Wednesday, July 22, 2020

X-Mode Energy on Tap Watermelon Rush Energy Shots (Online)

A decent "watermelon" flavor, but too similar to the apple for my liking.
Well what do we have here? In the two or so months since my last order, I see those fine folks at X-Mode have added yet another flavor into the mix: watermelon. This takes their total number of options to four, up double from the two they initially offered when I first heard about them a couple of years ago. I don’t typically care for artificially-flavored watermelon things (although I love the actual fruit), but you know what? You only live once, so I figured I might as well get out of my comfort zone. Well, that, and the other flavors were getting kind of boring to me, so that made the decision even easier.

I won’t go into a hugely long preface since I’ve already done that in previous flavor reviews of X-Mode, but just a quick recap about what X-Mode is: In quick terms, think a boxed wine, only for energy drinks. Each order comes with two resealable 2 oz. bottles which you then refill over and over again until the contents of the box are gone. The idea, I guess, is that it cuts back on waste over getting a one-use energy shot and throwing it away every day. I don’t know…I mentioned back when I first reviewed them that I can’t tell if it’s a genius idea or a completely stupid idea and I’m still stuck in the middle, even though these have become my go-to energy beverage (though mostly out of convenience; going to the store to load up on energy shots and/or drinks every single week was getting to be a rather annoying hassle).

Anyway, onto the watermelon: it smells just like what I was expecting, which is to say an incredibly artificial watermelon candy. I don’t understand why so many beverages and candies even have a watermelon flavor, because they never taste (or even attempt to taste) like the real thing…although I guess that ideology could extend to “sour/green apple” and “blue raspberry” candies, too.

It fits the exact flavor profile of every other X-Mode variety, with a very sweet flavor profile that goes down pretty smooth for me, but that will be a chore for those with a preference for the “dryer” things in life (like my wife, who refuses to go near these things). Honestly, I questioned why watermelon flavors even need to exist, and that goes double for this one; the more I sip on it, the more I realize that it’s very close in taste to their “Jacked Apple”, which was the previous flavor they released last year. Even the smell is pretty similar…I can distinguish the watermelon, but the surrounding notes are so alike that it seems like they barely even had to do anything to change the formula from apple to watermelon.

The one thing that really strikes me as kind of odd about these beverages (besides the whole idea, I suppose) is that, despite all being founded on the same intensely sweet foundation of flavor, none of them hit the taste buds too strongly, at least for me. Like, you know how you get a sweet candy, and it kind of makes all your taste buds wiggle and respond to how sweet it is, basically letting you know that you’re getting a sweetness overload? This hits the top of the tongue in a similar fashion, but seems to dissipate before it hits the surrounding tastebuds. I know, I know, part of it might be because there’s no actual sugar in it, but it’s almost like they somehow “mute” the sweetness in the aftertaste, so that you just get an initial blast of candy-like intensity that quickly weakens so that it doesn't become too overbearing. Eh…I think I’m doing a terrible job of explaining it, but to sum up: it’s not as intensely sweet as it starts off suggesting it will be. (Again, as a counterpoint, my wife finds it to be overwhelmingly cloying and won’t go near it unless it’s her only option and she has another beverage to blend it in as a means to completely mask the flavor; to each their own, I suppose.)

Overall: 5/10. This one has sour notes of typical watermelon candy that hit your tastebuds from the outset, before it all dissipates rather quickly after you swallow. It will be way too strong for some, and while I will say I don’t always enjoy these flavors, I never have to “force” a drink of it down. There’s a slightly medicine-y aftertaste, but it’s light and rather pleasant compared to most energy shots. The biggest hit to the points is just how unnecessary it is, as it offers up a very similar scent and taste to the sour apple flavor the company released last year. And, just like that one, this one is only available at “full price” through both eBay and Amazon, unlike the cherry and orange flavors, which are slightly discounted (with the capability to “make your own offer” on eBay to save even more money on top of that). It’s okay, but I'll just stick to the cherry for the most part, and get the "Jacked Apple" instead of this one when I want something different.

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