Friday, April 3, 2009
On the way to an OHV-riding destination, Chan and I made a stop at a small market and found the ever-elusive Amp Lightning and Von Dutch. Looking from outside the cooler, the Amp Lightning stared me in the face with its audacious yellow cover and the bold word "Lightning." Amp calls this a "shock of lemonade flavor" and an "explosive energizing bolt." I can agree this sounds fierce and the yellow can screams "tasty." I was tempted to give this a try after riding ATVs, but I decided this was a drink too precious to let go unreviewed. I've saved it for today, hoping to get the best review out of it.
One of the more sour-smelling lemonade scents meets me as soon as I open the can, with a good deal of lemon sourness and a bit of nice sweetness. It excites me, only to let me down with a not-so-special flavor. While one would agree this does taste like Lemonade, in one form or another, it's not that special homemade extra-sour, extra-delicious lemonade I had in mind. What I'm getting is more of a polished, toned down lemonade with that cheek-pinching sourness gone, replaced with a mild sourness on the tongue. I will admit, however, there's a real nice round sweetness to this that comes across nice and fruity - not the absolute essence of lemon, but still nice and fruity. I probably expected this to be sweeter than it tastes, but actually, the sweetness is actually quite adequate. I think what I've missed is that severe sourness and then the bright sweetness of cane sugar balancing it out. Amp's cooked up a smoother lemonade that goes down easier, but doesn't have me coming back constantly for more. Without a doubt, that good old homemade lemonade still hits the spot; I think I even prefer the Tropicana light lemonade to this, because it has that genuine "lemonade" quality to it. The Amp Lightning comes across oversweet with a pesky aftertaste that won't easily leave my pallete. On the bright side, Amp comes out of the can with an flourescent cloudy chartruce-yellow that's pretty wild. I saw this color almost at the end of the drink and now is when I really warm up to the drink. The carbonation hasn't been a huge problem, nor has the gumminess, but when most of the carbonation is gone this drink tastes much more lemony and delicious. Still, I can tell there's a fair amount of grapefruit in the mix, and it makes the Lightning taste quite a bit like a Squirt soda. Overall, I can't call this a mediocre drink, because admittedly, it did have some good flavor, just not exactly lemonade flavor. I know there are a whole lot of people out there who would appreciate it for what it is. I was just a bit bummed that this wasn't the lemonade I imagined.
Amp's ingredient's begin, not surprisingly, with carbonated water and HFCS. I wouldn't expect Amp to use sugar, considering they have always stuck to the cheaper, duller sweetener, High Fructose Corn Syrup. The rest of the list goes on as follows: Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Taurine, Guarana Seed Extract, Sodium Benzoate, L-Carnitine, Gum Arabic, Caffeine, Maltodextrin, Glycerol Ester of Rosin, Niacinimide, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Yellow 5, Riboflavin. It's not a fantastic list, but I'm glad to see L-Carnitine, an amino acid. Amino acids are great for concentration and vitality, and Amp Lightning definitely put me in a vital and concentrated state. Other than that, I see no other fantastic energy ingredients, just the standards. One ingredient you won't see very commonly is Glycerol Ester of Rosin. According to Wikipedia, Glycerol Ester of Rosin is a common emulsifier and stabilizer in citrus-flavored drinks, keeping oils emulsified in water. I could see the need for this, considering lemon oil would be necessary in flavoring a lemon-flavored drink. Overall, it's not an amazing ingredients list, but the addition of L-Carnitne is a good idea and proves good at promoting vitality. In general, the Amp Lightning ain't bad on flavor, nor on kick, making it a solid, tasty drink with a smooth boost.
Taste: 9.2 - With Amp quality, you get a nice and tasty lemon-grapefruit I'd take anyday
Kick: 7.6 - Great when you're going for a smoother, more concentrated kick, minus the jitters
Overall: 8.5 - Good, but not on my go-to list. Not quite
Reviewed by: Jeff