An American wine expert has found viral fame on TikTok and Instagram with his reviews of energy drinks, which he tastes and describes as if they were fine wines.
Sommelier Tim Riley started his TikTok account in January and has since reviewed more than 140 energy drinks, including the Kiwi classic V, in both its original and "Blue" iterations.
Riley told Today.com in the US that it all started when his wife brought home a selection of energy drinks, in her search for the perfect boost after her workouts.
The Washington sommelier decided to create a TikTok account to document his experience tasting and reviewing the drinks, after his wife told him his comments on the drinks were hilarious.
A few days later, BSE, which stands for Big Somm Energy, was born on TikTok, and a cult following began.
Much like he'd do with his fine wines, Riley reviews the drinks based on three main factors: complexity, balance and aroma.
"Complexity meaning that there is an array of flavours," he told Today.com. "Balance meaning that those flavours work in some sort of harmony with one another, and refreshment. At least to me, energy drinks have to be refreshing."
He then rates the energy drinks using his original BSE scale, which awards them points on a scale from 50 to 100.
His lowest-scoring energy drink so far was Jocko Go Dak Savage, which received 52 BSE points. The highest rating so far went to Monster's Mango Loco, with 96 BSE points.
However, Riley says this is not his favourite energy drink.
"As silly as this might sound, I consider energy drinks, like I consider wine, based on their quality," he told the US news site. "Not every wine I sell is something I am personally passionate about but I try to find high-quality examples of all sorts of wines that the members at my club want to buy. Same goes with energy drinks."
The wine expert never expected his energy drink account to develop such a fan-base, as he has now surpassed 100,000 followers on TikTok.
While he still buys most of the energy drinks he reviews himself, he has received some from brands and others from followers of his TikTok and Instagram accounts.
Sommelier reviews Kiwi energy drinks - how did they fare?
The Washington-based sommelier has reviewed New Zealand-based V original, which he received via a fan in Australia.
At first, he described the colour on the glass as "terrifying and frightening" but it did not take long for Riley to be sold on the popular Kiwi drink.
"On the nose, this smells very strange," he continued.
"There's aromas of sour gummy candy, alongside things like kiwi and cucumber, there's also some blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf, a little bit of honey, some vanilla and a ton of lime."
On the palate, this is light to medium bodied, with a good amount of sweetness and a s**t-ton of acidity," he continued.
All in all, he said all the elements worked fairly well together, and scored the Kiwi drink a respectful 88 BSE points.
Yesterday, he also reviewed the Blue flavour of V, which received an even better 92 BSE points, not far off the top marks.
On the nose, he described the drink as having "ruby red red grapefruit, bergamot, orange peel, sour gummy candy, passionfruit and a strong floral note", before tasting the drink and saying that, on the palate, it has a "bright zesty acidity".
In his review, he related the taste for Blue V to New Zealanders' preference for sauvignon blanc wines and Australian rieslings.
"V's drinks are unique, lighter in body and super bright with their fruit flavors complicated by notes of flowers or herbs. Tasting this drink you can almost see how a culture that likes Kiwi sauvignon blanc and Australian riesling would be drawn to V," he said.