Exotic beverage review: Bullit Energy Drink

Bullit. Or BulLit. Or bulLIT. I'm not sure.
Bullit. Or BulLit. Or bulLIT. I'm not sure.

I've had this one sitting on my shelf for some time. A few months ago, I was kindly sent a package of three energy drinks from the Netherlands. (Actually, I was sent four, but one of them sadly exploded in the mail, leaving only the remaining three. Which were quite sticky.)

I've already sampled two of them, and found them to be average and disturbingly sugar-free.

I've been told, however, that the subject of this review, Bullit, is a particularly awesome example of an energy drink. At the risk of jumping to conclusions, I can't help but think:

a) it's got to be different to Red Bull. If this has been quantified as being better than other drinks, then I'm assuming it's not a Red Bull clone, which is a relief. I've sampled eleventy squillion drinks that are just Red Bull in a re-painted can, and I'm sick of it, already.

b) it may not taste as great as I'm expecting. I returned the favour by sending a package of three energy drinks from Australia back to the Netherlands. The package contained Hype, V and Mother. You can read my opinions of those drinks on the reviews I've linked to, there. In short, I don't mind Hype and V, and I think Mother is the piss of Satan's ugliest aunt. Mark, who was kind enough to send me the four Dutch drinks, disliked both Hype and V. So you'll understand my hesitation in sampling Bullit.

c) it's got the motherfucking Vetruvian Man on the can, which means it's awesome even if it tastes like brake fluid. This one gets bonus points all over for can art.

It's standard Energy Drink Yellow(tm). So far, so good.

It smells basically like (wait for it), Red Bull.

Okay, so it's not Red Bull. It's floral, it's slightly bile-flavoured, it's really well carbonated. It's kinda generic, but not at all unpleasant. (Or maybe I'm becoming seasoned.)

Exotic beverage review: Rodeo Power Drink

Rodeo. It's sugar free.
Rodeo. It's sugar free.

This drink was kindly sent to me from The Netherlands by Kees Engels. This makes me feel bad for giving it a fairly harsh review.

The label is printed in French, Dutch, German, Czech and Polish, so this could be interesting. I believe it's manufactured by Menken Drinks in Bodegraven, The Netherlands.

It has the usual "not recommended for children, pregnant or lactating women or individuals sensitive to caffeine" warning that most energy drinks display, albeit in half a dozen languages, none of which I understand. It also has a warning that it contains phenylalanine. Joy.

This is the first sugar free energy drink I've sampled, so I anticipate it to be quite a harsh review. I'm not a fan of phenylalanine (or aspartame, or nutra-sweet, or it's billion other names), it simply tastes like vaguely sweet soap, and does not improve the flavour of a drink. Although, when an energy drink's life depends on being able to mask the unpleasant flavours of its main ingredients, I wonder how the addition of another unpleasant flavour will help it.

The can opened with a minimum of ceremony, there was no evidence of carbonation at all, but it eventually began to bubble. It appears to be the usual shade of energy drink yellow, with a slightly golden tinge to it.

Okay, so far it smells like a generic energy drink. This is a good thing. If it can pass all tests as being an average energy drink, then it's several steps ahead of what I expect from a sugar free energy drink. Hell, I may even try sugar free Red Bull if this works out. There's only one way to find out..

Well, it's not as bad as I'd expected. The flavour itself is mostly pleasant. It tastes very much like Red Bull, it has the usual flavours of tartness, slightly sickly-sweet and a bit like vomit, and clearly pasteurised. It has the slight flavour of dairy and antibiotics that most pasteurised energy drinks exhibit. However..

Over time, and given warmth, he flavour mellows greatly, becoming an unpleasantly spicy fluid. The artificial sweetener flavour thickens and becomes quite noticable when you're drinking it warm. Don't drink it warm.

The aftertaste is horrible. Artificial sweeteners suck. I've always found with drinks like Diet Coke that they taste quite decent while you're drinking them, but then you're stuck with the unfortunate reality that once you stop drinking, your mouth starts to taste like you've just sprayed it with WD-40 and sucked on a bar of soap. Well, a sugar-free energy drink is worse. The flavours of an energy drink are a procarious balance of horrible tasting things and strong, mostly pleasant tasting things. Ingredients like caffiene and vitamin-B give the drinks incredibly bitter and lasting flavours, and the added sugars and berries and whatnot basically just mask this flavour while you drink it. Almost all energy drinks have a horrid aftertaste of vitamin-B. Add phenylalanine to the mix, and it becomes entirely disgusting. The artificial sweetener grabs the unpleasant flavours of the drink, wrestles them into a malleable goo, and sticks them with great force to the roof of your mouth, allowing them to ooze slowly out over the next period of several minutes, along with the unpleasant flavour of soap and engine degreaser. Mmm. Tasty.

It's not as bad as I'd thought. I had predicted the artificial sweetener would kill it, and it kind of has. On the other hand, it's certainly not a total let down. I'll stick to non-sugar-free, myself, but if it's your fancy, then by all means, go for it.

Exotic beverage review: Power Booster

It's yellow, and the can is blue!
It's yellow, and the can is blue!

This is the first of three energy drinks I was mailed from The Netherlands, courtesy of Kees Engels. I'm slightly daunted, but I shall soldier on! It's in a bright blue can, and the label is written in Dutch and French.

It's yellow and vaguely carbonated. It looks like essentially every other energy drink available.

Upon opening the can, one is greeted by an overwhelming onslaught of aroma, a weird combination of sweetness and medication. Up close, it smells identical to Red Bull, however. Bonus points for the incredibly intense stench as the can is opened. It's possible the smell of the beverage and the taste of the beverage aren't on agreeable terms, and at the first opportunity of freedom, the stink evacuates out of the opening drink-hole for freedom. I like to imagine the taste of the drink to be the type to talk non-stop about the brand of socks it buys and how they best fight food odour, while the smell of the drink clambers around the top of the can trying to evolve claws with which to pry open the egress.

Generic Energy Drink Yellow™.
Generic Energy Drink Yellow™.

Mmm...bitter Red Bull. It has all the "ACTUNG, I AM A CHEMICAL" flavour of Red Bull, but with a slight additional woody taste, and a bit of bitterness. It's as though it's slightly more organic than Red Bull, which is clearly manufactured in airtight laboratories on a distant moon somewhere. Upon further sippage, there's also a bit of soapiness present. If it wasn't for my ritualistic vigorous washing of the glass before pouring an energy drink into it, I'd say the flavour was akin to dishwashing detergent left in the glass. Not unpleasant, but..yeah, unnecessary. All up, the flavour is neither better nor worse than Red Bull, which places it wholly within the midrange of energy drinks in general.

The soapiness continues slightly after consumption. It tastes like you've just washed your hair and had an awkward shampoo/mouth moment during the process. It's not unpleasant, all told, but these tiny chips of disgustingness do slowly erode away an otherwise decent energy drink.

It's okay. It's nothing special. It's essentially Red Bull in a different can with a bit of soap and bitterness added.