Thursday, May 28, 2009

Orbit Citrusmint

Flavor: Well it wasn’t until I started writing this that I realized this gum, like its sister Bubblemint, is supposed to be a fruit-mint hybrid. Although I gave Orbit the benefit of the doubt with Bubblemint (much to Shannon’s chagrin), I’m going to have to oppose the claim this time around. So, let me just say, if you’re expecting ANY of the qualities of mint—be it cooling, exhilarating, etc., etc., you won’t find it here. But if you’re interested in that sweet orange satisfaction that comes with an orange Tic-Tac (ok, maybe not QUITE as perfect as an orange Tic-Tac…) then this is the gum for you. It’s a burst of tangy orange at first that fades into a pleasant, subtle orange flavor that lasts as long as you feel like chewing.

Texture: A bit soft for me. It’s definitely solid, but the mushiness gets to be a bit much after a while and I wind up taking it out earlier than I would most gums, all because of the less-than-perfect texture.

Overall: Aaaah, Orange Mint, the good times we’ve had. You were my favorite for a long time, longer than my current favorite, longer perhaps even than Trident Tropical Twist. And yet, looking at the review til now, it seems you’re only a three-gumball or four-gumball gum at best. I chalk this one up to bias and set it as the example to which I hold all gums that I personally feel really suck but that I can appreciate other people’s affection toward (please excuse the rambling grammar, I’m just off vacation.) I must note that the packaging for this flavor endured a makeover a few years back, from a straight-orange pack to a fading white and orange package with a delightful, almost tribal citrus flair. The packaging alone makes it more desirable, I must give Orbit credit there. The verdict overall? It's all right by me, but don't take my word for it.
Rating: three gumballs (ooo)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Extra Classic Bubble

Flavor: It's going to be extremely hard to review this gum without comparing it to the greatest gum of all time, Extra Original Bubble (may it rest in peace.) It's your basic bubblegum. It's got a fantastic bubble gum flavor, and if you're a bubblegum person, this is probably in your regular rotation, if not your favorite. On first chew, it's soft and sweet, and it's hard to believe that it is, indeed, sugarfree. I'm reminded of the taste of a pinch of bubblegum Big League Chew. Excellent.

Texture: At first, it's fantastic. It's soft and congeals into a nice wad. But on further mastication, it firms up a little too much. I fear for my fillings a bit with this one for a couple minutes. But fear not, and do not give up the chew - it softens back up into a delightful chewable gum, and allows for small-to-medium sized bubble blowing. Now, despite the taste, this ain't no Big League Chew, and you're not going to be getting Big League sized bubbles out of it, but it does the job.

Overall: A fantastic choice for a bubblegum. Extra gums usually go one way or the other - they either get it really right, or really wrong - and they got this one really right. I can't give it five bubbles for a couple reasons - the interlude of firmness, and out of respect for my beloved Original Bubble. If Extra comes to their senses and brings back Original Bubble, I may someday revisit this review and bump up the stars.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trident Splash Orange Swirl

Flavor: The packaging on this gum can only be described with one word: ridiculous. Its many flaws are transparent in its over-packaging, for example: obviously Trident was unable to secure the flavor name “Creamsicle” due to copyright issues and so there’s a picture of a Creamsicle on the unpleasantly fluorescent orange package beside the name “Orange Swirl.” They might as well have called it “Orange sorbet swirled with vanilla ice cream formed into a brick and easily handled with an appended popsicle stick.” You're not fooling anyone, Trident Splash. The package also touts “NEW! BURST of Sweet INDULGENCE!” What’s with the weird emphatic capitalization? And what’s indulgent about a creamsicle? The burst is in fact a burst, as the gum, with its crunchy candy coating, is filled with potent creamsicle- (excuse me, “Orange Swirl”)-flavored liquid. The flavor stays for a while, longer than most candy-coated gums, but the texture…

Texture: …leaves something to be desired. It almost immediately becomes too soft and easily separated from itself while chewing. Not a pleasant chew after that initial burst of liquid dissipates.

