5 React2 – Fruit

Flavor: It’s really, really hard, if not impossible, to find a good sugarfree grape gum. This right here? Is a good sugarfree grape gum. So why did Wrigley’s muck it all up with their stupid “React” shenanigans? The original 5 React Fruit was a tropical explosion, all pineapple-mangoey. I would think someone who’s tried the original recipe and is not gum-obsessed like me would gloss over the teeny “2” on the package, assuming it was your same-old, same-old. What’s WRONG with you, Wrigley’s? You’ve got a good thing, here! This is GRAPE! A GOOD grape! If you were itching to add to the 5 lineup, why not come up with a clever descripive word and call it something like “5 BLAM”? At least then, you’d get to stick a little tagline on the packaging, “A gooey, grapey grape” or something. No one who isn’t a fan of Gum Alert will know that the new 5 React Fruit is grape. (Note: Katie said that after a few minutes this gets a distinct “Children’s Chewable Tylenol” taste, but I never really minded Children’s Chewable Tylenol, anyway.)

Texture: 5 always comes through with the good texture. This one gets a little tough on prolonged chewing, but it’s a nice kind of tough, it’s a very meaty chew.

Presentation: 5 packaging, blah blah blah. More of the same. It’s all great, but it’s all the same. The gum itself continues to be black, and I maintain: Why?

Overall: This is a solid gum. It has its flaws, but it’s really the first gum, at least since the inception of this blog, that has succeeded as a sugarfree grape. If you’re a grape fan, pick this one up and give it a try. The wee “2” packs a big surprize.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

5 React2 – Mint

Flavor: Although Wrigley’s would like you to believe that this is some life-changing, personalized gum-chewing experience , it’s just mint. Undefinable, even – there’s no definite type of mint, here… nary a pepper- or spear- or even winter. Just. Mint. And it’s a very, very mild mint, at that. I’m chewing it right now, and I can still taste the Cheddar Horseradish Kettle Chips I ate an hour ago. If that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy this, but I prefer a cooler, crisper, more refreshing blast of flavor in my mints.

Texture: Unspectacular. Way too soft – little strings of it get stuck in my dental work, and weirdly bumpy. When I took it out of my mouth to investigate the bumps, and stretched it between my fingers there were all kinds of little white flaky gobs in it. What the hell is that? It’s gross. I guess the gobbies might go away with prolonged chewing, but I don’t know what would define “prolonged” as I’ve chewed for 15 minutes or longer and they were still there, in some form.

Presentation: I always love 5 packages. Sleek and awesome-looking. A long time ago, back when the React line was first released, a fan wrote to us to tell us that the little thumb-print on the back of the pack changed colors like a mood ring. I never shared that little tidbit because I could never get it to happen. Either 5 slowly rolled out the mood packages, or my fingers were always too frigid (which is entirely possible). But check it out – the package totally changes color!

Other than the cool packaging, I just don’t know about this. The gum itself remains a weird black color, which is just unsettling. Why black?

Overall: I dunno, I guess as a gum this is alright. It’s certainly nothing special, despite the cool packaging. I’m still mad at 5 for this whole React thing, and now they’ve gone and slapped a “2” on the package and want you to think that it’s something entirely different. Well, here’s the thing: It’s not. It’s the same mediocre crap with a “2” slapped on it. Well, React, here’s your “2” slapped right back at ya:

Rating: oo (two gumballs)

Wrigley’s 5 Cobalt

Flavor: This is where it all began. The first 5 flavor I remember ever seeing, the one that paved the way for the 5 brand. Describing itself as “a cooling peppermint” on its outer cello wrap, 5 Cobalt is exactly that: a cooling peppermint. This was before 5 went and got all “hip” on us with “electric” or shape-shifting flavors and claims of almost other-worldly sensations. It’s got no frills, no extras, and that’s just right with me. It’s a fantastic peppermint, one of my favorites. Freshens the breath and the flavor is long-lasting.

Texture: Starts off a slight bit grainy, and a little bit too soft in that it gets stuck in between my teeth. Once you chew for about a minute or so, however, it firms up nicely and stays that way. It’s easy enough to pop between your teeth, though I can’t recommend it for bubble blowing.

Presentation: Like all 5s, the presentation is striking. Ribbed black matte cardstock highlighted with a bold color statement on the right. Sexy.

