Thursday, January 1, 2015

X-Mode Energy Shot Tower

X-Mode and Possessedbycaffeine.com is running a contest to get your own 100 shot Tower of Power, along with other gifts.  Click here to enter! 

 I Love brilliant dangerous ideas.   Like Lawn Darts and Pogo Sticks with wheels on the bottom, X-Mode energy is a whole heck of a lot of fun, as long as you don't let stupid or accident prone people near it.  X-mode is a delicious super potent energy shot, but it comes in a box - like boxed wine - and is served through an easy pour spout.   For adults and people with common sense, this is truly a boon.  You can pour as little or as much of the powerful elixir as you want, without wasting.  It is also economical, giving you much more bang for your buck.  Just remember to go easy - as X-mode is strong enough not to be taken lightly.

On tap energy shots - its a great idea.  I have only seen this once before, and that was with Kymera Freakish Energy, a product which has sadly been discontinued.   There are 100 1-ounce servings in a box, and it works just like wine-in-a-box does, with a little pull out spout that you can measure out your dosage.  I gave this a try at home, at work and at the gym, and in all instances I am a big fan!

Packaging: 10
The box itself is very clean and professional.  The printing is all nicely laid out - as well as all the numerous warnings to not be stupid and try to drink an 8 ounce glass, mix with alcohol ( only if you are a semi-professional, like me) or give to kids and people who shouldn't drink caffeine. After pulling out the spout from the box, you also find two cool prescription bottles to help you measure the correct dosing.  The side of the package as well as the little bottles have all you need to know about your drink, including all the nutrients in exact amounts as well as the caffeine content.  Besides listing the website, they even go to listing a phone number in case you have any more questions about it.  All in all the whole presentation is top notch.

Taste:9
When you are dealing with 100 energy shots, if they tasted gross this would be a big problem.   I have seen it many times where energy shot manufacturers make their shot flavor taste medicinal on purpose, in the hopes that it would make the product seem more like a powerful medicine than an easy-on-the-palate drink.  Fortunately for everyone, X-Mode tastes really nice - managing to hide most of the bitter caffeine and B Vitamin flavor in a thick candy coating that seems a touch cloying, but overall easy to drink.   The flavor reminds me of cherry cough syrup, only without the alcoholic bite and less syrupy.  X-Mode comes in just a cherry flavor, at least for now, which works as a flavor.
While this is not the best energy shot I have had, I would say that the flavor definitely ranks in the top 5 of all time.

Buzz:10
What more can I say - other than X Mode is a beast!  In each 1 ounce serving (FYI, 5 hour energy shots come in 2 ounce servings) there is 150mg of the our favorite drug, along with a bunch of vitamin B complex, taurine, and some other cool stuff like Citrulline Malate (an amino acid which delays the onset of fatigue during workouts), and L-Tyrosine (another amino that helps reduce stress and enhance memory tasks).  X-Mode is liquid power of the old school energy drink variety.   I would recommend starting of slowly and see how you handle the effects.

I started the box off with a week of trips to the gym, and the effect there was very impressive.   I get to the gym at a little before 6am, so just getting out the door on a cold day is a challenge.   about 10 minutes after a shot of X Mode was all I needed to get the energy to do a great workout.  Also, all my workouts improved just a little - to the point I can not run a 10K (personal 2014 goal DONE!).  It also worked well in the afternoon, when work drags on and I needed a bit of boost to get me through the rest of the day.

I did break with the directions though.  I am a big fan of ADULTS (meaning people with a lick of sense - regardless of age) having the option of caffeinated alcohol - and have enjoyed many types of drinks, from old cans of Joose to super-caffeinated coffee porters.  So in that spirit, on a snowy weekend I did mix it with a vodka, tonic water and a splash of lime juice to  create the most delicious Cherry Vodka Tonic - it was more potent and delicious as any Red Bull and Vodka combo.   Not only was it delicious, but I really loved being able to drink one and still feel energized enough to get things done around the house.  I had a couple throughout the day and managed to keep buzzed an happy for hours.

