Orbit Sangria Fresca

Flavor: Traditionally, gum is chewed to eliminate the scent of booze on the breath. But Orbit has reached out to alcoholics like me and has insisted that that boozy flavor needn’t be concealed, it should be embraced, celebrated; it should be chewed. Concept-wise, I applaud your efforts, Orbit. And in this case, I think the success is more than just conceptual. Even smelling a piece of this purple gum is reminiscent of that extra “some”thing. Sangria is fruity and not too boozy, as is this gum. It’s a delight upon the first bite, an explosion of sangria in the middle of a banal work day. I’m not sure it’s incredibly “frescas,” but the mere fact that it’s gum makes it freshening, I guess. The flavor dulls after about ten minutes, but it’s tolerable to chew for longer if you want. I find the stale sangria flavor less-than-pleasurable.

Texture: It’s ok. Fine texture, firm, doesn’t soften too much as you chew. It’s pretty consistent throughout the whole chew. Although the texture of traditional sangria is much more delightful.

Overall: If only this gum were actually infused with booze, it would be a true gem. I’m not sure it’s my favorite flavor, but I think back in my fruity days I might have chewed this gum for several months. It’s interesting, unique. Way to go, Sangria fresca, I’m sure you’re someone’s favorite.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Wrigley’s 5 Flare

Flavor: The flavor of Wrigley’s 5 Flare certainly is nothing to write home about. I’m a fan of a cinnamon gum once in a while when I’m in the mood for a change, but 5 Flare just falls flat. It’s a little bit too sweet for my taste. If you like a milder cinnamon I suppose it would be fine, but I prefer my cinnamon flavor to be a little stronger, a little cinnamonny-er than this. The good part about it is that the flavor that IS there DOES last for a while.
Texture: In a word: SQUEAKY. Very, very squeaky. After the artificial sweeteners dissolve away it becomes by far the squeakiest gum I have ever chewed. It’s SO squeaky, I’d be self-conscious chewing it in a business meeting. The sound and the feeling in my teeth is driving me absoutely crazy as I type this. Squeakiness aside, the firmness is damn near perfect, but I can’t rate this gum very highly on texture due to that damn distracting squeak.
Overall: Not good, overall. I can’t see myself ever picking up another pack of Wrigley’s 5 Flare again. There are better cinnamon gums out there, with better flavor, that doesn’t squeak. And also I have to say that I hold a bit of a grudge against the 5 line due to the packaging. 5 was the first gum line to come out in those flat “pocket packs.” It was cool, and novel, and unique. It made the 5 line stand out. I liked it. But since then, ALL THE GUMS have switched to this stupid flat packaging. I miss Plen-T-Paks! They fit fine in my purse, pieces rarely fell out of the pack, and they slid in perfectly into this little shelf I have in my car where I keep my car-gum. The flat packs don’t do any of those things. I suppose they’re fine for men who carry gum in their pockets, but they don’t work for me. End rant.Rating: oo (two gumballs)

Stride Nonstop Mint

Flavor: On the inside of this package, it reads, “If you ever dreamed of naming your own chewing gum flavor, you’re in luck. We want your help renaming this flavor so, log on to stridegum.com to enter your ideas.” Comma misplacement aside, I felt that this ad was very appropriate as this flavor is much more than “nonstop mint,” in fact—nonstop mint is not very descriptive at all. Although I struggled to access the Web site, I intend to suggest one of two names—either Sweet Spearmint, or Starlight Mint. As a former favorite fan of Stride Sweetmint, I can say that this gum is just as pleasing as a sweet mint flavor, with a little extra flavor added in. It tastes delightfully like a starlight mint, without the cruddy sugar residue those mints leave on your teeth, but also contains more than a hint of spearmint that is less overpowering than ordinary spearmint and cut by the light sweetness. And the flavor really never stales. It, in fact, lasts and lasts.

Texture: The texture is fine, your basic stride goodness. Never goes mushy, never goes stale. It, in fact, lasts and lasts.