Overall: We’ve been getting requests to review this gum for months, it’s only just now that I was able to get to it after the new-gum and sponsored-gum rush. In all actuality, though, this is the fourth pack of it I’ve bought with the intention to review it, and I have gone through the previous three very quickly. It’s just a really nice gum, what a gum should be… it’s unfortunate what 5 has become.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Wrigley’s 5 Vortex

Flavor: vortex [ˈvɔːtɛks] n 1. (Physics / General Physics) a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc., such as the spiralling movement of water around a whirlpool2. any activity, situation, or way of life regarded as irresistibly engulfing. Um… guys? This gum is sour apple. I mean, I suppose the initial overwhelming flavor burst and permeating odor of this gum can be considered “irresistibly engulfing” (if you’re into that sort of thing), but what the heck does it have to do with apples? Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of this whole 5 enterprise. At first, it was interesting, the flavors were sort of mysterious and fun, but now it seems like they’re really stretching it. Call an apple an apple, man. Hubba Bubba would.
Texture: 5 always has a pretty good texture. But as long as the texture lasts, the flavor dissipates and you’re left with this sort of cold blob floating around in your mouth making your breath stink. I’ve never really been a fan of green apple though, admittedly, so others might disagree on this point… but since elementary school, I’ve thought that green apple flavor gives you stank-breath.
Presentation: I just want to take a moment to talk about the new trend in gum to print all of the important nutritious information on the plastic outer covering of the packs of gum, which is removed upon consumption. In many cases this can be a problem– what if you want to take a minute to look at the chemicals you’re compulsively inserting into your mouth? Of course, most people refer to the nutrition labels only when purchasing a product, but I’ve found that on more than one occasion I’ve been faced with a predicament– a vegetarian friend or one who’s keeping Kosher will ask if my gum contains gelatin and I’ll be unable to answer with confidence without running out to buy a fresh pack. I understand the aesthetic appeal of the clean “fashion pack” that’s becoming so popular these days, but I think there’s a value to including the information right where you can see it any time– the Surgeon’s General Warning on a pack of cigarettes, after all, is on the pack itself, not the plastic outer shell. Regardless, on this particular package, even the flavor itself is eliminated once the outer shell is removed. But then… the smell is so pungent that I doubt you’ll ever be referring to the pack to tell you the whole room stinks like sour apple.
Overall: Elch. This is a successful sugar-free sour apple, but I can’t imagine a set of adult taste buds out there that could endure this kind of experience. I don’t think the funky red and green explosion stripes are enough on the packaging here– I suggest Wrigley get some bubble letters on this pack, slap a sunglasses-wearing cartoon apple dude on there, and sell this stuff on the playground, where it belongs.
Rating: oo (two gumballs )

Wrigley’s 5 Lush

Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and enter our Bubble Blowing Contest!

Flavor: An immediate burst of delightful tart tropical begins the 5 Lush chew. This is definitely the most “bold” of the tropical gums that I’ve experienced, at least at the onset of chewing. That being said, the intensity does fade quickly, but we’re left with a nice mellow island vibe for the duration of the chew.

Texture: This is where Lush loses me just a bit. It’s a totally bipolar gum, in terms of texture. Unlike every other 5 flavor, we begin the chew with a gritty, grainy texture. Normally I like “crunchies” in my gum, but I really didn’t expect it from 5. Once the graininess dissolves, there’s a brief, 2-3 minute period of unpleasant too-firmness. As it softens, it skips right past “great” into a too-sticky, too soft glob before eventually evening out and becoming nicely chewable.

Presentation:What’s there to say about 5 packaging that hasn’t already been said? Nice, recognizable branding that’s pleasing to the eye and appeals to the “iPod Generation.”

Overall: After my awesome Elixir experience, I was hoping for a similar revelation with Lush. Unfortunately, that was not to be. It’s a nice flavor, but the texture inconsistencies really distract from being able to fully enjoy the chew. I’d probably go with Trident Tropical Twist if I were in the mood for a tangy tropical flavor.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Wrigley’s 5 Elixir

Flavor: I tried this gum a long time ago, when it first came out, and I remember texting Katie, “Gum Alert. 5 Elixir. Do not try – it tastes like just that… Elixir.” On first bite, it has a definite cough syrup bitterness to it, although nowhere NEAR the atrocity that is Exclipse Breeze Exotic Berry. The syrupness only lasts for a few seconds, however, and it settles into a nice “mouthwatering berry,” accurately described on the product’s outer wrapper. It absolutely stimulates the salivary glands. In a way, it’s somewhat reminiscent of our beloved Extra Original Bubble, although the initial punch fades really fast into a sweeter berry flavor (not necessarily a bad thing.)

Texture: Fantastic. When you first bite into it, you think it might be a little too tough, but WOW. This is a great texture in a gum. It’s really “smooth” in the mouth, almost “shiny” on the tongue. Not too firm and not too soft, it’s easy to spread between the teeth for cracking, and it even produces a noteworthy bubble.

Presentation: As I mentioned in my review of Prism, I’m a big fan of 5 packaging. (The only negative would be that they started the whole “flat pack” trend, causing the extinction of my beloved Plen-T-Paks.) I’m admittedly biased, since pink is one of my favorite colors, but I really like the shade of pink used in Elixir’s packaging.

