Stride Tropical Trance

Flavor: I’ve got to give it to Stride, they are good at marketing. In this case, it feels like a flavor was developed, this sort of tropical flavor, and nobody in the tasting room could really figure out what it was supposed to taste like. It is, indeed, fruity, but I can’t detect one individual fruit flavor in there.  One food scientist must have said to the other, “It tastes… tropically?”  And the other food scientist suggested they just shoot it up to marketing to work with that.  So that’s what you have.  “Tropical Trance,”  a vague, nutra-sweet, fruity-esque flavor, that errs on the side of the tropical spectrum of fruitiness.  That apparently puts you in some kind of meditative state because of its hypnotic packaging.

Texture: It’s all right, a good chew, as most Stride gum is.  Not much to report here.

Presentation: Ok, so in my imaginary Stride Tropical Trance development model, the marketing people received this sweet, nondescript gum and were charged with coming up with something that might entice a consumer to purchase it.  Somebody in that office flipped through their backlog of ideas that don’t pertain to any flavor in particular, and found this one, which seemed to everybody to be a pretty cool idea. Thus, Tropical Trance was born.  Whether or not anybody researched the hypnotic nature of the swirly design on the package is yet to be determined, so let me know if you start acting out of the ordinary and doing something really strange like buying this gum more than once.

Overall:  You’re getting sleepy… yes… yes… you’re getting sleeeeepy.  Now spit out the gum… yes, that’s right… and move on to another flavor.  This one’s gross.

Rating: o (one gumball ) 

Extra Dessert Delights – Root Beer Float

Flavor: The gum has a definite root beeriness to it, for sure.  There’s a slight bit of creaminess as well, but not as much as I’d expect if I were comparing it to an actual root beer float.  Granted it’s been a long time since I’ve had one, but if I recall correctly, the best part of a root beer float, to me, is those little crystals that form when the two entwine together.  Don’t confuse that for a “texture,” however… it’s definitely a taste I’m referring to.  It’s a delightfully carbonated sweet slushy cream that refreshes on a hot day as well as satisfies a sweet tooth.  This gum, which super-duper sugary sweet to the point where you marvel at how aspartame can taste so much like actual sugar, doesn’t have any of that refreshing quality at all.  I’d forgive them on it, but the Mint Chocolate Chip variety of the same gum illustrates my point very well.

Texture: This is my kinda texture.  For those that like a firmer, meatier chew, this gum is perfect.  It’s not sticky, it holds its shape very well, and it makes some fantastic pops and cracks.  If you’re a champion bubble blower, look elsewhere – this gum lacks that kind of elasticity.

Presentation: Nothing new here from Extra. They’ve found a groove with the Dessert Delights line, and they’re sticking to the simplicity of color-coordinated waves and an enticing photo of the delight.  It works.

Overall: Another fine showing from Extra here.  While some of the Dessert Delight flavors aren’t exactly my cup of tea, they are all fantastic representations of desserts.  While I can’t say that chewing a piece of this will quench a craving if I’m actually hankering for a bona fide Root Beer Float, it will soothe a raging sweet tooth and save a few hundred calories.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

