If you want to find some of the more unique beverages inside Dollar Tree, you always have to look in the refrigerated section next to the freezers, which are typically located in the back of the store, often tucked away in a corner. Most of the time, there’s just the usual suspects: individual containers of orange and apple juices, chocolate milk, etc…the usual suspects that aren’t even good deals compared to buying larger containers elsewhere.
But every once in a while, you find a surprise tucked away in there, and it can feel like you’ve stumbled on a hidden secret. A few years back it was smoothies released under the Cosmic Smoothie Co. label, which were nearly pitch-perfect knockoffs of Bolthouse Farms…and I guess that’s really been it in all the years I’ve been going there. Still, that deal impressed me enough that I continue to check there on virtually every single trip. And that is how I stumbled on a can of Noo Fuzion Mango Bango Potent Mind and Muscle Fuel.
This find was notable for a few reasons that only became apparent after reading the can: It is a pre-workout drink, something I can’t recall seeing at Dollar Tree before; it is manufactured by Bang, the popular energy drink company whose products are all over nationwide retailers everywhere; and each can contains 300mg of caffeine, which seems to be the max allowed in a “mainstream” product. Personally, I couldn’t care less about the pre-workout thing, but the other two had me pretty well intrigued.
And also a little nervous. What was it doing there? Was it manufactured specifically for Dollar Tree, or – as I feared – a failed product where its appearance at a dollar store was simply a final death throe? There was only one way to find out, dear reader; I hope you appreciate my sacrifices.
Cracking open the can, and I must say the smell is rather appealing, which isn’t something I was expecting. To be honest, I don’t get any notes of mango whatsoever – it’s almost exactly a green apple – but it’s still sweet and pleasant on the nostrils. In fact, I would have ventured to guess from the aroma that it would be too sweet; I would much rather that then the opposite end of the taste spectrum.
Initially, it does start off very sweet, with a taste that I certainly could have gotten used to: While most would probably decry it as being excessively so, it was more or less what I would expect out of a Bang product, what with their over-the-top candy flavors and all. However, the finish is where the entire experience goes down the drain, and where its placement in a dollar store is painfully obvious. This is where the taste does a complete 180, turning the sugary flavor into something bitter; I’ve mentioned other products having a “cough syrupy” taste before, but this one is the closest to actually hitting that descriptor.
It’s so bad that you should expect to wince while throwing it down; a taste so grotesque that no one should have to experience it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sudden switch in flavors caused PTSD in some people – it’s that bad. I’ve had some outright bad products before, but this is rather unique in that it seamlessly mixes “sweet” and “bitter” to form something that shouldn’t really be experienced by anyone.
Overall: 2.5/10. Really, we’re left with a quandary here that’s probably the exact same quandary we started off with: Is this even worth the purchase? I guess it all comes down to how desperate you are at the time. If you’re trapped inside a Dollar Tree, in a hurry, and find yourself needing a caffeine kick, the 300mg in each can will certainly give you that, and for a mere $1.25 commitment. However, those savings come at the cost of a product that virtually requires the consumer to force each drink down. Remember when you were a kid and had to take cough syrup? Yeah, it’s exactly that, only instead of one dose, you’re giving yourself the equivalent of 2 bottles of Robitussin back-to-back. If you can do it, good for you – I couldn’t.