Friday, August 23, 2013

Review for Guayaki Organic Energy Shot--Chocolate Raspberry


140 mg


I found this one at Fred Meyer—one of their larger locations, specifically; if you live in a relatively large metropolitan center chances are you can find it without too much difficulty.  I don’t recall having seen it anywhere else, even at ours in Idaho Falls.  But then again, it has been a while since I checked there….


And here I was, thinking the bottle with the lime tangerine flavor was pleasant.  There’s just something about the extensive brown trim in conjunction with the yellow of the bottle and the idea of the chocolate raspberry flavor that’s appealing—looking at it, I confess, made my mouth water.  And, of course, there’s also the immaculate appearance and the care taken to package this in a brown glass bottle that speak for it—all work together to make me feel pretty excited about this experience.


Chocolate raspberry—how appetizing is that?  How awesome would this shot be if Guayaki really nailed it here, doing away with its previous lousy track record to put out a product that’s really freaking delicious?  I suppose you could say that it has—if, that is, you’ve spent all these years looking for an energy shot that tastes like super earthy, somewhat bitter prune juice.

I’m not exaggerating here.  Like the lime tangerine shot I had previously, there is really no intimation of the flavor of either advertised food product here—except, however, the vaguest semblance of raspberry aroma you can almost detect after you swallow.  Other than that, it’s all Amazonian liquid dirt (it even looks like mud in the glass), laxative fruit juice, and caffeine.  It’s a real shame to get the impression that Guayaki is shooting for such lofty heights in this department only to settle with something that fails so miserably.  And really, there’s no reason for them to do so—I’ve had plenty of very delicious, all-natural, organic, kosher, fair-trade certified, etc. foodstuffs.  Health doesn’t have to be so torturous, and it’s lamentable to see the apparent enjoining of the philosophy that such is really the case.

In my book, you’re better off spiking a small glass of prune juice with some of that 5150 caffeine additive—that way you at least get your energy with the benefit of some enhanced digestive flow.


I have to say, though, I appreciate this energy shot for the energy aspect of it.  All of my previous Guayaki experiences have involved more of a need for passive alertness than anything especially physical—not so here.  Tonight, this served my need for some pep during a late night run—and worked marvelously as such.  I can’t remember the last time 50 minutes of cardio have gone by so smoothly—but there you are.  It was after 10:00 P.M., and there I was, on the mean streets (scoff) of the suburban Tri-Cities area, running quickly and effortlessly while all the while singing aloud songs that ranged from “Down to the Old Pub Instead” to “Tyranny of Steel.”  For the low-key stuff these shots are just okay; it’s in the workout domain that they really start to shine.


As with previous Guayaki products, the initial burst of energy is nice, but doesn’t last terribly long relative to the overall longevity of the product—those initial effects lasted me about an hour, after which I settled into a more muted nonetheless alert state for the next hour.  Then, for the last hour, I gradually became sleepy again.  Still not too bad.


I will not recant my statement that these shots literally (and yes, I use that word with full knowledge of its meaning and abhorrence for its constant abuse) taste like dirt, but for a workout, I find them to have a very nice boost—even if regular consumption for such constitutes abuse towards one’s wallet.  Try it if you must; leave your thoughts.


KEYWORDS: Guayaki Lime Tangerine energy shot review, all natural, organic, kosher, fair trade certified, and whatever other qualifications you can come up with

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review for Spike Hardcore All-Day Energy Shot--Orange Gold

Great news—for the last week and a half or so, I’ve been getting myself un-addicted to caffeine.  It’s been hard, but I’m finally at the point where I’m no longer constantly craving something strong, and can usually get by with a glass of Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper in the morning.  It’s nice to not depend on a substance to be able to function after being addicted for so long.  Look forward to reading reviews from a non-addicted person in the future.

That being said, I did take this shot yesterday.  Not because I couldn’t function, not because the cravings were making me punch every person that walked past me, but because I had been up since 6:00 A.M., it was only noon and I was basically ready to pass out, and was experiencing that as I had long hours of remodeling ahead of me, without time for a nap.

In other words, I drank this because if I didn’t, I was screwed for sure.


350 mg


If you live near a 7-Eleven this should be a breeze to find—just stop at one or two stores and you should find this or either of the other flavors there.  Cool if you live near a 7-Eleven, bummer if you live in east Idaho like myself—which, so far as I’m aware, is the only state in the friggin’ union without them.


