Thursday, September 24, 2009

Juicy Fruit

Flavor: I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the US who doesn't know what Juicy Fruit tastes like. I also think you'd he hard-pressed to find someone who'd be able to accurately describe the flavor. What is Juicy Fruit? Wikipedia's theories range from peach and pineapple, to banana. A google search also revealed that there's apparently a fruit called a "jackfruit" that is remarkably similar to the flavor of Juicy Fruit. I've never had a jackfruit, so it's hard to say. If I had to pick one fruit to compare it to, it would probably be banana, but that's pretty big stretch, although the actual pieces of gum themselves are now yellow. I could have sworn growing up that Juicy Fruit was white. Changing them to yellow, I think, lends the chewer to lean towards a banana expectation anyway. At any rate, it's a good flavor, very sweet and very sugary (though Wrigley's has recently added aspartame as a sweetener in addition to sugar, corn syrup, and dextrose, not only to Juicy Fruit, but Big Red and I assume their other classic flavors as well,) but certainly pleasant. It does turn quickly, however, and instead of losing its flavor and becoming tasteless, it leaves a bitter "aftertaste" that lingers on the tongue during the chew, and long after you dispose of it.

Texture: Certainly much softer than sugarfree gums that I am used to, but it's definitely not bad at all. When you chew a too-soft sugarless gum, it tends to fall apart in your mouth, but Juicy Fruit has a nice cohesion to it. It's easy to crack and blow teeny-tiny bubbles with.

Overall: We got a request some time ago from a reader who wanted to see Wrigley's original gums reviewed, and I gotta say that this is harder to do than any Orbit or Extra. I'm reminded of the movie City of Angels, when the dead guy asked the chick what a pear tasted like. She was like, "It tastes like a pear, you don't know what a pear tastes like?" And that's what reviewing Juicy Fruit is like. It tastes like Juicy Fruit, you don't know what Juicy Fruit tastes like?
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beeman's Chewing Gum

Flavor: I feel like a film critic reviewing Gone With the Wind. Can it be done? Can I make an unbiased judgement on a gum marketed specifically for being a revived classic? Of course I can. Originally invented by Dr. Edward E. Beeman in the late 19th century, the gum was made of pepsin powder and chicle, and was intended to aid to digestion. To be fair, let me just remind the reader that these ingredients are nowhere to be found in this modern concoction. That said, it initially smells and tastes sweet and minty, reminiscent of Canada Mints, of which I am a huge fan. But the flavor fades quickly and leaves that nasty sugar aftertaste-while-chewing that makes you reach for a piece of Trident or a toothbrush.

Texture: It's a decent gum, I imagine a definite upgrade from chicle and pepsin, although it's not done much for my rumbling stomach. It was surprisingly soft and the stick itself a lot more malleable than I expected-- I'd thought it would crumble like many other sugar variety sticks. It gets tough quick though, so enjoy it while it lasts.

In all fairness, this is not the original Beeman's, and I imagine there are some folks out there who remember the original taste and can vouch that this Frankenstein revival doesn't compare at all. (Although, I imagine Dr. Beeman's first followers might be sticking to Freedent, you know, for the dentures.) I won't be buying this again, but maybe someone who remembers original Beeman's might be able to shed some light on the subject and pursuade me to up the rating for reasons of nostalgia or reverence.

Rating:oo two gumballs

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ice Cubes White Mango Kiwi Cooler

Flavor: Very mild fruit. I get a hint of mango - no kiwi, really - and it lasts for an acceptable amount of time before it fades out. The packaging boasts "WHOA! -Refreshing Mango Kiwi POWER STRIPE and Cooling Xylitol!" What? I don't know that the POWER STRIPE has anything to do with the flavor, and Xylitol is in plenty of sugarfree gums. It's just an artificial sweetener... has nothing to do with the cooling sensation that is Ice Cube's trademark. Regardless, Mango Kiwi Cooler has a pleasing flavor. I don't know that I'd trust it to cover up garlic breath, but it tastes good enough.

