Stride Shift Citrus + Mint

Presentation : This is truly a revolutionary idea, and it’s pretty straight forward: orange then green. They call it Citrus + Mint, and they’re going for something more than just Citrus Mint like Orbit and other competitors. This gum is a shape shifter. They attempted to actually combine the two most basic gum characteristics together in one gum: minty and fruity. The package itself is nicely designed, but much like the flavors, the orange and the green just don’t seem to mesh together well. Something about this color and taste combination just… doesn’t sit right with me. It screams “Nickelodeon would endorse this, and not because it tastes good.”

Flavor : To me, this gum raises a really philosophical question: can mint and fruit live together in harmony in a single piece of gumz? It worked with peanut butter and chocolate sharing a cup, after all. But here, I’m going to have to be a negative Nancy and say that no, I’m sorry mint and citrus, however much I love the both of you, I just can’t see you two together. There’s a reason why citrus-mint flavors in the past never really tasted like mint. It’s gross. Brushing your teeth and eating an orange is gross. Putting a nice piece of orange gum in your mouth and having it “shift” to a mint (with that hint of orange lingering through the entire chew) is also gross. It’s not terrible, don’t get me wrong– it could have been a lot worse, but it’s been actually physically difficult to keep it in my mouth long enough to write this review.

Texture : The texture is solid (as Stride usually is), a nice chew that it doesn’t get too hard or mushy at any point. But there’s this horrible lasting film that produces in your mouth and that lingers for about an hour and a half after you take it out of your mouth– a cold, persistent film that’s worse than any sugar crud on your teeth after a piece of Hubba Bubba. It begs the question– what kind of chemicals are in this hunk of sensation? What did I just put in my mouth ? Between that and the sores that Stride leaves on my tongue, this gum makes me think about giving up artificial sweeteners altogether.

Overall : In my humble opinion, Citrus and Mint are like so many American couples out there today– they’re great on their own, but they just don’t belong together. It was worth a shot, though and hey, we’ll always have the memories.

Rating : oo two gumballs

Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape Triple Treat

*Note : Thanks to the advice of an insightful reader, we’ve decided to add a new category to our gum reviews. Henceforth, in addition to flavor, texture and overall, we will also comment on the topic “Presentation.”

Flavor : Oh wowee wow wow, about fifteen years ago I’d have died and gone to heaven with this little gem. Bubble Tape was always fun, but to me it really was just a glorified bubble gum. This new flavor is reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite childhood treats, Laffy Taffy. And I’m not talking about the regular kind you get on Halloween, I’m talking about the super-fun candy-ba-sized strawberry Laffy Taffy with the crunchy candy seeds pressed into it. It’s tangy and sweet, with hints of blueberry, strawberry, and watermelon. After about ten minutes chewing, the flavor is more like a dull cotton candy, which is a pretty nice bonus.

Texture : This gum is manufactured for one purpose: fun. It packs “six feet of fun,” although I regrettably never got a chance to measure for accuracy (it was gifted to me half-eaten and much-coveted by Shannon who, for Mommy reasons, can’t eat soy for a while). The first sensation is a rather disagreeable chalkiness, as the tape is covered in near-flavorless sugar powder to avoid sticking to itself (I assume) when it’s rolled up. Ripping off about half a foot produces a nice sized hunk of gum, even after chewing for a while, and it does blow a pretty consistent bubble, although they don’t get as big as they do with regular Hubba Bubba.

Presentation : This container screams “FORFEIT LUNCH AND SPEND THE MONEY MOM GAVE YOU ON BUBLE TAPE.” It’s hard plastic which, although probably not the greatest for the environment, is way cool to take out and share with your friends. I imagine composing a formula that allows such malleability that it coils like tape without ever drying out or cracking was quite a feat. Not to mention that there appears to be glitter both INSIDE THE GUM and in the package itself. Also, the fruits pictured are strawberry, blueberry and watermelon, and I’ve got to say, all the flavors are there on the initial chew.

Overall : O Hubba Bubba triple treat, where were you on the playground when I was trying to make friends and endure awkward pre-adolescence? If we had met back then… perhaps everything would have been different.

Rating : ooooo five gumballs

Hubba Bubba Glop Strawberry Gush

Flavor : Let me start out with a disclaimer: This gum is not intended for adults. Glop is a marketing strategy geared expressly toward children in all of its attributes– it’s fun, it’s teeth-hurtingly sweet, and there’s nothing healthy about it. That said, the flavor is a super sugary strawberry, far too sweet for a mature palate but, I’d imagine, just right for young taste buds. It’s filled with a sugar syrup (Glop) that dissolves almost immediately. The flavor subsides altogether soon after the glop dissipates, leaving the chewer longing for another shot of Glop.

Texture : This egg-shaped gum is unique compared to the ordinary over-the-counter package. The shiny outer shell crunches a lot like a gumball, but the soft inside stays true to Hubba Bubba classics. The glop could be more abundant, and it’s nearly impossible to blow a bubble with it at any stage of chewing.

