Dentyne Pure Mint with Herbal Accents

Flavor : Shannon has already reviewed the basics of the Pure gum varieties in her review of Dentyne Pure Mint with Melon Accents, but I think we disagree on some points. As with Siskel and Ebert, I suppose the occasional disagreement is healthy. To avoid redundancy, I’ll speak on some different features of the flavor that are unique to Mint with Herbal Accents. Lots of gums these days claim to taste like “real” things– Orbit’s “Real fruit flavor!” claim, to name just one, is smacked on every phony uber-sucralose strawberry-esque gum (I’m not sticking Strawberry Mint in my rhubarb pie any time soon.). Dentyne Pure really does pack a “real” flavor– an almost peppery, subtle spice undertone that’s most noticable with the first bite but is present throughout the entire chew. Although I don’t know any natural element that would cool my mouth quite so much other than, say, ice, but there’s something natural in there that does come through.

Texture : The initial bite is the best part– a thin crunchy outer shell and a rather soft gum base, with a little burst of liquid on the inside. It’s a delicate chew, softer than other gums, and I have to admit that it can get a little too soft after a while. But pack after pack, I’ve looked forward to that first refreshing crunch, so much so that I’ve been through at least four packs before saving a pellet for a review. It should be noted, however, that leaving a pack in the car will cause the inner goo to dissolve into the gum base, providing for a much less exciting, but still delightful, bite.

Presentation : Another day, another gimmick. This one’s supposed to “purify your breath,” and yammers on lots of sciency sounding reasons why this gum will make your breath smell better than other gum. “Neutralizes bad breath odors caused by bacteria and food.” I think “neutralize” implies a stable balance– a tasteless ground zero that would leave your palate untainted and prepared for new flavors. I’m not sure I’d want a sip of say, red wine or orange juice after chewing a piece of this gum (although I’m sure it wouldn’t take much convincing). In the end, it’s just a tasty piece of gum to me. There’s nothing sanitizing, neutralizing, or purifying about it.

Overall : It’s yummy, it tastes natural, and I’m sure there are some kind of sciency benefits to chewing “NeutraFRESH.” This gum has quickly become a go-to gum for me.

Rating : ooooo (five gumballs )

Oh, also, enter our contest. Win gum from the folks who know gum.

Dentyne pure – Mint with Melon Accents

Flavor: This new gum by Dentyne is just fantastic. It packs a punch on first bite, but it’s not so cold that it would make your sinuses hurt on a cold day. Although the package labels this gum as “mint,” it’s pretty obviously a spearmint. The self-described “Melon Accents” are just that, accents, and you really have to pay attention to notice them. I’m not quite sure what the claims of breath purification mean, but apparently the addition of something called “NeutraFRESH” is what makes it happen. Research on NeutraFRESH doesn’t yeild much information, but I’m sure it’s yet another concoction of chemicals (Retsyn, anyone?) that will eventually lead to our demise. But, for now, NeutraFRESH seems to do a fine job of freshening (purifying) the breath and giving your mouth a clean feeling. There’s a liquid goo in the center, though it’s not advertised on the package. (I imagine that’s the NeutraFRESH. The sweet, sweet NeutraFRESH.)
Texture: With such a good flavor profile and hiply designed packaging, you’d think that Cadbury would have paid more attention to the chewability of the gum. Like most pellet gums, you’re presented with a candy shell that provides initial crunch, and then dissolves. The gum that’s left here is way too soft, and it doesn’t seem to be firming up the longer I chew. It’s almost mushy. Between the liquid center, the crunchy shell, and the mushy texture, there’s just too much going on here.
Presentation: Although it’s the standard pop-out pellet blister pack, the package itself is very nicely done, featuring those “swirlies” that are so popular now. It’s really playing up to the iPod generation. I imagine my New York hipster friend, who doesn’t own a television and rides his bike everywhere he goes, pulling this gum out of his pocket and offering me a piece as he tries to cleanse his palate of the taste of a soy latte.
Overall: This would be a fantastic, 5-gumball gum if it weren’t for the awful texture. It’s definitely worth a chew, though, even if only for the NeutraFRESH. And it sure does look impressive when you pull it out at your Favorite Band That No One’s Ever Heard of show in the Village.Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Dentyne Arctic Chill