Overall: When bro and sissy presented me with the gum, it came with a disclaimer: this gum sucks. Shannon said it was good at first but quickly faded, and Matt added that the consistency quickly deteriorated and left you with a barely flavored unchewable hunk of nothing (in so many words). I must say they were correct. It’s a delight if you’re craving a creamsicle but don’t want to (oh GOD forbid) INDULGE in an actual ice pop. So, if you’re on a diet this summer, and really want that burst of Orange Swirl goodness, minus the ice cream and the cooling sensation and the all-around nostalgic pleasure it induces, chew this crappy piece of gum, why not.
Rating: oo (two gumballs)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Trident Spearmint

Flavor: It’s a little unfair how I chose to review these gums. In hindsight, a blind taste test would have been the best option—and perhaps in later classic flavor trials we’ll do so (perhaps a special feature?) Unfortunately for Trident, all of my Orbit Spearmint is long gone since Monday (which says something, to be sure, of the quality of the Orbit gum). So, poor Trident was held up against a very high, invisible standard, which I, admittedly, expected it to meet—nay—exceed. Trident has a sweeter version of Spearmint than Orbit, a burst of delightful Spearmint at the start that satisfies that classic urge. But with time, the flavor fades to “cold,” with just a hint of that spearmint zest, which is, unfortunately, not pleasant to gnaw on for very long at all.

Texture: It seems this gum get smaller the longer you chew, a definite minus in my book. It has a solid consistency, but since it disintegrates in mass so dramatically I’m going to have to give it the thumbs down.

Overall: Trident vs. Orbit: The Spearmint Trials. My intuition said that Trident would trump Orbit, with its long-standing reputation in the gum industry and the mere fact that it was probably one of the first Spearmint varieties out there. When I first started chewing my gut impulse was to confirm this intuition, it was sweeter, more pleasant, stronger than the Orbit variety. I chewed merrily along for about five or ten minutes when I suddenly got the urge to spit out the gum. It didn’t lose flavor so much, and the texture didn’t decompose completely, but I just didn’t feel like chewing it anymore. Something about it faded with time and unfortunately, that falls short of Orbit, and in fact falls short of most other Trident flavors on the whole. I was surprised. Next time I want this old favorite, I’m going with Orbit. Better luck in the cinnamon trials, Trident, because you’ve been TKO’d in this round.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Orbit Raspberry Mint

Flavor: When I first tried this gum when it came out a couple years ago, I remember not liking it very much... in fact, I remember not liking it at all. From my foggy memory, I fully came here expecting to give it one gumball. I don't know if my tastes have changed or if they've changed the formulation, but it's really not that bad. It's certainly not a good taste, in fact I have a hard time even comparing it to actual raspberries. It's got a very cough-syrupy taste, with a really bitter twinge that lingers in the back of the throat. It does have a somewhat cooling effect to it, but like the previously reviewed Bubblemint, it's not a true mint, and I tend to think that's what brings on the bitterness. Mixing a sweet flavor, be it fruit or bubble, just doesn't work.

Texture: Orbit is generally consistent with texture, but Raspberry Mint is a little softer than other Orbits. It's a little too soft for my personal preferences, but certainly not unchewable.

Overall: I wouldn't buy this gum again for myself, and there are so many better fruity flavored gums out there that are far superior than this. Raspberry is a hard flavor to pull off artificially, and this is more proof of that. Back to the drawing board, Orbit.
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Orbit Spearmint

Flavor: Orbit’s version of the classic “Spearmint” flavor. Classics like this, much like peppermint and bubblegum, are risky but imperative for all big gum brands to produce. All brands have to have the old basics, the standbys, the flavors that have stood the test of time since the dawning of the gum age, the favorites and the tried and trues, the flavors that are constant no matter who makes them—and yet, each brand must strive to be the best, to somehow rise above all the others. How do you execute a perfect and yet unique rendition of a timeless classic? It’s a lot like holiday music. Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” warms your heart, and yet Christina Aguilera’s rendition might… not. So, in the tradition of all things Spearmint, I take off my hat to you, Orbit. I’ll be reverting to your brand for this classic for many Christmases to come.

Texture: It’s no Trident, but it stands the test of time. It lasts for as long as a good gum ought to last, chewy, elastic, well executed texture here.

Overall: What more can I say? Chew it again, Sam.
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

International Spotlight - MUST

My husband came across a display of this gum in a local supermarket in the kosher foods section. There were a variety of flavors, and I picked up two: Mango Peach, and Extra-Strong Mint.

