Extra Smooth Mint

Flavor: The name says it all. It’s a Smooth (dare I say “smoove?”) Mint. It’s heavier on peppermint than spearmint, but it’s a nice mellow coolness that’ll freshen your breath without taking your breath away like, say, Extra Polar Ice or a Dentyne pellet would do. The flavor lasts a really long time, too. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s definitely nice to have another mint option that won’t overwhelm the sinuses.

Texture: Starts off way too soft and a bit gritty, it takes a while for this one to really firm up into a chewable wad. But once it does, it’s got a fantastic texture. Of course you can’t blow any sort of respectable bubble, but if you’re an experienced popper or cracker, you’ll be able to annoy your officemate with a symphony of snaps.

Presentation: Nothing to write home about here. As we’ve said of Extra’s packaging before, they let the gum do the legwork and shine for itself. They’re certainly not wasting dollars in their graphic design department.

Overall: You know how some smells or tastes stick with you for life? As a Gum Girl, there are some gum flavors that will always take me back. A stick of Carefree Original Bubble will send me straight to the passenger seat of my mom’s car. I know that Katie is in Boston at a Dispatch concert when she chews Trident Tropical Twist. And I don’t ever think I’ll be able to chew Winterfresh again, because it tastes like a badly-masked smoker’s kiss to me.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of traveling for work to Sonoma, California to visit several wineries. It was the business trip of a lifetime. One of the most amazing wineries I went to was St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, in beautiful Santa Rosa. It was truly an awe-inspiring place. The facilities were pristine, the grounds were breathtaking, and the wine was a treat to the taste buds. After a special tour and dinner, our host, President & CEO Chris Silva brought our group into the vineyard where we toasted to good wine and good company. It was a moment that I won’t soon forget.

I can always “return” to St. Francis at dinnertime by uncorking a bottle of Red Splash, but during work hours that’s not really a possibility. Fortunately for me, just as we were leaving the winery, I popped a piece of Extra Smooth Mint for the car ride through the mountains from Sonoma into Napa. I put my head back and watched the full moon rise out the window, reflecting on St. Francis Winery and the amazing time I just had.

Now, whenever I chew this gum, my mind is transported back to the tranquil grounds of St. Francis, and the feeling of serenity I had while on my trip.

I don’t expect you to feel that same feeling when chewing this gum, of course, but aside from the texture at the outset, it’s a pretty great gum in an unexpected package.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Orbit Wildberry Remix

Flavor : Sometimes, when gum emulates a flavor we experience elsewhere in the world, it’s a true delight. Chocolate chip mint ice cream, for example, or strawberry shortcake. But there are some flavors we don’t ever want to experience again, like, say, grape Children’s Chewable Tylenol. And that’s exactly what Orbit Wildberry Remix tastes like to me. When I first opened the package, I thought it smelled a little like grape Big League Chew, and I was excited for that first piece, but I quickly realized upon chewing that the scent I’d detected from my childhood was none other than grape Children’s Chewable Tylenol. I hated it then, and I hate it now. The smell is so overwhelming I may have to toss the rest of the pack. Who wants to be reminded of headaches and fevers? Not me.

Texture : I don’t want to chew this long enough to find out how the texture will hold up. It’s fine, I don’t know, I just want to get this lousy taste out of my mouth.

Presentation : The fashion packs are getting cooler, that’s for sure. There’s a contest on the inside of the flap for a chance to win something called “Orbit bucks.” When I investigated the contest, I was annoyed to find that it was yet another product culling contact information for a vague reward. “Bucks” are applied in the Orbit store, where you can buy lots of things, from gift cards to books to “dorm decor.” I guess if you’re an avid Orbit chewer, it’s nice, but it seems like a lot of steps that most folks won’t really take. Two ways to enter: 1. Take a picture of an illustration in the pack and text it to Orbit (and whatever happens after you do that). 2. Enter the secret password onto their website (after filling out a form with all your contact information). You then win a certain amount of bucks which can be applied to prizes, which are categorized according to type and value. Whatever happened to scratch and win? I just don’t think this is worth it. If you think I’m wrong– shoot us a comment and let us know what cool stuff you’ve bought with your Orbit bucks.

Overall : At least Chewable Tylenol cures headaches. This stuff gives me one.

Rating : o (one gumball)