Stacker2 Xtra Cherry Vanilla Extra Strength Energy Shot (Dollar Tree)

Bottle of Stacker2 Xtra Cherry Vanilla Extra Strength Energy Shot
Forget if you've tried this before? Here's a good test: does the above picture make you nauseous?

Outside of cakes and other bakery treats, I have to confess that I don’t really like the taste of vanilla in anything...especially drinks. Most of the time it’s just too much syrupy sweetness added to something that’s already sweet, and the effect is overwhelming. Even for a sweets guy like me, I just can’t do it.

So then why in the world would I be interested in a shot of vanilla, mixed with cherry? Well, first of all, it’s a new flavor from Stacker2 available at Dollar Tree, so I felt the need to try it for no other reason than I might never see it again. Also, Stacker2 energy shots generally don’t taste much like the flavors they’re trying to emulate, so I figured maybe this one would dial up the artificial cherry flavoring and add only a dash of vanilla. Or, maybe it wouldn’t even taste like a combination of the could really go up in the air. And as they say, you never know until you try it, so I made sure that I was going to force it down one way or another.

Oh shit...just from the smell my stomach has started to churn. There’s definitely a load of vanilla flavoring in there, at least judging from the ridiculous cough syrupy scent seeping out of the top. I feel like I overuse comparing energy shot flavors to medicine (even though it’s true), but this one just might be the most medicinal one I’ve ever tried, based on aroma alone. It’s a lot to take in; if you’re still eager to take a swig after smelling it, you might want to check yourself into rehab.

One sip in and that taste certainly has done nothing to allay my worst fears...this is basically a vanilla shot, with a hint of cherry cough syrup for good measure. I can’t tell which flavor is worse, largely because I can’t really distinguish between the two: it’s just an off-putting combination that further proves my theory that vanilla shouldn’t be put in anything except bakery treats. It’s absolutely nauseating.

And why, oh why, did they put so much of it in? Like I said, I thought maybe it would be reversed, since vanilla is a rather strong flavor, but it seems like they went all-in and put in a 75/25 mix between the two, leading the cherry syrup flavor to linger in the background, where it does nothing to soften up the grotesque vanilla overload. But even if it were more prominent, it’s so fake that it would probably still be a godawful product.

I got halfway through the bottle before I was overwhelmed with nausea at the mere thought of forcing down another sip, and had to throw it’s really that bad. Stacker2 makes some pretty awful products (and a couple decent ones), but this one might just scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Overall: 1/10. It does get one point because these shots do work (in terms of giving you an energy boost - assuming you can force some down), and they’re only a dollar, which is an excellent price for an energy shot. I don’t like vanilla flavoring in beverages, so take that for what you will. However, I can’t see anyone but the most avid vanilla fans even being able to get past the smell, let alone stick around long enough to actually take a sip...this might be the most unpleasant energy shot I’ve ever had the displeasure of tasting. Go to your medicine cabinet, mix some artificial vanilla flavoring in with some DayQuil, and you’ve not only potentially improved on the taste of this, but have also saved a few bucks. With the added benefit of being able to cure a sickness, rather than causing one.