In my quest to find the most palatable energy shot for the price, how in the world could I forget the world’s largest provider of anything? Amazon is known for carrying just about everything under the sun, but I always forget that they carry grocery products, as well. It’s confusing as shit how they work (some items are under their “Fresh” banner – and can arrive within 2 hours of ordering – while others just work the same as other Amazon Prime items), but it’s nice to know that there are some other options provided we get lazy and don’t feel like leaving the house (and it’s way cheaper than using Instacart).
Through an Amazon search is how I stumbled on Solimo Extra Strength Berry Energy Shots, which also happen to be Amazon’s own private label brand! Who’d have thought there was an Amazon brand of energy shot?
Come to think of it, I had actually seen this product pop up in previous searches, but was put off by the rather tepid reviews (4.2 out of 5 is actually pretty low for a product on Amazon). I made a mental note, which I apparently promptly forgot, but decided to opt for something else at the time. This time, however, they were the first brand that sprang to mind (probably because they were the top result when I searched “energy shots” on Amazon). How could I turn down the chance to try my first “Amazon-original” product?
For starters, many of the negative reviews actually focus on the packaging; more consumers than average receive some cases with leaking shots that then make a mess everywhere else, due to careless packing. I have to agree that the packaging is less than ideal (the shots, which are just in a cardboard box with wrap on top, were just shoved in a barely-padded mailer), but I was one of the lucky ones, apparently, because all of them were intact. Phew!
One weird trait I pay attention to in energy shots is their “easy open” capability: I like the shots that twist open without any further action necessary. Every shot has the plastic wrap covering the top and the lid, but Aldi and Kroger’s shots are very tough – if not impossible – to quickly twist open on the go. That means you have to pull the plastic wrap down before you can open it and take a swig. That might be only a minor complaint, but it’s still one that I feel is worth mentioning; sometimes when you’re in the need of a kick, every second counts.
Solimo’s shot smells…kind of weird, actually. I feel like a lot of these shots smell similar to one another, but this one is different. It kind of has notes of grape…and I can’t really detect the rest. It’s semi-sweet, but actually kind of light; whatever it is, it doesn’t really give off a clear indication of what one can expect from the flavor. I mean, sure, according to the label we can expect “berry”, but as we all know with these shots (and similar products), that can be a very broad term.
Tastewise, we’re looking at a kind of tart shot, and one that doesn’t really hit the “berry” flavor profile all that well. It’s actually rather disappointing, kind of medicinal in nature; I’d compare it to a cough syrup, only with the bitterness removed. There is the typical aftertaste that lingers in the back of the throat for a while, but it’s not really any different than other shots. I would actually put the taste near that of the Stacker line, the notoriously awful (at least according to me) energy shots available at Dollar Tree. It doesn’t quite reach those levels of gross, but considering you can get other energy shots (like Tweaker) for the exact same price in the exact same quantity, there’s really not even a need to get these at all.
I do respect companies that put the caffeine content on their labels, and Solimo is one of those companies. There are 200 mg of caffeine per bottle, which I would say puts it somewhere in the “average” category of “extra strength” energy shots (Aldi’s Red Thunder brand, for example, contains 230mg in the same size packaging). It did give me a noticeable kick, as many of these do, so at least you’ll get your money’s worth in that regard. Unfortunately, there are a lot better tasting shots out there (Meijer’s anyone?) and even some decent cheaper ones (Meijer’s anyone?) for those looking to get their kick in a concentrated liquid form.
One final curiosity: Berry is the only flavor Amazon carries. This is weird, considering “grape” is also a staple of virtually every energy shot brand. Granted, many of them taste pretty similarly to one another, and none of them are even close to the actual fruit, but I’d still appreciate (and expect) some variety from the world’s largest seller of everything.
Overall: 4.5/10. Well, they arrived without getting damaged, so I guess that’s a plus. And they are better than Stacker’s (mostly) subpar energy shots, which is another win. And that’s about where all the victories end. The flavor is tart, but then gives way to a rather ho-hum finish that isn’t really berry-like in nature (are any of them?) Coming in at $14.99 per 12-pack (a little over a dollar per bottle) makes these surprisingly more expensive than grabbing them from a store, and puts the price on par with other competitors like Tweaker, which deliver a far better product. They’re not horrible, and they’re doable in a pinch, but with so many other options on the market, this should be considered more of a last-ditch resort rather than a frontline contender.