Juicy Fruit Juicy Riddle

Flavor: Another “mystery” offering from Juicy Fruit, but I don’t think that they blatantly ripped a recently discontinued gum flavor with this one, like Juicy Secret did.  I get mainly citrus here, with a distinctly “Orange Tic Tac” undertone.  There’s also some passionfruit in there, but it’s not overpowering or overwhelming.  It should be noted that the flavor, while good, fades really fast into a generic “artificial sweetener” taste.

Texture: Could be better.  It’s a little too tough for my tastes, but those with an affinity for a firm chew will enjoy it.  It’s difficult to spread on the tongue, but once it’s on there, it blows decent bubbles.  The firmness contribues to an extra-loud crack, as well.

Presentation:  Not much more to say here that hasn’t been said about Juicy Secret.  Standard Juicy Fruit logo with some purty rainbowy effect for the border.  I’m a sucker for blues/pinks/purples, so I’m a fan.

Overall:  It’s an okay gum.  Certainly not one that’ll be in my constant rotation, but I’ll admit I chewed through at least one pack, and had to seek it out to re-buy it to review.  Worth a try if you’re the type that like figuring out riddles.  I just think that the “mystery” ship has sailed… there’s no more excitement about it when you’re releasing a new mystery flavor every 6 months.  It’s been done.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry we’ve been a bit slow around these parts… The Gum Girls are a bit bogged down with work, travel, kids… well, LIFE, at the moment, but rest assured we’ve got a bunch of great gums coming up for you, including Wrigley’s 5 Swerve, Trident Splashing Mint & Fruit, and Juicy Fruit Juicy Riddle, just to name a few! 

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)

Mentos Up2U Sweet Mint and Bubble Fresh

Flavor : This flavor combination is classic. It’s mint and bubblegum, the two staples, together at last in their cozy dual pack. I’m not so nuts about Mentos UP2U Mandarin Strawberry and Spearmint, and the more I think about it, the main reason it just doesn’t coalesce as a complete product is because the two elements are not complimentary. There is no common denominator between mandarin strawberry and spearmint except that they’re both flavors of gum. But mint and bubblegum are the old standbys, and are even combined successfully elsewhere, as in Orbit Bubblemint. The packaging naturally allows for some mixing of flavors, and I don’t mind a nice cool finish to my bubblegum. On the same point, it was a smart move to call the mint “Sweet Mint,” as that forgives the potential crossover of sweet bubblegum flavor to the mint flavor. There’s sort of a funny aftertaste in the bubble flavor, but it’s overall a fine bubble flavor, and the same goes for the mint.

Texture : The texture is great, a little firmer than some gums, but in a good way. It’s consistent and lacking in many common texture flaws like squeakiness and disintegrating.

Presentation : The inside of the package quotes Irish playwright John Millington Synge, “All art is collaboration.” I respect that mentos respects its product enough to call it art. It also says “A choice for every moment of the day.” Unlike Mandarin Strawberry and Spearmint, I wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find people who enjoy both bubblegum and minty gum. Who doesn’t like a good piece of bubblegum? Who doesn’t like fresh breath?

Overall : Way to go, mentos! You’ve successfully executed this concept. A classic combo with a modern twist.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs )

pür gum – eXcitemint

This review is sponsored by our friends at pür gum!

Flavor: This has got some serious power! Nasal-clearing, breath-freshening, throat-cooling awesomeness in a pellet. It’s one of the stronger mints I’ve tasted, and it’s just fantastic. Go ahead – eat that garlic bread. With pur in your pocket, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The flavor has nice longevity, also – mellows a bit, but stays flavorful and minty.

Texture: Starts off a bit on the tough side, but softens up as you chew. It should be noted that one pellet is kind of small, it takes two to get a nicely-sized wad.

Presentation: As with other pür gums we’ve reviewed, this is your quintessential no-frills packaging. pür lets the gum do all the work, as it should be.

