Bubble Tape Mystery Flavor

Flavor: Blue Raspberry. Mystery solved. Starts off crazy awesome tart, stopping just short of the “too sour” mark (though I think that it may be too sour for some, if you’re sensitive to that kinda thing). It settles nicely into your standard sweet blue raspberry, and lasts surprizingly long for a sugar-based gum. Delicious.

Texture: Perfection. Not too soft, not too hard, Its pliability lends itself to fantastic bubbles that don’t stick.

Presentation: It’s your standard Bubble Tape hockey puck-sized plastic container. Nothing really to note here, Hubba Bubba again tries to stump the chewer by slathering question marks all over to create an aura of great mysteriousness. It’s getting old.

Overall: This is a fine gum, but it’d have been just as fine if they’d have packaged it as “Blue Raspberry” and been done with it. With a mystery flavor, I feel there has to be at least SOME semblance of mystery: Is it white grape, or purple? Is it a tropical punch, or fruit punch? What berry am I tasting? But no, they just took one of the most recognizable flavors and slapped some question marks on it. Whatever. It’s a good gum, definitely worth trying more than one.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Hubba Bubba Max Mystery Flavor

Flavor : I usually have a tough time figuring out mystery flavors, but this one came to me pretty quickly. As with all Hubba Bubba Max varieties, this gum starts out with a punch of flavor and fades fast. At first, I was sure that the mystery flavor here was (drumroll please…) sour cherry. I was pleased to discover a cherry flavor, as there’s a shortage of cherry flavors in the gum market these days, but Hubba Bubba Max already offers Sweet & Sassy Cherry, and I’d be interested if a blind taste test would shed some light on whether or not this is indeed the same re-marketed gum. Upon further chewing, however, I detected a fruit punch undertone, and wonder if that was the mystery unveiled. Perhaps we’ll never know. But even so, I’m pretty sure there’s a fruit punch Hubba Bubba out there, too.

Texture : The pieces are giant, great for bubble blowing and looking really cool on the playground. It’s your standard Hubba Bubba base, through and through.

Presentation : Apparantly, question marks indicate mystery flavors these days. First Stride Mega Mystery, then Juicy Fruit Juicy Secret, and now Hubba Bubba Max Mystery Flavor. I suppose it makes sense, but I wish Hubba Bubba had gone out on a limb and gone with a more creative design. Being a very kid-centric company, they have the flexibility in design to really be tacky and fun, and this just sort of falls in line with all the other boring “mystery” flavors out there.

Overall : I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was a little disappointed with this mystery flavor. I want to be baffled, I want to have an argument about what the flavor could be, but this just feels like a very easily answered question. If any of y’all disagree, please comment and let me know what you think of this so-called “mystery.”

Rating : ooo (three gumballs )

Orbit Strawberry Remix

Flavor: Orbit tends to prefer adding mint to their non-mint varieties (see Maui Melon Mint, Strawberry Mint or Raspberry Mint for examples), and it was difficult for me, for a while, to get into Orbit because of it. I’m a purist, I suppose – I don’t want mint in my Bubblegum. If I want a cooling, fresh feeling I’m gonna pop a Peppermint or a Polar Ice. However, with the introduction of last year’s Perfect Peach, which was, indeed, darn near perfect, my opinion of Orbit as a general line started to come around. Strawberry Remix is straight-up artificial strawberry, and I totally dig it. A tangy, juicy burst on first chew, this gum mellows out into a delightful fruity chew that lasts and lasts. It totally reminds me of the Hubba Bubbas and Bubblicious strawberry cubes of my youth. The flavor is so good, it tastes like it could be a sugared gum.

Texture: It just doesn’t get better than this. From start to finish, the gum remains modestly firm, yet fantastically flexible enough to produce big, awesome bubbles that won’t stick to your nose. The wad itself is smooth and silky – none of those weird white grainy bits that have been annoying the crap out of me lately with other brands.

