been to)

KEYWORDS: Jolt Energy Gum review

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review for Energy Gummi Bears


CAFFEINE CONTENT

35 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

Readily available online, but if you’re going about this the old-fashioned way (as I typically do…hence my bothering at all with this section), the only place I’ve seen these is at a Chevron in La Grande, Oregon.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—5

As far as marketing itself as an energy product, Energy Gummi Bears does just fine.  There will be no mistaking this for the other non-caffeinated confectionaries at the front counter of gas stations, nor will it be something easy to look over as you make your purchase; with its bold coloration and design it is as up-front a product as you could ask for.  I have knocked off points for the bear depicted on the front, if nothing else because I find it singularly disagreeable to look upon.  I suppose it’s easy enough to be determine that the bear is supposed to be buzzed, but something about the way he’s smiling or the way he looks at you gives me the creeps—kind of the look you’d expect of someone watching you shower through a hole in the wall.  In brief—keep the audacity, lose the perverted/diseased bear.

TASTE—7

I like Gummi Bears as much as the next guy, and by my estimation, these do okay—I don’t think they taste all that much like the advertised citrus, though.  If anything, they remind me of a semi-weak black cherry flavor, maybe with a hint of the Red Bull flavor or some constituent of it.  I’d have been a little happier with a variety of flavors (especially pineapple), but as these possess the proper texture and no bitterness, I don’t really have a lot of complaints in this department.

KICK (INTENSITY)—3

You get about what you would expect out of these, and at 35 mg, I wasn’t expect a whole lot.  You might notice after eating them that you don’t feel quite as tired as you did when you woke up, or that you aren’t craving caffeine quite as much as you did before (as in my case), but in terms of an actual boost, I wouldn’t bet on these.

KICK (DURATION)—3

The barely-perceived boost lasted all of 30 minutes.  NO need to comment on the lack of crash.

THE PRODUCT OVERALL—4.33

Aficionados of the original Gummi Bears might not mind the new flavor, but as far as energy products are concerned this one is more or less a dud.  If you're going to eat four or five packages, you might get something, but at $1.50 each, it's not something I would recommend.


KEYWORDS: Energy Gummi Bears review, caffeinated gummi bears, guarana, ginseng

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review for Rip It Chic--Berry In-O-Scent


A special thanks once again to Big Red Boots, energy product reviewer of possessedbycaffeine.com, for providing this rare, discontinued energy beverage from his private stores.  Your contribution will not be forgotten, Mr. Boots.

CAFFEINE CONTENT

120 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—0

Didn’t I just call this rare and discontinued?  Is further clarification needed?

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—7

In stark contrast with most Rip It energy drinks, whose energy drink cans could have been designed by a third grader, Rip It Chic—Berry In-O-Scent (I don’t get it either) looks like actual effort was put into it—yes, the sunburst is still kind of cheesy, and the print isn’t all that great, but the degree of color saturation and the foil top counterbalances the carelessness and gives the thoughtful consumer the impression that someone in the design department actually cared about what they were doing.

TASTE—1

Heaven have mercy, IT TASTES LIKE ROTTEN PERSIMMONS!

KICK (INTENSITY)—6

(Shudders, suppresses a gag)

…After drinking something like this, you would hope, heck, you would think that there would be some sort of payoff in the energy department.  According to Rip It, ‘chick boost’ equivalates to ‘almost no boost.’

Screw you, Rip It.  Screw you….

KICK (DURATION)—6

Two, two and a half hours tops.  No crash.

THE SHOT OVERALL—4.34

From my point of view, the world has lost nothing in the discontinuation of this beverage, and that’s my final say on it.  Guh, that tasted bad….

WEBSITE: ripitenergy.com

KEYWORDS: Rip It Berry In-O-Scent energy drink review, zero carbs, zero calories, zero sugar, diet

Review for Red Rain Precipitation


CAFFEINE CONTENT

142 mg

EASE IN ACQUISITION—7

Easily acquired at Dollar Tree stores.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—6

I’m not much of a fan of the packaging on these Red Rain energy drinks.  The colors are nice and bright and strong, which is to its credit, but the template is generally bland and uninspired—like the makers had actually planned on the drink ending up in dollar stores and facing only the most menial competition (though I guess I can’t really say that, as the AZ Energy drinks are pretty decent).

TASTE—3

There is something very, very, very wrong here.

Cott may have gotten the flavor profile (like a watermelon Jolly Rancher…not even a watermelon Airhead, for crying out loud) about right, but the resemblance ends there.  Now, I wasn’t expecting watermelon juice (Geez, can you imagine the case of the squirts you’d get after drinking 16 ounces of that?...sorry.) when I opened this can, but neither was I expecting the very antithesis of watermelon and all it stands for.  When I think watermelon, I think of something refreshing, something for a calm, warm summer evening after you’re through with your last final of the semester while you’re sitting outside with your wife as your kids run around on the fresh-cut grass, and you’re getting the chance to really relax for the first time since January.

Not freaking here.

If you open up a can of Red Rain Precipitation (no, the name doesn’t make any more sense than the other flavors) you’d better brace yourselves, because you are about to get a heavy wallop of thick, syrupy muck, heavily and unnecessarily carbonated with a flavor that seems only to have been put in as an afterthought, without regard for the fact that the end product was a blasphemy of the beloved fruit.  It’s harsh, it’s heavy, and it’s just not at all pleasant—it really ruins the energy drinking experience when you feel sick after the fact.

KICK (INTENSITY)—7

For all your trouble (referring to the actual drinking of the beverage, in case clarification is needed), you get a kick that’s average and disproportionately jittery—not very useful and also not very pleasant.

KICK (DURATION)—7

Three hours tops, with crash to spare unless you burn of the sugar exercising.

