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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.

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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.

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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.

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Battery Energy Drink (Limited Edition Can)

Battery Energy Drink - Limited Can by Remi Juliebø / Painbucket. Picture from CanMuseum.com.

Battery Energy Drink, or Battery for short, is something as exotic as a Finnish energy drink. It was launched in its home country in 1997 by the Sinebrychoff Brewery, and found its way to Norway the following year. 1998 was also the year I started college and even though I can’t remember having had a single Battery back then, the marketing campaign following the Norwegian launch must have been successful: Battery quickly became the de facto standard energy drink when mixing drinks at parties (so I’m guessing it was also priced low and affordable for students) and our apartment would always smell of half-empty cups of Battery and cheap moonshine vodka the next morning. Oh, the memories.

Can

What a can! This particular can is a limited edition, though, by Remi Juliebø / Painbucket. It’s got lightning, a blue dragon and a jet fighter! Even the Urge Intense can looks boring and mundane compared to this. The usual Battery can design is a lot more subtle, however, with a design that makes the can look like, you guessed it; a battery. Unlike most other energy drinks, Battery doesn’t seem to have a need to brag about any special ingredients from the rain forest in huge letters on the can: It just states that it’s an “energy drink” with caffeine. The list of ingredients on the back of the can, however, reveals that Battery also contains Guarana extract and Taurine. It also says that you should “not drink more than two cans a day”, which is interesting: From what I can tell, Battery doesn’t contain any more caffeine – or other active ingredients – than other energy drinks, but it’s still the only can where I’ve noticed such a warning.

First smell

The first smell of Battery smells surprisingly little, and much less than I thought it would. Because of my memories of waking up after a party to the all too familiar odor of Battery, I had expected a gigantic blast from the past. At least a little nausea. But there’s nothing, which I probably shouldn’t complain about. Still, I prefer my energy drinks to actually have a some scent.

First sip from the can

Since Battery didn’t smell much, I guess it comes as no huge surprise that it doesn’t taste much either. Perhaps I have to add a bit of vodka or some other clear liquor to boost the taste? I’m not in a position where I can get drunk in the middle of the day, so unfortunately that’s not an option.

Taste from a glass

There’s no real difference in the taste from a glass – Battery tastes dull, lifeless and only mildly carbonated. From a glass, the drink has a mild, bitter aftertaste. Maybe it’s the sour aftertaste of actually having spent money on a can of Battery, or perhaps it’s a physical manifestation of the acid letdown the drink feels like when it was poured from the beautiful limited edition can.

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Powerking

Powerking.

Powerking is a vitamin enriched (B3, B5, B6 and B12) energy drink with taurine and a high level of caffeine. It’s manufactured in the Netherlands for European Marketing Distribution (EMD), a European purchasing organization for grocery stores that represents over 150,000 stores across Europe. In other words; if you live in Europe, there’s a good chance you can buy a can of Powerking in a grocery store close to you. Perhaps it’s sold with a different brand name where you live, but the contents of the can is the same. Should you spend your hard earned dough on this product? That’s what I’m trying to find out.

Can

The Powerking can is dark and industrial and only contains 250ml, half of what I’d normally call a party. Looking at the can, I’m guessing that creating a cool design wasn’t the highest priority when the EMD people sat down and decided they wanted to manufacture an energy drink. They most likely licensed – or tried their best to copy – a recipe for the drink, built a factory in the Netherlands, and told a summer intern to slap together a design for the can. The intern thought “what do I associate with energy?”, found a picture of a heart rate monitor, a cool font for the logo, a piece of clip art for the background and called it a day. All that said, the Powerking can isn’t the most boring energy drink can I’ve seen in my life. Good job, summer intern!

First smell

When the suits at EMD looked for a recipe to license, I think they looked to Austria. Because this smells a lot like Red Bull. The brand is regarded by many as the de facto standard when it comes to energy drinks, much like Coca Cola for many people is the pinnacle of soft drinks. I very much doubt that Red Bull would license their recipe to another company, what’s more likely is that EMD has tried to copy the Red Bull recipe as much as possible without having to face Dietrich Mateschitz in court. Judging by the smell from the can, they might be on to something.

First sip from the can

When it comes to taste, on the other hand, EMD seem to have failed. Powerking doesn’t really taste like Red Bull, in fact it doesn’t taste much at all. And the taste disappears fairly quickly. There’s a subtle hint of aftertaste, though, and a little aftertaste is perhaps good value for money?

Taste from a glass

From a glass, Powerking, unsurprisingly, still smells like Red Bull. There’s a subtle hint of flowers hanging in the glass, but this might be from a botched dishwasher job, and not from the drink itself. Consuming Powerking from the glass doesn’t really make a difference, compared to drinking from the can – it doesn’t taste much, and the taste still disappears quickly. The sip I had earlier has turned into a ball of slime in my mouth. It seems that not only does Powerking contain caffeine and taurine, it also contains lots of sugar.

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