Overall: A very, very pleasant surprize. To be honest, I’d been putting off this review because I remember being really nastified by this gum the first time I tried it. A couple weeks ago, Alexander requested that we review this and Lush on our Facebook page, so I sucked it up and picked them up. I don’t know if they changed the formulation or something, but I can see this gum being added to my regular rotation of go-to gums. Hopefully Lush will provide the same pleasant surprize.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Wrigley’s 5 Prism

Flavor: Katie knows that when it comes to watermelon, I’m much more of a fan of artificial watermelon flavor (a Jolly Rancher is the perfect example of this) than an actual watermelon. I actually don’t like actual watermelon very much at all. The new 5 flavor, Prism, is billed as “…an electric watermelon.” And I have to say, that of all the artificial watermelons I’ve tasted, this one comes the closest to natural watermelon flavor. Right there it’s got one subjective strike against it. Then it gets weird. The “electric” part of this gum is actually palatable. It’s another one of those scary-gum-chemical-reactions that you can feel going on in your mouth that makes you wonder exactly what kind of phenylketonurics they’ve got going on here. There’s a definite tingle in the chew – a quasi-carbonation, sort of a peppery tingle. If you leave the wad in the same spot in your mouth for too long it actually kind of burns. Very disconcerting, and just plain weird .

Texture: Nothing too interesting to say here. It starts off a bit too soft for my tastes but after a few minutes it firms up nicely.

Presentation: I’ve always been a fan of the 5 graphics, and this is no differently. Love the sleek black ribbed cardstock with the bright, almost tie-dyed color splashes. The matching foil is always pleasing to the eye.

Overall: As usual, I gasped with excitement when I saw a new gum in the checkout line today, and swooped it right up. I was super stoked that 5 had gone back to its roots after all the “React” shenanigans they’ve toyed us with recently. Unfortunately, this gum disappoints. Normally you can trust that 5 will be a worthy chew no matter what the flavor, but I’d probably stick to Extra Fruit Sensations Sweet Watermelon if I wanted a watermelony chew.

Rating: oo (two gumballs)

5 React (Blue)

Flavor : This is my second review of the strange 5 React flavors that nobody can seem to really figure out. This is presumably the last of its kind, as there appears to only be two varieties of these almost-5 flavors. The blue pack, which has no indication of flavor other than “blue,” tastes to me an awful lot like Extra Polar Ice (although, that being Shannon’s favorite gum, she might violently disagree.) I almost picked up a pack of Polar Ice to compare, but to be fair to 5 Blue, I wanted to judge it on its own. It’s cold and minty, and leaves a rather unpleasant cold film in my mouth while chewing. It’s not a mint for those of us who favor sweetness, it’s a toothpaste-like, standard mint.

Texture : It’s got a good bite, and the cold sensation is notable. It does get a little foamy, but for the most part it’s an all right chew.

Presentation : Ok, so I don’t want to be redundant in my posts, but the gum itself is black– this is not something that can be overlooked. Some folks think this indicates a sort of classiness, reminiscent of the silver-and-black themed wedding at the Ritz or something. In my review of the orange flavor, I likened this metallic coloring to the cautionary tales about mercury poisoning that I heard as a child. I just can’t get that thought out of my head, and besides that– if anyone were to catch me spitting this hunk of molten metal into the garbage, they might expect I am part Terminator.

Overall : I don’t know, I just don’t get it. It’s ok. But it’s silver, and there’s this weird trippy marketing scheme that goes along with it. It doesn’t fit in with the 5 family (Zing, Rain, etc.), it’s not particularly good in any special way. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the black sheep of gum– and although I have a soft spot in my heart for black sheep, this one just doesn’t make any sense.
Rating : ?

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 : ?

Wrigley’s 5 Solstice

Flavor: Solstice is marketed as a “warm and cool winter,” and as I chew I struggle with that statement, perhaps so much so that it detracts from my enjoyment of the flavor. Along with Zing, Solstice is one of two new flavors introduced to the Wrigley’s 5 lineup this spring. Zing was described as a “sour to sweet bubble,” and I went in knowing that, and it was a perfect description. The marketing folks at Wrigley’s got Zing spot on, but I think they tried a little too hard with Solstice here. I’m just not getting a “warm and cool winter at all.” I just get “mint.” That being said, it’s a great mint. It’s different than your usual mints, I would say somewhere in between a peppermint and a wintermint, with a little more sweetness. It’s exhilarating and strong (but not too strong), and as with other 5 gums, the flavor lasts.

Texture: Starts off soft and stays soft without falling apart into nothing. This is what texture is all about. I would trust Solstice to stick with me through a long business meeting if I happened to forget to bring the wrapper or a tissue with me for disposal.

Overall: As a whole, Wrigley’s 5 line is impressive, and Solstice does not disappoint. I have to point out the packaging on this one, too – it’s one of my favorite gum packagings. While I do have my issues with the popular new “pocket pack” style of gum and still lament the loss of my dear Plen-T-Paks, the ribbed cardstock, combined with the smooth, shiny logo and wispy artwork make for a perfect presentation.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)