Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chiclets Peppermint Gum

Flavor: It's difficult to call our assessments of classic gums "reviews," because it's really hard to give something that's lasted the test of time in an increasingly competetive field less than a stellar rating. This gum might not taste as peppermint-y as Orbit, Stride, Extra, or any number of new, improved brands of gums. It might leave that undersirable sugary aftertaste in your mouth even as you're chewing. It definitely won't freshen your breath. But it's like comparing Godzilla with Iron Man-- one might look better on your plasma screen, but there's just no real way to compare a classic with a Blockbuster hit. Chiclets are crunchy and sugary and gummy, they're not good or bad they're just-- Chiclets.

Texture: To be fair, the actual serving size for Chiclets is two pieces, and it is a substantial wad when chewing two pieces (whereas just one Chiclet dissolves to almost nothing within minutes of chewing). The firmness is consistent throughout a lengthy chew, but it does create a slight foaming of saliva after a while. But again, the ingredients are basic, and the texture is fairly impressive given the circumstances.

Presentation: It's a classic Adams package, simple, recognizable. You know what to look for when you're looking for Chiclets.

Overall: Apparently, Chiclets aren't widely available in the U.S. anymore, but they're pretty popular in the Middle East. Luckily, we received some samples from our friend at BestCandyStore.com. As with all tried and true gums that have lasted, unchanged, in the marketplace against gimmicks and chemical advancements and flashy packaging, Chiclets have made a mark and don't have to prove anything to us anymore. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you want a super hydrating, minty, flashy pack of gum to match your outfit, there are plenty of gums for you. But if you want a sugary crunch in that old familiar box, pick up a pack of Chiclets.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stride Always Mandarin

Flavor: A shockingly accurate "mandarin orange" flavor. Normally when we have such a specific citrus call-out in the flavor name (like tangerine), all we get is a vague "orange" flavor, but this gum actually does taste like mandarin oranges, the kind cute tiny ones you eat out of a can. Good job, Stride.

Texture: A little bit too tough for my tastes. This is a super firm chew.

Presentation: Stride doesn't mess around with fruit imagery, "fashion packs," or anything like that. Stride's packaging is friendly and predictable.

Overall: A friend of Gum Alert requested this gum a long, long time ago with the warning that it was really hard to find. Since then, I've been on the lookout for it, so it was like hitting the jackpot when I found a display with 3 packs left. I have to say that, despite the tough texture (which may, in part, have to do with the fact that I've had this gum opened in my purse for about 3 weeks [and we know from experience that, once opened, Stride tends to turn for the worst really fast]) this is a really great gum. Nicely done, Stride.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Orbit Tropical Remix

First, I'd like to apologize for the dearth of posts lately at GumAlert. We know it's no excuse, but we both have been at sort of a cross-roads lately career-wise and it's reflected upon this blog. We know you depend on GumAlert for your weekly dose of gummy verbosity, and these last couple weeks, we've let you down. The good news is that we're both on track again, and both of our gum queues are epic, so there's lots to come!

Flavor: First chew is phenomenal, however, it's nothing new - this exact flavor profile has been duplicated time and again by every manufacturer. There's nothing new about this remix - it's a tropical drink in stick form. This one's heavy on the mandarin flavor. I think that to call a gum "remix," something needs to be changed up here. It's just more of the same. The initial punch lasts pleasantly long, but when it fades, it gets kid of bitter, like an orange peel.

Texture: No huge complaints on texture. There's a period about 4 - 6 minutes into the chew that you think you might have a dissolver on your hands, but it re-adheres to itself and the crisis is averted. It's a nice gum for snapping.

Presentation: Alright, this has to be addressed, and I suppose now is as good a time as any. Orbit's all over the TV lately touting their new "fashion packs," and I, for one, say "WTF, Orbit?" I mean, sure. They look ok, I guess? But what's the point? Orbit always had eye-pleasing packaging to begin with, and they spent what I can only guess to be millions of dollars on redesigning every package in their line. What of the reason we're buying it in the first place - the GUM itself? Orbit's at the top of the pack when it comes to quality of the brand as a whole, but there's so much more that can be done. Can you imagine the new and interesting flavors they could come up with if they invested some of the wasted packaging marketing dollars on food scientists? Or if they fiddled around with the texture of Citrusmint? We could be missing out on a potentially perfect gum, all because Orbit is wasting their efforts on silly "fashion packs." And my biggest complaint about them? There's no indication on the outside of the pack what the flavor is, and that's a serious issue for someone like Katie or I who has upwards of 15 packs of gum in our purse at any given time. It's a pain in the rear to have to open the pack to see what the flavor is. Fail, Orbit.

Overall: Packaging issues aside, this is a great gum, and definitely worth a try. It would have gotten 5 gumballs if the whole tropical thing wasn't so overplayed and imitated; gums this good are a dime a dozen, really.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Freshen-up Bubblegum

Flavor: Freshen-up Bubblegum is, to me, a classic, and the bubblegum flavor here stands true to the historic flavor we all know and love. The gel inside the gum isn't overly sweet, and adds a gooey burst of flavor upon the first bite. Although my pack was rather stale, I remember back in the day the goo being plentiful and lending itself to the hydrating sensation now found in gums like Orbit Mist. The flavor only lasts for a couple of minutes, but I think they were going for much more than just long-lasting flavor here.

Texture: This gum was way ahead of its time. The grandparent of the now popular liquid-filled pellet gum, Freshen-up was among the first (if not the first) commercial gums to explore the concept that gum could be more than just a chewy, flavored stick. Gum is a treat, a kind of candy, dating back to the five-and-dime gumballs cupped in the palm of a twelve-year-old boy, alongside licorice and chocolates. This gum recognized the importance of the first bite for some people-- how for some, it doesn't matter how long the flavor lasts or how malleable the chew is after ten minutes. For some people, it's all about that burst of flavor right at the start. Getting to chew it for longer than a gummy bear, well that's just an added bonus. It's a whole different market, and it's given birth to such diverse favorites as Dentyne Pure and Bubblicious Mango Peach Bursts.

Presentation: Celebrating thirty-five years on the market, this gum has always been a fierce competitor for flashier packages and cheap (although effective) gimmicks. It's packaging hasn't changed for as long as I can remember, metallic pink and an illustration of an oozing piece of gum. It's simple, unassuming, and blends in with all the others on the rack if you're not looking for it.

Overall: I have to admit that when I mention this gum to my friends, no one can ever really remember the name of it, although most do recount fond memories of a pack in their pockets in grammar school. I can't remember the last time I saw someone pull a piece of Freshen-up out of a bag and start chewing. Does anyone still buy Freshen-up? Or are the packs in the stores as fresh as the day I bought them fifteen years ago?

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)