Thursday, August 2, 2012

bcalm Wellness Drink

In further accordance with my recurring trend of frequently reviewing relaxation beverages, I have recently been sent a case of one of the market's newer entries: bcalm Wellness Drink. Presenting itself with an innocent and enticing flair as "part tea, part massage, part long walk on the beach," bcalm is an all-natural stress-reduction beverage that focuses on calmness and mental clarity rather than on the "okay, go to sleep" sort of relaxation that many other beverages of the type tend to promote. And it is a wonderful new addition to the market segment, especially considering the fact that it is the premier beverage of a brand new, highly independent company. 

Good Life Beverages was founded by a Harvard University student just last year in 2011. Tired of the chaotic hustle of his life in New York City, he decided to pack up and head to South America in the hope of finding the opportunity to restore rest, balance, and peace to his life. During his stay, he was met with a much slower lifestyle that was very different from the big city pace of his home, and upon returning to the United States, he was inspired to create a beverage that could help others recreate a small portion of his experience in South America without having to leave their chair, much less the country. And thus, after over a year of research, experimentation, and ambition, the first of hopefully many drinks from Good Life Beverages was created.  

True to its self-labeling as a "wellness drink," bcalm consists only of all-natural ingredients. Even the coloring relies on natural methods, as bcalm uses vegetable juice and beta carotene to give the fluid its stark, orange hue. In addition, the proprietary focus/relaxation cocktail used in bcalm is made up of the following: Hydrolyzed casein (from milk), anise seed extract, chamomile flower extract, wild green oat extract, gingko biloba leaf extract, and a generous helping of vitamins B3, B6, B12, and B5. bcalm is also sweetened with natural cane sugar, and contains only natural flavors.

The flavor of bcalm is actually a bit hard to place. It doesn't really taste like anything that I've had before, so I'm not entirely sure what to compare it to. The closest comparison that I can come up with is a carbonated, sweetened green tea. There is a lot more going on than just the "green tea" (the ingredients list does not indicate that there is actually any green tea in the beverage) flavor, but that is the first thing that comes to mind when I try to categorize it, as it has a similar aroma that lingers unapologetically in the back of the throat. It does have a bit of a citrus-like bite to it, and I can taste a little bit of the chamomile in the drink, but beyond that, bcalm has a flavor that is relatively unique. While it comes somewhat close to the taste of several other similarly themed drinks that I have had in the past - a natural side effect of containing several ingredients common to these sorts of functional beverages - it still just doesn't quite match up with anything else. But this, I think, is a positive point for bcalm. True to its concept, the flavor encourages you to get a little bit lost in the drink, either by analyzing and scrutinizing in an (unsuccessful) attempt to decipher the taste as I have, or by simply enjoying its uniqueness for what it is. Everything in the drink has a very natural taste, and no element of the flavor is overbearing or unwelcome. 

As far as bcalm's efficacy is concerned, I am not quite sure that I am the most qualified person to be making an objective judgement. I have discussed my long-standing immunity to the effects of consciousness-altering beverages on the site in the past, and bcalm is, unfortunately, no exception. However, as I write this, I do find it pertinent to share that when I sat down to finish up this review, I was relatively stressed about getting the post up in time. Now that I have finished the "review copy" of bcalm that I opened before I began writing, I am not quite as worried as I was a short time ago. I am tempted here to offer this as evidence that the drink really works, but the whole truth is that this is the fourth bcalm that I have had so far, and it is the first of which my often aggravatingly level mental state has taken any sort of notice. Based on the data so far, I must conclude that for me the effects are likely only to present themselves some of the time. But I will continue to enjoy bcalm, regardless, and I look forward to discovering if this is one of the rare beverages that is capable of having a significant effect on my mood at all. As of the time of this writing, my hopes are high.

Verdict: Recommended

Samples sent courtesy of Good Life Beverages.
For more information about bcalm, visit the website.
Or follow bcalm on Facebook or Twitter  

Postscript: For a more objective viewpoint from a reviewer who did have a more concrete experience with bcalm's functionality, watch this video from fellow beverage blogger and connoisseur Jason Coleman over at BevNerd.

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