You can find about how to get hold of the product on their website: http://www.xmshot.com

Monday, December 29, 2014

Go Energy Gummies

Energy Gummies are not new.  That being said - that does not mean they aren't  brilliant idea.  In this case these little sugar coated gooey bits of blueberry deliciousness are just perfect for just about every situation.   They are hard enough to not get melted in the pocket, yummy enough to be eaten just about any time, and has enough of a boost to make it all worthwhile.  The packaging still leaves a little something to be desired - but don't let that fool you.  If you are lucky enough to see these around your local gas station I would not hesitate stocking up.

Packaging:6
Go really needs to work on their design.   The actual package for the gummies is great - they come in these little blister packs that have enough air in them to keep the treats from getting gooey and sticking to the side.  I is also foil wrapped, so leaving them out in the sun wont get them to melting temps as quickly.  Functionally it also did well, listing the caffeine content as well as all the other ingredients in a nice easy to read fashion.

Unfortunately, the actual design is a mess.  Part of this problem come from the logo - which makes the whole thing look a little cheap and sketchy and he choice of the non-color scheme ( the package is basically a 2 color process, just blue and white).  t is hard enough getting a good design to print on a foil wrap , and it is even harder when it is left on the naked uncolored foil.  Unfortunately, this design was a total miss.  There is supposedly two servings in a pack too ( as there are two gummies), but it is nearly impossible to save one until later - as the package doe not fold or close easily.  Like 16 ounce 2 serving drinks, you aren't fooling anybody.  Having half his gummy package is like drinking half a Monster - its not going to happen.


Taste:8
As I mentioned in my review of Loud Truck Gummies,  gummy treats usually don't provide quite enough sweetness or gooeyness for me to really enjoy.  They are one of only two things in the world I can not really get into (the second are Twizzlers and other big corporate made licorice treats).  Go Gummies are a million times better than your average convenience store gummy worm - reminding me much more of those fruit slice gummies - sweet and tart, and then the coating of sugar puts it over the top in terms of flavor.  Go did a fantastic job coming up with a unique taste.

My only critique is that there is quite a lot of underlying bitter medicinal flavor once the sugar coating is gone.   For a quick bit you can not really taste it, but if you savor the flavor you can really taste the bitterness.  A coworker (read guinea pig) thought it started great but ended up like cough medicine the more he sucked it.  The problem is all the vitamin B - as it is a very bitter medicinal flavor and without the sugar coating to mask it you can definitely be overwhelmed by the harshness.

Buzz:9
Go Gummies are a great way to get yourself a bit more alert - quick and easy with no mess or spilling possible.  There are two gummies inside of the package, each containing 100mg of caffeine.  Basically, both gummies will give you a very nice 200mg boost - about the same amount you would find in two cups of coffee - or a bit more juice than you would get in a Monster.  Besides the caffeine, Go has a few other nice energy standards,  such as taurine (100MG),  Carnitine (25mg) some vitamin b complex and even a decent amount of vitamin C to boot.

The other ingredients are about what you would expect - the sweetener is glucose and sugar, and the calorie count is very low as well.   I can see his working great for long road trips, taking on hikes, and other times a can would be annoying, not to mention dealing with all that sloshing around inside you. If you are a fan of the gummy food group and need a nice buzz along with your candy, this is a great gummy to try.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Liquid Ice Energy Drink Revisited

It has been many years since I was able to try Liquid Ice energy drinks.  I reviewed them back in 2008, and they were a me-too Red Bull wannabe that was endorsed by Ice T.   Well, that could not be further than the new grown-up version of Liquid Ice.  It might look similar, but this fully grown up an unique energy drink had me clamoring for more.  If Liquid Ice was near me in the local convenience store, I would be sorely tempted to go for one of these as opposed to the normal Rockstars or Monsters.

Liquid Ice comes in 3 flavors.  There is a Blue, White and Red flavor.  I know those are colors and not flavors, but also in the energy drink world, Blue is definitely a flavor.   For some reason they did not send along any of the white flavor, but I was able to enjoy both the Blue and the Red, and I have to say that I was very happily surprised with both of them.   Its nice to know that in the six years since I tried Liquid Ice, their flavors have improved this much!

Packaging:8
I love the lushness of the colors of these cans.  I know that is an odd thing to say, but they look so thick and glossy that I could have sworn this was a wrapped plastic can.  The color is laid down thick, and the design is one where even if the can gets knicked or slightly marred you would not be able to tell.  The design pops out with the colors and fonts, and it is all very easy to read and check out.