As always, Spike knows how to make a product look imposing.  Not only does it tower above the bottles of 5 Hour Energy and the like in proximity to it (and next to which these look positively wimpy), but it’s covered in glossy black and jagged spikes and labels with fonts that appear to be intentionally foreboding.  In contrast to its only real competitor Redline, which looks like medicine more than anything else, these look strictly and appropriately bad*ss.


The first thing I noticed when I opened the mammoth 4 oz. shot bottle was the distinct aroma of orange Jell-O—something a little bit unique from an energy shot; when they are orange flavored the common trend is the aroma of orange cough syrup.  Tasting it, it was about what you’d expect based on the aroma—an intense, somewhat synthetic orange flavor, somewhat tart and appropriately sweet, with the artificial sweeteners being largely undetectable.  I didn’t like it as much as the original flavor, and afterwards there was an extremely distinct and persistent bitterness in the aftertaste, but it’s worlds better than most energy shots on the market.


Turns out that this was an extremely appropriate choice for my long hours of hanging drywall—and, actually, for the long hours of caring for my kids after the fact, and for the hour-long jog I had after that.  It isn’t, however, the sort of thing I’d recommend for anything less than an entire day of physical activity.  Don’t let the fact that it’s smooth and easy to get down fool you into thinking this is something you can slarg down without a second thought; it is easily one of the most potent energy products I’ve ever had, delivering a tremendous surge of energy within 15 minutes of drinking it (for those minutes before, I felt it building beneath my skin like a rising thunderstorm of energy), completely restoring my functionality and getting me as wired as I’ve been in a very long time.


I stopped paying attention somewhere past the seven-hour mark—though I suppose if I do the math, it kept me going on some level for about 12 hours.


Just for the flavor, I’ll be sticking with the original, but for a nigh unbelievable rush of energy, you can certainly count on this.  Just see to it that you don’t lose sight of the fact that this is a really hardcore energy product, and as such should be saved for the occasional time where you really need that sort of rush.

WEBSITE: (Worst.  Energy. Product.  Site.  Ever….All the more for the fact that it has literally been that way for years.)

KEYWORDS: Spike Hardcore All Day Energy Shot Orange Gold review, zero carbs, zero calorie, zero sugar, diet

Friday, August 9, 2013

Review for Redline Xtreme Shot--Triple Berry


300 mg


I got mine at Walgreens, which is a common enough chain that I wouldn’t sweat too much about finding this.


Like all Redline products, this is the sort of thing that looks right at home amongst workout supplements (looking more like a medicine than anything else), but looks decidedly out of place when sharing the shelves with energy products.  I don’t have any complaints with this; I find it entirely appropriate—Redline shouldn’t look like something to be drank without a second thought when someone’s feeling sleepy.  My only tiff is that this would look much better in the glossy blue of the RTD line…and the fact that there are four berries found in the graphic at the top of the bottle, when the name of the product is “Triple Berry.”


How do I describe the flavor here…?  Okay—imagine a spectrum of berry flavor, with 5 Hour Energy Extra Strength (which tastes nothing like berries at all, but rather is bitter and acrid) at one end, and a handful of fresh berries at the other.  This is about halfway in between—it is bitter and unpleasant, but you can taste the berry influences, and begin to understand where 5 Hour Energy gets off saying that it tastes like berries.


With its whopping 300 mg of caffeine, the boost you get from this shot is not as intense as you would expect—though mind you, it is very potent and not the sort of thing that you should drink casually.  Imagine what it’s like to have quite a bit of energy at the surface, and feeling as though there is an endless reservoir of it just beneath your skin—not something you can tap into at will, but something that gradually rises up, like a hot, slow burn.   I strongly recommend it for the gym or other very serious physical exertion, and for nothing less than that.


Most workouts do not need seven hours of energy—in fact, I’d say if you need to be there more than an hour, you’re doing something wrong.  In any event, there’s buzz time to spare, enough that you can absolutely get away with a half bottle (as opposed to the full bottle I drank).


The flavor leaves something to be desired, but who drinks these for the taste?  If you need an enormous rush of energy for your workout or construction work or whatever it is that you do that requires you to be ridiculously energized for, this will definitely do the trick.

KEYWORDS: Redline Xtreme Shot Triple Berry review, zero carb, zero calorie, zero sugar

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review for Shogun Energy


75 mg


I came to possess a can of Shogun Energy through the contribution of Big Red Boots, the man behind the energy review site (a personal favorite of mine); were it not so I doubt I would have the chance to review it—it has been discontinued for a couple of years now, if I’m not mistaken.


