As strange as it seems, I have never reviewed NOS sugar free, or even the original flavor before, which is extra weird because I have had them in my regular staple of energy drinks for years. I have loved NOS drink since I have talked about their short-lived energy shot and their fruit punch flavor before, but somehow I missed both this flavor and one of my favorites - the original in the shape of a NOS canister.
The original NOS, a brand of nitrous used in car racing is still being made by Holley, and this drink was born out of natural extension. FUZE used to be behind this drink when it started years ago, the same Fuze that makes fruit drinks and vitamin-enriched waters today. Now, whole FUZE product line is sucked into Coke's product line, competing with other Coke energy drinks like Full Throttle.
The reason NOS is cool is because it has an intense rush and it comes in NOS bottles that look like the real thing. Slowly, NOS worked it into 16 ounce bottles that looked kinda like NOS canisters - and then finally it made its way into boring old cans. I have only ever seen the Sugar Free variety in these plain looking bare-aluminum cans, which just don't have the same WOW factor that the old cool bottles do. It is decent enough, but certainly have lost some of their unique edge.
Functionally, NOS does just fine - as any drink by Coca Cola should be. They list caffeine content plus any warnings for stupid people or those with heart conditions, and list all other ingredient amounts too. There is double facing on the can and all the nutrient amounts you would hope to find.
I really like the original Nos - tasting like a thick syrupy orange drink - so sugary that I feel like it leaves sugar crystals on your tongue. I knew that the diet version would not contain the same sugary punch, as there is all non-nutritive sweeteners in here instead. NOS sugar free tastes fine. It is not bad - not bitter or sour or anything else, just a decent citrusy flavor that was reminiscent of citrus berries. It is easy to drink, and definitely chuggable. I am not sure I would ever go out of my way to drink NOS for its taste, but that isn't why this drink has stayed around as long as it has.
Like the other flavors of 16 ounce NOS, there is a formidable 260mg of caffeine in it, as well as 2000mg of taurine - so it provides a TON of caffeine. I cetainly would never have expected a Coca-Cola drink to still contain more caffeine than most other energy drinks out there, but NOS still provides a serious amount of energy - enough so that I almost felt the jitters. It was so close to bringing me to the extra over-jittered state that I enjoy so much that I just needed a can of Diet Coke to push me over the edge into WIRED.
Because they were nice enough to list the caffeine content along the side, it was nice knowing that I was able to slam the full 16 ounces without many calories, and still loading me up with Vitamins B and C. The caffeine rush was helped out by D-Ribose, L-Carnitine and Panax Ginseng, and the buzz lasted for a good 3-4 hours too, keeping my energy level peaked while I finished my day's errands without slowing down. What I found most interesting is a new additive, something they did not have in the original formula. NOS now contains Theanine - which helps with concentration and focus. There is a reason I have turned to Nos Sugar Free for the last 6 years when I needed a good boost of energy - More than a Red Bull or Monster could ever provide.
While I still wish these came in that cool NOS bottle the originals did, for a quick pick-me-up this really does the trick.