International Showcase: Wrigley’s Extra Gum, China Edition

Flavor: Sometimes it’s good to have a reputation.  When people know you have a gum blog, they feel compelled to bring you gum they come across in their travels in far-off lands.  Such was the case with this landmine of gum brought to us from my boyfriend’s colleague who happened to be travelling in China recently. As I don’t speak Chinese,  I’m assuming based on the pictures what the flavors of each are supposed to be, and based on that, here’s a breakdown of the flavors and my initial impressions of each:
Lemon: Extra, you’ve been holding back on us here in America!  This is a truly delightful flavor– a well executed lemon flavor, finally– this is something we’re sorely lacking in our country.  I’ve yet to come across a successful lemon flavored gum– in fact, I have hardly even seen any lemon flavored gum, let alone a good one.  This flavor utilizes a mild “mint” undertone to emulate the cooling sensation of a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.  It’s sweet, lemony, and refreshing.   Blueberry:  I haven’t come across many blueberry gums in my travels, either.  The blueberry is less impressive than the lemon, much more nutra-sweet than pure blueberry flavor.  It’s pretty good, though, and better than most nondescript berry flavors available in the US.  Tropical? (kiwi, pineapple, orange, papaya): This one here is kind of weird.  It actually tastes more like bubblegum than any of the fruits pictured on the label.  It’s a good bubblegum, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s definitely just bubblegum to me.  Spearmint:  Yum!  I’m not sure if it’s the same Extra spearmint we have in America, but it sure is cool and refreshing.  Slightly sweet (just slightly), and a solid mint burst.  Less of your typical “spearmint” flavoring, though, and more just good, starlight-mint-esque flavor. 
Texture: All of these gums offer a nice texture to go along with the flavor.  They’re just firm enough, meaty, and have a nice, even texture throughout the chew.  The only one that’s a little weird is the green pack, as it gets sort of foamy in your mouth, but it’s not a deal breaker. 
Presentation: Brand awareness at it’s best! You don’t need to know Chinese to know that these are Extra gums.  Simple, sleek, and to the point, the packaging breaks through language barriers.  On the back of the packaging and on the individual wrappers, it does say “Extra” in English, but I don’t know ifthat it’s even necessary.  My intuition tells me I could see a pack of Extra gum in any language and understand what I’m getting.  Well done, Wrigley’s, well done. 
Overall: Although I would like to travel the world and collect gum from nations far and wide, I so appreciate when people think of me and bring a little bit of their trip home to share.  And I even more appreciate that I can spread the word to all of you.  So, if your travels find you in China, and you’re hankering for a solid pack of gum, keep an eye out for that familiar Extra packaging, and you pretty much can’t go wrong with whatever variety you find.  
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs ) 

Rev 7 Natural Peppermint

Flavor: Aaaaah.  A truly refreshing mint sensation.  York Peppermint Patty commercials from the days of yore would do it justice– pop one piece in your mouth and you’re skiing in the Alps.  It’s the starlight mint without the gritty sweet stuff that stays on your teeth afterward.  It’s just a good, clean, cold mint.  We’re not fooling around with any gimmicky names here.  We’re talking about a gum that’s called “Natural Peppermint,” not some weird, abstract name like arctic concussion or polar bear explosion that all the other gums seem to be sporting these days. It is what it is– peppermint.
Texture: As Shannon mentioned in her review of Rev7 Spearmint, the texture in Rev7 is different than other gums, presumably because of its water soluble nature. I actually think it’s a really good texture, it’s just not something we’re used to.  A few pellets, and I was sold.  This is a good sized pellet, with a nice firm bite. Considering what I imagined when I heard it would dissolve in water, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Presentation: They went the Dentyne Ice pellet pack route, like most pellet gums these days. I kind of wish pellet gums would get a little more creative and wow me with a new kind of packaging. There’s an awful lot of wasted plastic here, and I can’t help but think there’s got to be a more efficient (and probably cooler) way to package gums like these.  Just sayin’.
Overall: My only complaint is that there aren’t more pellets in each pack. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m back to the bunny slopes.
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs )

Special Feature: The Energy Trials

As you may have noticed, there’s been a lull in posts here on Gum Alert for the last month or so.  We suck, and we’re sorry.  I’m not going to bore you with excuses or tales of jobs/kids/classes, just know that we’re aware of our suckage and are working towards fixing it.  Don’t give up on us.  We love you. 
First order of business:  Congratulations to our 5 contest winners!  They have been emailed and prizes will go out soon.  Holla for: Harrison R., Julia B., Louis M., Andrew H., and Amy Beth M.!

Onward.

There’s a new, somewhat disturbing trend in the gum world.  No longer is gum just a passive, habitual device.  Two major gum companies have recently released products that are supposed to energize/relax you as you chew.  Ditch your cocaine, dump your coffee, toss your booze… you can now get your uppers and downers in gum form!  What could be more convenient?

I try to say no to drugs, but as one of the original Gum Girls, I must soldier on and sample these… for science.

Let’s start with Mentos. 