Overall: Now see, I’m torn. Would I buy this again? I would HAVE, if my all-time favorite Stride Sweet Mint hadn’t started causing those pesky little pimples on my tongue. Do I chew too much gum? Yes. Would chewing less gum eliminate these tongue pimples? Surely. Is that the solution I’m looking for? Absolutely not. This is a delightful gum, sweet, interesting, refreshing. But I fear it, too, will corrode my tongue. The color of the packaging is also enticing—a cool carribbean mint. I don’t know. I’ll judge this gum as though it doesn’t cause my mouth pain, as it hasn’t yet done so this time around. Well done, Stride, yet again.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Extra Fruit Sensations Strawberry Banana

Flavor: The flavor of Extra Fruit Sensations Strawberry Banana is actually quite accurate. Banana isn’t a flavor often found in sugarless gum, and Wrigley did a fantastic job of recreating it here. A perfect harmonious blend of strawberry and banana, it tingles the taste buds. Unlike most Extra gum, however, the flavor of this gum does not last an extra long time. It fades quickly and we’re left with a faint mostly-banana flavor. It’s like you can actually taste the blandness of unflavored gum base.
Texture: The texture of Extra Fruit Sensations works. It starts out fairly smooth and with continued chewing it remains firm yet malleable. It doesn’t work well for snapping or bubbles, however – it’s a little too soft and the bubbles too thin for it to really work.
Overall: This gum is nothing special. I’d chewed a few packs of it last year back when it first came out, and I liked it well enough but it never stuck around to become one of my staple gums. I was hoping that revisiting it for this blog would bring me a newfound appreciation for it, but alas it has again disappointed. It’s nice for a change because there’s nothing on the market with this unique flavor, but I can’t in good conscience rate it above a three. Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Trident White Cool Mangoberry

Flavor: The hand lotion I was applying while chewing this gum was sweeter and more pleasing than this gum. The flavor, even with the first supposedly strongest bite of outer shell, was dull and distant, nondescript—a generic “fruit” base that I couldn’t put my finger on. Then came the gross part—is that… cilantro that I detect? I cleansed my palate with a Hersey Kiss and tried again, hoping that the cilantro was a fluke, perhaps a chemical reaction in my nose with the delightful hand lotion. Nay. Cool? Mangoberry? I disagree. If I had to name this gum, it would be in a white package, labeled “Fruit-like Cilantro Gum.”

Texture: Crunchy at first, mushy and decreasing in size the longer I chew. It’s your typical pop-out gum, only without the burst of flavor.

Overall: This gum is pre-packaged buy-one-get-one-free for a reason, fellow gum chewers. Let me just say for the record that I’ve never been a fan of the hard-shelled, pop out gum varieties, but I don’t think my bias has anything to do with the failure of this gum to perform. I’ll chew the rest of it one day, months from now, when I run out of gum and in a fit of desperation find it on the bottom of a pile of papers in my cubicle at work. Well, at least it’s “whitening.”
Rating: o (one gumball)

Wrigley’s 5 Zing

Flavor: Touting itself as a “sour to sweet bubble” on its outside cellophane wrapper, 5 Zing is just that. On first chew, it’s a bit tart and really stimulates the taste buds. Its sour is a pleasant sour, not overly pungent like some other “sour” gums. After a few minutes of chewing, the sour fades to a nice standard bubblegum flavor that you’d expect to find coming from Wrigley’s.

Texture: The texture of 5 Zing is just fine. Nothing special, it works. It stays uniformly firm with continued chewing – it doesn’t turn mushy or too hard. It has a slight tackiness to it that I find a little annoying, but it’s nothing that would stop me from buying and chewing this gum regularly. Since it’s a bubblegum I feel obligated to rate its bubble-blowing abilities… and it rates poorly. The gum is too soft and the bubbles too thin to be able to blow a bubble with any size to it. They call it a bubblegum, but I definitely think that this is more of a bubblegum-flavored chewing gum.

Overall: I haven’t been a big fan of Wrigley’s 5 line since its inception. I’ve found the mints to be boring, and the cinnamon just run-of-the-mill. The introduction of 5 Zing changes my opinion of the line drastically. It’s a change from the ordinary, a unique chewing experience. I look forward to trying their other new flavor, Solstice (a warm and cool winter) as soon as I see a pack on the checkout line stands.Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Orbit Wintermint

Flavor: Refreshing, yes. Minty, yes. I’d have to say that this gum is among the most classic of mint gums, cold at first and quite refreshing. It’s nothing special, though—it seems to me to be that same old tried and true minty flavor that does the job but that wouldn’t stand out in a lineup of mints. It maintains flavor for a long time—I’ve thrown pieces out at varying times but have never discarded out of disgust or lack of flavor. If anything, I just get bored of it. Classic, boring, a good fallback gum if your favorite mint is missing from its cardboard placeholder at the checkout counter.
Texture: The texture is pretty standard, it holds up and doesn’t soften as you chew, nor does it harden and become rubbery as some cold and minty gums tend to do after time. It holds its own.
Overall: Shannon and Matt purchased me three packs of this gum for Easter because she thought it was my new favorite gum. I accepted it with open arms. Upon further investigation, I discovered that this was one of the original flavors (along with Spearmint) that Orbit released in 2001 (http://www.wrigley.com/brands/orbit.do). That said, Wintermint is a stellar representation of Orbit on the whole– this is what Orbit aspires to be, this is what Orbit is. This particular package proclaims “MORE FABULOUS CLEAN FEELING!” which I’m going to label as dramatic and gimmicky. It’s minty, it’s refreshing, it’s fine. It’s a satisfactory gum, from start to finish. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Orbit Mist Watermelon Spring