Overall: If this gum weren’t aspartame free and soy free, it would still be an awesome gum. The added health benefit of no aspartame, and the awesomeness of an option for the soy-allergic are icing on the gumcake. Another win in a fab line of gum.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Trident Layers Orchard Peach + Ripe Mango

Flavor : If you thought Trident Tropical Twist was outrageous, just wait until you get your hands on this. We’re rounding out the summer here, folks, and just today I enjoyed one of the last delicious peaches of the season here in Jersey. It was tangy, sweet, round with that peachy flavor that takes over your whole being during the duration of your snack. It’s been a while since I’ve have a mango, and I’m pretty sure those are out of season already, or well on their way. But boy, does this gum make me feel comfortable about the long, peach-and-mango-less winter ahead. Upon first bite, it knocks your socks off, just like that first sloppy bite of a juicy peach. Then comes the mango, as if it actually were a mango sandwich on two pieces of peach bread, aromatic and vibrant. It fades of course, but the lingering flavor is sweet and cool and enjoyable for a good long while. The summer can’t last forever, but this flavor sure can.

Texture : This is a really meaty chew, much more substantial than your usual stick of Trident. It has a fantastic bite, not too soft, not too hard, a really well constructed piece of gum.

Presentation : Oh, man, just look at that mango sandwich, so simple, so decadent, so ripe and delicate. This packaging, as Shannon mentioned in her review of Trident Layers Sweet Cherry + Island Lime, is simple and sophisticated.

Overall : I know what you’re thinking: “If you love Trident Layers Orchard Peach + Ripe Mango so much, why don’t you marry it?” Maybe I will. It’s too early into our relationship to tell. But I do know that tomorrow at lunch I’m picking up a freaking mango, slicing it up and slapping it between two halves of a peach at 4:00 snack time. Only a real mango sandwich could rival this gum.

Rating : ooooo (five gumballs )

Trident Layers Sweet Cherry + Island Lime

Flavor: A long time ago, a friend of Gum Alert sent us an email asking us about cherry flavored sugarless gums. At the time, there was really nothing to turn to. The only one I could recall, in fact, was a really disgusting mentholated Eclipse concoction that was downright offensive to the taste buds. Lack of a great cherry (like grape, as I mentioned in my review of 5 React 2 – Fruit) left a gaping hole in the sugarless gum world. Well, gum gurus and cherry lovers alike can rejoice! Trident has changed the game with this one. I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Layers line as a whole, but this new one is fantastic. The lime burst you get from what I assume is the candy goo layer starts off pleasantly strong and fades as you chew, leaving the awesome cherry to shine on and on. It rivals the Bubblicious cubes in cherryness and the flavor has decent longevity. Really nice.

Texture: Slightly tough and sticky at first, the chew mellows to a pleasant malleability. It’s easy to spread on the tongue to pop and crack. It does get a teensy bit too soft for my taste, but it might be just fine for you.

Presentation: Trident Layers’s packaging is cute and clever, with an admirable minimalistic style. Besides the Trident logo and text, the only graphic on the package is a cherry being sliced into by a juicy lime wedge. Gets the point across without any unnecessary obnoxious color, holographic fonts, or neon bursts.

Overall: As I said, I’ve not been much of a fan of Trident Layers. This one has made me a believer.

Rating: ooooo (five 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)

Extra Dessert Delights Apple Pie

Flavor: Picture a warm slice of apple pie. The first bite is a mouthful of tart, juicy apple, spiked with cinnamon. The crust is creamy and sweet, and the flavors blend together in harmonious bliss. There’s just something about apple pie that’s comforting, calming. A kind of warm cinnamon happiness. You guys? This gum tastes like apple pie. Like, for serious apple pie. I don’t know how they replicated that familiar flavor with chemicals, artificial sweetener and gum base, but that flavor chemist deserves a serious raise. It’s delicious.

Texture: A little on the tougher side when it comes to chew, but definitely well within chewability limits and nowhere near tough enough to tarnish enjoyment of the gum.

Presentation : Similar graphics as the rest of the Dessert Delights line, with autumn-y colors: burgundy, brown, orange and cream. A nice slice of apple pie graces the pack. Nothing flashy, nothing crazy… Extra lets the gum itself do all the work, as it should be.

Overall: This gum is BANGIN’. Now, this gum is not made to be an every day chewer. It’s not going to freshen your breath – if anything, you’ll need to pop a piece of your mint of choice afterwards to kill the cinnamon from this one. This gum is marketed as an “indulgence” to satisfy your sweet tooth in times of dire craving. And I gotta say, this really does. Go pick up some of this one – now.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)