Shogun is a perfect example of how less is often more—all you get here is a black background with the ninja star/spiral/something and the logo, but it’s really all the can needs to look bold and sharp.


It’s no surprise, I suppose, that Shogun went down in flames—as inundated as the market is, most companies just can’t just toss another Red Bull clone into the mix and hope to survive.  I’ll admit, this is one of the better ones I’ve had recently—mild and generally well balanced, without a hint of syrupiness—but it’s just not good enough to compete with the original.  Come to think of it, I can only think of one clone that really can.


Doesn’t help Shogun’s case that you hardly feel any kick from this, either—it’s not nearly enough to be able to do anything useful, and certainly left me feeling snubbed.


Not only is it not strong enough to be especially useful, but on top of that you won’t be not especially useful for long before you crash back down to useless—does that make sense?  An hour and a half of mediocre energy is far from impressive.


Well…Shogun’s gone, and I suppose its just as well.  The world gained nothing in the addition of another uninspired, underpowered energy beverage, and has lost nothing in its discontinuation.

WEBSITE: Long gone from the web.

KEYWORDS: Shogun Energy drink review, Red Bull clone, traditional energy drink flavor

Monday, August 5, 2013

Reveiw for Up To 10 Hour Super Charge--Berry Burst




Generally rare, but still far too common in my book.


If you really want to read a big, long tirade on my feelings on this shot’s looks, you can read it in my review of the Concord Grape flavor here…otherwise just take it from me that this is about the worst packaging job I’ve ever seen.


5 Hour Energy clone—and are you surprised?  Just about any shot sporting the word “berry” is going to be a clone; that’s just the way it works.  Only distinction from the original in the flavor profile is the heightened bitterness, making it all the more disagreeable.


I really, really, really, really hate these shots.  If you want to feel awake, I guess you could technically turn to these—but at a price I don’t think is worth paying.  Unlike any other energy products I’ve tried, these cause me to feel a profound sense of agitation that makes it next to impossible to do anything even remotely productive.  It’s an ugly, extraordinarily unpleasant experience—trust me, you are light years better off tired.


Ordinarily, I’d consider four hours to be a respectable, but in light of the fact that it’s suggested that you may get up to 10 hours out of this project, I find it very underwhelming.


This is one of those rare instances in which the numbers lie.  Just evaluating this out of 10, you might think it somewhat below average, but may still contemplate it if in the mood for something different.  But the numbers don’t tell you what you really need to know—that this is the worst type of energy supplement, the one that may wake you up but will in the process render you so inefficient that you venture into realms of negative productivity.  You don’t need this product; nobody does.  Don’t even think about this one.


KEYWORDS: Up To 10 Hour Super Charge Berry Burst review, zero carbs, zero calories, zero sugar, diet

Review for Turbo Truffle--Chocolate Mint Madness


The wrapper says “up to 120 mg”—not sure what that means; I understand it to mean that 120 is the maximum, rather than a set value.  Not encouraging.


I found this at a random gas stop/diner in Hagerman, Idaho.  Need I say more?


There’s really not a lot to critique here.  Points do come off for the aforementioned “up to 120 mg” thing, which is really too vague to be of any help, and sends mixed messages as to potential efficacy.  Other than that, it looks about like what you’d expect an energy truffle to look like, and that’s that.


I really do hate it when I have to say this, but—I’m not terribly certain that my experience was representative of what a Turbo Truffle should taste like.  If it is—well, that doesn’t bode well for the quality of the product.  As far as the flavor is concerned, this tasted alright—minty and chocolaty—but the texture was pretty unpleasant, being crumbly and generally having the feel as though they’d been sitting on the counter for quite a while.  It could very well be that these were just old, but heaven help the company if this is what a brand-new Turbo Truffle is like.


On top of not being very pleasing to the palate, this hardly kicked at all—maybe mine didn’t quite have 120 mg of caffeine, or, as I indicated, it might have been old—but in any event, these could hardly be considered useful in any situation in which one finds themselves lacking in energy, and is especially insufficient when one is falling asleep at the wheel with five hours of driving to go (personal experience).


The measly effects were felt for about an hour and 15 minutes or so—very unsatisfying indeed.


I hope to get my hands on some guaranteed fresh Turbo Truffles in the future, and at that time I may very well need to do some revising of this review once I do—but until then, my verdict is that these are all but useless.

KEYWORDS: Turbo Truffles Chocolate Mint Madness review

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review for Function: Alternative Energy--Tropical Citrus


Unknown but up there.


Available (so far as I’ve been able to see) only at Fred Meyer—so I don’t see this being to hard to get your hands on, since most people I know live within 30 miles of the nearest location.


