Review: Monster Energy

Recently a friend gave me a can of Monster Energy drink. I don’t typically partake of energy drinks. In fact, I think I’ve only had one previously (Amp). But energy drinks are actually doing pretty well in the marketplace, so I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about.

Monster Energy

Monster Energy

Monster Energy is made by the Monster Beverage Company of Corona, CA, which in turn is owned by Hansen Beverage Company. I mention that because the latest industry sales numbers from 2006 show that Hansen is now the #6 beverage company, due to its mix of soft drinks and energy drinks. It had a lot of growth last year and is now ahead of Red Bull in the marketplace according to Beverage Digest.

Speaking of Red Bull, that’s typically what folks think of when they think “energy drink”. Well, that and small can + high price! Monster came along with a can twice the size (16 oz. vs. 8.3 oz.), but kept the price the same. Thus they marketed that advantage in value, while still showing this edgy exterior.

Monster Energy is the flagship brand in the Monster family. It comes in a black can highlighted by a fluorescent green. The pulltab is also green. (Funny how Amp pretty much looks just like it!). The “energy blend” found in Monster Energy includes l-carnitine, glucose, inositol, glucuronolactone, and maltodextrin. It also has such exciting things as taurine, panax ginseng root extract, and B vitamins!

Oh, and lots of caffeine (10.00 mg/oz.). There’s actually a warning on the back that reads: “Consume Responsibly — Limit 3 cans per day. Not recommended for children, pregnant women, or people sensitive to caffeine.” Nice.

Upon opening the can, the best way I could describe it is that is smelled a lot like Jones Soda Candy. In case you have no experience with this, Jones Soda licensed their brand to a candy manufacturer and they are selling what can best be described as “fizzy PEZ” candies. Jones calls it a “carbonated candy” that you can “pop in your mouth and let it fizz, or drop ‘em in your Jones Soda beverages as flavor boosters too!” In any case, Monster Energy smells like that stuff. Another analogy might be the taste of the syrup in a Fla-Vor-Ice freezer pops. You know when you are sucking out the flavored ice and all the ice is gone, leaving a strong syrup at the bottom? Somewhat fruity, kinda stuffy, definitely not like a cola.

The color of the drink was dark yellowish… I guess you could call it amber, but who really knows. Think apple juice with a somewhat red tint. As for the taste, well… it was odd. Think citrus + medicine. Yum! There wasn’t a lot of carbonation (which reminded me somewhat of how Vault is being positioned as a hybrid soda/energy drink). The aftertaste was somewhat bitter, rather acidic. Not really pleasant, to tell you the truth. I actually couldn’t quite place what the heck the flavor actually was. It starts out smooth, and then the aftertaste kicks in and ruins it. (Of course, this might also have to do with the fact that sucralose is listed as an ingredient.)

Overall, the taste was weird and I don’t think I’d want to drink this again. Maybe I’m just not an energy drink guy.