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Racing Secrets Revealed

Rich Energy Analyzed by a Professional Flavor Chemist

by Roger

Rich Energy Analyzed by a Professional Flavor Chemist

While the Rich Energy saga rages on like a dumpster fire outside your local comedy club, yours truly was busy looking for an expert to taste test their elusive drink instead of installing some much-need upgrades on his racecar.

Fortunately, this was one of those rare cases where procrastination paid off. We found a professional flavor chemist certified by the Society of Flavor Chemists, and convinced him to use his trained senses to answer two all-important questions: What does Rich Energy really taste like? And how is it as a mixer with alcohol?

Who is The Drunk Chemist?


Our expert today is what is known as a Flavor Chemist, or Flavorist in the food and fragrances industry. He spends most of his day analyzing, engineering, and formulating all of the natural and artificial flavors that make your favorite food products taste as good as they do.

After years of study, nearly a decade of apprenticeship, and passing the Society of Flavor Chemists' stringent tests, our expert managed to work his way up to his current role, designing flavors for one of the top names in the Flavor and Fragrance business. If you bought a packaged product off the shelf at a supermarket in the last 5 years, there is a very good chance that you have tasted one of the flavors he helped create. Because of this, he has asked that we not identify him or his employer, and simply refer to him as "a Drunk Chemist."

What we can tell you about the Drunk Chemist is that he is an avid athlete and an enthusiast of extreme sports. He is therefore no stranger to energy drinks in his personal or professional life.

 

Taste Testing & Analysis


The test procedure was simple. Deliver several cans of Rich Energy to our expert chemist with instructions to analyze its flavors, first as a chilled drink and then as a mixer with a shot of vodka. Then wait until he had become sufficiently familiar with the taste, and ask him for his findings.

Here's what he had to say:

It's got an oxidized lemon, slightly pineapple, tropical sulfurous, slightly guava acidity, very guarana forward, and finishes slightly fusel / gaseous like.

It tastes like Rockstar energy drink with more tropical forward.

Mixed with vodka, it tastes like jet fuel in the tropics. Like I'm on a raging island full of fist pumping Jersey Shore guidos.

That's quite a lot of information condensed into a few short sentences. Let's break this down line by line and talk about what this actually means.

 

Breaking Down the Results

First, let's talk about the main components of the drink's flavor:

It's got an oxidized lemon, slightly pineapple, tropical sulfurous, slightly guava acidity, very guarana forward, and finishes slightly fusel / gaseous like.

The Drunk Chemist identified the main fruit flavors as:

  • A dull sourness similar to a lemon that has been cut and left out in open air
  • A hint of the sweet and tart of pineapple
  • A pungent odor of tropical fruits (e.g. passion fruit, mango, coconut)
  • An acidic component that tasted primarily like guava

He also described the taste that you get when you first start taking a sip as guarana, and the taste that it leaves when you finish drinking as fusel alcohol. Here is our best shot at explaining them in layman's terms:

  • Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon basin in South America. Its seeds are often crushed and mixed into a drink, purported to have health benefits. Despite the sweet flavor of most of these drinks, guarana itself has a bitter, woody, and earthy taste. Try to imagine what root beer would taste like without the sweetness. That's kind of what guarana tastes like. The Drunk Chemist reports that he tasted a powerful guarana flavor at the beginning of each sip.

  • Fusel alcohols are a blend of alcohols that are produced when sugars ferment into alcohol. Fusel alcohols are associated with a strong taste and a very distinctive mouthfeel when you finish sipping it. The Drunk Chemist felt that the carbonation evaporating on his tongue gave a similar sensation to when you exhale after a sip of something alcoholic.

All in all, it's an incredibly detailed description, far exceeding anything I've ever seen anywhere. It's also a much better way of breaking down the flavors than the lazy generalization that I gave ("it tastes like jackfruit").

It tastes like Rockstar energy drink with more tropical forward.

While many people (including myself) have described Rich Energy Drink as being "similar to Red Bull," the Drunk Chemist said that he would describe it as a Rockstar energy drink with a stronger tropical fruit flavor that hits your tongue at the beginning of your sip.

I tried this myself by taking a teaspoon of pineapple-orange juice before taking a swig of Rockstar. While it isn't exactly the same due to the differences in carbonation and the syrupy aftertaste of Rockstar, the flavors are uncannily close to that of Rich Energy.

Mixed with vodka, it tastes like jet fuel in the tropics. Like I'm on a raging island full of fist pumping Jersey Shore guidos.

As for the Chemist's description of Rich Energy mixed with vodka, you'll have to use your imagination. All I'm going to say is that I suspect he had a few Rich Energy Vodkas before he wrote that bit.


Conclusion

Afterwards, we tested the accuracy of the Drunk Chemist's descriptions. I grabbed an unsuspecting third party, had him read the Chemist's description of Rich Energy drink, then had him check the taste for himself. Our unsuspecting volunteer confirmed the accuracy of this description, saying "yep, that's exactly what I expected." 

For those of us here at StudioVRM, this exercise gave us a tremendous appreciation for the analytical ability of an experienced flavor chemist. It's amazing to see how someone can break down something as subjective as taste into a set of adjectives that almost everyone can understand and agree on.

We would like to thank the Drunk Chemist for donating his time and skills to this very important cause, especially as we still hear that it is almost impossible to get Rich Energy Drink in some regions. Hopefully his findings will give people an idea of what they might be missing.

Until next time. We'll see you at the track.

~R

 

Disclosure Section:

Neither StudioVRM, Roger Maeda, nor the Drunk Chemist are affiliated with Rich Energy or any of its suppliers. The Rich Energy Drink used in this test was purchased at full price from Walmart.com in regular retail packaging. To say thanks for taking the time to do this test, Roger spent a few hours of his weekend helping the Drunk Chemist move into his new home.