New to their UP2U line, Mentos’ energy gum comes in the form of Chillax Mint and Energy Strike. 

Upper: The package claims, and the ingredients list does confirm, that the Energy Stike flavor contains caffeine.  However, it doesn’t list how much, and I can’t find that information anywhere.  It’s in the section of the ingredients under “Less than 2%,” if that’s worth anything.  Thing is?  Lots of stuff has caffeine.  Decaf coffee has caffeine.   Chocolate milk has caffeine.  Those things aren’t going to keep you up at night, though, and neither is this gum.  I popped a piece of it this morning before drinking my coffee to see if it would have an effect, and after 15 minutes of chewing, my cranky pre-coffee attitude won out, and I spit out the gum and sucked down the lifejuice.  The gum itself?  Nothing to write home about.  The flavor is reminiscent of the weird Stride Shift – a citrus blast followed by a strange mintiness.  Whatever the flavor is, it runs out fast and you’re left with a weird, bitter taste in your mouth.  Texture is a big fail, too – starts out alright, but quickly turns uncomfortably mushy.  I’ll rate this oo (two gumballs).

Downer: Mentos doesn’t call out any ingredient on their packaging for Chillax Mint, but the ingredients list does have chamomille extract.  Chamomille… that’s a thing, right?  Like a tea?  Again, it’s listed in the “Less than 2%” subcategory so I doubt that it’s actually doing anything to chillax the chewer.  The gum’s alright, though.  It has crunchy crystals to start the chew, and I am a fan of crunchy crystals.  It’s a decent enough mint but nothing to raise a flag over, and it’s got a similar texture problem as Energy Strike.  Too mushy.  ooo (three gumballs).

On to the 5 RPM varieties.

Upper:  One of the reasons of the aforementioned Gum Girl suckage, is that I keep saying to myself that the “next gum I’m going to review is going to be 5 RPM Fruit.” Problem is, I keep buying packs of it, and they keep disappearing before I get a chance to review it.  I’ve even bought two at a time, knowing I’d go through one, and three days later I have no more 5 RPM Fruit.

Yeah, this is one of those gums.  It’s awesome.  The flavor explodes in your mouth with juicy, fruity goodness, settles down nicely, and lasts a crazy awesome long time.  The texture is perfect for me — it’s a tad on the firm side on the outset but softens to an amazingly crackable, bubble-blowable consistency.  Very well done.

I can’t really say that it has any energizing properties.  Folks are my work are just ga-ga over it.  They all think it’s magical.  One guy says he can’t chew it because he has a heart problem or something, and it makes his problem act up.  Thing is, there’s nothing in ther ingredients list that’s out of the ordinary.  Standard gum base, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives.  There’s no caffeine, no taurine… nothing.  I don’t drink energy drinks, so I can’t say this for certain, but I’ve been told that this gum tastes just like Red Bull.  I’m going to have to say that for that reason, and for that reason alone, 5 calls this “energizing.”  I’ve gone through a pack in one afternoon and have felt no energizing effects.

Behold the carnage of this blog post. Regardless of that, and regardless of my disdain of the 5 line as a whole, I’m gonna give 5 RPM Fruit ooooo (five gumballs).  Five big, juicy, awesome gumballs.

Downer:  5 RPM Mint is touted as a “relaxing mint flavor.”  Again, nothing in the ingredients stands out as relaxing.  No chamomille as in the Mentos Chillax, no THC, no ketamine.  It’s basically just a peppermint gum.  Which I guess makes sense, in a chamomille kind of way, because peppermint tea is a relaxer.  So, the flavor’s okay, texture is alright.  It’s nice and smooth, but slightly too soft to do anything with.  It’s just a gum, nothing special, and certainly not one I’d reach for on the check-out line over another mint option. ooo (three gumballs)

Conclusion: It’s just gum, guys.

