Death by Taurine: Energy Drink Reviews Part II
Welcome to part 2 of my energy drink reviews. If you missed part 1, just click here for reviews of Red Bull, RockStar, MDX, SoBe No Fear and TaB Energy. If you read those, then move along to part 2 below where I discuss 6 more energy drinks.
Full Throttle – This is Coca-Cola’s first entry into the energy drink market. So far, on taste alone, this is one of my favorite drinks. It’s like a stronger Mountain Dew or Mello Yello. Very good and the Sugar Free version (0 cals, 0 sugar) tastes exactly the same as the full Full Throttle. As far as its energy boost, there is none. No energy boost in an energy drink is like taking the bus to cross the street. What’s the point? On taste alone, this is one of the best, but there is, inexplicably, no energy boost.
Full Throttle also makes a version called Full Throttle: Fury. There isn’t a lot of difference between Fury and the regular FT. The taste isn’t as potent, and the kick is still non-existent. That’s the difference. Just acknowledge that it’s there and move on.
Von Dutch – You’ve seen the Von Dutch label on celebrities’ clothes, jeans and trucker caps, now taste the energy drink. Overall, it’s really good. It has the second best energy kick next to Diet Rockstar, and its taste is actually better, not so black licorice-y. What the hell is in the drinks that make them all taste like black licorice? I hate black licorice. Sugar Free has the same kick as regular with an even better taste. I would almost say this is my favorite because the taste is pretty good and the energy kick isn’t so potent that I feel like I just freebased cocaine and chased it with heroin.
Vault – This has had a pretty big marketing campaign based on the slogan “Drinks like a Soda, Kicks like an Energy Drink”. That tagline should read, “Drinks like watered down soda, Kicks like a One-Legged Man”. It tastes like an even blander version of MDX, if that’s possible. The Sugar Free Vault even manages to step down the taste ANOTHER notch. It’s like drinking water with a splash of Diet Mountain Dew…and no energy kick. Very disappointing. Move along.
Monster Energy – This energy drink has the tagline ‘Unleash the Beast’. Somewhat silly for a drink that tastes like jolly ranchers. This is a fairly good tasting energy drink with a mild kick. If Diet Rockstar has the highest kick, and Von Dutch is second, this would be third. Von Dutch still tastes better as this drink is too sweet. Even the Lo-Carb version tastes sugary. Calorie levels are similar to all the other drinks; regular has 200 calories and Lo-Carb has 20 calories. A not bad, if somewhat pedestrian, choice for your energy drink.
Like RockStar, there are like 4 versions of Monster Energy. I only tried regular and lo-carb. I didn’t even bother with the other two.
Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng – This is not officially labeled as an energy drink, but it definitely gives the buzz of an energy drink. Back in 1999, before the energy drink boom and during the time when dot-coms were considered good investments, I was consulting at a client in Tampa, FL. A fellow consultant liked this tea and he got me liking it too. We weren’t really using it for the energy boost, at first, but it gave us such a great buzz that we began to use it for that very reason. He would drink them like crazy. He drank like 5 one day and was bouncing off the walls. Back then the tea came in a really cool bright blue/violet bottle with finger grooves in the side. Now it is sold in a regular bottle with a picture of a tree on it. It’s also sold in giant cans that look like the regular bottle. Still gives a good kick and it tastes pretty good too. Check it out, there’s also a Diet version with only 20 calories.
Jolt Cola – I used to drink this in college when I was cramming for an exam. The last time I used it was in 1997 while studying late for my COBOL final exam. It gives a great buzz but the sugar crash is heinous. You actually feel hungover after drinking a bunch of this stuff. I thought it had been discontinued, but it’s still sold in certain parts of the country. Jolt Cola today has a new package that looks like a battery (get it? Energy=Battery…clever) and it comes in several varieties (Cherry, Ultra, Blue, Cola and Red). I’ve tried the Cherry and Ultra. Very tasty and still has the sugar/caffeine kick I remember. The sugar crash has been toned down with some other ingredients like Vitamin B and Ginseng. If you can find it, I still recommend it.