Texture: I never chew Ice Cubes gum, and this is why. Back when the line first came out I tried it (of course), but I haven't even really been paying attention to new offerings or anything since then. The texture begins downright awful. Now, I'm a big fan of "crunchies" in my gum, and these crunchies just don't cut it. They barely crunch, they act more like a wax, and they stick in your teeth for the first three minutes of the chew. The "cooling" of Ice Cubes, I think, detracts from the texture - it's way too grainy at first. I do have to say, though, that with persistence it does even out to a great chewable texture. If only the stupid "cooling" wouldn't stay in the back of my throat for so long, it'd be near perfect.

Overall: I was really surprized to get emails about Ice Cubes gum, since I've never really thought of it as a viable gum line and am consistently surprized to see that it still exists. Apparantly lots of people like it, and there's something to be said for that. I'm still not a fan, and I woudln't buy it to chew for my own pleasure, but I think I can be neutral enough to say: This gum's alright.
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ice Cubes Peppermint

Flavor: We've had two separate requests for reviews of Ice Cubes. I hereby apologize for our ignorance in not acknowledging them sooner-- Ice Cubes are good quality sugar-free gum that lots of people really like, and for some reason we've not reviewed it once. I did buy a pack to review one time, and it was gone before I had the chance to do so. That said, I chose the most basic Ice Cube for our first foray into this type of gum. The peppermint is right up there with the best of them-- it is cooling and pleasant (touting “with Cooling Xylitol”) and quite refreshing. The flavor lasts a while, long enough to freshen your breath, and it lingers for a little while after that. It's a solid mint-alternative for folks who chew gum for the obvious reason: to freshen your breath.

Texture: I sort of have always had a problem with Ice Cubes, only because I can't get the thought out of my head that it's just a stick gum that someone played with until it was in the shape of a cube. That neurosis aside, I have to say that the texture of the cube is nice, it has those crunchies that a lot of people are big fans of, although I feel like they could be a little more crystallized so that they crunched more easily-- they seem to get lodged in my teeth for a while, but it's not bad. It has a nice preliminary chew, and tastes actually sugary. It maintains a good bite for a long time, too (as well as flavor), although it is a bit too soft for me after a while-- but to each his own. It's a well-executed concept and final product, through and through.

There are two reasons why the first pack I bought of this gum didn't last to a review: 1. It was a quick and easy breath freshener that I consumed compulsively, and 2. the packaging totally sucks. Almost invariably, every single time I've had a cardboard box of Ice Cubes in my bag, the unwrapped cubes have come spilling out onto the bottom of my bag. Unlike other less-than-ideal packages, the cubes are practically inedible once they reach the depths of my (admittedly disgusting) purse because they're not wrapped individually. I don't think that each cube needs to be wrapped persay, don't get me wrong-- the fact that they're already unwrapped makes them the quick-and-easy breath mint you love to chew. They have come out with the big plastic container that's become popular with other pellet gums-- but it's a whopping $3 a pack, and besides that, it's really cumbersome and not portable in a pocket or a purse (good for stashing in your desk at the office, but that's about it).

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trident Layers Wild Strawberry + Tangy Citrus

This review is sponsored by our friends at Trident!

Texture: I'm deviating from the format here and doing texture first. This was an exciting New Gum for Katie and I. When I first saw it in Target, I picked up both of the available flavors.

When you open the piece, you'll notice that it;s about twice as thick as normal Trident gums. It's got three layers - a hot pink sticky substance sandwiched in between two gum-layers. The middle layer obviously isn't gum, but a sugarless "sugary" candy goo designed for a flavor punch. It actually is so gooey that it sticks to the wrapper a bit, leaving a pink line on the wrapper.

At first, it's a nice chew. A little firm at first but it quickly softens into a pleasant malleability. Unfortunately, it just as quickly degrades into an overly tacky wad that sticks to the teeth, and then loses cohesion and becomes way too soft.

Flavor: The middle "goo layer" provides a citrusy blast on first chew, and it fades into a nice strawberry-citrus medley that lasts a decent amout of time. Although it's not a huge complaint, the artificial sweetener taste is strong in this one.

Overall: Trident Layers Wild Strawberry + Wild Citrus was a bit of a disappointment. The sleek packaging and the stealthy launch of the new line (it's still not on the Trident website) was worth a lot more than the gum ended up being in the end. Overall, I think this is a gimmicky gum, worth a chew for novelty's sake but I definitely can't see this being anyone's favorite.
Rating: oo (two gumballs)

***See our review of Trident Layers Green Apple + Golden Pineapple here!***