Flavor: In a word: WOW. This gum is, by far, the blastiest blast of flavor I’ve ever tried to date. The candy shell is like infused with menthol or something, and on first bite it really will clear your sinuses. If you need some freshening, I don’t think there’s any gum out there better for you than this one. It stays pretty strong for a fair amount of time as well – it fades from explosive to quite pleasant, and as long as you have a piece of this in your mouth, you will never be exposed for your affinity to garlic bread or red wine.

Texture: Again, fantastic. As a rule, pellet gum texture leaves something to be desired, but Dentyne Arctic Chill is alright by me. It’s a tiny bit softer than my personal perfect preference, and it has an ever-so-slight squeak, but it’s absolutely got the best texture in pellets out there. My only legitimate qualm is that the pieces are small, but that’s no biggie and certainly not worth negative points.

Overall: If I didn’t prefer stick gum over pellet gum, I find it safe to say that this would be my favorite gum. I just don’t like popping pellets out of blisters. One time I had one of those 50-piece cups of this in my car and it was gone within a week. I almost looked forward to my trips to the grocery store just because I knew that I could chew a couple pieces of this gum. And so, Dentyne Arctic Chill, this gumblogger is proud to proclaim you the first pellet gum worthy of the coveted five gumballs.Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Dentyne Ice Mint Medley

Flavor: The packaging of this gum calls out a “sweet blend of flavors.” I don’t know if they’re referring actual flavor of the mint blend being sweet, or if they’re using the word “sweet” in a slang sense like all the kids are doing nowadays. (Get off my lawn.) Either way, I don’t get “sweet” from this gum very much at all. Like all pellet gums, it’s got a hard candy shell that is jam-packed with flavor. Once that powerful burst subsides, it’s just like any old mint gum. I suppose it’s a nice “medley,” I can sense spearmint along with the requisite peppermint, and if I concentrate hard enough I even think I can taste a little wintermint in there. It’s nothing special, but it certainly doesn’t suck.
Texture: Standard pellet texture. Starts off crunchy which I always like, and when the shell dissolves it’s got a nice, if somewhat firm, texture. One thing about this gums, like most other pellet gums, it’s that the pieces are small. I am generally a two-stick chewer, and even two pellets don’t cut it for me. If I’m going to chew this gum for any length of time, I’m gonna need at least three pieces, and that’s just not economical. Also? It kind of squeaks.
Overall: A decent gum. Nothing special, certainly not horrible, but not a gum I would tout very highly. It’s average, at best.Rating: ooo (Three gumballs)

Rev 7 Natural Peppermint

Flavor: Aaaaah.  A truly refreshing mint sensation.  York Peppermint Patty commercials from the days of yore would do it justice– pop one piece in your mouth and you’re skiing in the Alps.  It’s the starlight mint without the gritty sweet stuff that stays on your teeth afterward.  It’s just a good, clean, cold mint.  We’re not fooling around with any gimmicky names here.  We’re talking about a gum that’s called “Natural Peppermint,” not some weird, abstract name like arctic concussion or polar bear explosion that all the other gums seem to be sporting these days. It is what it is– peppermint.
Texture: As Shannon mentioned in her review of Rev7 Spearmint, the texture in Rev7 is different than other gums, presumably because of its water soluble nature. I actually think it’s a really good texture, it’s just not something we’re used to.  A few pellets, and I was sold.  This is a good sized pellet, with a nice firm bite. Considering what I imagined when I heard it would dissolve in water, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Presentation: They went the Dentyne Ice pellet pack route, like most pellet gums these days. I kind of wish pellet gums would get a little more creative and wow me with a new kind of packaging. There’s an awful lot of wasted plastic here, and I can’t help but think there’s got to be a more efficient (and probably cooler) way to package gums like these.  Just sayin’.
Overall: My only complaint is that there aren’t more pellets in each pack. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m back to the bunny slopes.
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs )

