Published Dec 3, 2010

A casual boast on Facebook has led to a new feature here on Wade Eats So You Don’t Have To, a series in which I try wacky-ass shit and tell you what it’s like, so that you don’t feel like you need to try it yourself. Our first entry here comes about because I casually posted a Facebook status update about this classic item when drinking it. Two people actually commented on it, which is two more than usual, and that’s enough data points for me to consider it useful market research for the purposes of figuring out what I should publish here. We’re going to start easy and then build to something awesome like Four Loko or Hột vịt lộnSteven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt is an energy drink with a remarkable number of relatively-natural ingredients, for the product type. Despite its contents and its pitchman, somehow this product has failed to catch on — I bought my 16-oz can at the 99 cent store.
Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt


The packaging itself is hideous, with an awful drawing of Seagal himself, a logo that brings no meaning to English-speakers, and type that’s too small everywhere. And I think the registration is very slightly off. Maybe that’s why it’s at the 99-cent store? Either that or because it’s as revolting as the Clamato Energy Drink they sell there too. (Disclaimer: a Clamato energy drink is just too stupid for me to try. Don’t even ask.) Anyway, we’ll know after we try this outstandingly unique product.


The first thing I have to say here is that I apologize, I’m new to this reviewing crazy food shtick, so I didn’t really think things through: I didn’t take a picture of the drink itself. Trust me when I say it was watery pink. That’s not such a crazy color, actually — I’ve never quite understood why Red Bull was yellow, for instance.


Now, about the ingredients: the honest truth about energy drinks is that virtually all of the energy value comes from the sugar, caffeine, and taurine. This drink contains none of those, although it does have cane juice, which is of course made from sugarcane and which is supposedly metabolized more slowly than straight sugar or corn syrup, with less of a crash afterwards. I lack the scientific background to assess this statement either way. Overall, it’s unlikely that any of the other ingredients would have any substantial effect on your energy, although that definitely depends on individual sensitivity to ingredients like Ginseng and Guaraná. If, however, you have a sensitivity to some artificial ingredient but still want an energy drink, this is a place to look.


Now, as for the flavor… it lacked the “slightly carbonated” bite of most energy drinks. In fact, it lacked a lot. It tasted like watered down something… maybe tea? It’s not as sweet as other energy drinks, but it does the whole not-sweet thing in a very dull way. I think they tried to make it more “adult” and less sweet, but I’m not sure they got there while still driving through Deliciousville. Lightning Bolt, Asian Experience flavor, is boring, but not bad-tasting.


The effects are also boring, but not bad. I drank this 16-oz behemoth when quite tired, and it picked me up a smidge, something more than a soda or even a cup of tea, but not at all in the range of your typical energy drink. It lasted pretty well, but then I was down again. I fought that off, and had another period of energy about an hour later. Was this the energy drink that kept on giving, or did I just dig deep and finish my project? I couldn’t say, but neither energy peak was worth it. At the same time, I never got that “oh please let me sleep on my desk right fracking now” experience that often comes from other energy drinks. So, that’s a potential small benefit.


Steven Seagal’s Energy Bolt is an energy drink that gives you a little energy with a little flavor at a little price. I suppose you could do worse, but why care?