Presentation: As evidenced by our poll to the right, it seems that the general feedback on the Orbit fashion packs is neutral to positive. Most of you don’t seem to care either way, so I’m going to stop complaining about them moving forward. If you like the fashion packs, you’ll like this one, if you think they’re dumb, you won’t. I certainly don’t feel that my fashion sense is somehow enhanced when I pull this out of my purse. I will say, though, that the outer wrapper of this gum was simply stunning. What a gorgeous rendition of a plump, juicy strawberry! Seems such a shame to waste such beautiful graphics on a cello wrap that’s going to be thrown away immediately.

Overall: I can’t find a single fault about this gum. I’ve bought this gum to review four times, and three of those times I couldn’t help but chew through the entire pack before reviewing it. It’s juicy and refreshing, fun to crack and pop. If you’re looking for a fruit bomb to add to your summer chewing lineup, you’re going to want to buy multi-packs of this one. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Stride 2.0 Forever Fruit

Flavor : From what I understand, this whole Stride 2.0 thing is supposed to be an improved formula that enhances the chewer’s experience in some way (they even preemptively say “you’re welcome” on the inside of the package for doing you the favor). As we’ve witnessed in the comments on our review of Stride 2.0 Spearmint, however, Stride fans aren’t finding much improvement in the formula at all– in fact, you all are pretty angry about the change. And I don’t blame you. Original Stride Forever Fruit was bursting with flavor, so much so that if you weren’t totally in love with it, it could be a bit overwhelming. Forever Fruit 2.0 hardly has any flavor at all– hints of that original mango flavor are there, but are subdued so much that it’s frustrating to even try to detect a flavor at all. I don’t see any improvement here. I don’t remember there ever being a problem with how long the flavor lasted for any Stride flavor, so if that’s the improvement, there wasn’t anything that needed fixing in the first place.

Texture : The texture is softer than I remember the Original Forever Fruit (Stride 1.0?) being, and it gets mushy quickly. They certainly didn’t improve any formulation here.

Presentation : The integration of design on the plastic protective wrapping has become increasingly popular in the gum market. This is an interesting and innovative move, but the wrapper is removed immediately upon purchase, so it really has no impact other than selling you the product. Orbit uses this technique nicely in their new fashion packs, as most of the labeling and need-to-know-before-purchase information is presented on the outer wrapper, and once you’re through making your educated decision on what gum to buy, you remove the jargon and are left with a a clean, funky pack that you can coordinate with your outfits. I took the wrapper off this particular pack of gum, so it’s not pictured here. The wrapper design featured a half-zipped zipper, unveiling the new formula right before your very eyes. If only Stride unveiled it before your very tastebuds.

Overall : I was in Quick Check with my father the other day and he bought 12 packs of Original Stride Non-Stop Mint because he’s so disgusted by the new 2.0 line and dismayed that he’ll have to say goodbye to his favorite flavor. It’s a very risky campaign– totally renovating an entire line of a product, especially in a market so addictive and personal as gum. You’ll sell plenty of gum by enticing customers to try something new and exciting using a clever marketing campaign. But you’ll sell more packs to people like my father, who swear by their flavor and brand. They’ve selected their flavor, and they will continue to buy it for as long as it’s on the shelves. This borders on betrayal for guys like him. If you want to launch a 2.0 gum, it’s wise to launch a sister line, rather than replace the old one entirely. As is the case here, many loyal chewers will find a new brand to call their own.

Rating : o ( one gumball)

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)

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 )

Orbit Mist Crisp Mint Waterfall

Flavor : With Orbit Mist, I’ve come to expect a great burst of flavor-filled hydration when I chomp down, but I don’t get that from the line’s newest flavor, Crisp Mint Waterfall. It’s one of those bland minty flavors that doesn’t go anywhere or have any “definition,” good for those that aren’t into intense chewing experiences, but for me there’s just nothing there.

Texture: This is horrible. It’s almost like I got a stale pack, but this is a brand new flavor and I purchased it in a newly-opened convenience store, so it’s not like it’s been sitting on the shelf for a year. It’s super tough from start to finish, my jaw aches just getting it to soften down, and once it’s semi-malleable, it remains a danger to my dental work. There’s little to no elasticity.