Extra Winterfresh

Flavor: This is a cool, refreshing chew, but doesn’t proclaim to overwhelm you with any extreme elements.  It won’t clear your sinuses, and if you’re looking for something to kill particularly heinous garlic bread breath, you’re better off with a Dentyne Artic Chill pellet.  However, if you are looking for a nice mouth refresh in the middle of the day, this’ll do it.
Texture: The firmness of it is nice, it’s not too soft and not too hard, somewhere in the middle, leaning towards more firm.  What I don’t like about it is that it’s really sticky.  It sticks to my lips when I try to blow a little bubble, and it sticks to my teeth when I crack it.  
Packaging: Marvel at its beauty.  Gaze upon its splendor.  I happened upon this Plen-T-Pak on the shelves of my local Family Dollar.  I was taken aback, since it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Plen-T-Pak available.  I have to assume this gum is many years old (2008 maybe?) but it tastes okay, there’s no expiration date on it, and the pack is almost gone and I haven’t gotten sick and died, so I assume it’s okay.  I thought that maybe I had discovered one of the last vestiges of a discontinued flavor, but a Google search revealed that Extra Winterfresh is, indeed, still a thing. 
Overall: I was really surprised to see that Winterfresh is still readily available, because we’ve never reviewed it and I thought we pretty much ran through all the Extras.  If I didn’t come across this in Family Dollar, Winterfresh would most likely have remained unreviewed until the end of time.  While it’s nothing to write home about, it’s good to know that it’s a decent option if your old standby isn’t available on your checkout line.
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

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)

Stride Shaun White Whitemint

Flavor : In the interest of being fair and thorough here, I’m going to save all my Shaun White commentary for the presentation portion of this review. Let’s pretend this gum didn’t have a weird CGI image of a pro snowboarder on the cover, and talk about what we’re really buying here– the gum. It’s super refreshing and cool, with a slight hint of sweet in the bite. I’ve got to say, though, that I personally can’t get past this new chemical taste that all Stride gums have these days. It leaves this weird film on my tongue, and something in there reminds me of what I imagine Noxema to taste like. I will say, though, that Stride has been putting out some nasty flavors lately and this one isn’t that bad.

Texture : Very good, long lasting chew. Texture has never been Stride’s weakness.

Presentation : Could it be that this is the first athlete representing a gum? I don’t recall whether or not Big League Chew ever actually claimed a real life baseball player as their hollywood representative, but at least that would have sort of… made sense. Big League Chew looks like chewing tobacco. Who chews chewing tobacco? Baseball players. Natural sponsorship. Stride Whitemint is… well, white. And cold, sort of like snow. But so are lots of gums, right? Why doesn’t Shaun White represent Dentyne Ice? Or Mentos (the freshmaker)? I could picture him in a mentos commercial… in fact, I would love to see that dude in a mentos commercial. He’s just about the coolest guy that ever set board on a half pipe; there’s no denying that Shaun White deserves to make lots of money selling product, that much is clear.

But what is going on here, Stride? It’s like they didn’t even try to stitch some kind of connection between sponsor and product. “Oh hey, we got Shaun White. What should we call it, Shaun White Gum? No no no. I’ve got it. Whitemint. That’s clever.” So they’re going simple, I’ll buy that. But they’re not going simple. Printed on the inside of the package is a cartoon that places Shaun White in some kind of competition with a ram. I quote, “It’s on! Man versus Ram. One a competitive animal with freakish strength that loves to be scratched. The other has horns. Together in a fierce competition to see who is the best spokesman… or spokesanimal!” Um. Well. At least they didn’t call this gum “Ram-mint.”