Trident Vitality Balance

Be sure to read to the end of this one to find out how you can enter to win some free gum!
Flavor: This is a nice, mellow citrus.  While it has a bit of a tang, there’s no real power behind the flavor, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I’ve never really been able to pick out a “pomegranate” flavor in anything other than a straight-up pomegranate, but the tangerine comes through really nicely here.
Texture: This is softer than a standard pellet in terms of initial crunch, and it remains soft throughout the chew.  (We’ve seen this in other Trident Vitality varieties.)  It’s not terrible, though, and some chewers might prefer it.
Presentation: We’ve discussed the Vitality package design before– it looks nice but lacks real purpose.  I still find the “box” format annoying and would prefer the standard sleeve.
Overall:  According to the Nutrition Information, one piece of this gum contains 10% of your daily Vitamin C.  That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially if you’re a gum-addict like me.  I could easily chew through half a pack in an afternoon, and there’s half my RDV right there.  It’s a nice gum, but I can’t get past the softness.  I do have to give Trident credit for staying true to the formula with each new addition to the Vitality line (unlike other brands… I’m lookin’ at YOU, Wrigley’s 5). 
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)
WHO WANTS SOME FREE GUM???  Our friends at Rev7 were nice enough to send us some samples to share with our readers!  To enter to win, just send an email to gumgirls@gumalert.com with the subject line “I WANT FREE GUM.”  In the body, tell us what gum you want us to review next!  We’ll pick five emails at random and send you some samples of Rev7 gum, and maybe some other surprises from our stash of leftovers.  Get your emails in by April 1st.

Trident Vitality Zen

Flavor: I was delightfully surprised when I bit into my first Trident Vitality Zen pellet to taste a coconut-mint-like flavor. Although I can see where the vanilla comes from (coconut and vanilla are close cousins in flavor, let’s be honest), I feel it falls more under the coconut umbrella, but not in an overwhelming way as coconut flavors often are presented. It’s a mellow coconut rounded out by a “smooth mint” as they skillfully call it, and it lasts a decent amount of time, twenty minutes or so. It’s not a marathon chew, but it’s a nice refreshing treat after a meal. I have to say I can’t seem to detect the “green tea” that’s advertised on the pack, and think it’s just another one of those healthy-sounding gimmicks they tack onto the names of gums to make them more marketable.
Texture: As with the other Vitality flavors, it’s on the softer side, but doesn’t disintegrate or become unpleasantly smooshy after a long chew.
Presentation: The Vitality packs are simple and elegant, and this one follows suit. I like the choice of lavender for the font– it complements the cream in the vanilla leaves and the silver background.
Overall: It’s not too bad. I can’t say that I’m on the path to achieving Nirvana with each piece of Vitality Zen that I chew, but I can say it enlightened my taste buds a little.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs )

Rev7 Spearmint

This review is sponsored by our friends at Rev7!
Flavor: This is a classic spearmint flavor, pretty much spot-on what you’d expect.  The initial crunch of candy coating gives you a pleasant rush of minty goodness, and it settles down to a nice, breath-freshening cool.  I’ve chewed this gum for an hour or more, and the flavor, while it slightly wanes, never diminishes entirely.  
Texture: This is where it gets a little iffy.  Rev7 is a different gum than anything out there today.  It’s touted as “removable gum,” and I have to say that I’ve never had to scrape any gum remnants off my lips.  I haven’t had any experience with carpets, sofas or flooring, so smear into surfaces at your own risk.  It’s also degradable — the little asterisk on the back of the package explains, “*Our laboratory tests show that Rev7 gum removes easily from a range of surfaces and disintegrates into a fine powder within 6 months using mild agitation in water.”  Now, I’m not about to sit here and agitate my used wad in water for 6 months, but I have no reason to believe this isn’t true.  This could be really big in terms of the environment.  If this catches on, can you imagine a world with no gum splats on sidewalks, or annoying episodes of pulling gross gum out of the treads of your sneakers?  The caveat here is that all of these awesome benefits come at the expense of the texture.  It’s a little weird.  NOT bad, just weird.  The non-stickiness of it makes it a little more waxy than other gums, and it doesn’t hold its shape as well.  For example: I tend to fiddle with my gum in my mouth, and form it into a sphere with my teeth and tongue.  That’s hard to do with Rev7, because it doesn’t really stick to itself, if I’m making any sense.  Anyway, the first few times I chewed this gum I was a little taken aback, but I very quickly got used to it.  Now, when I chew other gum, the texture of THAT seems weird.  I’ve shared this gum with my co-workers and they all agree: The more you chew it, the more you love it.
Presentation: Less than stellar graphics on your standard pellet pack.  Nothing to write home about here, but Rev7 isn’t about image.
Overall: A friend of Gum Alert wrote us a few months back letting us in on this little-known new gum.  As Gum Girls, you know we always have our eyes on the prize, always looking for that next Big Thing in gum.  This could be it, guys.  I’m impressed… really impressed.  When I was corresponding with my friend at the Rev7 company, I warned him that our reviews are always honest and truthful, and that we’ve actually contacted companies who have sent us samples to ask if they really wanted us to review the gum — it was that bad.  He responded with, “I know you’ll like it.  Everyone does.”  And he’s right.  Everyone likes it.  I think you will, too.  I toyed with giving this gum only four gumballs because of the strangeness of the texture, but really, that is a small, small issue for a product with such potential.  Bravo, Rev7.
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a special giveaway from Gum Alert — We’ve got lots of Rev7 and we want to share it with YOU! 