Overall : This gum is really more of a candy than a gum. The gum that remains after the initial crunch and glop explosion is hardly a gum at all, a stale old gumball. But for kids, I’m sure the neat packaging (a hard plastic tube that might be reused for something kids reuse plastic containers for) and the wild ‘n crazy glop-ness of it are incredibly appealing. I, for one, would never have been allowed to eat it, but definitely would have saved up change to buy myself a pack now and again and eat it on the walk home from the corner store.

Rating : ooo (three gumballs )

*photo courtesy candyaddict.com

Special Feature: The Bubble Trials

Christopher, A friend of GumAlert, alerted us to the fact that although we’ve reviewed multiple bubblegums, we rarely touch upon the bubble-blowing qualities of the gum. This is an element that we’ve absolutely neglected, so I’ve gone out and bought a variety of sugarless bubblegums to compare.

In this special post, I’ll be comparing the bubbles blown by six different brands of sugarfree bubblegum: Bubblegum Trident, Stride Uber Bubble, Extra Classic Bubble, Orbit Bubblemint, Wrigley 5 Zing, and the yet-to-be-reviewed Sugarfree Bubble Yum.

Bubblegum Trident
In my initial review of Bubblegum Trident, I noted that this “might as well be a chewing gum.” This description still fits. When you first start chewing Bubblegum Trident, the consistency is really hard, and the bubbles are small and thick. After you chew for about 5 – 10 minutes, the texture of the gum softens and the bubbles increase in size but remain a hard, thick, almost latex balloon consistency. However, the bubble pops and you’re right back to a hard wad. Makes my teeth hurt, in fact.
oo (two bubbles)

Stride Uber Bubble
This one is also tough to chew, and it has a slightly grainy consistency that makes blowing bubbles near impossible. You can barely spread the gum around your tongue before it forms tiny little holes in it. I chewed it for about 15 minutes and it stayed way too firm.
o (one bubble)

Extra Classic Bubble
“Made With Real Bubbles” is printed on the inside of the packaging, and that’s pretty gross if you stop and really think about it. Anyway, this one is a much softer gum when you first bite into it, but again, it firms up to the point where I worry about my dental work. I had such high hopes for the bubble potential when I first started chewing it, but I was quickly disappointed. I think I blew about 3 bubbles before my jaw started to hurt and I gave up.
o (one bubble)

Orbit Bubblemint
Still hard to chew, but definitely easier to spread. Bubbles are decent, but get thin and pop really quickly, and are really sticky. Since it’s technically supposed to be a bubble-mint hybrid, if you blow a big bubble that doesn’t pop and try to “suck” the bubble back into your mouth, your sinuses are blasted with mintyness. Similarly, if you pop a bubble just right and the air blows into your eye, it stings quite a bit.
oo (two bubbles)

Wrigley’s 5 Zing
This gum fools you into thinking you’re going to get great big awesome bubbles, but they fall short every time, popping with a loud, disappointing SNAP when you just start to fill them up with air. Also very sticky.
o (one bubble)

Bubble Yum Sugarfree
Bubble Yum is one of the main sugared bubblegums, so they know what’s what when it comes to bubbles. However, once again the bubbles are sub-par. This gum has the opposite problem of the others: it’s too soft. I feel like it might blow a decent enough bubble, but it wants to slide right off your tongue with the slightest pressure from the air.
oo (two bubbles)

Conclusion
Now that I’ve chewed enough xylitol in one sitting to make me nauseous, I think I can say with some certainty that sugarless bubblegum is more about the flavor of bubblegum, and less about the actual blowing of bubbles. If you’re in a bubble-blowing mood, you gotta bite the bullet and risk a cavity and pick up a pack of Big League Chew or Bubble Tape.

5 React Orange

Flavor : This gum has caused much controversy, as far as Shannon and I are concerned. We’re thoroughly concerned with the marketing tactics that Wrigley’s is using here. The “Five” series features seven funky flavors: Zing, Cobalt, Solstice, Rain, Flare, Lush and Elixir. They all seem to hold stereotypical roles in their gum family, there’s the spearmint, the cinnamon, the mint, various fruit representatives. And now there’s these two nameless cousins, called “React.” One is orange, and one is blue, fruity and minty, respectively. But, much like “Cousin Bill” who reintroduces himself at a family wake, no one’s quite sure how these flavors fit in the family. The orange React tastes fruity, sort of like mango and that generic fruity gum flavor that shows up a lot these days. The flavor is strong at first but quickly fades and leaves you thinking about another piece. It does last a decent amount of time, though, even if it is a bit dull after a while. The flavor itself leaves a rather undesirable aftertaste of sugar substitute.

Texture : The texture is satisfactory, a nice bite that stays solid for a good amount of time. But it’s disconcerting that the React Orange is, in fact, black (as is the React Blue). When you spit it out, it’s an alarming shade of silver. My parents warned me against the dangers of playing with mercury when I was a child, and chewing silver gum will just never feel right to me.

Overall : This gum, however sufficient in flavor in texture, is just out of place. I don’t understand what “React” means, nor do I understand why it’s that startling shade of black and silver. This gum, in effect, is an enigma to me. I just don’t get it enough to give it a fair rating.

Rating : ?