We need to talk about Ardor.
Their shimmering oculus of caffeinated illumination winked at us from our local Whole Foods shelves a few months ago, and we’ve been entranced by its third eye tractor beam ever since.
Who is this mysterious Ardor, and why are their products astonishingly good? We’re enthralled to a sparkling water mystery and we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of it.
Is it pronounced like Ar-door? Arder? We know virtually nothing about this brand other than we want more of it at all times.
We have no idea how widespread the distribution is and it doesn’t appear that you can purchase them online yet. (For reference, we’ve found them over the past two months at Whole Foods in Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, so that’s the extent of our purview. Which also probably and misleadingly makes our lives sound way more fun than they actually are.)
Their website cryptically says “Spring 2021” and that’s about it.
Technical Specs: These contain 100 mg of caffeine, which is a little bit of an outlier in the caffeinated bubbleverse. The workaday commodity brands are now churning out cans with 35 mg of caffeine, forcing us to consume cases at an embarrassingly quick rate, while reigning sparkling energy water champs Ugly and Hiball flood your body with 160 mg the good stuff, along with an array of B vitamins, guarana and ginseng to coerce your body into participating in life, whether it wants to or not.
Ardor, on the other hand, appears to be for the discerning caffeine Goldilocks. Not sinking to the paltry 30 mg level, nor being vulgar with the obscene 160mg.
They’re like a caffeinated sparkling water equivalent of the George Carlin quote, “Anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac”.
Ardor is neither idiot nor maniac, and the stoic unblinking eye of 100mg of caffeine is judging you for participating in anything less or more.
But that’s not the only thing separating wheat from chaff here. These also come fueled with 200 mg of the queen amino acid of chill, l-theanine, and low key electrolyte sea salt.
All certified organic, PS, in case you weren’t convinced yet that eye was judging you.
Frustratingly, their “About” page only breaks down the merits of l-theanine, caffeine and sea salt synergized together. While we’re moved and all by this harmonic trinity, we are deeply curious who’s behind this operation.
Are you owned by PepsiCo? Are these the microdose-fueled brain child of some VC at Burning Man, who was moved by water-is-life-protect-the-sacred in some desert vision and decided to make a a boutique sparkling water brand, but make it a brand with a third eye and salt because it’s hard to absorb all of water’s nutrients on the playa? Who are you, Ardor??
Alright, we’re working ourselves into a lather over this, so let’s crack this open and hype up and chill out.
The nose on this Cucumber Mint can is an airy salty mint, also neither idiot nor maniac, as perfectly symmetrical as the all-caffeinated eye. All swirling around in some true-to-life cucumber spa water. Okay, we love you already.
Honestly, what sorcery is going on here?
This is refined, rarified, gently carbonated water. While mint is a flavor that can come in hot, dominating all in its path, here it’s a minty pillow, gently raining down drops of the cooling herb from a dolphin-shaped cloud, as if to soothe your parched tongue on the dusty shores of the aforementioned playa.
It’s a cucumber l-theanine bath for those seeking self-care, which, let’s be frank, is all the rage in 2021. Do you even self-care, bro? Flavors and amino acids coming together like a carbonated shaman-cum-facebook-ad to heal and revive your depleted spirit.
The caffeine is both palpable and effortless. It’s not coercing your body into anything, but merely witnessing your higher self.
After a few sips, your own glowing third eye blinks back at the can.
These are basically perfection, but if we try to scrounge around for a minor note, we should probably mention if you don’t like salt you may not like these, because it’s basically a third, equally dominant flavor. These are pretty salty, with 100mg of sodium. While electrolytes are becoming relatively common in boutique sparkling water, with brands like Rōzu adding “Trace Sea Minerals,” Ardor is the first we’ve come across with actual sodium.
But who doesn’t like a tinge of salt? Salt follows only behind sugar as the lifeblood of a western diet, and in fact, most of us are probably like “pass the salt, I can barely taste it in here. Now that I think about it, I’d like to retain some more water today, please.”
Honestly, the salt kind of makes these. While their various flavors are impeccably executed, the bubble quality is superb, and the 100mg of caffeine is always welcome, these wouldn’t necessarily stand out in such a crowded field if it weren’t for the saltiness, and an unsalted Ardor definitely wouldn’t justify the price point.
We’ll be reviewing their other wildly addicting flavors soon, so if we get more intel on this brand we’ll report back.
In the meantime, the eye is watching us. And judging us for still reaching for Hi Balls and Uglies first thing in the morning, but what can we say? We haven’t fully ascended to whatever plane Ardor is from. We’ll let you know when the mysteries of that plane have been revealed to us, and we no longer crave the more base forms of bubly Bounce.
Carbonated Purified Water, Organic Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Organic L-Theanine, Organic Caffeine
caffeine in Ardor Cucumber Mint
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