I must admit that when I was offered the chance to try Sentia I was more intrigued than I have been by an alcohol-free brand in a while. The nerdy side of me was far too excited to try this brand-new category of GABA drinks.
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What is GABA?
GABA is a neurotransmitter that regulates the body’s internal processes. It relaxes the mind and improves mental focus. Drinking alcohol actually raises our body’s natural GABA activity which is why after one or two units you normally feel relaxed, happy and less inhibited. GABAlabs.com have spent years researching this biological activity with the aim to recreate all of the "positive effects of alcohol “- without the alcohol”
Sentia has been developed to capture the moment around what they refer to as
“the first sip of the second glass, where the world comes into (or out of) focus”
in an attempt to help people create that same connection with each other but with none of the nasty stuff in the morning.
They describe it as the “next generation of feel-good drinks, designed for conscious consumers, coming together”
Is it magic? Not quite. Although the science can seem magical at times. It’s made by bringing together a “proprietary blend of GABA-promoting ingredients” from natural botanicals that work together to enhance the GABA activity in the gut and the brain.
GABAlabs are positioning this new category as the third way – alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks and now GABA drinks. You may also know them as functional drinks.
So how does it taste?
Well first of all Sentia Red has the most distinct colouring of any drink I’ve seen in a while. It was as if looking upon a cinematic blood vial, and it thickly coated the bottle accordingly. In wine tasting you would say the liquid had legs – well these legs went on for days!
When you open the bottle the aromatics punch right out of the top at full pelt. It has a kind of medicinal note to it, reminiscent of something herbaceous and healing from my youth that I can’t quite put my finger on, and that intrigue does not dissipate on the palate.
I always try my drinks neat first so I can get a feel for the true, unadulterated liquid and this viscous concoction is a full-mouth feel like I’ve not known before. I’m not usually a fan of bitter flavours (as many of you will know I usually rope my ex-bar manager husband in to do the tastings for anything that even begins to approach suitability for inclusion in a negroni) but the level of dryness in Sentia Red is, to my mouth, just right. It has a deep berry sweetness when you drink it over ice, almost like a wildberry sorbet from a fine dining restaurant.
As per the serving suggestion, I tried 25ml Sentia mixed with soda water (they say tonic but again, quinine and I are not good bedfellows) and to me, this did nothing but take away from the bold, full flavour of the drink in its natural form. At the time of writing I’ve yet to try it in a cocktail so cannot put claim to how it would stand up, but I think the key to this “third-place” spirit is to let it shine.
But the big question is: how did it make me feel?
At first, I wasn't sure… I was definitely happy but whether that was due to the effects of the GABA blend, or the company of friends not seen for a while I couldn’t say for certain.
So I tried it again.
This time with no distractions and in a more self-aware tasting environment I can confess there was a definite light-headedness but in a pleasant, and not at all out-of-control kind of way. I felt happy and relaxed and so one must at least suppose that I have the GABAlabs team to thank for that.
What I can say for certain is that I felt 100% my normal AF self in the morning and suffered none of the usual ill effects of having a substance that alters my physiology in some way.
Would I drink it again – absolutely! Sentia Red is now firmly on my list of AF drinks to enjoy on a night out (or a night in). And I’m intrigued to try the other offering in the range Sentia Black which they say has a “Spiced pepper warmth, intense, earthy body and a smoky bitter finish”.
Try it today then please come back to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.
Note from the GABALabs: The concentration of some of SENTIA’s botanical ingredients requires this product be classified as a FOOD SUPPLEMENT: Do not consume this product if you are on prescription medication, pregnant or breastfeeding, do not exceed 100ml in any 24 hours and we recommend not driving when consuming SENTIA.
Sentia Red ingredients: B1, B12, water, botanical extracts: (magnolia bark (magnolia officinalis), linden flower (tilia cordata), passionflower (passiflora incarnata), ashwagandha (withania somnifera), liquorice (glycyrrhiza glabra), rose (rosa damascena), tulsi (ocimum teniflorum), rhodiola (Rholdiola Rosea), hawthorn(crataegus monogyna), damiana (turnera diffusa), gentian (gentiana lutea), agave syrup (agave tequilana), aronia concentrate (aronia melanocarp), blackberry concentrate (rubus fruticosus), black carrot concentrate (daucus carota ssp), glycerine, spice extracts, acids: citric acid, malic acid, preservative: potassium sorbate. Contains liquorice - avoid excessive consumption if suffering from hypertension.
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