I’m trying to figure out what makes First Start different to other Rock Star energy drinks. It says that it derives its caffeine from natural sources (so that’ll be the guarana then, not so unusual), and that it contains 5% fruit juice. I guess it’s that last point that makes it ‘first start’, like it’s supposed to be your morning fruit juice drink possibly? Bad idea if you’re doing that in any case! Anyway, the drink has a nice sweet orange flavour to it, quite sugary tasting yet low in calories. If we ignore the odd/confusing branding choices, it’s a good old stonking sized can of energy drink.
As Sherpa Tenzing neared the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, I wonder if he thought to himself “you know, I could really do with an energy drink brand being named after me.”. Well, that potential thought has come true. According to the can’s blurb, this drink is inspired by the evergising brew of the Himilayan Sherpas, and brew is the definitive word here. This drink tastes like a really weak non-alcoholic beer. It’s really bitter, to the point where it’s almost undrinkable. I think it has something to do with the natural ingredients list of lemon juice, green tea/coffee and Himilayan rock salt. To counteract all of those bitter flavours you need a lot of sugar and this drink doesn’t have much of that. It does contain beet sugar, which is just a normal sugar (as opposed to cane sugar or corn syrup), but in order to keep the calorie content down they don’t seem to have used very much. That’s a shame really because at 58 calories/can it’s neither low calorie or full fat – they should have just ramped the sugar up to improve the taste.
Surprisingly this didn’t actually taste anything like the full fat version, it’s almost like a totally different formula. I found it a bit sickly and maybe with a hint of aniseed too, it’s not often I prefer the non-diet version of a particular brand but in this case normal Kong is better.
I purchased this from Lidl at the same time as I purchased Kong Strong, and given that the old Lidl energy drink brand was called Mixxed Up I expected them both to taste more or less the same as that and therefore each other. They were quite different though – compared to Kong Strong, this drink is more tart and sour, and quite difficult to drink in such a large quantity. I struggled through it with my teeth and tongue feeling fuzzy and coated afterwards… if you have the choice, don’t choose this one.
At least the own-brand me-too drink makers are starting to get it right. This one was at least in the ‘ok’ group of drinks. It wasn’t too sweet or sour, but had just the right amount of tang to it.
Not just strong, but KONG STRONG! I assume this drink is branded to take advantage of the recent Kong movie. Taste-wise it was ok, very sweet and pleasant to drink. I have a feeling though that’s it’s just a rebranded version of their Mixxxxxxxxxed Up drink of days gone by.
I drank this one with memories of the other Aspire drinks close to hand… and as I suspected I didn’t enjoy it. It’s really bitter and watery, with no real fruity flavouring or sweetness to it at all. It tastes how you’d expect something really healthy to taste! There’s no tropical or lemon hints there at all, sorry…
A nice little lemon-lime energy drink. The selling point of this one is its use of natural fruit juice instead of artificial flavourings. I think it really makes a different because it’s fruity and refreshing… it’s just a shame that fruit juice isn’t low calorie!
Of the three new Emerge Active8 flavours that have appeared recently, this is my least favourite. Its full description is “Dragon Fruit Citrus Zing”, and zing is the right word. There’s a tangy bitterness there which I’m not enjoying too much because it leaves a sickly aftertaste. It’s very fruity and strong compared to the other drinks in the range – my recommendation would be to choose one of the other two instead.