So when I heard that Dr. Pepper was going to get into the energy drink arena, I thought I should give these things a try. I was sent a sample of both the Black Mamba and the Mojave Rattler variations. Basically, as I understand it, the Black Mamba comes with half sugar and glucose and then half is the dreaded sucralose, then you have Mojave Rattler, which is just glucose and sucralose.
The bottles are pretty cool, although they can mislead: I thought for some reason that the Mojave Rattler, being purple, was grape-flavored. For all I know it is grape-flavored, just overpowered by the sucralose, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The bottles are aluminum and feel sturdier than the larger resealable bottle/can/battery that Jolt comes in. And as result, when they are cold they are nice and cold.
Beyond that, we go straight into the taste. And I will give Dr. Pepper this: the Black Mamba, as much as I hate sucralose, is tolerable. When I unscrewed the top off I could just smell the fake sugar. And it’s not like I had my nose up to the bottle. It just, boom, was loose and in the air around me. And I’m not kidding. So I was worried this was all about to go south. What happens is that it’s got a rough taste to it, which reminds me a bit of Cocaine Energy Drink (but without the burn), then the sucralose kicks in, but just before it’s about to overwhelm you and make you saw off your own tongue with a butter knife lest that taste linger–the real sugar seems to kick in and return you to sane sweetness. I drank a big gulp to begin with and my eyes watered afterwards. I was able to drink this and actually finish the bottle, which is a testament to its taste. If you actually can stand sucralose on its own, then you’ll dig the hell out of this.
[ad#longpost]The buzz wasn’t bad, either, as each bottle comes with 160mg of caffeine. Of course there’s also 28g of sugar per serving (56 per bottle), but that’s no more than is in Coke. I was just surprised that 160mg could be so effective on me, what with my ridiculous tolerance and all.
Next up was the Mojave Rattler. The purple grape thing was completely wrong because it’s just, from what I can tell (again, assuming my taste buds weren’t driven mad with sucralose), it’s the same damn drink. Just with the sugars changed. No sugar, just the glucose and sucralose. As a result, your sugar amount goes down to 6g for the whole bottle, but remember that bit where the sugar rides in at the last second and saves the taste from annihilation? Doesn’t happen here. The taste just lingers on and on and on. So that bottle still has its cap on it because I couldn’t even get very far with it due to the taste.
Basically the shot is this: Venom doesn’t break any new energy drink ground for me mostly because it’s sucralose-laced from the get-go, and thus isn’t going to crank my tractor anyway. But knowing that a lot of you people might have to drink sucralose for medical reasons, or as self-flagellation for having killed a galaxy of broccoli-esque aliens or something, then Black Mamba might be a good drink for you. And if you are truly filled with tastebud-self-loathing, then the Mojave Rattler would be fine, too. Let me put it to you this way: I’d drink another free Mamba. I think I’d pass on the Rattler.