I like that the Function Beverage company elected to take a more mature route with their packaging job here; very often energy drinks try too hard to be hardcore and it really drives me up the wall.  This looks like something I can take seriously, something that I can take to class or work without appearing that I’m trying to compensate for something, something that is going to deliver a good dose of energy but not leave me buzzing wantonly.  I think a little effort could have gone into helping it pop more, and I would LOVE a listed caffeine content.  Few things are more annoying than when a company refuses to list their drink’s caffeine content.


This wasn’t something that I would say was hard to drink by any stretch of the imagination—on the contrary, I managed to sip it down just fine over the course of five minutes.  That being said, it doesn’t really taste good—it’s probably one of the most watery beverages I’ve tasted in a very long time, and let me tell you that watery and citrus don’t mix.


Had the chance to try these drinks in two different situations—yesterday’s strawberry guava flavor when I had a long day of work ahead of me, and today’s tropical citrus flavor after a long day of work was said and done, but with a long run and at least eight hours of needing to be awake and functioning still ahead.  You know I was pleased with Alternative Energy’s performance in the former, and in the latter it worked just as well—I was not wanting for energy for a solid six hours.


I observed the same multi-stage phenomenon as described in yesterday’s review—not surprising, given that both drinks have the same blend.  But…for the sake of you people reading a review of Alternative Energy for the first time, the initial jolt is tremendous, and keeps you buzzing about like a hornet for the first hour, hour and a half or so.  After the fact, things taper off just a bit, but not enough to be detrimental; this is followed by a brief period of slight fatigue, followed by a second, and eventually third, wind.


I’ll be sticking with the strawberry guava offering just because it tastes so much better, but if you’re down with watery citrus then you should have no problems with this one.  It kicks just as hard and lasts just as long, and should be a gratifying experience for any energy monger, sleepy newbie and seasoned addict alike.

KEYWORDS: Function Alternative Energy Tropical Citrus energy drink review

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review for Function: Alternative Energy--Strawberry Guava




Easy enough to find—assuming you live near a Fred Meyer, which most people here out west do.


Rather than going the boisterous, “drink-me-because-I’m-the-most-bad*ss-energy-drink-out-there” route, Function beverages has elected to be a bit more subtle and serious in their presentation.  This is both the bottle’s blessing and curse—on one hand it does look sharp and I’m not inclined to disregard its claims (as I typically am with more pretentious beverages), but at the same time if you don’t know what you look for you’re going to just pass it by without a second thought.  Additional point comes off for a failure to disclose a frank amount of caffeine—it’s lost somewhere in that 300 mg energy blend.


This tastes exactly like it says it’s going to taste—strawberries and guava—in a nice, refreshing beverage that seems calculated to be on the thirst-quenching end of things.  It’s not so sweet and thick that it’ll have you quaffing glass after glass of water after the fact, but not so watery that it tastes like it’s been diluted to the point of being homeopathic.  Bottom line is that it’s really good, and if it weren’t for the fact that one bottle packs such a punch I could easily down two in one sitting.


This is where Alternative Energy caught me off guard—see, reading over the bottle, I misread it, and for some reason thought the proprietary blend amounted to 160 mg.  Thinking, “this should be nice for a mild boost” I iced it down and drank it quick, and WOAH IT CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD.  This is a rush worthy of the designation, hitting hard and fast.  Before I knew it I was getting my son and myself ready for the day in about the quarter of the time it normally takes me, and buzzing about my business with unparalleled efficiency.  Believe me—even if you’re really, really tired, this will get the job done.


And…it’s going to last you quite a while.  I was pretty skeptical reading over the back of the bottle, which says something about the ingredients doing their thing in a timed fashion, and kicking in as other ingredients are wearing off.  Well, turned out that I experienced something like that, and for a solid six hours.  I’d buzz for a while, feel tired, then suddenly get a second wind…and a third, for that matter.  Now, it was never as intense as it was during the first hour, but it got me through breakfast, lunch, and a crap-ton of busting up old wall paneling—and if an energy drink can do that, it earns my stamp of approval.


In a word—this drink rocks.  And take it from me—I went through a lot with this buzz, and it was only after that six-hour mark passed that I felt any degree of fatigue.  It’ll quench your thirst, it’ll please your palate, it will drag your sleepy self to your feet and have you going from task to task like one of those metal bearings in a pinball machine.  Definitely worth a shot in my book.


KEYWORDS: Function Alternative Energy drink review, all natural
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