Thailand is renowned for its wide selection of energy drinks and the choice can often be baffling. To help the uninitiated and throwing caution, good sense and care for my own personal wellbeing to the wind, I’ve taken the liberty of taste testing a selection of the finest energy drinks.
I was joined by the wife for the first part of this but she bailed mid-way through. I believe it’s because she has far more sense than I.
I should state, for the record, that there is no truth in the claim that Thai energy drinks have actual amphetamines in them. They don’t. Thailand is a country where you get five years in jail for having 5 to 20 grams of weed on you.
Over 20 grams? That’s intent to sell which is punishable by death.
7-11 isn’t going to stock illegal drugs.
Starting Heart Rate: 51 BPM.
First up is White Shark.
The aroma is cloying and medicinal. It reminds me of a horrific mixture of Tixylix and linseed oil.
It has the colour of stale urine.
This is so powerfully sweet that it made me squint when I drank it. There is also a chemical taste which puts me in mind of sweetened creosote. The mouthfeel could be likened to that of a strangler and it has clung to the back of my throat like the smoke from a cheap Chinese cigarette.. I feel nauseous after drinking it.
Heart rate: 55 BPM.
Now it’s time for M-150.
This smells like burning plastic with damp khlong/canal undertones but with an almost nuclear strength sweet/sour nose. It’s like the khlong has been filled with Haribo Tangfastic sweets.
The colour is again, that of stale urine but the stale urine of a tramp who has been drinking meths all night.
This one taste again very sweet but with a grassy, herbaceous undertone which sounds pleasant but in context, isn’t. The plastic smell is reinforced in the taste and there is a sourness that wrinkles the nose and then makes it want to crawl inside your face for safety.
Heart rate: 62 BPM – My hands are starting to tremble.
This one doesn’t have any English on it so I’ll just call it Tiger Juice.
There’s the common ‘energy drink’ smell with this one but with an aggressive sweetness on the nose that has saturated my sinuses. If you melted down Chewits and boiled them with bitter hops you’d get something close. There’s an ‘off’ smell in there as well.
As well as looking like stale urine, this one smells like it too.
Again tastes like artificial sugar but with a herbal/medicinal aftertaste. The smell of stale urine is also transmitted in the flavour which is actually making me feel quite ill.
Heart rate: 67 BPM – I’m starting to see purple dots in front of my eyes and there is pain in my kidneys.
Another one with no English, so I’ll call it Green Buffalo.
I’ve noticed that this one is certified Halal so if you worship Allah, you can chug this down with impunity. Well, spiritual impunity – I have no idea what it will do to your insides.
This one smells like rotting leaf litter after a heavy rain mixed with ground up sweets. There is a hint of herbal remedy and reminds me of the quinine taste in tonic water (if all of the water was replaced by quinine and death).
Looks much the same as the others if a little darker.
That herbal bitterness is first on the palate but is quickly blown out of the water by the same aggressive sweetness of the others. I can’t get a handle on the exact type of childhood sweet it reminds me of but it’s like someone has weaponised artificial sweetness.
Heart Rate: 75 BPM. I’m struggling to look at my laptop, my eyes keep unfocusing themselves which is disconcerting. I also have quite a strong headache starting.
Lastly it’s the original Red Bull.
This is where the Red Bull we all know started. It was bought out by an Austrian company who produce the one we know in the West. Right, best get on with it…
Smells like Red Bull.
Looks the same as the others but less dark than the Red Bull at home.
It’s flat so no bubbles to break the cloying mouthfeel. It tastes, well, like Red Bull. What is remarkable is that it is the least sweet out of all of them by quite a way – which gives you some indication of the sweetness of the others.
Still tastes pretty foul.
Heart rate 84 BPM. My teeth now feel loose in my gums and I’m really on edge. The purple spots have now been joined by pale yellow spots. The hand shaking is getting worse and the headache has been growing steadily at the front of my skull.
This was honestly one of the worst ideas I had for a while. I really don’t feel well and I highly recommend you avoid drinking any of these. I’m off to have a lie down in a darkened room and think about my life choices.