The flavors from which to choose were quite interesting. There were four fruit-flavors: The Mango Peach I purchased, a Cherry, a Fruit Flavored, and a Kids Fruit Flavored. The mints were interesting as well, with quite a few different strengths of mint, from Delicate, to Mild, all the way up to the Extra-Strong.

Here is a blurb from the packaging: "Kosher Pareve under the supervision of Nazareth-Illit Rabbiate. Product of Israel."

While it's pretty cool to be chewing gum that was made in another country, and also to be the first to spotlight an international gum, I have been pretty much dreading reviewing these gums. They're nasty. There's no going around it. Nasty.

These gums appear to be candy coated, but when I bit down expecting that familar crunch, I got nothing. It was as if I'd sucked all the candy coating off a piece of Dentyne Ice. The texture of both flavors was chalky at best, and with an extended chew it did eventually melt into a malleable mass, but there's just something off here. It's not smooth at all, it's almost like there's little mounds of gum base in there that for some reason didn't get softened enough.

The taste of the Mango Peach is downright horrible. It doesn't taste anything remotely mango- or peach-like at all. It's a horrible version of the fluoride your dentist used to put on your teeth when you were a kid. I immediately spit it out, and if it weren't for the purposes of this review, I would have thrown the pack away, never looking at it again. (Which I will do right now.)

The Extra-Strong Mint's flavor is alright. It's pretty strong and freshens the breath immediately. I couldn't tell you how long the flavor lasts, because I couldn't chew it enough to get past the chalkyness. Same goes for Mango Peach.

In conclusion, I certainly hope that this is not the only gum available in Israel. My heart goes out to the Israelis if this is the case. I would not chew this gum again if it were the last gum on earth, and I won't even be saving any for my sister to try. This gum is going into the garbage, where it belongs.
Rating: o (one gumball)

Trident Xtra Care Cool Mint

Flavor: Ok, so I hate to become redundant, but based on my and my sister’s ratings on mint gums, it seems that mint-flavored gums are easy to execute but difficult to execute in any kind of unique form. A mint gum is hard to screw up (although it’s been done, believe me). This gum is all right. It’s minty, cool, but that’s about it. The name is right, it’s Cool Mint. It’s a minty gum you don’t think about while you’re chewing it—a gum, if you will, for non-gum-conossieurs, folks who chew gum to freshen their breath and be done with it.

Texture: Meatier than most Trident gums, but stands true to the test of Trident texture quality. Once again, a fine, unassuming texture.

Again, this is a gum for gum chewers, not gum lovers. It’s just all right. The package bosts, “Xtra Care,” that it “Strengthens Teeth,” and has “Recaldent Milk Derived.” Not only is that grammatically incorrect, I am skeptical about its teeth-strengthening qualities. Let’s not be fooled by gimmicks, folks, chewing a stick of gum is not going to infuse calcium into your bones. But if you’re looking for stronger teeth, give it a shot, I guess. Or drink some actual milk. Otherwise, onward into the sea of mint for bolder and better flavor for me. If my teeth needed strengthening, I wouldn't be chewing this much damn gum to begin with.
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Trident Wild Blueberry Twist

Flavor: Sickeningly sweet. The front label features a pomegranite and a blueberry. I don't understand the world's fascination with pomegranites lately. I used to eat them a lot as a kid, because they were fun to eat, not so much because of the taste. I remember them not tasting like much at all, really. Such is the case with this gum. It's blueberry gum. Strong, stinky blueberry gum. I'm probably very biased as I am NOT a fan of blueberry flavor in general. This gum in particular is sickeningly sweet, but I suppose that someone who loves blueberry will love this gum.

Texture: Good. No complaints at all. Starts out soft and stays chewable, like most Trident gum. Trident usually gets texture spot on.

Overall: Although I personally would rate this gum VERY low on my gum scale - I will NEVER buy it again and I will refuse it if offered to me, I have to say that this is a nice offering from Trident. It's consistent with other blueberry flavor things, and pretty accurate. I came to this review dreading it and fully expecting to give it one gumball, but that would be absolutely selfish of me. Even though I know my sister feels the same way about this gum, I have to say with all honesty that it's NOT a bad gum. It's, in fact, quite a good gum, and deserves much applause. I'd be interested to see comments from people who have tried this gum, especially if you are a fan of blueberry flavor. If you have, please sign in and let us know what you think, and I may adjust the gumball rating accordingly.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)