The only issue I have is that these are still coming in small 8 ounce containers - which consumers have really moved past.  Other than Red Bulls - which also come in 12 and 16 ounce containers, there are really not a whole lot of these tiny 8 ounce drink cans anymore.   I have read there are twelve ounce versions of these drinks out there somewhere - although like the white cans, thats not what I received.

Taste:9
Both the Blue and the Red flavors are really something.  I expected the blue to taste like blue raspberries, as all blue candied substances usually are.   Surprisingly that is not the case.   When you first open the can, you get a whiff of something sour, but also fruity- not a normal smell.  It also does not look normal - pouring out a nice vibrant blue color.  It tastes a whole lot like candied fruity deliciousness - maybe berry and maybe citrus - I can't tell.  What I can tell is that it is super tasty, and I would easily drink through a whole box of them if they were sitting around.

The Red flavor is red flavored, like a fruit punch or some sort of berry.  It is different than the blue, but is also a very hard to distinguish flavor profile.  While I did not like this as much as the blue, the red is an equally impressive flavor.  While I would not say this tastes natural or healthy, hey did a great job making a unique energy drink taste that stands out from the pack.

Buzz:6
The buzz in a small eight ounce can is about what you would expect.  There is 80mg of caffeine in the can - which is very standard for this kind of drink.  There is also the usual overload of B vitamins, taurine and inositol, and both clock in at 130 calories for the small can.   The one interesting ingredient is the addition of coQ-10, which is great for increasing brain function.  For a straight on energy drink this is just about what you would want to see.  I would love to see them kick this up a notch, although they get an extra point from last time for dumping their push of caffeine over guarana angle.

Overall if I found these in a bigger can, less calories or with a stronger formulation I would not hesitate picking up a few cans and enjoying that delicious flavor again!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Caffeineland energy patches

One of the remarkable things about caffeine is that it can easily get absorbed right through the skin, and never have to ass your lips in order to reach your bloodstream.  In fact, people who are very caffeine sensitive should not even handle pure caffeine, and wear gloves when cooking or preparing items containing it.   That is how caffeine works when it is added to soaps, shampoos, lip balms, and all those cool caffeinated products.

Caffeineland Energy Patches are using this to their advantage by creating patches, just like a nicotine patch, and slowly let you absorb caffeine slowly throughout the day.  You just stick them on your skin and there you have it.  I have tried caffeine patches before, but Caffeineland patches  actually work.

Packaging:8
The thing with this particular patch is that they are selling it as a discount product, something cheaper and more functional than others on the market  That also means they have a sparse package to them, going with basically a logo on a label, then placed in a bag.  I like the idea of going no-frills, as this pushes the functional element of the product over the uniqueness.   Their design says"Of course caffeine patches work - and this way you can have them cheaply too".  

In terms of function, this is very serviceable.  They last a long time, don't get stuck together, and there are more than enough in a package that you can wear a couple a day for a good couple weeks before needing more.   They are skin band-aid colored, so you don't need to explain what you are doing to anyone who might see you sporting one, and you can slip a couple into your pocket or wallet without fear of them getting sticky or gummy.

Buzz:8
If you are looking for a rush of energy from wearing a patch you are going to be very disappointed.  Because the caffeine in a patch does not need to go through that whole messy process of being processed in your stomach and can go more easily through the skin, you don't need nearly as much to get your dose of the good stuff.  Each patch only has 30 or so mg of caffeine in it - and this gets absorbed throughout the day, rather than in a big gulp.  This means that you will not get a blast of energy, but instead will feel a nice lift of overall energy for 5-6 hours.  I wore two of them for a couple weeks and the difference in the amount of energy I had was noticeable.  You just slap a couple eon the inside of your arm in the morning, and by noon you feel a bit more alive and perky.


The interesting thing is what happens when you mix this with your favorite caffeinated beverage.  even the more crash-prone energy drinks like the ones high in sugar no longer have the same caffeine crash.  You spend your day feeling more alive and awake, without getting any of that jittery high (although I do like my jittery highs).  I would steer clear of this if you are needing your morning caffeine fix or want something to get you through a drowsy period, but for just a nice little perk up for a good several hours, this is definitely a great way to go.  
If you cant find them in stores yet, they are also sold on their website: http://caffeineland.com/