Monday, November 30, 2009

Trident Wintergreen

Flavor: At first, this gum had a lot of potential, reminiscent of Necco Canada Mints, or Wintergreen Tic Tacs, a nice mellow and subtly sweet mint. But it quickly devolved into your ordinary, run-of-the-line mint flavor, subpar especially for a brand as tried and true as Trident. My roommate described it best after the initial bite, as “a wash of aspartame in my saliva.” His face whilst describing the aftertaste spoke volumes of yuck.

Here's where Trident really falls short. It's too hard at first, way too chewy, and it quickly is mushed with this rush of cold saliva. I'm not sure what causes it-- to me, it's as if it forms a foam in my mouth, although others didn't agree. The longer you chew, the more foamy it gets, but it does stay rubbery at the core. It's just a sloppy mess in your mouth.

Overall: Blech. I'll have mercy for the initial zing, but this one really falls short. At least chewing Trident helps fight cavities.

Rating: oo two gumballs

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sugar Free Fruit Stripe

Flavor: Yikes! Stripes! Fruit Stripe Gum! In new Sugar Free Fruit Stripes, there are five flavors: Wet N' Wild Melon, Cherry, Lemon, Orange, and Peach Smash. I don't know what's so special about Melon and Peach that they deserve descriptive adjectives, but whatever. In an effort to get rid of this gum sooner, I'll review all five flavors here, despite the fact that this high of a dose of Aspartame in one sitting may give me cancer. (PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.)

Wet N' Wild Melon: This is the Green-wrapped stick in the pack. I don't know which of the other flavors would be green... so I'm assuming it's supposed to be melon. Starts off with a tart blast and fades into a nice sweet-tart flavor. However -- I don't really taste much melon at all. Fades to nothing very quickly.

Lemon: The yellow-wrapped stick actually tastes like lemon. A really nice lemon, in fact! Lemon isn't a flavor often seen in sugarless gum, so I was pleasantly surprized by this. It tastes a lot like Country Time Lemonade, and it's actually hard to beleive that this lemon is sugarless. Also fades quickly.

Orange: Again, great orange flavor from the get-go that doesn't at all taste sugarfree. This could be a cube of Hubba Bubba. It's great. Fades fast (notice a pattern here?)

Peach Smash: The stick itself is blue and yellow. Why? It's an adequate peach, but certainly not as fantastic as the Lemon or Orange. This one fades away to nothing much faster than either of those two, as well. Not one of the better flavors in the pack.

Cherry: Decent news for our cherry-loving gum friend out there - this cherry is pretty darn good at the get-go. None of that horrible mentholy cherry we've seen in other cherry sugarfree gums. Fruit Stripe got this one spot-on, but unfortunately the quick-fade and the 4 other flavors in the do not warrant a purchase of this if all you're looking for is cherry. Look elsewhere.

Texture: This is where Fruit Stripes loses me entirely. The texture of this gum is absolutely horrible. It starts off bad and gets worse, eventually resembling the feeling of chewing those horrible tasteless Halloween was lips, or what was leftover after you sucked the juice out of those little bottle-shaped wax things. You can't blow bubbles or crack it in any way - if you try to spread it out over your tongue it thins out into an indistinguishable web of grossness. If it held its own texture-wise, this gum could have been great.

Overall: Texture completely ruins it, but one positive thing about this gum is that every wrapper has a temporary tattoo on it. Bonus! Having just chewed 5 pieces of this gum for this review, my desk is now strewn with little multi-colored Zebras playing sports. If I wasn't wearing a short-sleeved shirt and/or didn't work for a company whose mascot IS a Zebra, I'd be proudly wearing a sleeve of Zebra tattoos, because I am 5 years old and that would be awesome. So while the texture of the gum negates any positives in the flavor column, the addition of the tattoos on the wrapper adds the extra gumball to the rating.
Rating: oo (two gumballs)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sugarfree Juicy Fruit