Flavor: At first, absolutely spectacular. Now, I know that this type of intense flavor experience isn’t for everyone. I get it. But one of the things I look for in a gum is the initial “flavor explosion” I get when I first put it in my mouth and bite down. Orbit Mist Watermelon Spring’s packaging calls out “A Hydrating Sensation with micro-bursts(tm)” and a hydrating sensation it is, indeed. Reminiscent of the flavor of a watermelon-flavored Jolly Rancher, it is intensely both sour and sweet, causing your salivary glands to shift into overdrive. If you were really thirsty, I’d bet this gum would at the very least provide temporary quenching of your thirst. Well played, Orbit. Unfortunately the flavor fades very quickly, and you’re left with a sickeningly too-sweet, almost bitter watermelon flavor.
Texture: The benefits this gum packs in flavor, it lacks in texture. When I put my first piece of Orbit Mist Watermelon Spring in my mouth and bit down, I thought I had found the Holy Grail in gum. The “micro-bursts(tm)” have a very pleasing crunchy/gritty texture that enhances the overall chewing experience. Unfortunately, this pleasure is short-lived. Once the micro-bursts(tm) dissolve, the gum loses its consistency and becomes way too soft. I’ve seen this with other gums, and if you continue to chew it, it will eventually disintegrate into a million mushy little gum flecks in your mouth. I chewed a piece for about 10 minutes, and I performed my “Tooth Test” on it- I placed the gum behind my closed teeth, and tried to push the gum through it. A quality gum will resist the force, and only a small fraction of gum will protrude through my teeth. Orbitz Mist Watermelon Spring failed this test miserably. The gum flowed through my teeth rather easily, and I have no doubt that if I’d continued this test, the entire piece would have ended up on the outside of my teeth.
Overall: A for effort and D for execution, Orbit. This is my first foray into their new “Mist” line (Katie did offer me a piece of the Citrus flavor last weekend but I regrettably don’t remember much about it to compare) and I have to say that first impressions were not favorable. If the texture held its own and the flavor lasted just a bit longer, I would have rated this 4 gumballs. I’m going to have to give it 3. I have to admit that I’ll probably be picking up another couple packs of this one, if not only to just experience that initial watermelon rush.Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Trident Minty Sweet Twist

Flavor: In a word, perfection. It is, in fact, a minty sweet twist of flavor in your mouth. It has all the benefits of fruity gum (delightful after meals and to fix that “sugar craving”) while maintaining that fresh afterglow. It’s as pleasing as the mint inside a peppermint patty– cool, sweet, refreshing.

Extra Polar Ice

Flavor: The flavor of Extra Polar Ice is unlike any other mint gum on the market today. It’s sort of a sweet-mint, closer to a wintermint flavor than a pepper or spearmint. It refreshes the mouth from the very first chew, irradicating any hint of offensive odor your breath may have had. The flavor is not only pleasant, but it lasts and lasts. While the initial punch of flavor fades a bit after a few minutes, it never completely disappears. I cannot ever recall a time when a piece of Extra Polar Ice gave out on me when I’ve needed it – My mouth has remained minty fresh from first chew to wrapper-discard.
Texture: Again, Extra Polar Ice is truly a unique gum, and this especially is true when we consider its texture. Each slice of Extra Polar ice is embedded with hundreds of tiny flavor beads (for lack of a better word – Extra’s packaging does not name or call out these beads) that crack and pop in your mouth for the first few minutes of chewing. The outer coating of the beads eventually dissolve away, leaving you with a not-too-firm, not-too-soft wad of pure chewing satisfaction. The texture, like the flavor, does not falter with time; it remains chewable and elastic through the end of the chew. Extra Polar Ice is a chewing gum, not a bubble gum, so bubbles are all-but-impossible to blow. However, cracking this gum is a pleasure.
Overall: Extra Polar Ice is my all-time favorite gum, and it has been for quite some time now. It is the standard to which I judge all other gums. I am rarely without a pack of Extra Polar Ice in my purse. Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)