Overall : A swing and a miss… I guess? I just don’t know what to think here. I feel sort of like I’m missing some inside joke (which I very well might be) that Shaun White has with the rest of the world. If you know the secret, please comment (but try not to make me look old or dumb). If not, I’ve got to say that of all celebrities, this is one for whom Stride actually could pull off a half-baked weirdo marketing plan. Throw a bunch of ideas in the air, string some loose (very loose) connection between him and the product and that makes it ok to permit a ram to tell a “your mom” joke on your packaging. You read that correctly. You’ll have to buy a pack to find out the punch line. (Spoiler alert! It’s your mom. )

Rating : ooo (three gumballs)

America’s Choice Superfresh Peppermint

Texture : Growing up in a tightly budgeted household, I’ve developed an appreciation for store-brand grocery products. In many cases, I even prefer the store brand to brand name products, and have come to refer to them by their strange, generic titles– “Pick up a pack of Shoprite Chocolate Stripe Cookies while you’re out?” A true connoisseur of store brands, however, understands that there are things you buy store brand (cookies), and things you don’t buy store brand (frozen pizza). In this case, folks, we’re in luck. The texture here is of standard pellet construction– crunchy start, consistent finish. It doesn’t stale and maintains a nice bite throughout the chew. The pieces are a little small for me after a while, but I find that’s true with most pellet gums.

Flavor : It’s a fine representation of the peppermint flavor we all know and love, slightly sweet at first, followed by a cooling, fresh mint flavor that lasts and lasts. It doesn’t last forever, in this case, but long enough for a refreshing half hour chew. And if you want more, just take another from the whopping twenty pieces you’re afforded in each pack.

Presentation : Ok, so the design leaves something to be desired. But what do you want from a store-brand? It almost is helpful that the design is sort of lo-fi and cheesy, as it signals the bargain nerve in your brain that shouts “That looks crappy, so it must be cheap!” When I was a kid, my mom would buy products that came in all-white packaging with plain black lettering that said “NO FRILLS” on the front and indicated the exact title of the product (“MICROWAVABLE MACARONI AND CHEESE;” or “CANNED BEETS”) beneath it. And who cares about a design when you discover there are not one– but TWO sleeves of pellets to enjoy inside!

Overall : America’s Choice gum ought to be a true competitor against such gum giants as Dentyne Ice and Trident. Indeed, they surpass all of the others in cost alone– I paid $1.09 for this pack, which contained twice as many pellets as a brand-name package (at a higher cost, no less). Next time you’re in Pathmark or Safeway or A&P or whatever local grocery store near you carries American Choice, grab a pack or two and delight in the inexpensive sensation of Superfresh!

Rating : oooo (four gumballs )

Freshen-up Bubblegum

Flavor : Freshen-up Bubblegum is, to me, a classic, and the bubblegum flavor here stands true to the historic flavor we all know and love. The gel inside the gum isn’t overly sweet, and adds a gooey burst of flavor upon the first bite. Although my pack was rather stale, I remember back in the day the goo being plentiful and lending itself to the hydrating sensation now found in gums like Orbit Mist. The flavor only lasts for a couple of minutes, but I think they were going for much more than just long-lasting flavor here.

Texture : This gum was way ahead of its time. The grandparent of the now popular liquid-filled pellet gum, Freshen-up was among the first (if not the first) commercial gums to explore the concept that gum could be more than just a chewy, flavored stick. Gum is a treat, a kind of candy, dating back to the five-and-dime gumballs cupped in the palm of a twelve-year-old boy, alongside licorice and chocolates. This gum recognized the importance of the first bite for some people– how for some, it doesn’t matter how long the flavor lasts or how malleable the chew is after ten minutes. For some people, it’s all about that burst of flavor right at the start. Getting to chew it for longer than a gummy bear, well that’s just an added bonus. It’s a whole different market, and it’s given birth to such diverse favorites as Dentyne Pure and Bubblicious Mango Peach Bursts.

Presentation : Celebrating thirty-five years on the market, this gum has always been a fierce competitor for flashier packages and cheap (although effective) gimmicks. It’s packaging hasn’t changed for as long as I can remember, metallic pink and an illustration of an oozing piece of gum. It’s simple, unassuming, and blends in with all the others on the rack if you’re not looking for it.

Overall : I have to admit that when I mention this gum to my friends, no one can ever really remember the name of it, although most do recount fond memories of a pack in their pockets in grammar school. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone pull a piece of Freshen-up out of a bag and start chewing. Does anyone still buy Freshen-up? Or are the packs in the stores as fresh as the day I bought them fifteen years ago?

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs )