Death by Energy Drink!

There’s a killer in your grocery store. It’s colorful, tempting, and refreshing. But if you let your guard down, it’ll strangle you with its sweet, sweet fists. It’s death by energy drink!

Lanna Hamann was an apparently healthy 16-year-old. In 2014, she went to Rocky Point, Mexico, with her friends. There, she tragically died of a heart attack. After a day of drinking energy drinks at the beach, Lanna complained that she was not feeling well. Shortly after, she went into cardiac arrest, and died. According to her friends, Lanna was not drinking any water. In a well-organized social media campaign launched after Lanna’s death, her friends and family blamed Red Bull as a contributing factor to her heart attack.

Every now and then, this and similar news stories will surface, most notably as click-bait (in Norwegian) in your Facebook feed. As a warning to young irresponsible people with no concept of actions and their possible consequences, they serve a purpose. But every time one of these “guy drinks 10 cans of caffeine and mysteriously croaks”-stories is published, the someone-think-of-the-children-mob appears with their torches and pitchforks.

Why isn’t there any click-bait articles being written about the deaths from alcohol consumption? According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths each year in the United States from 2006 to 2010. If there’s something in your grocery store you should start a crusade against, then perhaps alcohol is a better choice than energy drinks?

Continue reading "Death by Energy Drink!"

Red Bull Zero Calories.

Red-Bull-Zero-Calories-Boksen-NO-closed_0

So you thought I’d stopped drinking energy drinks, did you? Well, I haven’t. This review has been stuck on my hard drive for about ten months, and now it’s about time to get it out the door.

You’re probably aware that Red Bull exists. The brand is well-known for its association with extreme sports, there are very few extreme sports events that are not covered in Red Bull advertisements. Those that aren’t are usually plastered with Monster Energy logos instead. Red Bull is also heavy into computer gaming and eSports, various music festivals, and also the pinnacle of motor sports, Formula 1. In short, if something that is even remotely related to adrenaline is happening, you can be sure that Red Bull is involved somehow.

Red Bull Zero Calories is the, you guessed it, zero calories version of the familiar Red Bull recipe. I’m not sure if calories should be your major concern when you gulp down a can of Red Bull, though. Caffeine is the only ingredient advertised on the can, but the Zero Calories edition also comes with taurine, and a high dose of B6 and B12 vitamins.

Can

The Red Bull can is easy to recognize anywhere, and the Red Bull Zero Calories can has exactly the same design as the standard Red Bull can, except for a different color scheme. It also comes with the familiar Red Bull cap, which means you’ll be able to distinguish a can of Red Bull from another energy drink even if you’re blind or stuck in a very small, dark closet with a Red Bull and another brand, and you really, really want to the Red Bull. Genius.

First smell

From the can, the Red Bull Zero Calories smells sweet and of berries – perhaps blueberries – which is a bit of a surprise. You’d think the zero calories version and the original should smell the same. Unlike many other energy drinks, the smell of the Red Bull Zero Calories doesn’t go away, which I take as a sign of high quality. Or lots and lots of synthetic ingredients.

Continue reading "Red Bull Zero Calories."

DARK DOG Energy Drink.

Dark Dog Energy Drink. Photo from CanMuseum.com.

DARK DOG IS GOOD 4 U! That’s not me talking, that’s the creators of DARK DOG who desperately tries to get your attention, both on their website and on the can. Look, they are only using capital letters. And they substituted “for” with 4 and “you” with U. So now we know they are an effective and cool bunch in touch with the kids. In many ways, they remind me very much of UMMBA!. And like that trademark, DARK DOG can’t quite agree with itself whether it’s DARK DOG or Dark Dog, but I’m going to stick with DARK DOG here since all caps seems to be their thing. The company behind DARK DOG presents the beverage as a “guarana and vitamin” energy drink. There is no explicit mentioning of caffeine in the description, but the can still contains the usual 32mg/100ml caffeine. DARK DOG energy drinks contain the caffeine of guarana, which is supposedly much better for the stomach than the synthetic caffeine used in most other energy drinks.

Can

The can is bright yellow, has a red stay-tab, and stands out like a construction worker on the store shelve. I’m sure you’ll be able to find it, no matter how exhausted or drunk you are. My box has “imported” written on it. At first, I thought it was there just to make the packaging feel a little more exclusive, but then I realized it’s because the can is actually imported – I bought it in Sweden, DARK DOG is manufactured in Austria. The can design also sports a rabid, mean-looking dog and if you’re picking up a DARK DOG after a few shrooms, you might end up having a bad trip because of that dog. In general – as you can see from the picture of the can – the design is a massive mess. It looks like the designer tried to cram as much crap onto the can as he possible could, and while he might have succeeded in that, the end result is confusing.

First smell

It’s sweet like candy. That’s exciting. No sarcasm here, honestly. It’s a welcome change from most of the other energy drinks I’ve been having lately. To be honest, I’m just happy this isn’t another godawful attempt on a generic Red Bull rip-off.

First sip from the can

It comes as not big surprise that the taste doesn’t manage to follow up on the promises of the smell. There’s not much taste at all and the fizz is almost non-existent. The parts of my mouth that the first sip touched immediately feel numb. Is it all the sugar, or am I having a stroke? I hope for the former, but fear the latter1. There is some aftertaste, a faint berry sensation.

Taste from a glass

A taste from the glass is pretty much the same as the taste from the can, I’m afraid. The rest of my mouth goes numb and most of it fills up with that sugary-slime we energy drink connoisseurs all know and love.

Visuals

In the glass, DARK DOG looks just like any other energy drink. There’s hardly any fizz to speak of, but the first sip from the can gave that away already.

After 5 minutes

My, oh, my. This is a disaster. There is nothing in DARK DOG that makes me want the experience to last any longer than it absolutely has to. Instead, I take a deep breath, and empty the rest of the can in one go.

Continue reading "DARK DOG Energy Drink."

UMMBA! Night Edition.

UMMBA! Energy Drink Night Edition.

UMMBA! Night Edition is a product of the Polish Swarog Group Beverages. With a name like that, what immediately comes to mind is Grog. Is UMMBA! Night Edition like Grog? Probably not. Unlike Grog, this beverage contains a considerable amount of caffeine, in addition to taurine. This 250ml bottle contains “400/100ml” taurine, but I have no idea what that means. Taurine is an organic acid and I’m not sure if it’s possible to get “one taurine”. But let’s not get hung up in the details. Instead, let’s do some good old empirical research and find out what 400 taurines taste like.

Can

The can is black, with gold, script letters: “Night Edition”. Come on, whisper it while you stare intensely at your screen. “Night Edition”. I get the feeling Swarog is trying to make UMMBA! Night Edition stand out from the crowd as an exclusive energy drink. But I’m not sure if it works. The logo, also in gold, shows a guy dancing, or perhaps someone high as a kite. This might have been the designer’s inspiration. While the can does stand out a little, some sort of fancy, royal-like logo would perhaps been better for an exclusive effect.

First smell

Oh, what a surprise. It smells like Red Bull. Is this just another generic energy drink? Through the UMMBA! site, Swarog is trying to make their brand hip and popular like Red Bull, but maybe it would be better to try to invent their own, distinct smell instead of copying Red Bull.

First sip from the can

And it tastes like Red Bull as well. Or at least a washed out version. Unlike many other energy drink, UMMBA! Night Edition has plenty of carbonation, and we love that fizz, don’t we? Of course we do. The beverage is easy to drink, so it’s nice to if you need something to chug down, but UMMBA! Night edition doesn’t really taste like something you’ll sit down an enjoy with your favorite book. And beware of the weird aftertaste of ham!

Taste from a glass

There’s a very nice “wosh” of fizz when UMMBA! Night Edition is poured into the glass. From the glass, the drink has a pleasant, sweet smell. There is a good chance UMMBA! Night Edition would be a winner in a chilled glass, with crushed ice and a slice of lemon. But I have none of that available.

Visuals

There is nothing special at all about the way UMMBA! Night Edition looks. It’s just a generic energy drink.

Continue reading "UMMBA! Night Edition."

X.RAY Lemon-Mint Energy Drink.

X.RAY Energy Drink (lemon/lime). Photo by CanMuseum.com.

X.RAY Lemon-Mint Energy Drink is a product of the Danish brewery Harboes Bryggeri A/S. They describe their X.RAY brand as “the best-known of our international brands in the energy drink category” and the X.RAY energy drinks are distributed to markets worldwide. The Lemon-Mint edition, however, can only be found in a very limited market; Denmark and Sweden. They also claim that X.RAY is a market-leading brand in Scandinavia, but I’ve never heard of it. An even better reason to look forward to testing the X.RAY Lemon-Mint Energy Drink!

Can

The can is, as you can see, green. Very green. It’s so green, in fact, that I suspect it can light up a medium sized apartment. I never tried this however, so it’s just an untested hypothesis. In other words, don’t blame me if you, after reading this review, buy a can of X.RAY Lemon-Mint Energy Drink with the intention of using it to light up your apartment in a lemon-mint light, and it doesn’t work. Other than the color, the can is pretty boring, and it does not announce any special ingredients from the rain forest. A closer look at the back of the can reveals that X.RAY Lemon-Mint Energy drink does, in fact, not contain any energy enhancing ingredients other than caffeine. And for some mysterious reason, it only contains 16mg per 100ml of caffeine, half the amount you find in most other energy drinks. But at least the can supposedly contains the “TASTE OF POWER”! Let’s get started!

First smell

Hello mojito! This is just like taking the first sniff of a freshly mixed mojito while sitting in the beach bar at your favorite tropical getaway. There’s also a hint of lemon, and since the X.RAY Lemon-Mint is supposed to contain both lemon and lime, we’re off to a very good start.

First sip from the can

The first sip is nice and fresh. Not only did the X.RAY Lemon-Mint smell like mojito, it also tastes like mojito, with a very aftertaste of mint that’s dominating everything. It’s so dominating, it pretty much kills the lemon. The aftertaste lingers and lingers and lingers. And then it lingers some more. There’s not fizz, though. The reason for this could be that the manufacturer tries to emulate an actual mojito without the alcohol, and, if my mind doesn’t elude me, I think most of the mojitos I’ve had, have been low on fizz.

Continue reading "X.RAY Lemon-Mint Energy Drink."