I was at a Dollar Tree in Tennessee when I stumbled upon another small batch of Stacker2 energy shot flavors that I had not yet tried. I shoved them all in my cart, anticipating the feeling of bitter disappointment that would no doubt result from trying such a misguided experiment. Actually, to be perfectly honest, this was the flavor I was expecting to be a lock as the best one of the bunch.
It did not work out that way.
Whoa, the first oddity is the scent: there isn’t much of one. Given Stacker’s propensity to take everything to the nth degree, I fully expected this to smell like a garden of grapes after being sprayed with pesticide (you know, to account for the chemical smell and aftertaste that’s always there). This one doesn’t have a strong scent at all…and it’s actually kind of nerve-wracking. You know what else doesn’t have a smell? Everclear, and that stuff will kill you.
Grape is perhaps the most emulated taste across all energy shots, and so by that fact alone, I would assume it’s one of the easiest tastes to create. As much as I’m underwhelmed with Stacker2 overall, I have given quite a bit of praise to their B12 10,000% energy shot line, of which this is a part of. While the flavors in their “Xtra” line are usually watered down and chemically, the “B12” line seems to do a much better job of making the drinks more palatable. And even though it’s part of another line, they do just as good as the “Xtra” in terms of giving off energy boosts.
Wow…I’m shocked. Not because it’s good, but because they somehow botched such an “easy” flavor. Obviously, I’m not requiring my grape-flavored energy drink to taste like actual grape, but it should at least taste similar to all the other grape-flavored energy shots out there. Again, not exactly the same, but roughly in the same ballpark.
Here, a rather weird problem for Stacker2 rears its ugly head: it tastes watered-down, much like Dollar Tree’s unbranded “x2” 4 oz. energy shot (which I’ve come to assume is made by Stacker2, since they are the sole provider of Dollar Tree’s other shot products). There’s also a rather unpleasant aftertaste that lingers in the back of the throat, another issue that’s plagued several different Stacker2 products. I honestly would expect that out of some of their other lines, but considering the “B12 10,000%” line has been by far their best, I certainly didn’t expect such a disappointing taste.
It’s not all negatives, though, as Stacker2 has a couple of things going for it, if only by default: $1 for an energy shot is a fantastic deal, and the shots do “work”. That is to say, they provide a good kick of energy, so while the flavors may not be ideal, at least they’re functional.
This might have been more acceptable 10 years ago, when the idea of an energy shot was much newer, but with so many more options out there, there’s really no need to have to sacrifice flavor for value.
Overall: 4/10. Honestly, if this were a part of any other Stacker2 line, I might have given it a slightly higher score. However, considering the “B12 10,000%” line is by far their best, to have not only such a disappointing flavor come out of it – but for that flavor to the grape, the most emulated of all energy shot flavors – is just a nearly unforgivable offense. The flavor is curiously watered down – one thing I did not expect – and has the same medicinal aftertaste as pretty much all of their other shots. I can’t completely drag it through the mud, because like all of their shots, it does work, and it’s only $1, but considering grape is a flavor virtually every other shot company has nailed, it makes little sense to settle for this one.