Flavor: I must begin by saying that a new colleague of mine told me about this gum after reading this blog, and following up on our conversation purchased me a large car-sized plastic container-full to test it out. And a fine endorsement it was. He and I, along with my new boss, all tried the gum out together, and the result was fairly unanimous. We all recall Juicy Fruit as it was in our childhood when it was made exclusively with sugar, and we all accept and appreciate the Juicy Fruit as it evolves with all the aspartame and malitol (and sorbitol, etc., etc....) That said, this fantastic sugar-free rendition of a classic flavor left us all reminiscing about our pasts, how we ate it when we were kids, warm and gooey out of a grandfather's car or secretly in choir class. The flavor is just really well done.

Texture: The only complaint that any of us had regarded the pellet shape. Why is this change necessary? Sure, folks are fans of the big econosize jars for their car cup holders or desktops, but why take that familiar stick from us, we loyal and moderately health-conscious fans? Taking away the sugar is change enough, Juicy Fruit. It's a traditional gum, and it should remain as traditional as possible. The pellets, in my opinion, are inferior, despite the crunchy start. Perhaps the guys over at Juicy Fruit felt the crunch might make up for the lack of sugar, but I really don't find it necessary. The pellets are too small, and disappear quickly despite a really balanced and enjoyable chew. I need two to really feel satisfied. But once I am satisfied, I'll tell you what, it's worth it.

Overall: Thank you, Juicy Fruit, for catering to my sugar-free needs. I can once again enjoy this unidentifiable flavor to excess without worrying about damaging my pearly (or slightly off-pearly) whites. If it weren't for the pellet structure, I'd give it five gumballs.
Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

**Check out Shannon's review of the classic Juicy Fruit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trident Cinnamon

Flavor: It's a nice, sweet cinnamon. It gives a little bit of tang to your tounge, but it's not too overwhelming that you can't leave it between your gums and teeth for a minute or two if you need to hide the fact that you're chewing. I like that the packaging features actual cinnamon sticks. I feel like most cinnamon candies and gums lose sight of the fact that cinnamon is a spice, instead choosing to market it as some kind of XTREEEEEEM HEAT or something.

Texture: Starts off a little too soft, but rapidly congeals to a fantastic texture for a prolonged chew. It's a bit softer than most gums, but I don't consider that a bad thing, necessarily. It does develop a squeak (I need to rapid-fire test a bunch of cinnamon gums to see if it's a cinnamon thing) but it's nothing that would cause embarrassment in church or anything.

Overall: I had a hankering for some cinnamon gum the other day, and I realized that it's been a while since we've reviewed any cinnamon here at GumAlert, so I picked up a pack of Trident Cinnamon. It's a choice I didn't regret. My pack is a little different than the one pictured above - instead of "Long Lasting Flavor" mine says "A Classic is Back!" I never really noticed its absence, but a quick Google search yeilds much information, including a blog dedicated to "Saving Trident Cinnamon." It had apparently been discontinued a couple years ago. Many thanks, Trident, for bringing it back. It's a valued member of your comprehensive line of gums, and one I will turn to again when a cinnamon craving hits.
Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hubba Bubba OUCH!

Flavor: What does it matter? It's bubblegum. I'd even go to far as to call it a superior bubblegum. (Most sugarfree versions of sugared brands of gum are superior, as a general rule. I long to find sugarfree bubbletape again.) But, big deal. It's impossible to rate this gum objectively.

Texture: Good. Great. Fine. Awesome. Who cares?

Overall: Okay, here we go. I'm hoping that anyone over the age of, say, 25, can feel me on this one.

I vividly remember OUCH! gum when I was a kid. It was most definitely sugared gum, of the fruity variety (though it wasn't a very strong fruit flavor - I actually think it was more bubblegum than fruit.) It came in a band-aid tin which made it completely awesome to a kid. It was an actual metal tin that I remember re-using for other gum, candies, change, whatever.

The gum itself was wrapped in a paper wrapper that had a printing of a band-aid on it. Why this was awesome, I have no idea, but it was indeed quite awesome. I remember feeling like I was the shizz when a classmate would be all, "Got any gum?" and I'd whip out my band-aid tin of OUCH! gum and hand them a piece of band-aid wrapped sugary goodness. Oh, it was awesome.

Apparently, Hubba Bubba bought the rights to OUCH! gum years later and redesigned the package. I feel like this redesign was after my time, as I don't remember seeing it or tasting it. I can't tell you much about it, but I found this picture online:

So what we can deduce is: OUCH! went corporate, but Hubba Bubba had the brains to, at the very least, continue packaging it in its signature metal band-aid tin. I can't speak to the sugar content (anyone know if the new verson was sugarfree?) or the taste (it looks like there are three flavors in the pack - grape, watermelon and strawberry) but the look new look was fun, whimsical, and nostalgic.

But now. Now! Oh, Hubba Bubba. What have you done??

It's just a friggin' pack of gum! It's a pack. of. sugarfree. bubblegum. Who cares? The only thing reminiscent of the OUCH! gum of my youth is the band-aid on the front of the package, and the OUCH! logo. And that's where it ends. The front of the package proudly declares, "Games INSIDE!" and you open up the pack to reveal:
Oh, big WHOOP. "How Many? How many crutches are outside the emergency room?" And you have to search through the crudely drawn picture to find the 5 obvious crutches. There's a little bubble "LOOK FOR MORE GAMES IN PACKS OF OUCH!" as if the 0.4 seconds of fun I had searching for crudely drawn crutches would be enough to draw me back to buy more OUCH! gum. Hardly. There's not even any band-aid printing on the gum wrappers. It's JUST. GUM. Katie and my husband both think that the "OUCH!" logo on the front of the package actually works as a reason NOT to buy the gum - that it's some kind of super sour gum that will hurt you by chewing it.

Oh, I have been hurt by chewing OUCH! gum, Hubba Bubba. But not on my tongue, in my heart. No matter how flavorful this gum may be, no matter how perfect the bubbles it blows or how long the consistency lasts, Hubba Bubba has struck out big time with this one. They haven't even tried. I implore you to boycott OUCH! gum, and just buy Extra Classic Bubble if bubblegum flavor is the hankering you have.
Rating: o (one gumball)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Doublemint Gum

Flavor: I've got to say this tastes like a totally new formula, all around. That said, it's probably the most refreshing sugar-based gum around. Unlike its other minty competitors, this gum is not at all sugary-- it's refreshing, cooling and pleasant, no grimy aftertaste that lingers on your teeth and in your salivary glands. I investigated this phenomena and discovered that this gum is quite unique: In addition to sugar, this gum also contains aspartame. It's the hybrid of gumz! Gum goes green.

Texture: I don't ever remember this gum having little green flecks in it, a la Icebreakers. These flecks are not bothersome (as they often are in Icebreakers) however, as they're not at all detectable in the texture of the gum. I must surmise that they therefore simply exist to enhance the flavor (and, perhaps, even the visual aesthetic). The texture of this chew is soft, like a sugar-free gum, but firm, like a sugar gum. The bite, much like the flavor, is long-lasting and enjoyable. (I have to add that when chewed for an extended period of time, it does develop something of a “squeak,” but not too badly.)

Overall: Ladies and gentlemen, sing the lyrics with me, “Double your pleasure, double your fun. It's the right one, the Doublemint gum.” They make a solid case here. But I have to ask-- is it really worth ten calories of sugar? Don't get me wrong, I'm not on a diet, but this gum is really good, and I'd like to eat a lot of it. Does that ten calories of sugar that can rot your teeth and that might count in some people's journals as “points” really bring this gum that far above sugar-free varieties of nearly the same caliber? I guess we'll just have to wait for all those sugar-substitute cancer study results to decide.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)