Carefree Peppermint

Flavor : As Shannon mentioned in her review of Carefree Original Bubble, it’s good to have an old favorite come inexplicably back on the market after years of extinction. I can’t say as I have the same sort of nostalgia for the Peppermint variety, but can definitely speak to its undeniable quality. In a market of over-the-top, knock-your-socks-off flavor options, Carefree reemerges in the same role it held so long ago– a really well done, simple gum for people who just want a refreshing, consistent chew. It’s a soft-spoken peppermint flavor, subtle in its strength, but super long-lasting and not at all as overwhelming as some other peppermints out there these days.

Texture : Carefree is what it always was– the perfect size piece with softer-than-usual bite. It does have a slight squeak, but nothing that would interrupt a conversation or anything.

Presentation : Shannon’s already covered the wonder that is the Plen-T-Pack in her Original Bubble review. The design of the package itself is nothing but a starburst and a brand name, that’s it– Hershey wasted no time reinventing the wheel here. They went with the classic design to accompany the classic product.

Overall : Let this be known, to all you gum-chewers out there who lost their favorite gums long ago to a fickle market, that there is, in fact, hope. Someone, somewhere, heard our call, and brought Carefree out of our memories and back where it belongs– in our pockets.

Rating : ooooo (five gumballs )

Carefree Original Bubble

Flavor: Some flavors in life stick with you long after a product has been discontinued or become unavailable. For example, my aunt had a glass candy jar on a shelf in her kitchen that had these raspberry hard candies in it. I have no idea what those candies were or where they came from, but the flavor of them is ingrained in my taste buds. I’ll never have those candies again, but I will never forget the taste. Such was the case with Carefree Original Bubble. This was my mom’s favorite gum. She always had packs of this in her purse, and I had never forgotten it. It’s the perfect classic bubblegum, exactly what you expect to taste when you chew. When our mom passed away a few years ago, I went on a hunt for Carefree Original Bubble for nostalgia’s sake, but it was nowhere to be found. Information on the internet was vague at best, but it hinted that the brand was discontinued. Disappointed, I resolved myself to the fact that I’d never taste Carefree again… until yesterday.

Texture: A thing of beauty. Smooth, soft and pliable – by far the best sugarfree bubble-blowing bubblegum out there. It doesn’t stick to your skin when you pop a bubble, doesn’t get too tough or too soft. Nothin’ but love. I do seem to remember a slight bit more grittiness in the original recipe, but I kind of think that’s because my mom used to buy this gum by the 18-pack and most of it was likely kind of stale by the time we chewed it.

Presentation: This is the best part of all. The gum is IN THE ORIGINAL PLEN-T-PAK. With the little red-plastic-ribbon-embedded pull tab and all. Oh, no… Carefree Original Bubble does not need the added square inches for flashy graphics, matte ribbed cardstock or bold, eye-catching fonts. 3 inches by 1 and one-quarter inch is all the space Carefree needs to proudly and simply display its logo. Like the flavor thing, I’d also resolved myself to the idea that I would never see a Plen-T-Pak ever again. How wrong I was. How very wrong, how very… happily wrong.

Overall: Traditionally, the best places to find new gum are Target and Wal-Mart. Yesterday I was in Wal-Mart, scouring the gum racks, and I came across a few new flavors of mentos, and was pretty psyched.

And then I saw it. Carefree. Original Bubble AND Peppermint. In the original Plen-T-Paks.

My elation was incalculable and uncontainable. I immediately texted Katie, “Sissy! Sissy! Carefree gum carefree gum is back zomg sissy sissy!!!!!”

As a true gum lover and connoisseur, there are very few things that can spark that kind of reaction. In fact, I can only think of one thing that could get me more excited than this. (A bunch of free gum from our “leftover basket” to the person that can tell me what that is in the comments below.) New gums are exciting, packaging changes are cool and fun… but this. This is epic.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

(Addendum: Just writing “Carefree” in the title of this blog post and into the Tags made me giddy.)

Bubble Tape Mystery Flavor

Flavor: Blue Raspberry. Mystery solved. Starts off crazy awesome tart, stopping just short of the “too sour” mark (though I think that it may be too sour for some, if you’re sensitive to that kinda thing). It settles nicely into your standard sweet blue raspberry, and lasts surprizingly long for a sugar-based gum. Delicious.

Texture: Perfection. Not too soft, not too hard, Its pliability lends itself to fantastic bubbles that don’t stick.

Presentation: It’s your standard Bubble Tape hockey puck-sized plastic container. Nothing really to note here, Hubba Bubba again tries to stump the chewer by slathering question marks all over to create an aura of great mysteriousness. It’s getting old.

Overall: This is a fine gum, but it’d have been just as fine if they’d have packaged it as “Blue Raspberry” and been done with it. With a mystery flavor, I feel there has to be at least SOME semblance of mystery: Is it white grape, or purple? Is it a tropical punch, or fruit punch? What berry am I tasting? But no, they just took one of the most recognizable flavors and slapped some question marks on it. Whatever. It’s a good gum, definitely worth trying more than one.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Hubba Bubba Max Mystery Flavor

Flavor : I usually have a tough time figuring out mystery flavors, but this one came to me pretty quickly. As with all Hubba Bubba Max varieties, this gum starts out with a punch of flavor and fades fast. At first, I was sure that the mystery flavor here was (drumroll please…) sour cherry. I was pleased to discover a cherry flavor, as there’s a shortage of cherry flavors in the gum market these days, but Hubba Bubba Max already offers Sweet & Sassy Cherry, and I’d be interested if a blind taste test would shed some light on whether or not this is indeed the same re-marketed gum. Upon further chewing, however, I detected a fruit punch undertone, and wonder if that was the mystery unveiled. Perhaps we’ll never know. But even so, I’m pretty sure there’s a fruit punch Hubba Bubba out there, too.

Texture : The pieces are giant, great for bubble blowing and looking really cool on the playground. It’s your standard Hubba Bubba base, through and through.

Presentation : Apparantly, question marks indicate mystery flavors these days. First Stride Mega Mystery, then Juicy Fruit Juicy Secret, and now Hubba Bubba Max Mystery Flavor. I suppose it makes sense, but I wish Hubba Bubba had gone out on a limb and gone with a more creative design. Being a very kid-centric company, they have the flexibility in design to really be tacky and fun, and this just sort of falls in line with all the other boring “mystery” flavors out there.

Overall : I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was a little disappointed with this mystery flavor. I want to be baffled, I want to have an argument about what the flavor could be, but this just feels like a very easily answered question. If any of y’all disagree, please comment and let me know what you think of this so-called “mystery.”

Rating : ooo (three gumballs )