Friday, March 5, 2010

Special Feature: The Bubble Trials

Christopher, A friend of GumAlert, alerted us to the fact that although we've reviewed multiple bubblegums, we rarely touch upon the bubble-blowing qualities of the gum. This is an element that we've absolutely neglected, so I've gone out and bought a variety of sugarless bubblegums to compare.

In this special post, I'll be comparing the bubbles blown by six different brands of sugarfree bubblegum: Bubblegum Trident, Stride Uber Bubble, Extra Classic Bubble, Orbit Bubblemint, Wrigley 5 Zing, and the yet-to-be-reviewed Sugarfree Bubble Yum.

Bubblegum Trident
In my initial review of Bubblegum Trident, I noted that this "might as well be a chewing gum." This description still fits. When you first start chewing Bubblegum Trident, the consistency is really hard, and the bubbles are small and thick. After you chew for about 5 - 10 minutes, the texture of the gum softens and the bubbles increase in size but remain a hard, thick, almost latex balloon consistency. However, the bubble pops and you're right back to a hard wad. Makes my teeth hurt, in fact.
oo (two bubbles)

Stride Uber Bubble
This one is also tough to chew, and it has a slightly grainy consistency that makes blowing bubbles near impossible. You can barely spread the gum around your tongue before it forms tiny little holes in it. I chewed it for about 15 minutes and it stayed way too firm.
o (one bubble)

Extra Classic Bubble
"Made With Real Bubbles" is printed on the inside of the packaging, and that's pretty gross if you stop and really think about it. Anyway, this one is a much softer gum when you first bite into it, but again, it firms up to the point where I worry about my dental work. I had such high hopes for the bubble potential when I first started chewing it, but I was quickly disappointed. I think I blew about 3 bubbles before my jaw started to hurt and I gave up.
o (one bubble)

Orbit Bubblemint
Still hard to chew, but definitely easier to spread. Bubbles are decent, but get thin and pop really quickly, and are really sticky. Since it's technically supposed to be a bubble-mint hybrid, if you blow a big bubble that doesn't pop and try to "suck" the bubble back into your mouth, your sinuses are blasted with mintyness. Similarly, if you pop a bubble just right and the air blows into your eye, it stings quite a bit.
oo (two bubbles)

Wrigley's 5 Zing
This gum fools you into thinking you're going to get great big awesome bubbles, but they fall short every time, popping with a loud, disappointing SNAP when you just start to fill them up with air. Also very sticky.
o (one bubble)

Bubble Yum Sugarfree
Bubble Yum is one of the main sugared bubblegums, so they know what's what when it comes to bubbles. However, once again the bubbles are sub-par. This gum has the opposite problem of the others: it's too soft. I feel like it might blow a decent enough bubble, but it wants to slide right off your tongue with the slightest pressure from the air.
oo (two bubbles)

Now that I've chewed enough xylitol in one sitting to make me nauseous, I think I can say with some certainty that sugarless bubblegum is more about the flavor of bubblegum, and less about the actual blowing of bubbles. If you're in a bubble-blowing mood, you gotta bite the bullet and risk a cavity and pick up a pack of Big League Chew or Bubble Tape.


Anonymous said...

It's kind of a shame that there has never been a really good sugarless bubblegum that you could get the kids to enjoy. It seems like you could go a long way by marketing something that had the crazy flavors and bubble-blowing ability of, say, Hubba Bubba, but was made with a sugar substitute instead... for one thing, it'd be a good way to promote good oral health.

Miranda said...

I used to love sugarless Trident bubblegum, way back before they changed the flavor (actually they have changed the flavor twice now, since when I used to like it). Anyone else remember old-style Trident bubblegum?

ebidebby said...

The best gum I ever found for blowing bubbles as far as satisfaction with the bubbles was not a bubblegum flavor at all, it was Vanilla Dentine Ice.

terahmarie said...

I personally love Trident Bubblegum to the point where I should invest in the stuff! My only complaint is that the flavor is so strong and good right away, but fades pretty quickly from the amazing strong flavor you get at the start. The Stride Uberbubble makes me nauseous. Extra's bubblegum tastes ok, but I can take it or leave it. I like Orbit, but find I have liked it less and less over the years. @Miranda - I totally remember the original flavor, which was great! I wonder if I'd still like it as much now that I've become such a fan of the latest flavor.
None of the gum blows that great of bubbles, regardless.

Anonymous said...

Are you planning to update/expand this special feature? I think bubble blowing is a very important aspect of gum chewing, and this site could use a more comprehensive look at the subject.

This trial is great, but the result is not too helpful to one looking to blow the biggest bubbles. Six sugarless gums, and they're all poor at blowing bubbles. What about the gums that are good for blowing bubbles?

I see that Hubba Bubba original and Big League Chew come highly recommended, though the only "original" Hubba Bubba that's still in production is Max original flavor. Is this the best bubble out there?

Bazooka used to be great for bubbles, but they changed the formula a couple of years back, and the bubbles have suffered as a result. Dubble Bubble is still good, if you chew a bunch of pieces. (It helps to make a "hot gum tea" first to get rid of the sugar, and then scoop out the remaining gum, cool it under cold water, and chew with a bit of fresh gum for flavor.)

Any other options I've overlooked? Someone mentioned Dentyne Vanilla Ice. What about Fruit Stripe Bubble Gum?

More bubbles please!

Shannon said...

You're absolutely right, Anon. I went into this Special Feature not knowing what the end result would be: the goal was to find the best bubble-blowing sugarless bubblegum-flavored gum out there, which is evidently a tough nut to crack. I have procured quite a selection of sugar-based bubblegums, and I believe that a Bubble Trials II is in order. I can see the Bubble Trials becoming a recurring Special Feature. Thanks for the suggestion!

Anonymous said...

I second the comment from ediebby.

Just tried some Peppermint Dentyne Ice, and it blew surprisingly good bubbles. This is the hands-down winner as far as sugarless gums are concerned.

I started with three pieces, and I had to chew for about 45 minutes before the bubbles started getting really good.

haumea said...

sugar free juicy fruit has a rather good consistency, if sugar free gum is the criteria. Needs 2 pieces to be enough to get a good bubble, though.