Presentation: Orbit Mist jumps the shark. The packaging used to stand out from the standard Orbit line, but they’ve gone and “fashion packed” it. I miss the refreshing ripples and metallic accents. My sympathies go out to the color blind, as I’m not sure they’d be able to see the dot-matrix Marlin that’s hanging out all stealthy on the package (not that it’s anything to get all excited about anyway). In fact, the outer cello wrap is far more impressive and exciting than what lives inside.

Overall: What’s going on, Orbit? Your Mist line was so refreshing, pun very much intended. And now it’s more of the same old, same old. Acutally, it’s not even the same old, same old. It’s much, much worse.

Rating: o (one gumball)

mentos Pure Fresh Fresh Mint

This review was sponsored by our friends at mentos.

Flavor : mentos Pure Fresh Fresh Mint reminds me a lot of Extra Polar Ice in its minty simplicity, offering a cold burst of freshness without any frills. The packaging suggests otherwise, however, as it indicates that I will detect green tea extract somewhere in there. Alas, much like Trident Vitality Rejuve’s failed promise of white tea, you’ll be hard pressed to taste anything tea-like here. That said, I like to imagine that I’m benefiting from some of the antioxidants in the green tea extract in this gum, so it doesn’t bother me too much that there’s nothing very unique about the flavor.

Texture : Although it doesn’t say it directly, I was led to believe by the illustration on the package that there would be some kind of liquid center in each pellet. I didn’t experience that at all, so I cut a piece in half and took a look to see what was going on in there. There is indeed something different happening in the center of this gum, but if you’re looking for a juicy center, look elsewhere. Otherwise, this is a good chew, consistent, a bit on the soft side, but quite enjoyable.

Presentation : The hard plastic pack does a good job of keeping the pieces contained while rattling around in a purse, which is a hard characteristic to find in packaging these days. I’m not sure if it was intentional that the name of this gum is redundant– the other variety of Pure is called “Pure Fresh Wintergreen.” This one is called “Pure Fresh Fresh Mint.” Why the double fresh? Another adjective might have worked better, “Cool mint,” maybe.

Overall : The Pure line is delightful, when you get past all the aforementioned nerdy packaging critiques. Recently a reader asked what gum we recommended to be the best straight up breath-freshening gum. I’m going to go ahead and add this one to the list, a simple, cool burst of fresh fresh freshness.

Rating : oooo (four 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)

Trident Vitality Rejuve

Flavor : So this gum is called “Rejuve,” with the subtext, “A rejuvenating blend of luscious mint and white tea.” Uh. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is…spearmint. And I think subliminally, that’s what they’re telling you with the packaging– it’s the green package in the Vitality trio (alongside blue and orange). It’s a really good spearmint, actually, sweet and long-lasting. The taste reminds me a lot of those gelly spearmint candies that are covered in sugar, which my mom used to buy a lot when I was a kid. I loved those things, but I haven’t found the urge to buy those sugarbombs myself in my adult life, so it’s nice to have this throwback to an old classic, without rotting my teeth. That said, I don’t see anything “luscious” about the flavor, nor do I detect any semblance of white tea. At all.

Texture : The crunch at the beginning is really pleasant, and contributes to that memory of the crunchy sugar coating on the aforementioned spearmint leaf candies. It might be a little soft for some, but I think the consistency is just firm enough. Again, I wouldn’t describe it as “luscious.” The soft center varies from piece to piece, I find, some pieces pumped with a firm gel, others with almost no variation in texture at all.

Presentation : They’re going for sophisticated, healthy. “Rejuve,” “Awaken,” and “Vigorate” sounds like the names of the Tazo Teas they sell at Starbucks, but there’s nothing tea-like about any of these gums. It’s just gum–good gum, don’t get me wrong, but just… gum. The marketing here is just misleading.

Overall : I’d buy this again, but not for the reasons they want me to buy it. I offered it to folks in the office, and they didn’t seem to care about the added benefits, whether or not it wakes you up or spikes your daily vitamin intake. For the most part, when co-workers saw it on my desk, they picked up the package and just asked one question– “Is it any good?” Oh yeah, it’s pretty good. So good, in fact, that I took it out of the free gum and candy basket on my desk.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs )