Gatorade just suffered a crippling blow it might not recover from any time soon. Sales of its sports drinks have plummeted after a French food critic gave its Cool Blue flavor a scathing review in France’s leading newspaper, Le Monde.

This is a huge fall from grace for the once-esteemed Gatorade brand.

Last week, a chill fell over the normally bustling Gatorade corporate headquarters when world-famous food critic Jacques Chevalier strode through the front door and demanded to taste its Cool Blue flavor. According to witnesses, the feared journalist snapped, “I’ve heard that Gatorade is mighty proud of its Cool Blue variety. In my experience, pride cometh before a fall.” Trembling employees immediately brought Chevalier a 20-ounce bottle of the bright-blue drink, which he swirled around in his mouth and then spit out into a glass goblet. Chevalier then wordlessly stalked out of the building, leaving Gatorade unsure whether it had met the critic’s high standards.

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It got its answer just a few days later, and it couldn’t have been worse. Le Monde utterly savaged Cool Blue with the headline, “Gatorade ne réussit pas à éblouir les papilles avec la médiocrité bleue cool,” which translates to “Gatorade Fails To Dazzle The Palate With Cool Blue Mediocrity.” Chevalier held no punches, utterly savaging Gatorade in a merciless tirade. Read the translated review for yourself:

From the moment Cool Blue Gatorade struck my tongue, I could tell I had boarded a ship without a captain in a turbulent sea. This insipid beverage fails to do justice to the color blue, with initially promising notes of sweet acidity failing to mature into more complex flavors. It would be overly generous to describe Cool Blue as wretchedly bland, and I would not serve this swill to my worst enemy.

Perhaps Gatorade’s greatest sin with Cool Blue is lack of ambition. Had it taken a bold risk and tried something new, I could have excused this grotesque and treacly crime against humanity as a failed but well-intentioned experiment. Instead they played it safe with cloying fruit flavors, an act of culinary cowardice even more appalling than the pedestrian and uninspired taste.

The one bright ray of sunshine in this dreary morass is the presentation of Cool Blue, which I thought was simply phenomenal. Cool Blue possesses a captivating neon blueness that invites the eye with a sumptuous turquoise hue. Gatorade has proven itself a virtuoso at making Gatorade blue, but unfortunately that is a single pleasing melody played by an otherwise off-key orchestra.

In summation, Cool Blue is little more than a mechanical by-the-numbers sports drink with no soul or guiding artistic principle. Gatorade’s shambolic thirst quencher may be able to restore your electrolytes, but it is incapable of lifting the spirit.

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Absolutely devastating. Since that apocalyptic review was published, Gatorade sales have plummeted by more than 90 percent as readers of the influential French newspaper stopped purchasing its drinks. Gatorade will have to work hard to rebuild its reputation, and pray that Cool Blue leaves a more favorable impressive the next time Le Monde reviews it.