Mentos UP2U Mandarin Strawberry and Spearmint

Mentos UP2U Mandarin Strawberry and SpearmintFlavor: Oh my goodness, there’s just so much to talk about here. A recurring theme in gum marketing is the combination of fruity and minty, as seen in such varieties as Stride Shift and Orbit Maui Melon Mint. Something about them always seems to come up short, though, and I think that’s true in this case as well. UP2U gives gum chewers the “choice” between two flavors, which is novel, I guess, in the same way that it’s cool that the candy Nerds always packs two flavors in one box. But for me, this presents an immediate predicament– what if I don’t like one of the flavors? Then I am forever spending twice the money for half the amount of gum, and I’m way less likely to do so when there are so many other great gums on the shelf. In my conversations on gum, I’ve discovered that there really aren’t too many people who equally prefer fruity and minty gum, usually it’s way more swayed to one side or the other. That said, if you are a fruity gum lover, this might be the gum for you, as the spearmint isn’t very minty at all. It has almost a melony taste to it, which I attribute possibly to the packaging and its being subjected to fruity fumes until the time of purchase. It is minty, but I don’t taste any of the standard spearmint flavors here. It’s just a sweet mint, basically, reminiscent of Trident Layers Cool Mint + Melon Fresco. The Mandarin Strawberry doesn’t taste anything like mandarin to me, really. I detect strawberry, maybe a little melon, definitely no mandarin, but maybe I’m just missing it. The flavor in each could last a little longer, admittedly.

Texture: For their first venture into stick gums (as opposed to the classic mentos pellet), they do a pretty good job. The initial bite leaves something to be desired, it’s maybe a little rubbery and lacking that nice softMentos UP2U Mandarin Strawberry and Spearmintness that happens at the start of stick gum, but all-in-all it’s a standup, consistent chew that doesn’t get hard or sticky or fall apart in your mouth. Well done.

Presentation: The first day I had this gum I avoided saying the name out loud as I couldn’t really figure out what it meant (ok, ok, maybe I’m not the sharpest tack in the box). But something about the label makes me want to read the letters and numbers aloud. I still find myself calling it “That you-pee-two-you or whatever gum” even though I know now that it’s a clever way of writing “Up to you.” (Maybe I’m not hip enough to really grasp the text-language here.) It’s a neat way to package it, opening from the side rather than the top (as seen in other gums of this shape) and closing with an over-the-top flap. I don’t have any real problem with the new packaging except that I predict the two sides will separate when the pack is being beaten up in my bag, since it’s only connected by one short side. The packaging is peppered with clever little phrases like “Emperor Lothar I” and “Times change and we with time,” which adds to that hip young thing that’s trending in gum these days (and which I don’t really understand).

Overall: Both varieties of gum are delightful, and I surprisingly did enjoy both flavors, so I would consider buying this again. I think, though, that I would much rather buy two packs (or three or four or five) of all different varieties to keep in my purse in case I want a choice. I just think mentos is trying a little too hard here; they could have made waves by simply releasing their first stick-shaped gum in lots of delicious, dual-colored pieces. Instead it’s their first stick-ed gum, a dual-flavor pack, a new type of packaging, a crazy clever logo… I just need a moment to digest all this newness here. I’m torn on the rating here, so I’m going to break the rules and give a half-gumball…

Rating: oooc (three-and-a-half gumballs)