Extra Winterfresh

Flavor: This is a cool, refreshing chew, but doesn’t proclaim to overwhelm you with any extreme elements.  It won’t clear your sinuses, and if you’re looking for something to kill particularly heinous garlic bread breath, you’re better off with a Dentyne Artic Chill pellet.  However, if you are looking for a nice mouth refresh in the middle of the day, this’ll do it.
Texture: The firmness of it is nice, it’s not too soft and not too hard, somewhere in the middle, leaning towards more firm.  What I don’t like about it is that it’s really sticky.  It sticks to my lips when I try to blow a little bubble, and it sticks to my teeth when I crack it.  
Packaging: Marvel at its beauty.  Gaze upon its splendor.  I happened upon this Plen-T-Pak on the shelves of my local Family Dollar.  I was taken aback, since it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Plen-T-Pak available.  I have to assume this gum is many years old (2008 maybe?) but it tastes okay, there’s no expiration date on it, and the pack is almost gone and I haven’t gotten sick and died, so I assume it’s okay.  I thought that maybe I had discovered one of the last vestiges of a discontinued flavor, but a Google search revealed that Extra Winterfresh is, indeed, still a thing. 
Overall: I was really surprised to see that Winterfresh is still readily available, because we’ve never reviewed it and I thought we pretty much ran through all the Extras.  If I didn’t come across this in Family Dollar, Winterfresh would most likely have remained unreviewed until the end of time.  While it’s nothing to write home about, it’s good to know that it’s a decent option if your old standby isn’t available on your checkout line.
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Trident Splashing Fruit

Flavor : Imagine for a moment that you’ve peeled a juicy, fresh tangerine right out of the fridge, and are about to take your first bite. What do you anticipate? A burst of flavor, tangy and full, overwhelming and refreshing, right? Now pop that first piece of Splashing Fruit into your mouth. Oh… it’s like… peach? It’s sort of… melony? I guess? The packaging here suggests this gum would mirror the experience of that bursting citrus flavor, as portrayed in the pictures of three very strong citrus wedges on the front of the package: grapefruit, lime, and orange. I’d say it’s risky to claim to represent those flavors in any gum, since they’re so strong and distinct. But here, it’s downright wrong. I don’t detect any lime at all, maybe a hint of grapefruit (maybe) somewhere in the there, and I suppose a sort of dull, tic-tac-like orange. Mostly, though, it’s a very subtle melon flavor that lasts a fair amount of time but at no point wows the tastebuds.

Texture : For the most part, the texture here is standard for Trident, a good, consistent chew. It’s a little soft for a short while after chewing, but forms back up into a good bite pretty quickly.

Presentation : Bold! Black background and bright aforementioned fruits misleads the chewer and leave you feeling disappointed in your purchase.

Overall : This gum might have had a fighting chance if it were marketed appropriately, but as it stands it just doesn’t cut it. I’d be surprised if this one sticks around, and it’s a shame, since it’s pretty decent melon flavor overall.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs )