Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Golly, I've never heard about Golly Guarana. Found at a 99 Cent Only Store, this looks to be a simple yet solid Guarana-based energy drink. Now, this is an instance where we need to know exactly what Guarana is. Guarana is actually a plant, the seeds of which are harvested because they contain about five times the amount of caffeine as coffee beans. I wouldn't buy into the hype surrounding Guarana about how "bad" it is. Those commercials for Five Hour Energy that give Guarana a bad reputation, I'd say, are bogus. After all, Guarana is just a plant, a berry to be specific, that grows commonly in Brazil. After reading up some more on the plant, I get the idea that this is a Brazillian drink, since Guarana soft drinks are quite common in Brazil. I decide to check the back of the can to see where this is from, and it turns out it's from Orlando, Florida. So maybe it's not from Brazil, but perhaps it may be just as authentic, considering there's a high concentration of Latin demographics in Florida. I've never had a Guarana soft drink before and I'm quite curious.
I wasn't sure exactly how Guarana is meant to flavor a beverage, but when I think about it, it makes sense since Guarana is a berry after all. I popped the can open and got a smell like subtle strawberries and blueberries and a sort of earthiness like acetone, giving it a very fresh smell. As I pour this out of the can, it has a medium brown-amber like a nice toasty ale, similar to Diesel, except with less carbonation. Tasting this, it's not the most flavorful drink I've ever had, but has a clean, fresh, unique berry taste with an also clean and fresh aftertaste that must be characteristic of the berry. When I drink it from a cup, where it has time to settle, some of the carbonation leaves and lets the flavor come out. However, when I drink it from the can, it stays cold longer, but the carbonation hinders the flavor a bit. I'd be able to describe this to someone is as a subtle Diesel with less flavor and less carbonation or maybe as a drink similar to a Rockstar, since it has not much flavor. It isn't very gummy at all, but the carbonation does get in the way. Overall, I'm not wowed by this drink, since it lacks some flavor and it also lacks an original flavor. I don't doubt that there are more flavorful guarana drinks out there.
What's funny is that nowhere on this can are the words "energy drink" mentioned. Golly Guarana is simply labelled as a soft drink, with the "natural extract of guarana." That may be why this drink has such a short ingredients list. Everything in here includes carbonated water, HFCS, natural and artificial flavor, guarana extract, citric acid, and sodium benzoate. With that short of an ingredients list, there's no way this could top any real energy drink. The only energy ingredient in here is Guarana Extract, and I'm going to guess that it's in low amounts just because I found this at a dollar store. On sugar, this whole 12oz can has 35g which means just over 23g per 8oz. Compared to common energy drinks, that's not a large number, and the calorie count is also slightly low, being 140 per can, working out to 93 calories per 8oz. There's not much more to say about this drink. I was hoping for something really original with a nice kick for Guarana, but it doesn't seem to be doing much more than, say, a cup of tea would. Sorry, but I can't get into the Guarana drinks. I'll stick to my Caffeine.
Taste: 7.3 - Fresh berry but also pretty bland
Kick: 5.5 - No better than a soda
Overall: 6.5 - My expectations were too high
Reviewed by: Jeff