THE SHOT OVERALL—5.67

What a freaking mess.  The taste is gross and catastrophically miscalculated, the kick mediocre, and the overall experience bad.  That dollar burning a hole in your pocket?  Buy a Lighter Spider.

WEBSITE: redrain.ca

KEYWORDS: Red Rain Precipitation energy drink review, bargain energy drink

Review for NeuroSonic


CAFFEINE CONTENT

50 mg (according to my sources)

EASE IN ACQUISITION—5

Much less common than they used to be.  Nowadays, Neuro products seem to be a dying breed, finding their niche in the discount sections of grocery stores and at outlets such as Big Lots at greatly reduced prices.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—9

Functionally, this could use some work.  My biggest tiff is the fact that you have to really read this to discover that it’s meant to be an energy product; it’s only through little bits that say things like “energize the healthy way” and “Not recommended for children under 12 years or people sensitive to caffeine.  If you are pregnant or nursing contact your physician prior to use.” that you get that idea that Neuro wants you to get.  For that, I have to dock a point—what’s the point of making an energy beverage if you’re not going to advertise it as such?  Now, focusing on the aesthetics—this is a beautiful bottle.  I don’t know why the lighter red does so much more for me than the NeuroPassion bottle, but it does; this combined with the sleek and almost futuristic look make this a winner in my book.  Even now I can’t help but pause from reviewing it every so often just so I can take it in.

TASTE—8

No idea what to expect here—all I could think as I was pouring out the pale, pink-orange beverage into my glass of ice was “well, can’t be much worse than NeuroPassion.*”  The first sips aren’t promising—very watered down.  However, the more you drink it, the more depth it takes on, and soon you’re enjoying a moderately refreshing beverage with the flavor of mildly carbonated grapefruit—minus the exceptional tartness characterizing the actual fruit.  I won’t vouch for it’s potency (see the next two sections), but for the flavor alone I’d say it’s worth a try.

KICK (INTENSITY)—4

This one reminds me of a decent-sized Diet Coke in terms of kick—enough to add a bit of spring to your step, but short of what most caffeine junkies (like myself) look for.  I might try drinking two or three in succession one of these days, just to see what happens; but until that time I’ll be seeking my boost elsewhere.

KICK (DURATION)—4

Ballpark of an hour, no crash (not surprising).

THE DRINK OVERALL—6

In short, I like the flavor quite a bit, but am not so wild about the kick.  When it comes right down to it, this is a very confused product—it’s an energy drink that really doesn’t claim to be an energy drink and doesn’t deliver much in the kick department.  If you’re one of those people that gets out-of-your-mind wired after a Mountain Dew I think this will suffice; otherwise you might have to go the serial drinking route to get a real boost out of this.

*—You might remember that as far as flavor is concerned, I awarded NeuroPassion a 6/10 at the time I reviewed it.  The reason behind my apparent heightened dislike is the fact that NeuroPassion is one of those drinks that you like less the more you think about it—kind of like a movie that you see, enjoy at the time, and then go on to pick it apart for days after the fact until you’re filled with nothing but loathing towards it (think “Avatar”).  I indicated that NeuroPassion was nothing worth spending money on at the time, and reiterate that point with added conviction now.

WEBSITE: drinkneuro.com

KEYWORDS: NeuroSonic energy drink review, low carb, low calorie, low sugar

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review for Snake Eyes--Zero


CAFFEINE CONTENT

Approximately 120-160 mg…though I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that there was less.  Be cool to analyze these things and see the actual vs. advertised content.

EASE IN ACQUISITION—1

If when I say “Holiday Station stores” you say, “Oh, yeah!  I know what you’re talking about!”, then you probably have seen these before, and have no need for me to tell you where to find them.  If, however, your response was, “Huh?”, then chances are you won’t be seeing these anytime soon.  Not that you’re missing anything.

APPEARANCE/PRESENTATION—3

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—this looks cheesy.  You don’t want your energy drink to look cheesy—you want it to look eye-catching and maybe just a little bit bad*ss.  Snake Eyes Zero doesn’t come close to achieving either of these qualities—it just looks ridiculous, and is likely to be overlooked by all but the most curious of consumers.

TASTE—2

With the name “Zero” and the blue color, I almost expected this to be a Rockstar Zero Carb knockoff—and let me tell you, I was glad it wasn’t.  But at the same time, my gratitude that they didn’t issue a sodomized version of one of my favorite energy beverages was short-lived.  I don’t know how to explain it, but this tastes like a Red Bull clone with some very, very cheap pineapple flavoring added.  The original Snake Eyes—Tropical Berry (this being a sugar free version of that beverage) tastes nothing like that.  It’s a mess to be sure, but I can’t account for how different the two drinks taste.  It makes no sense at all.  Anyway, all that aside, this flavor deserves a rant in and of itself for doing something so lazy and insolent as mixing Red Bull-flavored syrup with cheap-*ss pineapple syrup, but I think the idea speaks for itself.  If the other flavors have you disinterested, this one should have you running in the opposite direction—but definitely not because of the snake on the front of the can.

KICK (INTENSITY)—6

I don’t mind drinks that aren’t especially intense if the quality makes up for it—think Red Bull—The Blue Edition; if all you need is a slight boost that will work in a jiffy.  If, however, the effect of The Blue Edition is to blast those cobwebs in your head to oblivion and leave your mind clear and sharp, this one merely swats at one or two and wipes the remnants on their jeans, calling it good at that.  This is not by any means a quality energy beverage.

KICK (DURATION)—6

What mediocre kick you receive will last you two and a half hours at best.

THE DRINK OVERALL—4.67

Bad, bad, bad and bad.  This is a really poor energy drink all around.  Forget you even saw/heard about it and get on with your life.


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